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Date : November 30, 2022
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Grandtech’s Meme Poon: Heading Volvo Penta in Hong Kong

Grandtech’s Meme Poon: Heading Volvo Penta in Hong Kong
Grandtech’s Meme Poon: Heading Volvo Penta in Hong Kong
Grandtech’s Meme Poon: Heading Volvo Penta in Hong Kong

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What services does Grandtech International Engineering provide for Volvo Penta?

Grandtech is the authorised dealer of Volvo Penta industrial and marine engines in Hong Kong, although over 95 per cent of our business is for private yachts and five per cent is for industrial engines.

We handle the supply of spare parts, while our service team can handle pre-delivery commissioning (PDC) for new engines, annual general maintenance, ad hoc repairs, replacing of long block engines and overhaul of engine services. We typically handle an average of 20 PDCs for new boats every year, but in 2021 we recorded over 30.

What are the most popular Volvo Penta products in Hong Kong?

Volvo Penta IPS (inboard performance system) is the most popular drive in Hong Kong. It has lower emissions, lower fuel consumption, higher speeds and lower perceived noise level. The joystick for easy boating is perhaps the most well-known feature of Volvo Penta IPS.

Which yacht brands and dealers do you work with?

We work with many dealers including those representing Azimut, Absolute, Princess, Galeon, Sessa, Dufour, Jeanneau and Hanse. All Absolute and Sessa models use IPS, while Azimut and Princess, for example, use a mix of IPS and other Volvo Penta drives.

Can you outline your boating background in Hong Kong and how you joined the yachting industry?

I had no idea about yachts before I joined Jebsen Industrial, although I had some experience of windsurfing and sailing boats during the school summer holidays in Hong Kong. I later obtained an Advanced Diploma in China Business and a Bachelor of Management Studies.

I had been a Senior Secretary at Rieckermann Pharmatech and Executive Secretary at Chun Yip Industrial before joining Jebsen Industrial Technology in 2009 as Personal Assistant to the BU Director. Later our BU had a structural change and set up a new customer service team to handle the whole order processing including enquiries, quotations, preparations, contracts, logistics and billing.

As Head of Customer Service from 2012, I oversaw the operation team for China and Hong Kong. In 2016, I was promoted to Sales Manager of the Volvo Penta service team, which was my first time working in the boating industry. In this new post, I had to use both my experience of machinery service at Rieckermann Pharmatech and customer service at Jebsen.

What did you learn in this new role with Volvo Penta?

I learned a lot of new things, such as going to Kwai Chung Container Terminals to accompany yacht dealers receiving new power boats. Our team checked the engines and installed the propellers. I saw the surveyor inspecting the boat and shipyard workers installing the flybridge accessories. It was amazing teamwork between all the different parties.

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After Jebsen Industrial closed, how did you continue representing Volvo Penta in Hong Kong?

Sadly, Jebsen decided to suspend its cooperation with Volvo Penta in 2017, closing most industrial business lines. In Hong Kong, Volvo Penta had a third of the market share of marine engines, from sail boats to 100ft motor yachts.

We had loyal technicians who had been working on Volvo Penta engines since 1993. I believed our team could continue to support our customers in Hong Kong, so I established Grandtech and started to discuss the business plan with Volvo Penta and Jebsen.

How has IPS evolved since its introduction in 2005?

The first generations were IPS 1, 2 and 3, but now it’s IPS 10, 15, 20 and 30. IPS is always developing and the range is expanding. New advantages are related to electronic vessel control (EVC) and accessory functions.

IPS10, for example, fully integrates the engines, electronics and EVC features with the glass cockpit, and has joystick docking, electronic shift and throttle, low-speed control, and support for triple engine application. Options include the joystick, autopilot with joystick driving, and dynamic positioning system (DPS). There’s also support for the Easy Connect app and maintenance assistance with service alert.

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New features in the IPS transmission include a high-capacity oil filter with pressure sensors that detect a clogged filter, oil-level sensor and water-in-the-oil sensor, while the oil exchange is done from inside the vessel.

Why is IPS popular?

A few of the many benefits when comparing to inboard shafts are up to a 40 per cent longer cruising range, 20 per cent higher top speed, 30 per cent reduced fuel consumption, 30 per cent less CO2 emissions and 50 per cent lower perceived noise. It’s easy to install and allows for more onboard space.

Along with spare parts and repairs, what else does Grandtech offer?

We offer preventive maintenance, which Volvo Penta recommends every 12 months. We stock all regular items — engine oil, filter, belt, transmission oil, coolant, zinc anode and so on — that are required for general maintenance of inboard engines from D1-D13.

We also stock items like sensors, PCUs (powertrain control units), sealing ring for drives and steering cylinders for ad hoc repair services. I should emphasise that preventive maintenance is very important for the performance and shelf life of an engine.

This article first appeared on Yacht Style.

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