Fives designs and supplies machines, process equipment and production lines for some of the world’s biggest industrial players in aerospace, aluminium, automotive and manufacturing industries such as cement, energy, glass, logistics and steel.
At the heart of this is the Cryogenics|Energy business line, dedicated to equipment for the industrial gases and hydrocarbons industries.
The business specialises in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of a range of equipment for the industrial gases industry, from its Cryomec series of cryogenics pumps and aluminium brazed heat exchangers, to whole cold boxes and core-in drums.
Here, in our last review of the series, Jacques-Olivier Mugler, Sales & Marketing Director of Fives Cryomec, discusses what the big trends in cryogenics have been this year, how the company is responding to these and what Fives Cryomec has planned for 2020.
Gasworld (GW): As we look back on 2019, what have been the highlights for Fives Cryomec?
Jacques-Olivier Mugler (JOM): Fives Cryomec is a very agile company, promoting innovation.
Nevertheless, we should not forget that the industrial gas industry is remaining rather conservative, which is mainly justified due to safety concern at very top priority.
Furthermore, end users are delighted to use well established products and solutions with proven track records.
In that respect, cryogenic pumps for ASUs, which are historically at the core of our activity, do not see major changes but incremental improvements to permanently increase reliability and time between maintenance (TBM).
LNG is certainly the area with major on-going technical developments to match high demands from customers/end users.
Fives Cryomec is very proud to be sole partner of a worldwide ship engine leader for its breakthrough fuel gas supply system!
GW: What would you say have been the big trends in cryogenics this year?
JOM: A major macro-economic trend is the consolidation of cryogenic industry: recent merger and acquisition among top industrial gas players are now entering operational stages. Similarly, some cryogenic pump makers have been recently absorbed by others.
A technical trend we witness as well, is engineering projects directly linked to environmental considerations.
GW: How is Fives Cryomec responding to these?
JOM: We observe the consolidation of our competitors with calm! Our ownership is based on a separate model: we are part of Fives, a key player in the Industry, and we have a Swiss culture.
Being supported and encouraged to innovate with stable ownership, gives us the best platform to secure steadily our development, either technically or regarding service.
In regard of environmental improvement, our company, such as our group, is well supportive in developing solutions for a cleaner planet.
All industrials have a role to play in this must, and Fives Cryomec does not escape from its potential contribution.
FGSS is certainly one of the best examples to reduce drastically SOx and NOx emissions from ship transportation.
GW: What’s been the most interesting product or application Fives Cryomec has worked on this year?
JOM: From our constant talks with customers, we understand that ASUs with bigger sizes are economically sound.
It requires us to be in situation to offer industrial gas centrifugal process pumps with bigger flow and higher outlet pressure.
We have designed and already started production of the latter and hence extended our existing pump portfolio. Obviously, keeping same top standards when safety is considered.
Service is key for any rotating equipment supplier. Customers/end users involved in production using cryogenic pumps cannot afford unpredicted stops.
Digitisation of our equipment has certainly a big potential in this area and we started designing smart solutions.
Source: Fives Cryomec
GW: What does Fives Cryomec have planned for 2020?
JOM: We always remain humble and we are self-assessing if our development – in the wide sense of the word – is correct.
At that point, key chapters of our Strategic Plan are meeting customers interest, approval and ultimately, procurement.
We need to keep developing our North American activities, enhancing our local presence.
GW: Finally, if you had one thing on your bucket list for the gases industry, what would it be and why?
JOM: On a mid/long term perspective, hydrogen, as an energy carrier and its various applications, is a very interesting concept.
Accessible literature shows still a very ‘black or white’ positioning among different stakeholders.
We witnessed the same when LPG or electric-powered private vehicles started to appear on the market, decades ago.
LPG revealed itself to be an industrial failure for individual transportation, while electric cars are more and more numerous and are economically viable.
What will happen with hydrogen? Sincerely difficult to answer as technical challenges among the value chain remain massive despite its global attractiveness.
Major industrial gas actors are advertising being ready to enter industrial phase, assuming public founding and legislation will be set.
We are ourselves seriously considering working on developments for cryogenic pumps for liquid hydrogen.