Brian Quarendon joined Pyroban as CEO back in November 2017. We asked Brian a few questions about the past year at Pyroban.
Editor: Pyroban has been under the new ownership of the Longacre Group for about a year now, tell us about the divestment from Caterpillar.
Brian: When Caterpillar acquired Pyroban in September 2011, it was clear they wanted its capabilities for the oil and gas market. Material Handling Equipment (MHE) became of secondary interest. After the Oil and Gas industry slumped, as time went on, eventually Caterpillar decided to divest. The Longacre Group’s acquisition has meant much more emphasis on the explosion protection business in the MHE and oil and gas markets.
Editor: What changes have you made and why?
Brian: We are now focusing on MHE with high priority, as the competition have gained some ground in market share. This can be seen in the EN1755:2015 investments we have made and the additional investment in new technologies to cope with the increasing quantity of add-ons seen on lift trucks, such as telematics, camera and awareness systems. It’s important to remember, explosion protection conversions are not a standard product. The OEMs customise their product, and then we create a completely bespoke solution each time. We must consider every single element of the truck and additional items whilst working closely with OEMs, dealers and end users.
We have been through lots of changes and growth recently, and as a result believe we have almost 25% market share, with the percentage currently growing. Changes were necessary to help improve the overall offering to our customers across the world and did result in factory closures in both China and the Netherlands. We have regrouped to the UK to control quality, consolidate knowledge, IP, skills and reduce production times to make the customer experience exceptional.
Editor: Where are the challenges in your MHE markets?
Brian: Most of the time, large organisations are aware of the risks they face regarding explosions and are mostly careful and compliant to the ATEX Directives. However, we have found there is a constant requirement for Pyroban to educate and advise lift truck OEMs and salesmen, and the smaller companies at risk of explosion, such as small manufacturers handling solvents. For trucks in the market place already, making sure they are maintained correctly and audited is an essential part of the safety regime. If companies don’t get that right they may be exposed to risk. We are constantly educating decision makers about training the service engineers to maintain Pyroban equipment properly, and to undertake an independent audit by Pyroban.
Editor: What’s next?
Brian: We have seen that volumes have increased considerably, and we are making further expansions with another 10,000sqft of manufacturing space coming online in early 2019. Not only has our share increased, there seems to be growing demand. We see major growth for Pyroban in mainland Europe and we have a very strong order book into 2019.
Whilst we have the engineering excellence here to deliver on increasing volumes to support growth, further, we have undergone the biggest recruitment drive in the company’s history. 30 skilled new staff started with us in the last few months, and we are undertaking another new recruitment drive in early 2019. We are doing more in our local business community and we’re proud to be awarded the Adur and Worthing 2018 Manufacturing & Business Award.
Editor: Where will you be in 5 years’ time?
Brian: We are growing our market share because of our quality products and support in the market. We are also developing new technologies for other vehicles and equipment, such as tugs, lifts, cranes, and more. Likewise, as the oil and gas markets recover, we expect to see major growth. We are also looking at potential acquisitions to complement our offering.
For more information, visit www.pyroban.com or call +44 (0)1273 456800.