Air Blow Fans

Winner of the 2018 award for Sustainability, category for small enterprises

Sustainability starts with making changes – big and small

From behaviour change as small as putting on a jersey instead of switching on a heater to making design changes to the aerodynamics (and therefore energy efficiency) of its products, sustainability is a subject that comes naturally to engineering firm Air Blow Fans.

“A reduction in energy has a direct link to CO², as well as savings from lower power usage, and we have a history of energy efficiency,” says Gavin Ratner, the company’s managing member. “Much of our product range (of industrial-scale fans) is generally refurbished many times before they are beyond economic repair and the material is scrapped and sent back to steel manufacturers for inclusion as scrap materials into their processes.”

Through effective engineering, it’s possible to significantly reduce energy consumed, and therefore operating costs, he says. ”Using rotor designs that are more aerodynamic, we can improve the fan’s operating point on its fan curve to better suit the required system flows and pressures.”

These benefits appeal to many users of industrial fans – but by no means all.

“People tend not to like change and some are more risk averse than others. Mostly, when clients become conscious of the positive implications of the recommended change, such as greater energy efficiency and lower costs, they make the only decision that should be made – they change,” says Gavin. “Others will resist and want things left the way they are”

Flexibility and the willingness to explore and experiment are key in driving greater efficiency, which almost always means using resources more sustainably. This comes easily at Air Blow Fans. “I’m the quintessential engineer who loves tinkering,” says Gavin. “I’m not scared of change or the unknown; I enjoy pushing boundaries and trying new things.”

Where he has become something of a stickler is in discouraging energy-wasting practices such as keeping the heater on when you really don’t need it. “Put on a jersey,” says Gavin. “It sounds like a small thing that won’t make a great difference, but change starts with us. If more people started thinking along the same lines about how we use energy, it would make a difference.” Small things count!

SVA Innovate

Winner of the Sustainability award for 2018, category for emerging enterprises

Lessons in sustainability from yesterday, today and tomorrow

Learn from what happened yesterday but don’t use your rear-view mirror as the driving force.

Constantly check where you are on the S-Curve pattern of innovation and if your products are mostly approaching the top, make sure you are already starting again at the bottom with new ones.

Hire young, extremely talented, out-of-the box thinkers to turn your specifications into real, sellable products, and manage these young people extremely well.

These are some of the learnings that SVA Innovate has embedded in its business, enabling it to feed a steady stream of fresh, innovative and affordable new products and services to its parent company, SVA Holdings. Armed with these, SVA Holdings (itself a tt100 winner for Sustainability in 2018) can maintain the competitive edge it has in the governance and risk management market.

“Business sustainability means not sitting on our laurels and expecting what we did yesterday to be good enough for today,” says Lee McFadyen, group technology executive at SVA Innovate. “At any given time, we have at least five new products in development.”

This is not simply a case of churning out new products but about delivering products that disrupt the market, Lee says.

An example is SVA Innovate’s stocktaking solution, which can predict stock take results two years ahead, with 99% accuracy. “Walmart came back to us and said we were spot on,” says Lee.

One of the five or so new products that the company is currently working on is a new technology solution for retail stores battling to deal with in-store crime. The physical presence of security guards is no longer enough of a deterrent and smart technology is increasingly filling the gap.

“All businesses say they want to use technology but having a computer is one thing; employing technology is another,” says Lee, adding that many companies see technology as a “forced purchase” instead of a tool that can significantly improve their risk and governance processes – affordably.

“We don’t spend a lot on developing our solutions; actually, we operate on a limited budget and deliver products at very reasonable prices, having developed a stable framework over the past 4 years helps us in achieving this,” he says. To a large extent, this is possible because the company makes a point of hiring people with a can-do attitude who don’t demand expensive equipment to deliver. “They don’t have an 8-to-5 mindset and lack of technology is not an obstacle to them; they think differently and find a way to make it happen.”

Enter Now