Andy Edwards of Thordon Bearings at Seatrade 2017
Andy Edwards, Commercial Director, talks about Thordon's new products
MarEx: Tell us about your background?
Edwards: I have been involved in the marine industry for more than 30 years. I served in the Royal Navy as an engineer on submarines for eleven years. After my service, I worked for a steel company for a while before joining Wartsila in 2004, which is a marine engine manufacturer. I spent ten years at Wartsila before coming to Thordon Bearings as its Commercial Director three years ago.
MarEx: What is new at Thordon?
Edwards: Thordon has expanded its portfolio to now include commercial propeller shaft seals. One of the popular products is the TG100, which is a smaller shaft seal up to twelve inches. The product is gaining popularity in the U.S. market and has been growing rapidly worldwide. The seal market is very mature, but our clients realize that Thordon manufactures superior products, which is why the seal products are doing so well.
MarEx: Tell us about the new product being introduced at Seatrade 2017.
Edwards: We presented the SeaThigor, which is a seawater lubricated mechanical face seal. It is manufactured for long-wear life and reduced maintenance costs and has a safe return to port feature, which is an inflatable element that stops water ingress along the shaft, allowing the shaft to turn at a lower speed so the vessel can safely return to port for primary seal repair or replacement.
MarEx: it the product for large ships?
Edwards: Yes, for large ships with shaft sizes up to 29.5” or 750 mm. We are now installing the seal for a well-known cruise company. The Canadian Coast Guard have been very interested in the product as is an operator based on the Great Lakes. The Thordon SeaThigor seal is generating tremendous interest in the shipping industry.
MarEx: Do Thordon engineers do the installations?
Edwards: Yes, we have expanded our global service capabilities and added more engineers to be available to handle growing range of products. Many of these engineers have worked in the marine industry for years and they go onboard to install the seals and inspect the bearings with our own alignment equipment.
I would also like to mention that we have a great marketing team, which promotes our products in this very niche marketplace. While many companies diluted their sales teams with too many products, our sales team is focused on our products and our clients. And it is a great work environment.
MarEx: We understand that the founder Sandy Thomson has retired as chairman?
Edwards: While Sandy is essentially retired from leading the company, his business card now says “Innovator,” which is his passion anyway. He has passed the reins to AnnaGaloni, his step-daughter in 2007 and she is now Chair of the company, the fourth generation leader of the family business, which was established in 1911.
MarEx: Explain the Thordon distribution network.
Edwards: Our headquarters and primary plant is on Lake Ontario in Canada and there is a smaller plant in Poland. We have 130 direct employees and about 85 authorized distributors around the world. We have a team of regional managers, which work directly with the distributors, of which many have been with the Thordon organization for over forty years.
Thordon is a growing a fantastic network of employees and distributors and we believe that the new SeaThigor seal will have great interest to the shipping community. – MarEx
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.