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20 October, 2013 - 18:59 By News Desk

UKTI case study – Engineering Maintenance Technologies

Neil Kane

As governments across the world take action against escaping greenhouse gases, a ‘green’ gas analyser produced by a Bedfordshire company is helping the global electricity supply industry to monitor and contain their use.

Energy Maintenance Technologies (EMT) is rapidly gaining an international reputation for being the number one provider of gas analysis and measurement equipment in its sector.

“We have always looked beyond the UK market because it simply isn’t large enough to sustain our business,” says Neil Kane, EMT managing director. “That’s why, when we founded the business back in 2009, we made a conscious decision to work with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in the East of England from the outset: we knew that both their Passport to Export and Gateway to Global Growth programmes could help us overcome barriers to export by enabling us to acquire the skills, expertise and contacts that we would need to achieve overseas growth, and rapidly.”

EMT’s recent US contract concerns its zero-waste SF6 gas analyser. The multi-million pound agreement is with ABB, the largest power company in North America and one of the three main players across the globe.

“This contract was a year in the making,” says Neil. “We first met ABB at a major trade exhibition in Florida that we were able to attend as a direct result of grant support from UKTI. The Vice President of ABB’s service business visited our stand and, after a very positive discussion, asked to evaluate our products. We hoped this might lead to ABB coming on board as a client, but the outcome has been even better than we anticipated.”

EMT’s SF6 gas analysers represent the most advanced technology currently in use in the energy maintenance sector. They bring laboratory technology to the field in the form of a portable device that can be used to analyse gas within electricity transmission and distribution networks.

Significantly, the portable analysers return the gas to the circuit breakers after testing, without allowing any gas to escape. The presence of Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) is essential to reduce sparks and arcing in switchgear and transformers, but the greenhouse gas goes ‘stale’ over time and must be monitored regularly.

EMT’s low-risk green technology replaces the costly and time-consuming process of taking gas samples and sending them off to the lab for analysis. “I’m delighted to say that when ABB evaluated our products against industry competition our products won hands down,” says Neil. “The company decided not only to use our products exclusively in their service centres across the country, but they also wanted to act as our sole US distributor.”

Impressively, ABB has chosen to work in partnership with the EMT brand instead of contracting the supplier as an original equipment manufacturer - the first time in ABB history that such an arrangement has been agreed. By keeping the EMT logo on show in collaboration with a trusted US brand, EMT will quickly gain credibility within the US energy market. ABB promotion will develop the brand across the States during the next five years and the EMT team will also gain access to a network of more than 120 ABB sales and service personnel.

“The company is expanding overseas at an exciting rate,” says UKTI trade adviser Martin Keepfer, who has been working with EMT for a number of years.

“EMT has recently moved to new UK premises in order to cope with demand and growth. I aim to visit them on site at least once each quarter to keep up to speed: by keeping abreast of their latest developments I can point them towards additional UKTI support, such as relevant events and ‘meet the buyer’ opportunities. I can also help them to make new overseas connections in the energy and power sector, using UKTI’s network of international offices.”

EMT has been invited to participate in the UKTI Growth Innovation Programme, which focuses on future product development, new technology and supply chain considerations.

“Our expertise lies in international sales and marketing, not so much in product development,” says Neil, “so tapping into this manufacturing expertise and knowledge enables us to innovate with the help of third party partners. We’re committed to focusing not only on the needs of our current customers, but also on what will suit the market of tomorrow.”

As part of the Growth Innovation Programme, EMT has just carried out an Intellectual Property audit with a UKTI specialist. “Our in-depth interviews were analysed and the conclusions presented to us in report form,” says Neil.

“It’s been very useful in highlighting the gaps that we need to address, in order to protect the value of the company going forwards.

“I’d recommend our International Trade Adviser Martin Keepfer and UKTI to any company that is considering international growth. We made the right decision in getting them involved at an early stage – our company has most definitely grown faster overseas as a result.”

To find out more about UK Trade and Investment services in the East of England contact your local International Trade team: Tel: 0845 641 9955 Email: info [at] uktieast.org.ukWebsite: www.ukti.gov.uk

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