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  1. #1
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    Best country for engineering business?

    I'm looking for some balanced advice from the apparently well-seasoned salts, with deep experiences in the SE Asia business environment.

    My wife & I will nominally be based in Laos. I have a range of heat-exchanger technologies I need to have manufactured, for an international client base & am looking for quality manufacturers & assemblers. With the recent instability in Thailand, I've begun to get a little concerned with Thailand's ability to manufacture a quality product over the next 15-20 years. I don't see a problem finding decent component suppliers - am more worried about stop/start & ongoing VISA changes.

    I have been investigating the following countries:
    1. Thailand
    2. Malaysia
    3. Vietnam
    4. Indonesia
    5. Singapore

    I'll be really interested in hearing different views on the subject & would appreciate all constructive comments & applied wisdom.

    Thanks so much, everyone, for your time.








  2. #2
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    Have you tried venturi high speed air cooled system and to replace water driven exchanges.

    It's not about where you build the system it is all about where you set the system up.

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    Hi 'Loy Toy'. Thanks for your comment.

    Have you tried venturi high spsed air cooled system and to replace water driven exchanges.
    Interesting. If you let me know more, I'll read up & return with a hopefully sensible comment. Most venturi-based systems blend motive & driven fluids. Heat-exchangers keep them separated.

    It's not about where you build the system it is all about where you set the system up.
    Can you perhaps elaborate a little more on this?

  4. #4
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    48-module system. Extremely aggressive fluid on shell-side.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waid
    Interesting. If you let me know more, I'll read up & return with a hopefully sensible comment. Most venturi-based systems blend motive & driven fluids. Heat-exchangers keep them separated.
    I have purchased many machines with water driven heat exchanges and either their cooling efficiency is too low or within 6 months the chambers are clogged with calcium because the water is so hard here.

    I am mucking around with air driven exchanges with extremely good inwards filters and can maintain a 5 degree inflow level with an output 7 degree level.

    When looking at your diagrams I could build a system a fraction of the size but not compromise efficiency with a lot less maintenance.

    May I ask where is your design technology from and please do not mention the manufacturer.

  6. #6
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    Loy Toy. I'm looking to manufacture for export purposes. Whether shell-&-tube technology is appropriate for your particular application, should be assessed against the specifics of your application. Provide all your process stream data & I'll have a look at what the final machine may look like.

    Heat transfer can range from low kW to more than 10 MW, depending on the particular application.

    I acquired the technology rights for the international market as part of a business settlement. The 'Classic' version of the design has been installed in over 3500 projects, over some 38 years.

    In terms of high-fouling applications, the product did exceptionally well in the Gold Mining industry for Primary & Secondary heating (Economiser & Heater) - over some 30 years. In that setting, high solid content is a given. The spiral baffle design minimises fouling.



    Gold Processing - 2.1 MW Elution Economiser
    Last edited by Waid; 18-05-2014 at 06:20 PM.

  7. #7
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    My experience is that most European suppliers have no idea about designing heat exchanges for South East Asia.

    I have asked in the past for the suppliers (mostly German) to double the cooling capacity and to accommodate the increased ambient temperatures here.

    Also in 90% of the factories here no evaluation of the source water supply is evaluated and the effectiveness of the system is negated in less than 6 months.

  8. #8
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    This is not a European product. Your operational challenges are not overly complex.

    What are you attempting to cool? I assume you are using local cooling water, or water from a cooling tower? Happy to discuss further, to see if I can assist.

    The beauty of the modular design is that all heat-transfer surfaces are readily removed & can be swapped out, cleaned, or replaced within a short time-frame - extending the unit operation indefinitely. Lime deposits can be managed.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waid
    This is not a European product.
    Your first marketing challenge as most serious businessmen here buy European machines, I have no idea why but they inevitably do.

    But as you say you wish to ex-port your machines there may not be an issue.

    My only advise to you is to tie up with an end product supplier so you can jointly supply a proven and reliable turn-key solution.

