Engineered for Industry

Aerison

Resource in Focus spoke with Brian Hooker, Aerison’s Business Development Director, about this positive dilemma and the wide range of services offered by the company.

Though at times operating under other names, the company itself has been a registered entity since 1 July, 1993, so it will be celebrating twenty years in operation this year. “In a previous life we have had a number of different names and owners,” explains Brian. “From HVAC, to HPS Environmental, to Enerflex which became Enerflex Environmental. At that time a lot of companies looked at their business and decided to go back to what their core specialties were; over the years Enerflex bought all of those businesses.” During 2010, a venture capital group bought the Enerflex Environmental business, transforming it into Aerison in 2011.

Aerison provides an impressive range of services and technologies, from the design and installation of acoustic and noise control systems, to air pollution control systems to odour reduction technologies, to advice on how to minimise the impacts of mining, oil and natural gas production. The company is a leader in noise abatement systems for the Coal Seam Gas industries in Queensland and provides maintenance and support services to all aspects of its business. All this, and the Aerison name has only been around for two years.

Recently, Aerison has unleashed an innovative conveyor technology that offers serious money saving potential for clients. Its hydraulic belt lifter allows a conveyor belt to be lifted while it is still moving. “So if there is a damaged roller that is affecting the operation of the belt, then we can lift sections of the conveyor and it will continue to run without the roller damaging the belt,” says Brian. “Equally, we can have fitted a drop down frame so if that particular idler has fitted the drop down frame, we can actually change that idler / roller whilst the conveyor is still in motion and still shipping.”

What does this all mean for clients? When conveyor belts go down, production ceases and both money and time are lost. It can take up to four hours to fix these issues for a part that costs thousands of dollars. Aerison’s new technology means no stoppages despite belt or idler problems.

The technology is particularly relevant to the shipping industry. Ships go in and out during high tides and get loaded during low tides. If they miss that tide, it disrupts the entire shipping schedule, resulting in a huge loss of production. Aerison’s conveyor system would allow companies to continue loading / unloading without stopping while the repair is made.

Recently Aerison also inked a deal with two American companies, Clean Water Technology in California and AdEdge Technology based in Georgia. Both companies provide very different water technologies. “Between the two of them they can pretty much cover all of our requirements for water treatment and waste water treatment to service our existing client base – being Australia’s major mining companies and industrial clients,” says Brian. “It will enable us to provide them with clean freshwater desalination if they require it, process their waste water at their camps, as well as some waste water treatment from their processes.”

Aerison has the ability to design, fabricate and install complete customised turnkey solutions for all the offerings within its product range. The company boasts thirty-five in-house engineers who are capable of both design and project management. Ideas and technologies are developed and manufactured at its fabrication facilities in Perth and Brisbane. For structural steel or simple plate rolling it will subcontract out but anything that is part of the core technology will be built in-house to ensure the highest quality result.

A very unique project took place recently that tested Aerison’s abilities. The company designed a dust collection project for the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service. “The challenge was to collect smoke from their live fire test facility. They burn in there to train fire-fighters, fire investigation officers and to test products like carpet or textiles in order to see how quickly they combust. Our job is to collect the smoke and treat it so that there are no visible emissions from the stack. Smoke, in effect, is simply fine particles of dust at very high temperatures. We have to make sure that no smoke is escaping from the building during the fire and the fire brigade have to still be able to simulate a situation where the firemen enter into a smoke filled room, find the fire and put it out!”

This was an intensive training exercise and a great challenge. It took two to three years of design work and testing just to build the project and then another six months perfecting to get things just right. “And we did it!” laughs Brian. “It was a lot of work and a few sleepless nights. I was actually able to get suited up and put out a fire. We learned a lot from that project.”

The company maintains a highly trained and experienced installation and maintenance crew, all trained through the Aerison workshop. “These are people that we trust,” Brian says. “They have worked for us for years and are not contractors. They will do a one to two week stint on site and then get back into the workshop – often to build the next project – and then go back on site to install it.” For the crews doing on-site work it can be considered a bit of an adventure. They end up being away from home for a while but can always come back to the workshop which means that things never get dull and they get the best of both worlds.

“Some guys don’t like the site work or the workshop, which is fine. Some are much better suited to being on site all the time but they all have to start in the workshop because that is where they learn the trade. And some are happy to go between both.” The manager of the division actually undertook his own apprenticeship with Aerison as a boiler maker before becoming supervisor and then managing the section.

Aerison’s strict adherence to quality control sets it apart from its competitors. The company takes its procedures very seriously and constantly evaluates and reviews. “Our quality manager is a very strong willed lady who makes things happen,” says Brian. “We know the right procedures are being followed.” Aerison’s construction / engineering manager ensures that everything installed on any job is fully compliant with safety specifications and then reviews and signs off on all of the necessary company and client standards. “If we didn’t have that, then we wouldn’t have professional indemnity insurance. Our competitors get around that by using another type of insurance – not having full professional indemnity. But we have actually garnered projects from having that insurance.”

Aerison is the largest dust collection company in Australia, and has actually engineered an innovative Pug-Mill dust disposal system that eradicates challenges with dust disposal and handling. But Brian explains that it is not possible expand further in that particular field because the market is not there. “The main reason that we are broadening our horizons is that some of the areas we work in are dominated by us; we can’t grow any more in that area.” To grow the business, the company must explore other areas.

Though pollution control remains a core aspect of the business, it is not a growth market, “so we are looking at other growth areas with power generation or on the water side of things. These are areas which are necessities for clients rather than a necessary evil… we are trying to focus on all the things that they can’t do without.”

These services include conveyor maintenance and cleaning of bio-diesel tanks. “If it’s not used, it starts to go off,” Brian explains. “So we will go in and clean fuel tanks and we are getting results with this. The fuel is actually cleaner after we are done than when it was bought from the manufacturer. So, this is a part of our growth area.” Aerison continues to branch out, looking for other avenues that can serve as entry points into new markets.

Although the environmental aspect of its business is a core essential, the company wants people to know that that is only one part of a growing range of services. Aerison is constantly on the move. New technologies are continually being developed by some of the best and brightest staff in the industry.

With stringent training methods and apprenticeship programs as well as quality control that is second to none, this proven entity has the confidence of its clients. On top of all this, the Business Development Director is literally willing to fight fires to get results!

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September 26, 2017, 7:22 PM AEST