Nestled just south of Spain’s capital Madrid lies Cryospain, a designer, manufacturer, installer and maintainer of custom-built cryogenic systems that has been quietly servicing the world’s major gas companies for the past 15 years.
Following a relaunch in 2002, the company has been working to build its international presence by securing key projects in crucial regions. Now, in the middle of a critical internal restructure, Cryospain is targeting yet further worldwide growth.
gasworld spoke exclusively to Cryospain’s Managing Director Juan Sancho and Sales Director Pierre Meurgey about the reasons behind the company’s current ramp up in production and breaking onto the North American scene.
Q. Cryospain is a relatively new company to the industrial gas industry. How did its inception come about?
Sancho: The company might be relatively new but it holds experience in the cryogenics industry that dates back to the 1980s. Our shareholder decided to launch Cryospain in 2002 after investing his professional career in another cryogenic company, so the company itself has been established for 15 years but it holds a much broader experience. We started off with four staff members and have quintupled that in just 15 years.
Meurgey: At the beginning, our activities were focused on distribution and the maintenance of cryogenic pumps and we also handled some projects related to flat-bottom tanks in the local market. Cryospain’s next activity was the maintenance of pressure tanks, road tankers and dewars.
After this, we continued to grow step-by-step. Today, we have three core business lines; the supply of equipment as a distributor, maintenance activity and the supply and installation of turnkey projects like vacuum piping or flat-bottom tanks.
Q. What are the trends and challenges in the Spanish cryogenics market today, in your opinion?
Meurgey: From a local point of view, it’s very similar to other countries in Europe. The market with the most expected growth is small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG), but it is still growing slower than anticipated. The domestic industrial gas market is more stable but big growth isn’t on the cards.
Q. Likewise, what are the trends and challenges on a global scale?
Sancho: Going forward, the trends and challenges for us are related to LNG. Right now, we are seeing good opportunities to grow in areas like South America and in the Caribbean islands and we have executed projects in the Middle East, Asia and Africa most recently.
There are opportunities everywhere, but the most promising market for Cryospain is North America, without a doubt.
Q. What are customers demanding from Cryospain in terms of technology for their cryogenic equipment? How has this evolved?
Sancho: From a technical point of view, we are using the extensive knowledge that we have in industrial gas technology and we are adapting those designs to target the small and mid-scale LNG markets.
Meurgey: Regarding our core product lines like flat-bottom tanks, vacuum-insulated piping, filling stations and so on, we have improved our designs in terms of quality, safety and adapted to increasing customer needs. We are noticing that customer expectations in terms of safety are continually increasing across all markets, but it is especially true in the North American region.
“Our strategy is to focus on cryogenics – we do not bid for anything not related to our core field of expertise”
Q. Some might say that the cryogenic equipment market is a saturated one. How does Cryospain position itself to stay ahead of its competitors?
Sancho: We are a flexible company, we have a very wide product range and we cooperate with our customers on equipment design – those are our strongest points. Due to the size of the company, we can be more competitive than bigger groups.
We are not only an equipment provider, but we are a solution provider. Our strategy is to focus on cryogenics – we do not bid for anything not related to our core field of expertise. Cryospain’s engineers are cryogenic specialists; they know the ins and outs of cold, the materials needed, stress analysis and they have the specific skills needed to develop cryogenic solutions.
Q. Could you identify your proudest project to date?
Sancho: It’s difficult to pick just one so we’ll narrow it down to two. The first was delivering vacuum-insulated piping for an LNG bunkering application in Rotterdam. The customer had extremely high technical standards and it was technically a very complicated project with big diameters and specific safety standards to take into account. Plus, we were awarded the project over the main domestic company in the Netherlands! It really helped us increase our competences in terms of design, management and project logistics.
The second was a full, turnkey flat-bottom tank delivery to a customer in Taiwan in 2015. It was our first reference in Asia and we are particularly proud because it’s such a competitive market.
Meurgey: We have some great opportunities ahead of us now; it’s really ramping up.
Q. What’s next for Cryospain?
Sancho: We want to increase our presence in the US market. We are in the middle of a project to deliver tanks to a major gas company in North America, so we are using that to gain more knowledge of the market there.
Meurgey: We also want to increase our activity and projects related to LNG. We are managing enquiries for some big sized pipes and we are working on some bunkering solutions. We are also working on some special products for hydrogen and helium applications. These are our main targets.