Following the success of its conference in Bangkok, Thailand last year, the All India Industrial Gases Association (AIIGMA) has gone beyond geographical barriers once again, holding its 2011 event in the exciting city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Delegates travelled far and wide to attend the conference, which promised an inspirational panel of speakers tackling a variety of subjects, and a specific focus on the challenges and opportunities facing the industrial gas community.

Proceedings began on 18th January with an ‘Arabian Nights’ themed evening; excitable delegates enjoyed good food and entertainment from local belly dancers, whilst getting to know each other in preparation for the first day of the conference itself.

On the morning of 19th January, AIIGMA’s Vice President Saket Tiku introduced the conference, explaining why Malaysia had been the chosen venue.

He said, “In 2010 we took AIIGMA beyond geographical barriers; this year we have done the same, and have come to the bustling capital city of Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian and Indian Free Trade Agreement is expected to double by 2015; I am sure AIIGMA can help Indian businessmen to establish themselves in this region.”

AIIGMA President Karan Bhatia also welcomed delegates, and gave an inspirational explanation as to why the conference was titled,‘Challenges and Opportunities for the Gas Industry’.

He first quoted a number of notable historical figures, including Edmund Hilary, who famously spoke to Mount Everest after failing to reach its peak, declaring, “I will conquer you, because I can grow, and you cannot”; and Alexander The Great, who said, “Fortune favours the bold.”

Bhatia used these figures to illustrate the fact that AIIGMA believes Indian gas companies should not shy away from moving forward, simply because they do not have the resources – they must be brave and follow a process in order to achieve results. He urged Indian delegates to have courage, to accept change, to make data-based decisions, and to bulk up and get critical mass in order to be able to make investments.

He added, “We could back out, or we could take it head on; running away from a problem only gets you further away from a solution.”

He closed by urging Indian businessmen to be aligned with each other, and stressed that an alliance needs to be formed in order for companies to be able to grow.

The AIIGMA panel was joined by His Excellency B.N Reddy, of the Indian High Commission, and Datuk S K Devamany, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in Malaysia. Devemany welcomed delegates saying, “Thank you for coming to Malaysia, we are very proud to have you here.”

The first day saw a variety of informative and concise presentations on a range of different topics. Satish Kochhar, of Air Liquide India Holdings Pvt Ltd, focused on the safety aspect of transporting cryogenic liquids. He highlighted safety measures which, on the face of it seem common sense, but noted that the smallest checks or precautions are often neglected, sadly resulting in injury.

Louie Lim, of DataOnline, gave an interesting presentation on the cost saving benefits of M2M and telemetry. He gave a hypothetical example of an average sized industrial gas company covering an area of 150km radius, and looked at the cost savings achieved with a monitoring system in place.

“Without any monitoring systems in place, the number of refills per month will be approximately 7.5; with fuel and maintenance costs, this results in total delivery costs of around $189,000 per year. With a monitoring system in place, the refuelling cycle can be brought down to three times per month, and the total costs per year can be brought down to $75,600 – that’s a 60% saving.”

The first day came to a close with presentations from Keith Stewart, of Herose, and Santhosh Radhakrishman, of VRV India.

That evening, of the 19th, delegates were treated to a Gala Dinner which featured dancers flown in from India, Malay singers, Indian singers, and a Michael Jackson impersonator.
The second day saw such notable speakers as Andrew Brown, of Bestobell Valves, Michael Blondin of Cryolor, and Alex Zeballos of ACD take to the stage.

Brown gave a technical presentation on the progress of up-stream LNG and the development and possibilities for down-stream applications. This presentation sparked much interest from delegates, and they fired questions at Brown at the close of his presentation.

Cryolor’s Blondin gave an in-depth case study of optimised cylinder filling, looking at the differences between traditional cylinder filling with ‘conventional’ tanks, and optimised cylinder filling with Thermosiphon tanks.

He said, “A Thermosiphon tank is designed specifically for cylinder filling systems, with suction and a return line feeding back to the liquid phase. It is recognised as the most efficient solution to reduce operating costs related to product losses and pump maintenance.”

At the close of the second day, Herose’s Stewart was awarded a prize for attending 21 of AIIGMA’s 33 annual conferences. President Bhatia presented the award and said, “For attending 21 AIIGMA events, we would like to say thank you to Keith and present him with this Apple iPad.”

The conference came to a jubilant close with a beach themed evening at the poolside. There was no doubt that the Indian association had once again triumphed outside of its home country, and delegates left Kuala Lumpur feeling both inspired and determined.