The industrial gases industry is in the midst of transformational change, across the supply chain. Bergamo-based Italian innovator the SIAD Group is keenly aware of this change and actively in the process of building resilience through supply chain optimisation and diversification.

Leading the charge on this technology and mindset change is Sandeep Gadkary, Director of the Compressors Division at SIAD.

Gadkary has been in the role for almost two years, the last 12 months of which has been a time of considerable change in itself, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Italy was the original European epicentre of the pandemic just over a year ago, and SIAD’s hometown of Bergamo was at the unwanted heart of that crisis, turning business and society upside down for several weeks and months.

There has been a sense of rebuilding and new normal’s ever since, and it’s currently an exceptionally busy time for all at SIAD as the focus largely returns to the business tasks at hand and the future.

Nonetheless, Gadkary found time for the brief distraction of an exclusive interview with gasworld for its upcoming May edition and as he explained through the adornment of his new normal face mask, it’s a welcome reprieve compared to the kinds of interruptions that the pandemic had been enforcing. “Thank you, it is the least of interruptions – it’s actually a pleasure. With the pandemic, interruptions have been of a very different kind,” he said.

“Yet we are navigating through with smart working, social distancing, and of course masking on the people front. On the business front, market diversification into new applications, customer proximity, supply chain fulfilment (multi-sourcing, multi-shoring), improved planning, and lean principles to reduce waste and idle times are the order of the day.”

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Change and opportunity

“The role at SIAD MI is very exciting,” he explained, “both at a strategic level and in terms of product P&L responsibilities to help focus on growth and innovation, operational excellence and a high-performance culture to deliver an augmented customer experience.”

Gadkary acknowledges this is about transformational change, that there are often ‘tribal knowledge’ challenges to be overcome in realising this kind of lean, optimised culture and the new and efficient product designs that are required to capitalise on the growth opportunities. He sees himself as a ‘change agent’ in this process, bringing his extensive external experiences to the table to help with the creation of new mindsets and product pathways.

And he sees significant opportunity ahead both for SIAD and the new world of more connective compression technologies.

“The opportunity for sustained growth [made me want to join]. SIAD has a great appetite,” Gadkary affirms. “We have been able to expand on our operational footprint in China, expand our product portfolio, and position ourselves in the new markets like LNG, hydrogen, petrochemicals, and environmental sectors.”

“Some of the compression-related end markets, especially after the pandemic, are under pressure like the oil and gas industry. But process gas fundamentals are still strong. Oil as a petrochemical feedstock is looking good. Energy transition markets are enjoying good momentum. Electrification is somewhat of a challenge on the industrial side.”

In some respects, one might say the subject of compression is a connective business. Compressors and expanders are the rotating equipment employed in the Joule-Thomson process at the heart of air separation which itself provides products for so many interconnected industries and applications.

Compression technologies are, therefore, a critical part of the air separation process and the supply chain. gasworld understands that SIAD has some new research and advances in oxygen compression ongoing, with more to come on this development in the weeks ahead, but the company has also introduced many other technology improvements in this field.

“We have brought many improvements to our processes and products, primarily from a safety and sustainability point of view. It has been a detailed exchange with our customers to improve features like purging on the distant pieces, optimised pulsation vessels, longer lifetime rings and packings, non-sparking materials, and dust-free assemblies. These have all led to increased compressor safety, uptime, availability and efficiency.”

As we learn from our interview with Gadkary, however, we’re moving into a new era of compressor technologies.

The big talking points in the compression sector today, we understand, are digitisation and clean energies, both of which enable a sense of ‘connective compression’ – in a literal, Industry 4.0-related sense and in terms of connecting even more industries and markets the world over.

Full interview coming soon

Look out for the full interview with SIAD in the May edition of gasworld magazine and available online for subscribers in early May.

Read more about the fundamentals behind this new wave of connective compression, the opportunities for the equipment industry in both decarbonisation and digitisation, and how SIAD is rising to these challenges.