Buffalo, NY, June 4, 2020 – Interview with AirSep from gasworld’s Air Gases Issue
Q. Thanks for taking time out with gasworld. What are we interrupting in your schedule today?
As for myself and the team here at AirSep we have established our new normal as it relates to navigating the COVID-19 crisis. We have a set weekly schedule of internal meetings in which we stay up to date with the happenings in each department here in Buffalo, NY, at our headquarters in Georgia, and at all our facilities around the world; and we have ongoing projects that were started prior to the outbreak that we still have deliverables to produce and execute. Today would look much like any day from the past two months, the focus being on navigating any issues affecting the safety of our employees, communications with our customers, my sales team, production, and managing the logistics around the production of finished goods.
Q. These are certainly tough, unprecedented times for us all. The oxygen sector is clearly in the spotlight as a result. For our readers that don’t know, tell us a little about AirSep and its role in helping the fight against COVID-19…
AirSep, and its parent company CAIRE, offer a full portfolio of medical and commercial oxygen solutions that serve everyone from the patient who is prescribed oxygen therapy via a portable oxygen concentrator to the central oxygen supply for hospitals and clinics used for ICUs and anesthesia. Because of our wide range of product offerings, we are being called on globally to provide products to serve temporary clinics that serve infected patients; hospitals in remote, rugged areas; and individuals who have been discharged from the hospital and are recovering at home with supplemental oxygen. We have seen a global increase in demand for stationary oxygen concentrators, liquid oxygen storage vessels and medical oxygen generators from customers globally, and particularly those who are providing emergency aid in pandemic hot zones.
Q. So that’s interesting that you’ve seen such demand in Russia and Ukraine, as we have not heard a great deal about the struggle with Covid-19 there. Is this ongoing? Did AirSep do much business in this region before?
AirSep has been providing standalone oxygen generators for over 30 years to Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) for use in hospitals and small medical clinics.To date we have over 1,000 units of this type in operation and most recently we have shipped large numbers of units to regions in Russia and the Ukraine that are in most critical need of oxygen to operate ventilators. We will continue our COVID response program to the medical community in these countries and worldwide.
Q. Is it true that AirSep’s generators can connect directly to the ventilator in a hospital setting?
Yes, self-contained AirSep PSA oxygen generators, such as the Reliant or Centrox can be connected directly to the ventilator to supply oxygen. They can be placed in the operating room or near it. AirSep oxygen systems ensure the needs of patients in intensive care are met, working around the clock continuously providing oxygen.
Q. Do you think this unwanted crisis has shone a spotlight on the role oxygen generators have to play in the medical sector?
Yes, definitely. Manufacturing oxygen solutions is traditionally not something that makes media headlines. The average person does not know the inner workings of how oxygen gas is stored and delivered within a medical institution or even the fluctuating demands a facility can have in any given day. AirSep offers a tremendous value proposition for the medical community, because our state-of-the-art technology enables us to efficiently supply medical grade oxygen often only requiring a very small footprint. Initially there was a lot of emphasis placed on ventilators at the beginning of the crisis, but globally we are seeing clinicians and relief workers raising awareness about the need for adequate oxygen supplies for the communities that have been hit hard with the virus. We are working to meet those customer needs. Our company is managing a significant influx of orders for medical oxygen systems for hospitals and clinics worldwide due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Q. Prior to this coronavirus crisis, what technology or strategic plans did AirSep have for 2020?
Coming off CAIRE’s recent acquisition by NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD., we have completed many of the major items related to our divestiture and we are looking to the future with innovation around our key technologies. AirSep is close to completing an ongoing project for two ASV97000 VPSA Oxygen Systems, each producing 97,000 SCFH of oxygen for a wastewater treatment plant in Miami, Florida. The exciting and incredible thing about working with products that deliver oxygen and nitrogen, is that there is an endless supply of creativity in the applications we can serve in today’s world.
Q. Where do you see the biggest opportunity for AirSep in the next five years?
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, definitely identified the weakness in some institutions’ gas supply and ability to mobilize oxygen delivery at a rapid pace. I foresee working with different institutions to establish resources in locations in preparation to meet future health crises. Also, I think the interest in sustainable, environmentally safe ways to disinfect and clean with ozone seems a natural course in preserving the health of our society.