Last month I had a very interesting visit to Thailand.
We have a new distributor for the country, Precision Controls (Thailand) Ltd., and they had undertaken to install and operate a Kipp & Zonen ACFR factory-standard automatic calibration facility for pyranometers. Challenge number one was that they were in the process of moving into the first building to be occupied in a very nice new business park, and it was still under construction.
Luckily, some of the Precision Controls (PC) people had visited Delft in April and seen the calibration equipment and understood the preparations needed. The shipment is rather large, two full-size pallets and very heavy, and they could not receive it until the third week of May. They also had to prepare a suitable calibration laboratory and install a 24/7 VPN connection to exchange data with the calibration server at the factory – and there was no fibre-optic cable into the whole technology park.
On the last day of May the calibration room was finished, the only completed room in the building! The shipment had arrived and been unpacked and the VPN connection was working. All ready for me to arrive from London to start on Monday 5th June with installation and commissioning of the equipment and training the PC staff on how to inspect, test, prepare and calibrate pyranometers. The added challenge was that a key solar energy customer had been promised a batch of CMP22s would be tested and calibrated on the next day. No pressure!
Our office in Singapore is responsible for the APAC region, including Thailand, and they have their own calibration facility. Luckily, experienced Sales & Service Engineer Jordan Chua could come over to help and, with the enthusiastic assistance of the PC people, everything was operational by Tuesday lunchtime. By the end of the day all the pyranometers were calibrated, including reprogramming the matching 4-20 mA AMPBOXES.
This was fortunate because Wednesday was the opening of the ASEAN Sustainable Energy Week exhibition in Bangkok, which ran through Friday. The PC guys and girls were exhibiting, with their first booth to feature Kipp & Zonen products. There was a big backdrop and flyers announcing the new calibration service! Gene Phay, our APAC Sales Manager, arrived from Singapore to add to the marketing presence.
Things were enlivened on Thursday by the arrival of a full-size PV panel automatic cleaning system. This was both large and fully operational and it took up most of the floor area so that all the staff had to stand in the aisles, making the booth look very busy and attracting a lot of attention! It was also timely, because it was the launch in the APAC region of our new DustIQ soiling monitoring system. There were a lot of companies in the solar energy sector exhibiting and visiting the exhibition, and they were very interested in the display of Kipp & Zonen products and the new local calibration service.
In particular, there was a lot of discussion about the DustIQ and how it can be used to evaluate the effects of soiling on the Performance Ratio and optimise the scheduling of cleaning operations. Precision Control already provides customised SCADA systems and operational and management software for solar energy plants and will be working on the integration of DustIQ data to enhance plant performance.
We also managed to fit in visits to the head office of a major solar energy group and to the Thailand Meteorology Department, to discuss their future projects. A busy week in Bangkok!
My thanks to Mr. Chew Choon Lay (CEO), Michael Wang (Engineering Manager), Daniel Chew Guo Yong (Business Development Director) and the other staff at Precision Control for their hospitality, participation and enthusiasm; and congratulation on the company’s 35th year in business. www.pc-thai.com