High-risk industrial applications call for the right fire extinguisher solution. When Amerex launched the Z-Series line of high- performance portable fire extinguishers in the summer of 2019, we did something a little unorthodox — we made them more affordable than the galvanized portables that they displace in much of the market. We did that in spite of what most industry experts would consider the new product’s objective superiority. In this regard, the Z-Series is an anomaly — newer, better … and less expensive? Here’s a look at how the Z-Series is transforming fire protection in the industries it serves, especially in settings like offshore oil and gas drilling and coastal refineries.
The Fire Extinguisher Solution for High-risk Industrial Applications
In hazardous and corrosive environments throughout the United States and the world, the Amerex Z-Series is developing a reputation as a rugged solution for longstanding durability problems in the industry. Z-Series helps our partners in the fire equipment distribution industry better serve their end-user customers with the right extinguisher for their settings and hazards, and it provides the superior quality fire protection for which Amerex is known, keeping people and property safe.
To fully realize the Z-Series project, Amerex's research and development team developed an innovative new proprietary zinc-based primer using our electrostatic dry powder coating paint process. This primer makes the Z-Series more resilient against corrosion. We invested in substantial research and testing, including verification, to make sure the Z-Series extinguishers could stand up to 12 years in a severely corrosive environment.
Customer Perspective: The Z-series on the Gulf Coast
Wade Tilley, Amerex Regional Sales Manager — Central (South), sees the difference the Z-Series makes for his customers almost daily. With a sales territory that encompasses much of the Gulf of Mexico and its rich stores of oil and natural gas, Wade’s distributor customers help equip dozens of offshore oil rigs and coastal refineries. The value presented by the Z-Series takes some of these customers by surprise, says Wade.
“In many of the industries we serve, people are familiar with a competitor’s product that’s been in the market for a long time. It’s a fine product, but it’s expensive to purchase. So, when we entered the market with a product that’s actually superior in a number of categories and also costs a fraction of what the competing product costs, some people raise their eyebrows a little bit. And that’s when we point to the quality of the Z-Series and the UL verification.”
When considering how the Z-Series stacks up against competitors it’s important to compare apples to apples. Examine the data from UL for the Z-Series 30 lb. portable extinguisher and the comparable extinguisher; these numbers speak for themselves.
Wade observes, "We can't skew the data to make it lean our way -- it's UL's data from testing. When you compare a competitor’s product with the Z-Series, you don’t just want to look at a zinc primer or stored pressure vs. cartridge or flow rate or range, though all of that is important. We want to be clear — others may have some of the same features as Amerex, but none went to the trouble of the UL verification, and that UL verification for 12 years is what makes Amerex stand out.”
Located near the heart of the U.S. oil and gas industry, Lafayette, Louisiana-based Fire & Safety Specialists is among the fire equipment distributors bringing the Z- Series to offshore drilling platforms, coastal refineries and more. President and CEO Chad Meux started his career in fire protection as a field technician in the early 1980s and eventually struck out on his own, founding FS&S in April 2002. FS&S has distributed Amerex since the start. Chad says FS&S is “proud to be Amerex since day one. We’re proud of how Amerex innovates to stay ahead of the curve compared to other manufacturers. I love their quality; I love their customer support. They really back it up — the quality is behind the diamond. They make the best fire extinguishers by far." FS&S has become a go-to supplier for oil and gas installations around the Gulf of Mexico, with demand so high that FS&S expanded to a second location in Cuidad de Carmen, Mexico.
The Z-series has given Chad and his team another advantage in serving the oil and gas industry. "The Z-series is competitively priced, and when Amerex guarantees it for 12 years with their warranty and backs that up with UL verification, I listen to that. The UL claim absolutely made it easier to switch from galvanized.
Distributors aren't the only ones taking note. Chad observes, "When we explain the Z-series fire extinguisher and wheeled unit to our customers, they're really excited about it. The response has been great. They want something that lasts in that corrosive environment. It's catching on in the industry as people see them and learn. It's going to be the standard in the Gulf of Mexico before too long."
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