‘Why Turbomed is using Nigeria as launch base to other African countries’
Chief Executive Officer, African Turbomed Limited, an arm of Turbomed, Greece, Athens, Yiannis Paraskevopoulos, spoke to ISAAC TAIWO through his Executive Director, Operations 2, Emmanuel John Okoh, on complete turbo solution (servicing and reconditioning turbo chargers) which his organisation, based in Lagos, is offering Nigeria and the entire Africa
Why did you adopt the name African Turbomed Ltd.?
We have been in existence for about three months.
Expatiate on your product.
Our product actually is turbo charger, a turbine-driven force induction device that increases an internal combustion engine’s efficiency and power output by forcing extra air into the combustion chamber. Turbochargers are commonly used on truck, car, train, aircraft, and construction equipment engines. There is a difference between a turbocharger and conventional supercharger, the key difference being that a supercharger is mechanically driven by the engine, often through a belt connected to the crankshaft, whereas a turbocharger is powered by a turbine driven by the engine’s exhaust gas.
We deal with turbo charger of all categories. This company is in partnership with Turbomed in Greece, a very big company that has been in this business for about 50 years. Based on that, we see the need in Nigeria and Africa generally, to introduce our quality service in the area of Turbo charger maintenance. The maintenance of Turbo engine is a big problem. This is the reason the company has decided to make Nigeria a base from where it would reach out to other parts of Africa.
What is the importance of Turbo charger?
It is like when you have a demand for a higher power. When you add a Turbo charger to an engine, it adds more capability to that engine, expanding the functions of that engine. Let’s assume you have an engine of about 400 cubit capacity, and your demand is about 600 cubit capacity, when the engine is naturally aspirated, if you add the right Turbo charger to that engine of 400 cubit capacity, you will end up getting something within that range of 600 cubit capacity. It means that what exactly 600 cubit capacity would deliver is what it would deliver. Turbo charger assists an engine to operate at different conditions. Turbo chargers are installed on engines so that the engines can operate under high load demand. This is the reason. Basically, we have them installed on power plants that would work tirelessly on different load conditions. We have them on heavy duty trucks that ply our roads that would run on different altitudes and under different road conditions. We also have them on piston engines on aircraft. When an aircraft runs at a very high altitude, the air becomes very thin, so there is need for Turbo charger to supply more air to the engine. We also have them on two and four stroke vessel engines where demand for power is also required. Turboe charger in a nutshell, improves the performance of an engine. However, Turbo charger is generally applied to internal combustion engines.
We need to know that there are turbine engines that are different from Turbo chargers, though in operation, the same principles are applied. Exhaust gas is used to drive a Turbo charger while a turbine engine runs on its own.
What are the categories of Turbo chargers?
Turbo chargers are designed based on engine capacities. The total output of exhaust gas and the total displacement of the engines are actually calculated to know what type of Turbo charger is suitable for a particular engine. This means the entire volume of consumption of fuel is to be calculated and the total amount of power the engine can deliver. Those are factors to be considered whenever a Turbo charger is to be installed in an engine.
What are the categories of engines that stand to benefit from your services in Nigeria?
Most of the trucks on Nigeria roads have installed in them Turbo chargers. The issue is that in this part of the world, there is no credible service facility and people have been grappling with cannibalising one Turbo charger and fixing the parts on another one hoping that it would work, without knowing the dynamics of the Turbo charger. This is where we come in. We have precise and the right equipment, the right spare parts through Turbo med in Greece. We have the right training and we have brought in the right partnership into Nigeria while we are leveraging on the long time experience of over 50 years that the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Yannis Paraskevopoulos have in this industry.
He has not held anything back from us. He taught us everything we need to know and he has equipped us with study materials even for future technologies when innovations would take place. I believe we can deliver service to almost every sector that runs this equipment, especially the haulage companies in Nigeria that have a lot of trucks. Usually, they have been discarding their Turbo chargers because they have not hitherto the wherewithal to get the right persons or organisations to repair them. This is because Turbo charger is a specialised device which runs at extremely high speed of over 50,000 revolution per minute some time or even higher, depending on the size.
Turbo charger is a highly specialised device that every part of it needs to be balanced dynamically. While the Turbo charger is in operation, a lot of factors come in to play which include exhaust gas temperature. Most of the temperature of the engine is exited through the exhaust of the engine. In some engines, you will see fire coming out of the exhaust of some trucks on Nigeria roads. Most of these factors go through the Turbo charger, on every vehicle that Turbo charger is installed. It is the exhaust gas that drives the Turbo charger. So, while the exhaust gas is firing the Turbo charger, the Turbo charger inlet side is pumping air to the engine through the in-let side. It is a two-way thing. The Turbo charger has a need to be lubricated. Things like the bearing system, the balancing, the shaft, the casings and a lot of things come into play with a lot of environmental issues that affect the Turbo chargers that we easily address.
