Region: Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, The Americas
‘The aim is for the global fan industry to contribute towards combating climate change’
Congratulations on your election as President of AMCA International. Could you discuss what this role means to you?
The main purpose of Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA) is to represent the interests of its members, which are manufacturers of air system components, such as fans, louvers and dampers. To date, AMCA has 400 members around the world. In addition to providing a platform for members on important issues, AMCA works towards developing several standards aimed at improving the industry.
Essentially, we aim to promote sustainability and energy efficiency and ensure that the global fan industry positively contributes towards combating climate change through education, certification of products and advocating for the improvement of codes, standards and regulations. We want to support the efforts of manufacturers producing higher quality and higher efficiency products the world over, given its importance to significant issues such as air quality and better building performance.
Could you speak a bit more about your personal background?
I started working with Systemair in 1989, and I have since taken on the responsibilities of a Laboratory Manager, Quality Manager, Technical Manager and Technical Director. I am currently a Senior Technical Director within the organisation.
Throughout my career with Systemair, I have continued to foster strong ties with AMCA. In fact, my very first assignment was to build a laboratory for acoustic and aerodynamic measurements, which became one of the first in Europe to be accredited by AMCA. I have also been a member of both the AMCA International board and AMCA European Steering Committee since 2014.
Parallel to this, I actively work with other notable organisations in different capacities. I initiated and served as a Chairman of the Eurovent Certification Programme for Residential Ventilation Units from 2011 to 2016. I have been a member of the advisory board for the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy (ICIEE) at the Danish Technical University since 2012 as well as for the Scientific Advisory Committee for the International Conference of Fan Noise, Aerodynamics, Applications and Systems. I have also been an active participant in Swedish Standards Institute (SIS), European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and ISO (International Standards Organization).
Could you give us an overview of the main focus areas during your term?
A core focus under my stewardship is to make AMCA even more international. AMCA has its base in North America, where it is well known. The North American market also currently accounts for a big portion of the certified products. This has been reflected in the new members of the international board, which is composed of eight delegates from North America and two delegates from each region where AMCA has presence, namely Asia, Middle East and Europe.
With this new structure, we could cultivate a more well-rounded and international perspective that will be reflected in our strategies and activities. I can see that there needs to be greater cooperation among the four regions and stronger collaboration among the membership base, which is what I would like to achieve in Europe, for example.
I want to help develop a truly global community to facilitate better discussions surrounding issues related to regulations. I think this is very important, because AMCA has a wealth of information on the markets, and each region has important insights on trends within the industry.
We will also continue to educate our members and the industry through dedicated technical seminars on topics that are truly of interest to the market. AMCA has a lot of educational material that is available online, and we need to support the market by facilitating a knowledge exchange.
Could you talk about the importance of AMCA certification in the context of overarching goals related to better building performance and energy efficiency?
A key focus area for AMCA is the certification of products. When we certify products, we go in as a third-party to guarantee that the published technical data is correct. Certification is an important resource for the market. If we have a customer looking for specific performance in a unit, then it can be difficult for them to judge if the data on air performance, power and acoustics is correct or not. This is the value that an independent body like AMCA brings. We certify products that fulfil the declaration of the manufacturer, helping customers ensure that they have the right information as they decide whether or not the product is suitable for their specific project.
This would help promote transparency in the market. It is also important that if a fan does not have good performance, it should be reflected correctly in the technical data; everything else would mislead the customer, and manufacturers should not attempt to secure competitive advantages on false grounds. As such, we strongly recommend for customers to look beyond the label and learn more about the certified performance values of a product. That being said, it is our overall aim to push towards improving the quality and efficiency of fans.
At the end of the day, it is important that declared data is the correct data, especially when you talk about energy efficiency. If you don’t know the performance of the product, then it’s almost impossible to choose the right working and operating points in order to have the most efficient system.
To this end, having AMCA Certification also provides manufacturers with strong competitive advantage. However, it is also important to not only promote the integrity of the AMCA certification but also to protect it, because its value lies in the trust and awareness customers have surrounding the label.
In which areas do you believe there is greater scope for improvement?
In North America, the AMCA certification is well established, and in the Middle East there has been growing awareness, which is reflected in the increased demand for AMCA-certified products in some projects. However, there is a need to focus on the Asian markets.
We have as many members in Asia as in North America, but in Asia they are not certifying products as much. They are AMCA members, and while this is a step in the right direction, simply being a member is not a guarantee of the member’s product.
You have to certify the products according to AMCA, and we need to provide better support for the Asian market to be able to do this.
We must make customers aware of the difference between a company that only has AMCA membership and a company that has AMCA-certified products, which ensures the validity of the data.
Do you foresee there will be growth in the number of AMCA-certified laboratories down the line?
The unique thing about AMCA is that we have independent laboratories, we have laboratories with partners, and we provide companies with the opportunity to accredit their own laboratory. At Systemair, for example, we have four AMCA-accredited laboratories across three continents.
I do foresee more laboratories for AMCA certification, especially in Asia. This is in line with our move to develop and strengthen third-party certification in the local markets. This would be beneficial for companies, because it will be economical for them to have their own laboratory to certify products, especially when it comes to certifying a range of different products. Having a laboratory would be more cost-effective than sending a whole product range to AMCA’s laboratory in Chicago, in the United States, or to any of AMCA’s partners. It is also advantageous for companies’ own product development teams to have an accredited laboratory.
Could you talk about the importance of promoting cooperation between Eurovent and AMCA in the European market? What are the benefits of such a collaborative approach to the industry?
There is opportunity for greater synergy between Eurovent and AMCA Europe. This collaboration has already started, and I will continue to push for it further. We can hopefully achieve a win-win situation. The collaboration can also apply to other areas such as the Middle East.
This not only involves jointly working towards more demanding standards and regulations, further pushing evolutions in terms of energy efficiency and product quality but also the issue of certification.
Currently, there is no dedicated certification scheme for fans in Europe, as a large part of the industry is not favouring it. However, if we were to get this point in Europe, such a programme should be as closely aligned with AMCA as possible to avoid unnecessary testing costs while ensuring a global level-playing field.
To ensure this, a close collaboration between AMCA, Eurovent Association and Eurovent Certification is essential. What European manufacturers generally prefer is collaboration over proliferation.
Are there areas of focus you would like to highlight as part of your upcoming strategy?
Another important focus under my term is to cultivate greater gender equality in the international and regional boards. This is a point I have brought up with the nominating committee, and this really requires a greater drive and push from the steering committee, so it can trickle down to the international board.
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