  10. #10
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    Interesting thread this, I reckon , waid, I notice you say Laos will be your base but your not interested in the manufacturing aspect, why is that? I'm guessing it's because you don't think the locals are up to it? You would be correct in that assumption, sadly, not many skills here, in my experience the Thais are your best bet , I base my opinion on 8 years in the mining industry in Laos

  11. #11
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    Loy toy has probably forgotten more about manufacturing than I know however,

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by beerlaodrinker View Post
    Interesting thread this, I reckon , waid, I notice you say Laos will be your base but your not interested in the manufacturing aspect, why is that? I'm guessing it's because you don't think the locals are up to it? You would be correct in that assumption, sadly, not many skills here, in my experience the Thais are your best bet , I base my opinion on 8 years in the mining industry in Laos
    Thanks for your comment, BLD.

    In the long-term, I am keen to see a building operation in Laos - for supply of units within Laos - as the economic drive picks up. I have no problem with training up local labour to assemble the products. These units are very much like Mechano sets & have been super successful in an emerging economy. They will be great for Laos, within Laos.

    My main thoughts for an export-based operation, is to minimise the number of international borders that need crossing. More borders = more pockets to take care of - hence countries bordered by ocean.

    Happy to discuss further in terms of Laos, per private mail. Plan to be up in Vientiane fairly soon. These units have become industry standard in many Gold Mining operations & are incredibly profitable. Energy recovery in Elution processes can be as high as 70% - saving huge operating $ per year. We sometimes combine with heat-packs on a skid-mounted solution. Mines stuck out in the nether regions like these.

    Thanks again.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loy Toy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Waid
    This is not a European product.
    Your first marketing challenge as most serious businessmen here buy European machines, I have no idea why but they inevitably do.

    But as you say you wish to ex-port your machines there may not be an issue.

    My only advise to you is to tie up with an end product supplier so you can jointly supply a proven and reliable turn-key solution.
    Thank you, Loy Toy. Good advice - well taken.

    The product is built from off-the-shelf components, to suit various process requirements. Can go from a small single module design, right up to the larger units shown - using the same components. Very, very flexible machines.

    My thoughts were to connect with some of the reliable manufacturers/end product suppliers - along the lines you mentioned. I have a few outfits I've met over the years who impressed me in Thailand. My concerns have been Thailand over Malaysia, Indonesia etc. Thailand seems to be in a spot of trouble at the moment.

  14. #14
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    That makes sense waid, the less borders the better I've never tried to run a company in Laos or fabricate anything, im a salaryman an economic whore , I'm out in in bum fuck Southern Laos and deal mostly with rural folk , they get it done but it's at there own pace, and quality is a word they have never heard of, likewise in Vientiane skills in all trade disciplines seem lacking, I sometimes suspect they can do the task but just can't be arsed to do so, even Lao people in vientiane prefer to hire the local Vietnamese , only slightly more expensive than the Lao counterpart but you are guaranteed to get the job done, small or large for what is agreed upon, perhaps you should take a gander at Vietnam ? Feelfree to drop me a pm

  15. #15
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    I'm a simple man.

    My take would be firstly find out how many and where in Laos the raw material suppliers are and then the machine shops/welders and decide if you should do it in Laos or Thailand. Then, is it better to export via Vietnam or Thailand or...?

    I just went to an SUBCON exhibition at BITEC and was amazed at what Thai companies can do.

    I do not yet perceive any problem with business yet for Thailand regardless of politics as it is mostly about money and succession.

    Laotians are used to importing from Thailand so the process is relatively smooth.

    My only real advice would be to split up any manufacturing/assembly so no one other than you knows what they are building. Otherwise...

