Company Reports - Consolidated Power Supply
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Consolidated Power Supply
Powering the progression of today's nuclear industry
Written by Laurie Baratti & Produced by Brad Mahoney
Birmingham-based Consolidated Power Supply was established in 1986 as a division of Consolidated Pipe & Supply. According to Consolidated Power Supply’s GM, Mark Mathias, and Director of Strategic Business Development, Kevin Ake, “In 1986, we were probably the last to enter into the nuclear arena for our particular field, but today we operate on probably the broadest scope of any company in the field.”
They explain that CPS essentially does business with every operational nuclear producer, nationwide, and either supplies or produces nuclear certified parts for numerous OEMs in the nuclear industry and nuclear construction sector. Supplying certified materials for the nuclear industry has been the cornerstone of CPS' business for over 25 years, but industry growth has driven diversity in its new products and solutions. In 2008, recognizing the demand from its customers, CPS formed a division dedicated to the manufacture of various ASME Section III Class 1, 2, & 3 components along with various safety related components needed to support the commercial nuclear industry
Two of CPS’ newest and most innovative solutions have hit the market just this year: its RFID Construction Material Tracking system and enhanced Rebar Detailing Services, both of which are designed to save an extraordinary amount in costs for its customers. Both solutions are focused on supporting the nuclear construction renaissance occurring in the US.
To develop and introduce its RFID Construction Material Tracking Solution, CPS partnered with Atlas RFID Solutions (www.atlasrfidsolutions.com). Designed to reduce the costs associated with locating and tracking material used in construction, it combines rugged RFID technology with material traceability to provide customers with the visibility required to make timely, informed decisions. On its newest Rebar Detailing Solution, CPS partnered with Condor Rebar Consultants (www.condor-rebar.com) to develop advanced 3D modeling and detailing systems software. The solution moves beyond CAD modeling and automates the rebar detailing process. CPS provides on-site field support personnel for both RFID materials management and rebar detailing.
In 2009, the company also introduced its PMCaps solution for Pressure Boundary Repair. Consolidated Power Supply is the exclusive provider for PMC Engineering and PMCaps products. Today, it is the only code compliant, non-intrusive, permanent repair for pressure boundaries. The solution is ideal for heat exchangers, pressure vessels, and piping, and available in any size or custom shape, the PMCap restores code compliance without breaching the system.
Mathias describes the company as extremely customer-focused. He says they work very closely with their consumers, staying in close contact with customers, listening carefully to their feedback and the challenges that they report facing day-to-day, all in an effort to fulfil client requests, even to the point of anticipating their needs. “Actually, that’s where all these new solutions came from,” Ake points out.
They are able to supply both materials & personnel such as project coordinators, material tracking coordinators, to alleviate that much more customer’s burden. “I think we’re also unique in that respect. I believe we’re the only company out there that does that,” says Ake.
Mathias believes another of CPS’ significant strengths as a company is that they have consistently continued to do business in the same capacity, with the same group of people providing their services, from the start “We’ve remained focused all along,” says Mathias, “even when the nuclear industry went into hiatus during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. When others in the industry were abandoning ship, we maintained our skills and we stayed sharp.”
“I also think we’re different in that we’re privately-held, so that our reaction time actually only a matter of seconds,” Mathias says. It’s also likely that CPS operates on a different type of philosophy, says Mathias; “We’re probably not so marked by turning dollars as others in our industry,”
Mathias & Ake report that the longevity of employees within the company is exceptional, and describe their co-workers as a highly motivated group of professionals. CPS staff members maintain their professional affiliations, continue to sit on several organizational committees and work to stay involved with events in their industry.
Given the current degree of public concern over global warming and the renewed push for clean energy, many are re-examining nuclear power as an alternative to their traditional use of fossil fuels.
CPS currently operates a total of 11 sites (including warehouses & offices) in locations from coast-to-coast across the United States. With over twenty new applications for new nuclear facilities planned, the future is bright for CPS. The company plans to supply materials and services to the two new plants currently under-construction, with another two to follow shortly.
As is typical for the industry, the company tends to spend a lot of its sales efforts in competing to secure government production. “We have seen a lot of growth. If the funding holds with what we’ve been seeing, and if the banking industry holds, I could see the industry growing ten-, twenty-or even thirty-fold in coming years, depending upon the success of the new plants,” says Mathias.
Mathias suggests that there is quite a bit of change occurring in the nuclear industry right now, as there is already a huge movement and a push to modernize energy-production methods. “Unfortunately, this is an area in which the U.S. is still trying to catch-up,” he says, when compared with the rest of the world, with countries like France, China & South Korea having already embraced the nuclear shift. As a result, Mathias affirms, “One of our biggest areas of growth recently has been overseas, in part due to our collaborative work with R&R Global Partners (www.randr-globalpartners.com).”
These two top executives say that a future trend in their industry would be to ultimately establish smaller, more localized plants around the country to supply energy to immediately surrounding areas. CPS feels that it can leverage its experience, customer base, and dedicated personnel, no matter which direction the nuclear industry trends.