Centenary of Success
As an industrial engineering Group with a heritage of over 200 years, Fives designs and supplies machines, process equipment and production lines for the largest industrial players in various sectors such as cement, energy, aluminum, steel, glass, aerospace and logistics. ICR had an opportunity to have a conversation with Daniel Julien
, CEO of Fives Pillard, one of Fives’ subsidiaries in combustion.
Can you tell us more about Fives Pillard’s history? Its development and more particularly in the cement industry?
Fives Pillard was founded in 1920 by the brothers André and Marcel Pillard and started manufacturing coal burners for steam locomotives. A few years later, in 1957, the company entered the international market by opening its subsidiary Fives Pillard Deutschland. Spain and China followed, and more recently, India in 2012, through our subsidiary Fives Combustion Systems. It is now a major player in the Indian market.
In 2018, we launched a new R&D centre in Piacenza, northern Italy. Fives European Combustion Center is a state-of-the-art facility and where the majority of our products development takes place.
Regarding the cement market, we started offering kiln burners in the 1950s. During that period, oil was used as a fuel to run the kilns and it led to the development of the MY atomizing. It is still the reference point regarding oil application in this industry.
Thirty years later, we developed one of the best performers aiming to reduce NOx emissions from the kiln: the Pillard ROTAFLAM®. This burner has been a market leader for 20 years with numerous success stories for cement as well mineral players.
Following this success, we launched the Pillard NOVAFLAM® in 2009. Specifically designed for the cement market to maximise clinker quality, to enable high alternative fuel substitution rates and limit emissions levels, it has sold over 600 units worldwide so far.
Despite the difficulties of this year, it seems that you have some achievements to celebrate.
Indeed, in 2020, not only are we celebrating Fives Pillard 100th anniversary, but marking this milestone with the launch of the avant-garde Pillard NOVAFLAM® Evolution for the cement industry. This achievement is another proof of our dedication to our customers, offering them the best products available.
We work closely with our customers, taking into account their priorities and requirements to design our products and services that fulfill their expectations. This new product, which encompasses multiple breakthrough innovations, will offer its users numerous benefits: low emissions, best clinker quality, enhanced adaptability to kiln conditions, and unrivalled ease of adjustment to name a few.
We are committed to deliver products that combine quality and durability as our success comes from customers satisfaction. The cement industry is a small world and you need to earn the trust of your customers and partners alike. We are proud to have customers that are still using Fives Pillard’s burners that are 50 years old! We deliver on what we promise.
As mentioned above, it is essential for us as a business, but also as people, to stay close to our customers. Thanks to our and the group Fives international network, we always manage to get feedback from our customers and keep on improving our products and processes.
You also mentioned the importance of R&D.
Yes! Knowing customer needs and priorities is one thing but to turn feedback into a product you need to have a strong R&D team that supports your innovations. A centre like the one we have in Piacenza, with a team of experts and Engineers ready to find new ways to optimise products and increase customers benefits is essential to stay ahead in the market. Not just in cement, but across all the industries that Fives Pillard serves. Our company Fives Pillard has shown the way forward in many aspects and has often been copied by competitors as a result. We hope to do the same thing regarding new services and products that are more environmentally friendly.
Can you tell us more about these environmentally friendly solutions?
People across the globe feel more concerned about climate change and are looking at ways to be more respectful of the environment. We can see that shift in combustion as well and the different industries we provide products for. The cement industry has the responsibility to improve their environmental footprint and drastically reduce CO2 and other pollutant emissions. Fives Pillard with its subsidiaries, including Fives Combustion Systems, will be at their side to achieve these challenges.
Fives Pillard and its teams worldwide are very much committed to take part in the fight against climate change by using the latest burner technology, providing an optimised combustion efficiency, limited NOx emissions, and a better clinker quality with improved grindability properties. Indeed, all these innovations, including sustainable engineering, are what make the Pillard NOVAFLAM® Evolution an avant-garde burner. Helping our customers to maximise their profitability while reducing their environmental footprint, the new Pillard NOVAFLAM® Evolution has also received the EU Ecolabel.
So what does the future look like for Fives Pillard?
As mentioned, part of our focus is on the development of products and services that meet our customers needs including the reduction of their pollutant emissions and carbon footprint. We are working on new fuel possibilities (hydrogen, syngas from biomass), oxygen combustion, for example.
We will also continue to innovate on our services offering and more particularly on our SMART technology package, which monitors the performance of our burners, and provides assistance regarding adjustments and preventive maintenance so as to ensure that optimal efficiency is maintained throughout the burner lifetime and customers remain satisfied