100 years in the making: A story of growth

ELGi compressors focus on reducing the cost of life for clients by offering more efficient air ends and motors.

Having been present in the Australian compressor market for nearly 100 years, Pulford is expanding its portfolio of products following a strategic acquisition by global compressor manufacturer, ELGi.

For nearly 100 years, Pulford Air and Gas, a national air compressor business comprising of F.R. Pulford & Sons and its wholly owned subsidiary Advanced Air Compressors, has been offering compressed air solutions and gas systems to the Australian businesses in a wide array of industries.

Having grown over the past decade from generating annual turnover of $3 million to nearly $20 million, Pulford was recently acquired by ELGi Equipments, a leading air-compressor manufacturer with a broad line of compressed air systems.

President of ELGi Australia, Tom Fyfe, says the acquisition by ELGi has set Pulford up for offering an even wider portfolio of products than it previously did, with enhanced features and at reasonable costs.

“We chose to partner with ELGi as both of our companies share the same vision of providing the highest efficiency to customers. ELGi’s products offer the best mix of technology to ensure that higher quality and efficiency comes at a reasonable cost,” Fyfe, told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

While Pulford’s traditional product range covered lubricated and oil-free screw air compressors in the range of 5kW to 90kW, the company now offers ELGi compressors up to 450 kW in capacity.

“We now have a full portfolio of products, from small piston compressors to 450 kW oil- free machines. It’s a range that we haven’t had access to in the past. We have a customer base in different industries. It allows us to sell to much bigger clients, including mining, power stations, pharmaceutical and food manufacturers,” Fyfe said.

The growth history

Pulford has been serving the Australian industrial market since 1925, when the company had a strong presence in the automotive sector. Over the years, Pulford’s services have reached a wide range of sectors from food and beverage manufacturing to nitrogen tyre inflation for the mining machinery and services to the Australian Defence Forces.

The company’s growth, particularly over the past decade, was made possible through providing quality services to the clients and maintaining and growing the product portfolio, according to Fyfe.

Having a strong and diverse customer base in Australia made Pulford a suitable partner choice for ELGi – which already had a presence in Australia through other smaller distributors over the past eight years.

“Having a quality service offering and a reasonably good sales base made us the right choice for ELGi. It allows them to quickly get a strong foothold in the Australian market as we are among the largest independent distributors of compressors in Australia.

The full acquisition by ELGi means that their products can now reach more widely, with the possibility to customise the products for specific applications.

“Another advantage of ELGi owning Pulford is the ability to do some customisation for the clients. Our support team is very strong in helping clients with their specific requirements,” Fyfe said.

Pulford was recently acquired by ELGi Equipments, a leading air-compressor manufacturer with a broad line of compressed air systems.

Pulford currently has three main offices across Australia, including a head office in Sydney and offices in Brisbane and Melbourne. The company also works with key distributors across the country, creating a string network of technicians and service providers.

Life-long benefits

Apart from a wider array of products, ELGi compressors also focus on reducing the cost of life for clients by offering more efficient air ends and motors, Fyfe said.

“Companies are always looking for lower cost of life and that’s what ELGi is all about. An ElGi product offers a customer a very low cost of life in terms of energy efficiency and servicing costs,” Fyfe said.

“The company manufactures all of its air ends for the compressors in-house. The air end is the single most expensive component of the compressors and manufacturing it in-house enables ELGi to closely monitor the cost and quality of the components.

“ELGi also manufactures the rotors that go inside the air end, allowing the company to achieve better quality outputs at lower costs. They recently bought an electric motor company

in order to have better control over the motors’ efficiency. This ensures ELGi’s products provide customers with higher efficiency at a lower cost” he said.

A consideration for environmental impact is another priority shared by ELGi and Pulford, Fyfe said.

“A main driving force behind ELGi’s products is to reduce oil consumption worldwide. Globally, over 24 million litres of oil are passed through air compressors each year. Being able to reduce that would be a great benefit for the environment.

To achieve that, ELGi is striving to sell more oil-free units across all its client base. All rotary screw compressors have oil carryovers, which is the oil that makes it past the separator filter and into the discharge piping. While some rotary screw compressors carry over about three ppm (parts per million) worth of oil, the ELGi machines currently have an average oil carryover rate of only one ppm – that is a third of the normal value,” Fyfe said.