Issue Jun/Jul 07
Advanced engines from Lister Petter
Lister Petter is a British manufacturer of industrial diesel engines used primarily in stationary industrial applications, which can trace its history back for 150 years.
Formed from the merger of Petters Limited and R A Lister and Company, Lister Petter has manufacturing sites worldwide and is headquartered in Dursley, Gloucestershire. It strives to maintain the timehonoured traditions of its founder companies in supplying engines and equipment for electricity generation, marine applications and irrigation.
“Our business is substantial with a £46 million yearly turnover and 257 employees. We provide diesel engines in the 1.7 to 266 kilowatt range and our core business is built around new engines, emissions technology, alternative fuel resources, and extensive re-manufacturing,” says sales and marketing director Colin Flint. “We have manufacturing sites in the UK, the US and India, joint ventures in China and Poland and a sales office in France. The new joint venture facility in China is a purpose-built plant where we produce our Omega engines and Gensets.”
Lister Petter’s engines focus on the smaller power band end of the diesel engine market though its recently launched Omega is a higher-powered engine of up to 335 horsepower aimed at the African, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Asian markets. “The Omega is available in four and six cylinder models of 16 – 266 kilowatts,” says Colin. “Our six cylinder is 9.7 litres, the four cylinder is 6.5 litres, and available as turbo and turbo intercooled. Also available are both naturally aspirated and turbo charged versions of the Sigma engine produced through our Polish joint venture and is mid range at 17.5 – 82 kilowatt bands with a 2.4 litre engine. Our core product is the Alpha engine, which is Tier 2 certified and Tier 4 capable, 7.5 – 40 kilowatt and available in two, three, four and turbo four cylinder variants. With a gas option also available, it remains our most popular engine.”
The company has customers across various industrial sectors including marine, construction, military, electricity, telecommunications, agriculture and disaster recovery: “We have an extensive global distribution network with key distributors in certain countries holding stock and providing service back-up, and we service a large quantity of generating equipment. We also have customers in the off-highway market, the water pump irrigation market, OEMs, and substantial military applications. We supply wherever a robust generating engine is required.”
Colin explains how the company concentrates on building reliable engines rather than on new product development: “We manufacture robust, reliable, dependable engines, all built on known technology. When we look at R&D it is regarding the Genset area and bio-diesel. We’re researching alternative fuels and running test engines on B100, which is 100 per cent bio diesel produced with our newly developed bio-reactor. We’re hoping to bring to market a system of working with locally produced vegetable oils to power Gensets and Water pumps with ultimate benefits for the environment and local economy.”
Colin has noted a growing industry awareness of environmental issues, which has led to the development of alternative fuels: “We’re developing opportunities for bio-fuel powered engines at the B50 to B100 level, and because our engines are reliable, well-built, and lacking a huge amount of bolt-on electronics, they can run on high concentrations of bio diesel and in certain cases even straight vegetable oil, whilst being simple to serviced and maintain. Other companies whose equipment has a hightechnological input such as common rail systems, and electronic metering equipment would struggle to get their engines to run on high concentrations of biofuel, whereas we’re using simple engineering, and that’s the big differentiator for us. We can succeed in those markets where access to fuel is poor or there’s a surplus of convertible resources whilst still meeting global emissions standards.”
Colin explains how the company has implemented procedures to ensure optimum efficiency throughout its operation: “We have a dedicated global purchasing department, a comprehensive MRP system and an enhanced global sourcing team with its own engineering section to ensure new suppliers’ products match our existing specifications. In terms of challenges, we simply need to ensure that we grow effectively whilst maintaining quality and customer service.”
The company is investigating new applications and planning further growth in order to sustain its success: “We’re well established in the marketplace making us the benchmark for competitors, though there are still areas for us to consider,” remarks Colin. “Gas powered engines and Gensets are big progress areas, whilst marine applications continue to interest us and we believe global warming will result in an increased demand for drinking water and irrigation equipment, making this a significant growth area, and telecoms is increasingly buoyant as operators roll out their networks globally. We will continue to grow our distributor base internationally by increasing our dedicated list of distributors who hold stock locally because availability is key, and we’ll concentrate on alternative fuel as we’re keen to position ourselves as the engine of choice for biofuel usage up to B100. Our re-manufacturing facilities in the US, the UK and China, all equipped to machine major components and re-manufacture diesel engines, are an important focus as well and that growth has been fuelled by a technology partnership with two nano-surface metallurgy R&D centres allowing us to offer advanced, cost-effective, environmentally sound engineering capabilities in re-manufacturing.”
Colin believes that the company’s success is mainly due to its high performance engines and strategic developments: “The market is fantastic for us at the moment and we’ve never had such a full order book due to our engines’ robust, reliable design. They’re not automotive engines being used for industrial applications – they are purpose built industrial engines, which means they’re simple to service and have a long life. Lister’s global reputation is based on durability and our main aims are simply to increase our manufacturing base, grow our distributor network, develop bio-fuel technology and advance our re-manufacturing offering.”
Products: Industrial diesel engines