Inflatable Packers International Pty Ltd (IPI) is a leading company specializing in high-pressure inflatable packer technology. Established in 1999 by Clem Rowe, IPI initially focused on expanding the reach of this technology beyond the Australian market. Over the years, the company has experienced significant growth, expanded its operations internationally, and made remarkable contributions to various industries, including oil and gas, mining, geothermal, and geotechnical exploration.
From Humble Beginnings to Global Expansion
Clem Rowe’s mission to take inflatable packer technology to the rest of the world laid the foundation for IPI in 1999. In 2001, Geopro SA of Belgium made a significant investment in IPI, enabling the establishment of a workshop and the employment of two staff members (one, Dave Knell, now a director). This partnership marked a turning point for IPI, allowing them to enhance their manufacturing capabilities and broaden their reach.
Joel Adams, a hydrogeologist from Montana, joined IPI in 2003 and played a crucial role in representing the company in North America. In 2004, IPI Well Products LLC was formed in Red Lodge MT under his leadership. This now trades as IPI Packers in North America and accounts for IPI’s single largest market.
With the appointment of Howard Kenworthy (now Commercial Director) several strategic expansions followed, including the opening of offices in Bulgaria shortly after, as IPI started to expands its global presence and forged more partnerships with industry leaders.
Continuous Growth and Milestones
In 2008, the company experienced significant expansion, establishing IPI Trading in Singapore as well as Santiago, Chile and further expanded its Perth machine shop capabilities. The year 2009 witnessed IPI’s entry into the Queensland Coal Seam Gas market, further bolstering its reputation and presence.
IPI’s commitment to excellence and quality was evident in 2015 when they achieved ISO9001 compliance and secured significant projects with a major oilfield services company in 2018. Furthermore, the company’s purchase of land for future expansion and its key role in the environmentally secure plugging and abandonment of oil and gas wells for a super major offshore Australia further solidified IPI’s position as a trusted industry partner.
Challenges, Resilience and more Investment
While IPI has achieved remarkable success, it has also faced its fair share of challenges. From 2013 to 2016, the company experienced stagnation in three key markets markets, resulting in flat lining revenues. However, IPI persevered, maintained Research and Development and remained focused on innovation and leveraging its expertise to overcome obstacles.
As markets started to recover, IPI grew its revenues by 50% from 2018 to 2019, but then came an almost welcome pause with the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented unprecedented challenges. Fortunately, the Australian government assistance enabled the business to tread water for five business quarters with no layoffs. Indeed, IPI’s reaction was to take advantage of government incentives and forge ahead with the building of new Australian facilities to anticipate resumed growth as well as other investments.
Investment and Restructuring for a Promising Future
In 2021, IPI implemented strategic measures to streamline its operations by consolidating all the business under IPI Trading Pte Ltd in Singapore as well as updating its logo with an addition of a slogan to underscore its technical advantages. In 2022 the company showcased its commitment to innovation and ongoing enhancement by relocating its workshop facilities to Bayswater WA from Osborne Park WA. This was an A$9m investment, supported with Federal Government Grants and finance from two of Australia’s main banking groups, in significantly larger workshops, more automated machinery and bigger rubber laboratory.
Simultaneously, IPI established a new manufacturing facility in Bulgaria, part of the European Union, as well as expanding its presence with a new commercial office in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. 2022 also saw the appointment of Francis Ford as Managing Director for Australia, Francis having joined as the company’s first apprentice in 2005, as well as the creation of an Oil and Gas (Business Development) Division and a separate one for Mine-Water-Geotech to follow more focused marketing strategies.
Unparalleled Customization and Versatility
What sets IPI Packers apart from its competitors is its dedication to customization. Approximately half of the company’s overall production consists of tailored products meticulously crafted to meet the specific requirements of individual customers. This emphasis on customization showcases IPI’s flexibility and ability to cater to a wide range of industries and applications. Often clients upgrade their existing inflatable packer elements with higher specification ones from IPI Packers.
Investing in Research and Development
Recognizing the importance of staying ahead in an ever-evolving industry, IPI dedicates a significant portion of its income to research and development. This unwavering commitment to innovation allows the company to push boundaries, explore new possibilities, and meet the evolving needs of its diverse clientele.
Commitment to Quality and HSE
IPI places utmost importance on maintaining high standards in quality and Health, Safety & Environment Management (HSEQ) systems. Regular internal audits, management reviews, and the use of best-in-class HSEQ management software ensure continuous improvement and compliance with standards, regulations, and codes of practice. By investing in technology and providing online access to relevant HSEQ documentation, IPI prioritizes the safety of its employees and minimizes risks.
What started as a lone engineer with a single Australian business called Inflatable Packers International Pty Ltd has come a long way since its establishment in 1999. From humble beginnings, the company has grown into a global leader in inflatable packer technology, serving various industries worldwide. With a focus on innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction, IPI Packers continues to push boundaries and set new standards in the field. By combining standardized tools with tailored solutions, IPI remains versatile and adaptable, catering to the unique needs of its clientele. With an unwavering commitment to research and development, IPI is well-positioned to shape the future of inflatable packer technology and remain the world’s first choice for companies in need of this innovative technology.
IPI Main Locations
5 Vincent St.
Bayswater, Western Australia 6053
Phone: +618 9204 2448
Fax: +618 9204 2449
North America (Mine-Water-Geotech)
18 Pepsi Drive
Red Lodge, Montana 59068
Phone: +1 406 446 9940
Americas (Oil & Gas/Energy)
Phone: +1 713 389 0018
Phone: +1 832 474 7399
Latin America (South and Central America and Mexico) (Mine-Water-Geotech)
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