From XU Magazine, 
Issue 27

Reducing emissions and odours for a cleaner future

How Armatec Environmental Ltd apply their practical environmental expertise to the industry

Armatec Environmental Ltd is New Zealand’s leading supplier of air pollution control equipment and industrial fibreglass products. We speak to Managing Director, Bryan Holyoake about how they help clients manage emissions and odour control through chemical engineering expertise and technical innovation.

Armatec has seen lots of changes over its 30 years in business, including growing awareness and legislation to protect the environment. Bryan believes that their success comes from a vital drive to protect Earth’s eco-system that’s matched with practical, commercial concerns.

“People are much more aware of the environment, absolutely, but they’re economically rational as well,” he says. “If you run a multi-million-dollar manufacturing organisation or food processing facility, you’re not going to overspend on a space that simply doesn’t need it. You’re likely going to go bankrupt if you make decisions like that. So, what we do is only as valuable as the business case. If they don’t see any value in reducing emissions or odour, they wouldn’t even call us.”

Industrial problem solvers

“Problem-solving, practical environmentalists” is how Bryan describes this family-owned business. Clients from a range of industries including wastewater utilities, dairy plants, pulp and paper manufacturers and food and chemical producers seek out Armatec’s environmental expertise as he explains:

“Here in New Zealand, local government and councils give companies and organisations permission to emit a certain amount of gases and particulates as part of their processes. They must achieve a certain emission limit. Otherwise, they’re in breach and could be shut down, and generally those limits are continuing to get more and more stringent. So, most industries need a form of scrubbing solution in order for them to fit under those limits. That’s where we come in. We are able to provide the equipment and design the technology, size and optimise it for them.” 

Armatec’s products range from fibreglass pipes and tanks to specialised air scrubbers that filter out noxious gases. They have a mix of international and locally developed product ranges and technologies to help solve problems for different industries and are a world-leading solution provider in their target industry sectors.

In an ever-changing global environment, Armatec understands how important it is for business to remain flexible and to solve problems by building better products and systems. Bryan says: “We’re constantly innovating and miniaturising our technologies and making them easier for our clients to use, specify, understand and maintain.”

Leading by example

Armatec apply high standards of health and safety and quality assurance to their work and don’t drag their heels when it comes to their own environmental responsibility. They are committed to a zero waste to landfill programme and are in the first year of signing up to Toitū, New Zealand’s leading carbon certification programme.

This environmental consciousness combined with pragmatic business thinking has brought the company significant success both at home and internationally. Armatec were a key technology provider to enable an Egyptian fertiliser manufacturer to secure the investment to expand their operations and add significant value to its production and operations.

As Bryan explains, the process that turns rock into fertiliser produces gases that form hydrofluoric acid, and these gases must be safely removed from the process to prevent discharge to the atmosphere. “The only way for them to obtain the loan to build the facility was if they had proof that they could achieve the World Health Organisation’s stringent emissions standards. We provided the technology that enabled the entire process to go ahead. We designed and built the system and shipped it to them. Without a technology like ours, the project wouldn’t have gone ahead.”

“They are hitting world standards in terms of being one of the world’s leading plants now, which is wonderful,” he continues, “And we’re in the process of commissioning the second plant.”

Embracing cloud technology

Bryan sees the business as a practical enabler: “To reduce the environmental impact of industry, our role in the market is to make sure that the emission control technology is available, that it’s reliable, effective, that it’s locally, supported, and trustworthy and does what it says on the tin,” he explains.

“One of the key reasons we chose Tidy in the first place was because as a manufacturing organisation we needed a solution that was able to take account of equipment, labour and materials in managing a project and you’d be surprised about how hard that was to find that type of solution that fitted our dynamic business.”

“We were previously in the dark ages operating off Excel spreadsheets, and Tidy were very responsive to what I was asking for and quickly moved to try to make that a plausible outcome. And it was really, really good to have a New Zealand based company to be able to share those desires with.”

Armatec use TidyEnterprise to track all their manufacturing projects including costs of equipment, materials and labour and link that through to Xero for invoicing.

It helps them keep customers informed about project timelines and is key to managing prices and costs. Bryan says: “We use it for managing our supplier information. We have a product catalogue that we host in Tidy as a source of truth in terms of the costs of this product catalogue.”

“We’ve also introduced IoT (Internet of things) into our equipment so we can get continual feedback about what the systems are doing. That knowledge has been very helpful in providing a wider context about where our products are being used and the health of them. We’ve recently signed our first service contract on the back of that technology. That is a worldwide future trend for our markets and we share in that vision.”

According to a forecast from International Data Corp, companies like Armatec that continue to adopt cloud computing are helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, potentially preventing more than 1 billion metric tons of CO2 from entering Earth’s atmosphere between 2021 and 2024.

Practical environmentalists

Bryan and the management team ensure that Armatec’s practical and commercial approach to environmental improvements benefits both the business and the wider community: “In my mind, every good business should have a strong bent towards how they can help as well as being commercially viable and have good returns for investors,” he says. “It should be a service that the community wants, whether that’s about employment, improving environments or from a New Zealand centric perspective, providing more export dollars to the country. All those things are important.”

By developing new technology and employing the many advantages that cloud-based systems can offer, Armatec continues to play a leading role in helping industry to reduce emissions and sustain long-lasting environmental solutions.

Why leave it there?

To find out more about how you can make your business Tidy

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