Atlas Copco’s custom engineering business, Systems Hemel Hempstead, is targeting significant growth under the leadership of newly-appointed General Manager Sebastien Bidault. The business, which designs and assembles customised compressed air and gas packages for energy, petrochemical and other demanding industries worldwide, is one of six global competence centres operated by Atlas Copco. The General Manager of the UK site believes its specialist capabilities and experience could open up opportunities across an increasingly diverse range of industry sectors.

“Systems Hemel Hempstead has exceptional facilities and technical talent, which is why we have fulfilled projects for customers as far afield as Kazakhstan and Papua New Guinea,” said Mr Bidault. “However, I believe there is now an opportunity to further extend our reach, not only in the oil and gas markets we have traditionally served but in other industries where there is a need for large-scale air and gas packages that are sufficiently sophisticated to meet unique requirements and sufficiently robust to withstand tough working conditions. I am immensely proud to take up this post and look forward to building upon the solid reputation of Systems Hemel Hempstead and upon the recent investments that have been made in upgrading and expanding the facilities.”

Mr Bidault, who has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, began his Atlas Copco career in 2004 as a technical support engineer at Worthington Creyssensac in Méru, in his native France. He later became engineering manager and was involved in the design and production of compressors of 30kW and above.

After spending time at Atlas Copco’s flagship Airpower facility in Belgium, Mr Bidault moved to Alabama in 2010 to assist with the integration of the newly-acquired Quincy Compressors business. As Vice-President of Engineering, he led the engineering teams of two factories in the US and a third in China.

Most recently, he was General Manager of Houston Service Industries, another company acquired by Atlas Copco, where he was responsible for the design and manufacture of low-pressure centrifugal blowers.

Mr Bidault, whose wife and two children have moved with him to the UK, is relishing his latest challenge.

“The main objective is to take the company to its next level,” he said. “Systems Hemel Hempstead has, over many years, developed strong technical competency, as well as in-depth knowledge of the North Sea oil and gas market. I want to leverage this knowledge and experience to expand our reach in other applications. We are going to apply our engineering, manufacturing and project management expertise to support Atlas Copco’s worldwide growth ambitions. As a complete customised solution provider, our mission is to deliver to our customers the best solution based on their specific application.”

Following a major upgrade in 2014 the workshop at Systems Hemel Hempstead has seen its total floor area expanded from its original 1450m2 to 2970m2, and now houses an array of new facilities including a mezzanine viewing area, external test facility, two spray paint booths, two additional 5-tonne cranes and grit blast equipment.