As Dutch manufacturer Intergas celebrates its tenth anniversary in the UK, Stephen Zouch, UK Managing Director, looks back on a decade punctuated with incredible technological advances, exceptional feats of human endeavour and quite a few unexpected developments.
Given hindsight, if Intergas could have set up shop in the UK at any time, it probably wouldn’t have been 2008. That was the year the US stock market crashed as the full impact of the subprime mortgage crisis became clear; Northern Rock was nationalised, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and other banks including HBOS, were bailed out by the government, and the world took its first steps on the road to years of austerity. But it hasn’t all been bad. 2008 saw Team GB bring home a record 47 medals from the Beijing Olympics, surpassed in 2012 with 65. In the years that followed people like Usain Bolt (needs no introduction), Felix Baumgartner (jumped from edge of space to Earth, broke sound barrier, still alive), and James Cameron (created Avatar, highest grossing film of all time) demonstrated what you can achieve if you have the vision, determination (and guts in Felix’s case) to make it happen. But it’s the growth of social media, apps and smart technology that have undoubtedly had the greatest influence on how we live our lives. There can be very few of us who don’t book a rail ticket or keep in touch via an app, use Bluetooth to connect iTunes to the speaker or go out with just a phone to take care of everything… if only it could cook. But seriously, while technology isn’t running our lives, not entirely anyway, it’s certainly making a lot of things far easier and more comfortable.
And that’s our approach to developing technologies at Intergas. We don’t use it to prove we can, we use it to make a positive difference. For example, when collaborating with our partners in housing associations and local authorities, we want to make life easier and more comfortable. We support our clients by providing products and services that help them control their costs and those of their customers, while protecting them all from the frustrations of breakdowns. When we first launched our HRE range of boilers in the UK in 2008, it was unique in that it only had one heat exchanger and 12 components and provided efficiency on an unprecedented scale by condensing 100% of the time in heating and hot water modes. In the last ten years nothing has changed; no other boiler manufacturer has been able to match Intergas for efficiency and product specification. But that means nothing if the boiler is unreliable and ours are built to last. While more and more plastic is making its way into more and more boilers, and breakdowns and faults are on the increase, Intergas bucks the trend. There are only three plastic components (the ignition module, internal flue and pressure sensor), the heat exchanger has never had a mechanical failure in over 20 years and the innovative design dispenses with the need for a diverter valve, valve motor, auto air vent or secondary hot water plate heat exchanger, so all the parts that stick, let and let you down aren’t there. We’ve accentuated these key features with the introduction of the Eco RF model and its remote management capability. The boiler’s software can communicate directly with the client or contractor, providing performance updates, alerts and a full audit trail. It promotes more timely service visits, facilitates more first-time fixes and increases duty of care by handling potential problems to stop them developing. And, last year, we launched our first app, MiREG. While this is not directly relevant to housing associations the app, which is Gas Safe registered and approved, helps installers save time on essential admin and ensures compliance. We’ve more innovations in the pipeline which, like all our products, have been developed to provide solutions to real problems, using input from our customers.
Intergas is a growing company with a reputation to match, and we will continue to deliver innovative products to our customers that benefit their business. The tech is important, but if the last ten years have taught us anything, it’s through the enterprise and ambition of people that make the most momentous things happen.