Please tell us a bit about the company and why you’re here at ACHEMA this week?
We've always been here to support our distributors. We also want to meet end users, but this particular show is really strong for the international distributor community. They come en masse. This is the show every three years, so it's the one everyone comes to.
We've got a big network of distributors around the world, probably around 20 to 30 in total. We will visit them individually, but this is a really good meeting point as well. We can touch base with them and get the latest forecast.
We want to expand that network. We particularly want to develop within the markets we've not done as well with, in the past. Perhaps a good example would be India. We want to develop our profile in India, so we've been interviewing potential distributors here over the last couple of days.
Is there a particular product or range that you are showcasing?
It’s mainly the ones that we can ship over here effectively. However, there are a couple of things we are drawing attention to. We've put together an extension to the range and we're bringing out a new version, which fits into the family of all the autoclaves. What we do is laboratory autoclaves and the circular sections. Engineering-wise, that's the most efficient thing to make.
It’s got features like the sliding door. In laboratories, you've got to worry more about ergonomics and things opening into walkways and gantries, so that’s why this is beneficial. It has a discrete, sliding action, so that's a new feature to the family of all the sizes we use. But it comes at a good price because it's the circular sections are easier and cheaper to manufacture, so lower cost, so helps us to fit in a niche in the market.
The other thing we're drawing attention to, which doesn't really belong at a lab show but it's interesting, is the centralized sterilization system. Obviously, most of the autoclaves are used for solid materials, whether it's media, discard waste, glassware or plasticware. That's all about liquids so this is increasingly important in Europe particularly - these are labs that have got Category 3 biological hazard waste and increasingly where there is genetically modified research. These are centralized plant systems that collect all this liquid and sterilize it on the same principle as an autoclave, but in a batch liquid system.
It’s a bit of a novelty and it's interesting how many people actually have seen it and stopped. That's a process, so that's a different thing to most of the people walking around here. Most of the people walking around here are looking for literally benchtop sized units, so it was good to bring that along and highlight a new dimension to our capability.
What do you think makes your products unique on the marketplace?
With some of our products, we use a touchscreen. It's all very well knowing that they’re well-made and constructed, as well as reliable, but the bit the customer wants to see is the screen. The touchscreen, a bit like your iPhone or iPad, is a fully TFT screen. A lot of people are still dealing with buttons and have to press them in a certain order, but our screens are nice and slim on the surface, easy to operate, with an intuitive display. We're highlighting that because that puts us ahead of our competitors. That's getting some good reactions as well.
What areas and applications do your products cater to?
There's four main areas that we are mainly drawing attention to and there are specialized areas as well, but the four main ones are sterilization of media, sterilization of instruments used in hospitals, cleaning and sterilizing glassware, safe disposal and discarding waste (so that will be one-use plastics that need to be sterilized before they're bagged and then taken to a safe disposal point). Those are the four, and the thing with our products is you can spec up an autoclave to do all of that but then the price goes up.
What we're really keen on is training our distributors and explaining to our customers, if we know what the load is, what the type of load is, then we can help them get the right combination of options to either speed the process up or do it in the most efficient way.
Sterilization's all about getting the air out and getting the steam in contact with the pathogens. We can choose different options. As I say, you want to sell one with all the options fitted but that makes it very expensive, equally, some people don't need all those options so they need the basic package that is the beginning of the standard product as it were.
We're trying to get across that importance of knowing the application, knowing the type of use it's booked for.