    Elution is that a fancy word for cyanide tank leaching or is there now a different process? I used to sell in-line cyanide analyzers.
    Better to think inside the pub, than outside the box?
    I apologize if any offence was caused. unless it was intended.
    You people, you think I know feck nothing; I tell you: I know feck all
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by beerlaodrinker View Post
    I'm out in in bum fuck Southern Laos and deal mostly with rural folk , they get it done but it's at there own pace, and quality is a word they have never heard of, likewise in Vientiane skills in all trade disciplines seem lacking, I sometimes suspect they can do the task but just can't be arsed to do so, even Lao people in vientiane prefer to hire the local Vietnamese , only slightly more expensive than the Lao counterpart but you are guaranteed to get the job done, small or large for what is agreed upon, perhaps you should take a gander at Vietnam ?
    Interesting experiences with the Vietnamese workers. I saw something similar when I spent time in the region, some years back. I'll certainly take a good look at Vietnam - it is definitely on my shopping list.


    Feelfree to drop me a pm
    Thank you. I'll take you up on your offer when we land back in Laos. Plan to take a few months scouting.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by VocalNeal View Post
    My take would be firstly find out how many and where in Laos the raw material suppliers are and then the machine shops/welders and decide if you should do it in Laos or Thailand. Then, is it better to export via Vietnam or Thailand or...?
    The units consist of a number of machined metal parts. Two ways to do this:
    1. Manual lathes, machining - probably lends itself to Laos;
    2. CNC machining - definitely Thailand/Malaysia - more 1st world.

    The elastomeric seals would be well suited to Thailand/Malaysia, I'd think.

    I just went to an SUBCON exhibition at BITEC and was amazed at what Thai companies can do.
    My feelings as well. I was always impressed with the Thai industrial machinery - they were not afraid of investing in some top-notch machines.

    I do not yet perceive any problem with business yet for Thailand regardless of politics as it is mostly about money and succession.
    Fair-enough, as long as the fight stays in the political field. My concern is if the power-base suddenly swings away from the power-brokers of former times & goes for full democracy. This may shake out the Chinese-ancestry business owners/investors. Not quite sure of how serious the political impasse is going to get.

    Laotians are used to importing from Thailand so the process is relatively smooth.
    Ok - true. I understand there to be some agreements & new Trade-free zones along the West-East Corridor.

    My only real advice would be to split up any manufacturing/assembly so no one other than you knows what they are building. Otherwise...
    Agreed 100%. Divide the manufacturing - collect components - control assembly directly.

    Elution is that a fancy word for cyanide tank leaching or is there now a different process? I used to sell in-line cyanide analyzers.
    Yes. Process as follows:
    1. Fluid - water + cyanide traces (& a few others) is passed through an Economiser - heater from say 20'C to around 90'C.
    2. Fluid heated further to around 130'C - through a Heater.
    3. Fluid enters Elution vessel/tank.
    4. Spent fluid exits at around 125'C - flows to economiser.
    5. Fluid exits economiser at around 55'C.

    The Economiser saves a huge amount of energy in heating up the cold fluid, using the returning hot fluid. Up to 70% in many cases. The Gold Mines have used these units for some 30 years - very successfully.

    The beauty of modular, mechanical assembly technology is that units can be rebuilt many times over the life of the operating units. If plant capacity increases, we just add in another bank - in parallel. If we need more energy recovery - we can add in more units in series. If tubes, or shell blocks - pop off end covers - clean/swap out tubes/components - bolt up - carry on. Minimal downtime. No heavy-lift equipment required. All very adaptable.

    I've been working with these beasts for over 25 years - on & off. Wrote the original design software. Have all component drawings - going back some 38 years.
    Last edited by Waid; 20-05-2014 at 12:19 AM.

  18. #18
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    Interesting developments with the not-coup today. Will have to watch Thailand a little more carefully for a while.

    I'm beginning to consider Malaysia in a bit more depth. Their economy seems to be growing well & they appear stable.

  19. #19
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    Thailand to be placed on indefinite HOLD. It needs a lot of water to pass under its bridge/s, it seems.

    Looking to Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, China in the short-to-medium term.

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