Shifting focus: AXI International moves into intelligent fuel management consultancy
As a manufacturer of Intelligent Fuel Management™ solutions, AXI International is known worldwide as the industry leader.
For over 20 years the company has established a reputation for innovation and high quality fuel management products, but over recent years AXI International has transformed its practice, not only by manufacturing fuel management solutions, but also by taking on a consulting role and entering the booming data center industry.
“The mission of the company has always been to optimize the quality of fuel,” says Jeffery Poirier, Chief Operating Officer at AXI International.
“AXI International provides a complete integrated solution within a niche market of fuel filtration and optimization. Mission critical projects such as data centers include not only filtration systems but, fuel tanks, transfer systems, pump sets and gen-sets.”
Poirier has spent his career in engineering, through the railroad industry and working in aerospace before working his way up through AXI from engineer to COO. His progression has coincided with the transformation of the company focus, with Poirier and AXI spotting certain gaps in the market. Gaps, that AXI could fill.
“AXI excels in designing and engineering complex, custom engineered fuel system solutions that set an industry standard. We invest a considerable amount of time and money in research and development to create innovative products and services every year,” he says.
“The company started to see other items in the market that we could pull into our repertoire. We knew the competitors in the market and how they are perceived and thought there was some serious ground to be taken. AXI has certainly made up a lot of that ground since.”
“Data center projects are very extensive. They include a large number of engines, tanks, and fuel system components. Our goal as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is to provide our customers with high quality fuel management solutions to ensure their facilities maintain reliable standby power,” he says.
Throughout its 20 years, AXI International has developed a broad portfolio of major international and national clients as well as smaller local customers. Industry leading turnaround times, innovative and environmentally sustainable technologies and customer support and training, represents the key to future success of the business for Poirier.
Setting an industry standard
AXI is unique in that it provides custom engineered solutions for its customers. We offer more than a “one size fits all” approach. Data centers are not the only projects that fall within the multitude of markets that AXI serves. As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), AXI International has worked with customers in many industries, including: healthcare, agriculture, perishable storage and distribution, marine, power generation, transportation, mining, and other mission critical facilities. From providing custom engineered solutions for large mission critical projects to offering fuel additives in the transportation industry, AXI’s product offering helps maintain fuel at an optimal standard in any application.
“The primary driving force behind AXI’s entrepreneurism is our unique ability to improve the way fuel is used or stored in a way that is sustainable and environmentally responsible. Most importantly, our company’s main goal and entrepreneurial motivation is ensuring safe, reliable fuel for diesel powered engines world-wide,” says Poirier.
Looking back, moving forward
In 1994, AXI International, then known as Algae-X, had a heavy focus on addressing the needs of marine-related fuel issues. With just the fuel conditioner and the flagship fuel additive, AFC-705, AXI began making waves in the marine industry.
As time progressed, AXI saw an opportunity to expand its product offering beyond fuel maintenance, and far beyond the marine industry. As the needs of the world changed, so did AXI. Today, the company prides itself on staying ahead of the curve by introducing new and unique technologies that offer complete fuel management for companies around the globe, regardless of the industry.
“The company has had great products for well over 20 years, so while we are expanding into new markets and product offerings, we wanted to build on the core of our success”, says Poirier.
One major factor in the recent success of the business has been the role change towards consultation and engineering support, building key relationships at the ground level of data center project development.
One of AXI’s goals is to advise both end users and data center professionals of the potential pit falls caused by fuel degradation on a mission critical facility. A rapidly growing industry, like data storage, with exponential growth can often succumb to unforeseen issues due to project time constraints and insufficient planning.
“We feel it is our responsibility to educate on the issues we see, give background as to why those problems exist, and provide solutions for fixing problems, not treating symptoms,” says Poirier.
Learning and growing
This culture of learning and educating comes from extensive market research. Poirier and AXI invest heavily in understanding the market, the technology trends, and more importantly – the problems across the industry.
“It’s about following up on existing problems in the industry, properly analysing the issues and generating the best solutions, or stepping outside the box and creating a new way of looking at an old problem,” he says.
The educational approach taken by AXI is propagated from upper management down through the business. This allows the engineers and the sales team to understand the service, products, and the components of a project in order to meet the needs and requirements of the customer.
“If you imagine your business model as an onion, each layer representing a step between the internal organization, from the engineering team to the sales network, and finally the customer, you want the company message and knowledge to properly transition between layers with minimal loss of message content,” he says.
Changes in engine technology, fuel production, the introduction of bio-blends, along with questionable delivery methods, have created a number of challenges regarding the stability and reliability of fuel.
It is AXI’s responsibility to educate and inform the public and its customers of the ongoing changes in fuel production and the impact these changes have on the engines they depend on every day.
Some of AXI’s more notable innovative products include a first ever solar powered automated multi-stage fuel filtration system, an optical fuel particle counter, and a fully automated additive injection system. AXI has created novel approaches to spill prevention filter draining, continuous filtration during filter changing, and the creation of multiple flow path systems for difficult tanks.
Over the last decade, Poirier has seen a major shift in the engine technologies towards sustainability and environmental responsibility, stemming from increasingly stringent governmental and industry standards. From reducing harmful emissions to providing solutions for modern diesel engines, AXI remains at the forefront of these changes.
“Technology has improved engines, but fuel itself has almost regressed. For these reasons, fuel filtration technology is crucial to sustaining the life of engines and reducing operational downtime,” he says.
Consulting: AXI’s competitive advantage
AXI’s impact in the fuel storage industry has extended far beyond its doors. AXI provides an education and training platform for its worldwide reseller network, in the form of green screen webinars, onsite lectures, and interactive web hosted presentation tools. In order to be a successful manufacturing business, the company stresses the importance of properly training the industry and its trusted partners.
AXI International provides a series of educational lectures and presentations on fuel degradation and proper fuel system design for both internal employees and its channel sales network. The goal of this program is to create awareness within the market and propagate optimal fuel system design practices throughout the industry.
“AXI International will continue to build off of its successful educational platform and expand by pioneering new methods and technology that will benefit our customers, partners, and the enviornment in the years to come.”