Pyroban is an international group of companies providing market leading explosion protection and environmental solutions particularly to the oil and gas, mining, material handling, manufacturing and logistics industries. With 40 years of research and development, certification and manufacturing experience our experts have developed renowned brands, pushing the boundaries to protect people in every region of the world. Strong customer relationships, technical innovation, continuous development and operational excellence have been fundamental contributors to Pyroban’s growth from bases in Europe and Asia.
Today the Pyroban brand is trusted by the world’s biggest companies to protect their people, their investment and our environment. If people are working on- or offshore, above or below ground and they need to work in potentially explosive atmospheres our focus is ensuring that our explosion prevention safety systems and expertise are available to them on a global basis.
Warehouse & Logistics News – What does your job involve day to day? Has your role changed since last year?
My job involves daily contact with a very broad range of customers and industries that require compliant and cost effective solutions for their operations involving the manufacture, storage and distribution of flammable materials and finished goods. As a Business Manager in our Industrial Division I work with my colleagues to supply explosion prevention systems to be installed on forklift trucks, access and cleaning equipment and to ensure those systems are fully supported in the aftermarket. My role therefore includes close co-operation with OEMs, dealers and users of such equipment. In the past couple of years my role has evolved to focus on a more global footprint and rarely a day goes by when I am not in contact with my colleagues in the Pyroban factories within Europe, China and the Asia Pacific region.
W&LN – 2011: how was it for you and Pyroban?
2011 has proven a challenging year for Pyroban but challenging in a positive way as we have seen an increase in our sales of over 30% and a multitude of new business opportunities particularly in the oil and gas and mining industries. We are going through the process of increasing capacity in our factories and investing in improving our after-market solutions. Of course we are aware we are doing this at a time of great uncertainty in European and global economies but believe the future will continue to focus on safety and the environment issues so there is no turning back.
W&LN – What is your particular proposition for customers in the warehouse & logistics sector? Has that changed since last year?
If your business involves the storage and distribution of goods that are potentially flammable or explosive we help minimise your risks and liabilities without compromising your operating efficiency. For lower risk applications, often involving the storage and distribution of finished goods, we can offer our Gascheka duo system. Gascheka together with a robust risk management procedure allows for the controlled use of material handling equipment in non classified areas. For manufacturing and warehousing applications required to operate in formally classified hazardous areas we can convert all leading brands of forklift trucks, access and cleaning equipment to ensure compliance with European and international regulations. For companies needing to ensure their current material handling and associated equipment is still safe and compliant we offer an independent annual audit to ensure the equipment remains as safe today as it was when first delivered to site. For many companies new to Pyroban the starting point is often through Pyroban’s Ex-Solutions Consulting business which offers services such as risk assessment, area classification, product verification and training of those involved in specifying/maintaining equipment, processes and documentation.
W&LN – How has the explosion proof sector been performing in 2011? What do you see as the most important recent developments in the sector?
In line with most industries we have seen a sharp intake in orders as businesses emerge from the recession of the past few years and business begins to invest in replacing explosion proof equipment that had started to prove very costly to maintain. Concerning recent developments in the sector the recognition that just because a warehouse or storage area is not formally classified under DSEAR, if potentially flammable materials such as aerosols and finished paints are being stored means a risk remains and it may need to be appropriately managed. Such applications are driving demand for our Gascheka systems particularly into the third party logistics sector.
W&LN – Have you moved into any new business areas during 2011?
Pyroban Group has acquired businesses including Pyropress, Broadland Radiators and has complete ownership of Adex Zonex (formerly our Singapore distributor) as a means of offering more integrated solutions to its customers. Continually improving Pyroban’s product and service and extending our reach into global markets are the focus of our current business plan.
W&LN – Has your company grown in the last 12 months?
Pyroban Group have quickly emerged from the downturn of 2008-9 and we are now on course to double turnover as required under Pyroban Group’s current five year business plan.
W&LN – Have you been investing in improving your premises, taking on more staff, upgrading your website, enhancing your IT etc in 2011?
We have been doing all of those things for the last 18 months. Next year we move to new larger premises in China and Singapore, we are currently recruiting in all our business areas, we continue to invest in our IT systems and as per our website please check out www.pyroban.com and let us know what you think.
W&LN – How are your existing products and services doing?
Demand for our explosion protection systems for the oil and gas industries is currently in overdrive almost certainly influenced by the tragic circumstances last year when an offshore rig was destroyed in the Gulf of Mexico and the consequential losses were estimated in billions. In our industrial division many companies in the coatings, food and drinks, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and bottled gas industries are in the process or replacing their current truck fleets so our factories are full and we need to increase our capacity in line with the increased demand.
W&LN – Have you launched any new products or services in 2011? What are they, and how are they performing?
We launched system6000 the very latest Zone 2 ATEX compliant system for the explosion protection of battery electric and diesel engine equipment at CeMAT Hannover in May and are currently installing the systems into a fleet of twelve Hyster electric trucks for Barloworld’s customer Diageo. system6000 offers end users a simple, effective and compliant solution for keeping their forklift truck operators safe when handling flammable materials. For the forklift truck service provider it offers them very low lifetime costs and allows them to limit any truck downtime to the very minimum.
W&LN – What’s been your company’s single biggest achievement in business this year?
Earlier this year we secured the largest contract in Pyroban Group’s forty year history being valued at £8million over a five year contract. Much of the work requires us to consult, supply, support the customer who is based in the Asia Pacific region and it is from these areas that we see the most significant growth opportunities.
