Clean air for firefighters at Pudong Airport

In recent years, reducing pollution has been a priority in China as the effects of polluted air are more widely recognized. There are also specific careers in which pollution is an even bigger issue. One example are firefighters, whose life expectancy can seriously decrease because of exhaust fumes in the barracks. Dutch company Plymovent has now introduced its solution to this, the Vertical Stack Rail (VSR), in Shanghai at Pudong Airport.

Plymovent has been active in China since 1997, and has cooperated with local Chinese partner EET-SH since 2007. Besides China and the Netherlands, Plymovent is active on a global level. The company mainly focuses on filtration systems for industrial welding fumes and exhaust pollution, but also installs ‘hose drops’ in Shanghai Fire Stations. Their most recent project in China was installing a VSR system at the local firefighter barracks at Pudong Airport in Shanghai. Every time the firefighter trucks leave or enter the barracks, high levels of exhaust fumes are released in the fire station. For the local firefighters this poses a serious health risk.

The newly installed Plymovent system ensures the exhaust gasses are vented out of  the fire station, thus protecting the health of the firefighters. The exhaust stacks of trucks entering or exiting the barracks are automatically aligned with a special rail which allows for capture of the exhaust gasses. This way, the VSR system does not cause any delays when the trucks have to depart in a hurry. 

The journey towards doing business in China was quite eventful for Plymovent. “We worked very hard for six years to establish ourselves in China, only to realize the Chinese market has its own dynamics. It’s not just making sure you have the products, but also adapting to a whole new way of doing business. In the end we realized that working with an experienced and respected local partner was the way to go for us,” explains Kees Janssen, Product Manager Exhaust Extraction at Plymovent.

Kees uses the proverb “practice makes perfect” to describe his experiences in China. As the market is changing all the time, it is important for Plymovent to keep checking in on its customers and market developments. Their local partner is key to meeting the right contacts at the right time. Also, Kees’ advice for other Dutch companies is in line with this: “China is a great and fascinating country. Every time you will be surprised at how quickly things change. Make sure you know that doing business in China is not the same as doing business in the Netherlands. Invest in understanding local culture. I think a quote of Confucius really summed it up for Plymovent: ‘When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps’.”