We are in a better position to advise the users of this equipment on how to get their Turbo chargers run more efficiently for them. We can also give them periodic maintenance advice. We can give them preventive maintenance service intervals which means the time that would be right for them to do the service of their Turbo chargers based on the use of the equipment.
Basically, we can service, do replacement of Turbo chargers. We also have our own brand of Turbo chargers of different categories made by the company. We also supply spare parts.
Our headquarters is in Greece, Athens.
Some of the organisations that have benefited from your services
The list is inexhaustible. Based on available information, the Armed Forces in Greece do benefit from the services of our organisation. We manufacture a lot of components for so many industries in the Marines and because of the wide range of Turbo chargers we work on, so many organisations have benefitted from our services with others currently benefitting.
Even though we are just starting right now in Nigeria, we have worked on many Turbo chargers for some organisations who were eager to engage our services.
What are the sectors in Nigeria that would benefit from your areas of specialisation?
The power generation industries stand a lot to benefit with, manufacturers and major suppliers of power plants in Nigeria. Prior to this time, they used to import their Turbo chargers and had been discarding them whenever they went bad because they lacked the right spare parts to service them.
How affordable are your services
Recently we had a meeting with a shipping company in Nigeria. It is unethical for me to drop names. There are certain manufacturers of Turbo chargers that are within Africa now. They are somewhere within central Africa and they plan to come to Nigeria. They have been doing services but our charges are just fractions of what they are charging. We are making it very affordable to Nigerians and every customer within Africa. We are making things cheaper and we are going to eliminate the bureaucracy associated with getting spare parts and other equipment including logistics involved. We would be bringing in equipment in bulk with a view to cutting off a lot of costs that would have accrued to the service. We are doing major overhauling that would bring equipment back to their original state which would tantamount to almost remanufacturing the equipment. This is the level at which we would be operating, making our customers to enjoy their equipment like brand new ones.
What does the nation, Nigeria, stand to benefit in terms of economy?
The kind of service we are rendering would be cutting off overheads associated with importation of certain equipment. The rate of equipment that could be refurbished but are being destroyed in Nigeria is enormous. There are so many Turbo chargers, turned to scraps that could be put back to its original stage. They had become obsolete because there had been no competent hands to put them back to active stage. There are so many trucks in Nigeria lifting petroleum products with some conveying bulk cargo. Each of those trucks on the road contain used Turbo charger which the owner did not know the condition it had been subjected to before purchase. Consequently, such turbo charges were used for a very short time without the owners getting value for their money. There are also some low class Turbo chargers brought in from some Asian countries. We have done our survey and we know what we want to offer.
Following the statistics of the Federal Road Safety Commission, we have more than a million trucks in this country. Approximating the data to 700 trucks on Nigeria roads with each of them having a Turbo charger, owners of the trucks must been having it tough to service their Turbo chargers or paying a lot of forex to bring in new ones. There must have been a lot of money going out of the country on Turbo chargers to procure new ones. We would only call for replacement under extreme conditions when we discover they have been used to the stage of disrepair. In other words, we would always service them and recondition them to almost their original position when they were bought to save a lot of money. If they are also maintained according to our recommendation, Turbo chargers would serve our customers for a long time and lot of money would also be saved and the nation would be saved from unnecessary importation.
What is the lifespan of an average Turbo charger?
Every Turbo has its own life span. Using Marine industry as a yardstick, Turbo chargers are run on hourly basis. For certain interval that Turbo chargers are run, there is a particular service that is supposed to be carried out which include lubrication oil service among others or replacement of some parts. For aircraft, we have smaller engines that have small Turbo chargers. They are in various sizes. When we see an average Turbo charger, we know the recommendation to make. A lot of personal jets run on turbine engines and there are different approaches to servicing them. There is a gulf between Turbo charger service and Turbine engine service. We are rendering for now, Turbo charger service. Overtime, we will go into Turbine engine service as we have the wherewithal to do so.
All our Turbo chargers are from Europe and they of quality standard.
As I said, we render services such as reconditioning Turbo chargers to look like new ones. We also do reconditioning of rotor shafts, re-blading chrome plating, and we do gland strips repair, partition wall repair and dynamic balancing among others.
What is your warrantee?
We have five years or 30,000 running hours warrantee. We believe in what we do, hence we can give this type of warrantee because we would always ensure that the Turbo chargers we work on are put back into their original state.
How do we avoid fake Turbo chargers?
We will deliver our services to our customers ourselves to ensure our brands are not dubbed.
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