W&LN – What was your personal favourite business moment in 2011?
Earlier this year we completed to a very tight schedule the explosion protection of a large fleet of electric trucks for the UK armed forces. This contract together with the successful introduction of system6000 at CeMAT Hannover has made this year very satisfying for all of us working for the Pyroban Group.
W&LN – If your company had to go through 2011 again, what would you do differently?
With the benefit of hindsight we would have planned for increased capacity and recruitment for our new organisation structure much earlier.
W&LN – Do you operate in any other countries besides the UK? How are you getting on there? Have you gone into any new countries in 2011?
Our business is global although our main manufacturing bases are located in the UK, The Netherlands, Singapore and China. Our facilities in China and Singapore have already outgrown themselves with plans to move to much larger premises early next year. We recognise that to improve our services to our customers we need to increase our global footprint. We have started the process to increase the number of technical centres we have in China, Europe and countries where currently we do not have a local presence.
W&LN – Have you won any awards in 2011, or been accredited to any new industry standards during this time?
No awards this year but our factory in China was accredited by an ATEX notified authority to be able to convert trucks to the European requirements of the ATEX 94/9/EC directive. This allows us to offer the very latest in European explosion proof trucks into the Asia Pacific markets or to continue to offer them conversions according to national and international standards.
W&LN – Which industry sectors are your customers in? What applications do people use your products/services for?
Through our Industrial Division we particularly serve the materials handling industry and their customers in foods and flavours, cosmetics, chemicals, coatings, inks, pharmaceutical, aerosol and third party logistic industries. Our Envirosafe Division delivers emission control solutions to a multitude of customers. For our Oil and Gas and Mining Divisions the customers are self evident. Pyropress and Broadland Radiators are Pyroban technology companies with customers in locations across the world working in a diverse number of industry sectors.
W&LN – Do you sell your products direct or through distributors? Has that strategy changed in the last year?
We sell direct and on a business to business basis with the core of our customers being the manufacturers and distributors of oilfield, mining, material handling and access equipment. Through these industries the end users can select the manufacturer and service provider of their choice knowing that in partnership with Pyroban the chosen supplier can provide the very latest in explosion prevention technology.
W&LN – Can you name any of your major projects in the last 12 months, and talk about what you have done for them?
Through our Industrial Division we have been involved in several projects for leading customers such as Akzo, PPG, Diageo and the UK armed forces delivering products and services from our UK and Netherlands factories. A good example of Pyroban adding value was Pyroban working in collaboration with Briggs and the Akzo site in Felling to be able to offer our Zone 2 gas protection truck solutions. This should result in significant savings in the forklift truck fleet operating costs. Many of our customers are global so we have also recently supplied systems for Akzo, PPG etc. through our factories in China and the Asia Pacific region. Last year we supplied our first major fleet of Zone 2 conversions installed on Toyota trucks for delivery to Orica Australia. Orders for explosion proofing trucks for use in North America are increasing and this is a market that will require more of our attention. Within our Oil and Gas Division we have been supplying major blue chip companies with our Zone 2 diesel engine power solutions.
W&LN – How does your forward order book compare with a year ago? What about the waiting list for your (products) compare with a year ago?
The order book for our UK factory with the absolute value up by 45% compares very favourably to the same time in 2010. Pyroban Group expects sales to exceed £40m+ during our current financial year. Waiting lists today have reduced from last year as we have geared up production capacity but listening to our customers in all markets we still have much work to do to meet their delivery expectations.
W&LN – Which trade shows did you exhibit at in 2011?
CeMAT 2011 the world’s leading material handling exhibition in Hannover was the highlight of our year. The exhibition enabled us to introduce system6000 to a truly international audience and to explain the many benefits of a Zone 2 active protection system that uniquely offers the option for both pellistor and infrared gas sensors. Customers had been asking us to provide them active safety systems that would be suited to virtually all Zone 2 truck applications and for these systems to be certified to IECEx standards. Since the exhibition we have seen strong demand for system6000 particularly from the paints, chemical, cosmetics, distillery and third party logistic companies.
W&LN – As a company, what are your new year’s resolutions for 2012?
To continue to improve our products and services in a way that helps us reduce our customer’s risks and lowers their costs. To accelerate our global footprint so customers find it much easier to specify our systems and services wherever they may be located.
W&LN – What are your plans for 2012?
To continue to invest in people and resources so that we get closer to meeting our customer’s expectation and the ambitious plan for growth written into the Pyroban Group business plan. As previously stated this will include new much larger premises in China and Singapore and recruiting new people across our various businesses.
W&LN – Where do you see your company in three years’ time?
With a much extended network of technical centres located close to our key customers so solutions and services are available locally. With a broader more diverse range of products and services designed to meet ever increasing demands by governments and industries for safety and environmental controls. On September 1st Pyroban Group was acquired by Caterpillar Inc. so we now have the backing of a global leading company with over 100,000 employees and a turnover of over $50b. In the Industrial Division our brief is to continue to offer our inclusive and impartial services to all manufacturers of forklift trucks but with the functional excellence of a major blue chip company behind us it will undoubtedly help accelerate our growth plans and improve our business network and the services we offer our customers.
W&LN – And finally, what would you like Father Christmas to bring your company in 2012?!
A never ending stream of satisfied customers who consider Pyroban to be their partner in explosion protection and therefore encourage us to work with them to reduce their risks and protect their people at a cost appropriate to their business.
Tel: 01273 466200