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Distributor drives Norgren over and under

11 October 2010

A distributor of compressed air solutions is illustrating why the specialist route offers the highest gains for end users.

Activ-Air, a principal distributor for Norgren products, supplies engineered pneumatic systems to a diverse customer application base extending from theme park roller coasters to underground mass transit systems.

Norgren operates multiple tiers of distribution including resellers, regional and national distribution partners. Russell Davison, Group Managing Director, Activ-Air, explains, "Norgren makes it easy for users to get its products and as a principle distributor our business cannot just be about supplying that product. Our whole business model is based around adding value to the products supplied so 'specialist' to us means project based.

"Our customers are likely to require a solution to a problem more than a component based solution and we are able to offer a design engineering based approach. Added to this we maintain that our specialisation is with compressed air solutions, rather than any specific industry focus, allowing us to provide our expertise to all industry sectors."

For a leading theme park group the efficiencies of added value have recently been illustrated by Activ-Air's approach to meeting a major scheduled refurbishment requirement. Originally a request to tender for 206 new replacement cylinders, Active-Air carried out an in-depth assessment and proposed a programme of refurbishment for every cylinder.

Ensuring conformity to the ride industries strict quality and certification requirements, cylinder components were changed as required and testing carried out. The reduction in waste was significant and resulted in savings of 70% from initial customer expectations.

"The value our principal distributors add to Norgren products is critical for us as a manufacturer," adds Keith Stephenson, UK Indirect Channel Manager, Norgen, "It allows us to focus on developing market needs while still having a high level of expertise to provide solutions and efficient levels of support.

"Our principal distributors are also able to tap into the global Norgren resource and bring it straight to customers at a local level - this has recently been illustrated to a mass transit customer of Activ-Air with its gate ticketing systems."

The gate system utilised a now obsolete Norgren cylinder around which the springs and levers had been designed - receiving many proposals for new cylinders Activ-Air in partnership with Norgren investigated refurbishment options.

Visiting the original manufacturing site in Germany, Activ-Air negotiated the manufacture and supply of replacement components for refurbishment of the cylinders. At the same time a valve design was changed to make it universal removing the need for left and right handed variants.

Russell Davison concludes, "The gating system is a perfect example of how we have added value at a local level - reinstating an obsolete cylinder has saved the high cost of gate redesign and manufacture, refurbishment has saved on wastage and the valve redesign will dramatically lower the clients inventory costs."

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