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Raising awareness and promoting training

23 July 2015

As Andy Jones, managing director of Mattei, nears the end of his first year as president of BCAS, he tells us more about his key focus areas

I took up the position of president of BCAS at the end of November 2014, and it’s been a busy, interesting and challenging eight months. 

My primary objectives were to raise awareness of BCAS among end users, and to promote the training courses on offer. While good progress has been made, there is still a great deal for me and my fellow board members to achieve.

Naturally, we want end users to choose BCAS members to provide, install, service and maintain compressed air systems. It’s important for us to keep sending out the message that by using BCAS members, end users can feel confident that they are working with professional, competent companies that are committed to health and safety and best practice. 

BCAS membership is by peer review and members must adhere to codes of conduct. Members can also choose to proactively participate in the BCAS AirSAFE register, which promotes credibility and proficiency of BCAS members as identified via customer feedback.

In our aim to raise awareness and the profile of BCAS, we are continuing with the offer of free associate membership for end user customers of all existing BCAS members. 

Worth £975, the associate membership provides a host of benefits, including discounts on training and publications, access to compressed air codes of practice and the opportunity to attend social events from the society’s active calendar. The offer is part of BCAS’ Insist on BCAS – Be Compliant And Safe scheme, which aims to make processes that use compressed air compliant, safe, more efficient and ultimately more profitable. Growing the core membership base is of ongoing importance to BCAS, and I hope that this offer is giving end users an insight into the value provided by the organisation and its members. 

Encouraging investment in the training courses offered by BCAS also remains a key focus. Unfortunately, there is still a general sense of apathy and a lack of understanding around the importance of compressed air training, which BCAS must strive to overcome. 

BCAS leads the UK and Europe in specialist compressed air training, education and management and offers four courses.

Four courses are offered by BCAS: Safe Working with Compressed Air; a Certificate in Compressed Air System Technology; the Diploma in Compressed Air Management; and a Competent Examiner course for those involved in carrying out examinations in accordance with Written Schemes of Examination. The courses come in a variety of accessible formats, including online – which offers more flexibility and convenience when it comes to learning.

We are hopeful that the alliance recently formed between BCAS and the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA), which incorporates the British Fluid Power Distributors Association (BFPDA), will help to encourage an investment in training. The alliance – the UK Motion Control Alliance (UKMCA) – will provide greater strength and significant benefits for members of both organisations, including the cross fertilisation of training initiatives.

Energy efficiency also remains at the top of my agenda. It is still the case that not all businesses realise that compressors and compressed air systems can have a big impact on utility bills and carbon emissions – and I’m committed to communicating that correct specification, regular maintenance and appropriate use can all improve efficiency, and how the advice provided by BCAS and its members can help.

Energy efficiency was a key focus of the 2015 PNEUROP Plenary; hosted by BCAS it was held in Stratford upon Avon in June. PNEUROP is the European association of manufacturers of compressors, vacuum pumps, pneumatic tools and allied equipment, and its members are national associations representing more than 200 manufacturers in eight EU member states and in Switzerland and Turkey. 

PNEUROP speaks on behalf of its members in European and international forums regarding the harmonisation of technical, normative and legislative developments in the field of compressors, vacuum pumps, pneumatic tools and allied equipment. Meetings and workshops are held to inform attendees of developments affecting their business, in particular the Ecodesign Directive (commonly known as ErP). We are awaiting the associated Ecodesign regulations for compressors, but we can be sure that products will have to become more energy efficient, and that many of the models on the market today will be affected.

It’s worth mentioning that the coming year will be a particularly interesting one for BCAS, as we see Dean Abbott replacing technical officer Greg Bordiak, who retires at the end of 2015 after spending over 25 years with the organisation. BCAS has built its reputation on providing expert and impartial technical expertise, so it was crucial to find the right person to take on the role. Dean – an experienced, adaptable and resourceful engineer – joined in January 2015 so that he could work alongside Greg for at least 12 months.

I’m looking forward to continuing my presidency for the remainder of 2015 and throughout 2016. I will continue to strive to meet my objectives, supported by my fellow board members.