Best-of-Breed in Fire Detection
Apollo Fire Detectors Invests in Manufacturing and Product Portfolio
In August 2017 Charles Lombard has taken over the role as the new Managing Director of Apollo Fire Detectors with regional responsibility for the EMEA region. With a career working in many European countries, Charles has led global businesses of increasing size and complexity based in Italy, Australia, Denmark and France. At a visit to Apollo head office in Havant, UK, the GIT SECURITY team had the opportunity to talk to Charles about his plans and the strategy of Apollo.
GIT SECURITY: What was the motivation for you to take over the new role?
Charles Lombard: I was thrilled to join the Apollo team and to work for a truly global company and leader in its field. Apollo can look back on a rich heritage and tradition, and I am planning to work with the team to continue building on these foundations and develop the next generations of innovative fire detection technology. I want to continue the great work Steve Brown and his team have done over the last few years. My background from the building industry is a good fit to Apollo’s business as part of the Infrastructure Safety division within the Halma group. The goal of the division is to make products that improve the safety and mobility of people, and protect infrastructure. This is a meaningful mission and I am more than happy to be part of it now.
During our visit to Havana we have seen that Apollo has invested a lot in the R&D department but also in your production facilities. Can you give us some background?
Charles Lombard: You are right. We have massively invested in our manufacturing capacity here in Havant. The fully automated high throughput production lines give us every opportunity to grow the business in the future and they are a demonstration of the strong commitment made by Halma to the production site here.
Can you tell us more about Apollo’s strategy for the next months?
Charles Lombard: Our strategy is based on three pillars.
The first one is the geo expansion where we want to expand our sales outside the UK. Already today two-thirds of our production are sold outside the UK and we have established local presences in the key markets in the US, Germany, Dubai, India and Singapore to serve the markets there. In addition to this plan, we have launched a panel partner program where we work closely with the manufacturers of fire panels and last but not least we will further invest in the launch of new and innovative products to expand our market position.
What is the goal of the panel partner program?
Charles Lombard: Apollo fire detection systems are partnership systems. Typically detectors and interfaces are supplied by Apollo and the control panel by an independent manufacturer. As a specifier, you may also choose sounders or interfaces designed and manufactured by independent suppliers in order to have a system that best meets the needs of the project. You make the choice and choice is at the heart of Apollo‘s philosophy. In an ideal system, detectors, sounders, interfaces and control panel form a powerful, reliable system. We help to achieve this by testing manufacturers‘ products for compatibility with Apollo products. These manufacturers submit their products to Apollo‘s Product support department which carries out a full test program. Products that pass all the tests are then certified. Specifiers can request copies of the test certificates when designing fire detection systems. This ensures that the different elements of the system will work perfectly with the others. In every country where we are active, we want to strengthen our relationship with global and local fire panel vendors. We work with them on the best possible integration of our products into their systems so that the end-user gets the maximum out of an Apollo product. We see a trend towards best-of-breed products in fire detection and a high level of integration secures that all the competitive advantages our products offer can be used.
Can you give us a glimpse of what is in your product pipeline for the next months?
Charles Lombard: All I can say at the moment is that we will expand our Soteria range detectors, which uses the latest in innovative technology to help eliminate some of the main causes of false alarms. Early in 2018, we will launch Soteria Dimension, a completely new range of sleek, flat optical fire detectors for flush mounting, using chamberless fire detection technology. The new range consists of an Optical Detector designed for commercial environments with high aesthetic requirements and a Specialist Optical Detector, designed for custodial and care environments and has been tested and approved for the anti-ligature certification for TS001 and meet the requirements of Ministry of Justice specification STD/E/SPEC038. Over the coming weeks, more information will be released as the new range of detectors is launched.