Industry Insights

Powertorque With Nicholas Soitaridis

While most boys dream of becoming superheroes or astronauts, Nicholas Soitaridis had always wanted to be a mechanic. He had always been fascinated with machines, and how things work. Fast forward 20 years, Nicholas grew up and became the Senior Product Engineer at Isuzu Power Solutions—fulfilling both his childhood interest in tinkering with complex machinery and continuing a lifelong passion in the development of power solutions for the country.

In our latest edition of Isuzu Power Solutions, Nicholas takes us through his journey from boyhood and how he came to securing himself a coveted position at one of Australia’s most trusted brand in power solutions.

Can you tell us about your story of origin?
Growing up, I had always wanted to be a mechanic. I’ve always had an interest in how things work, especially engines. They’ve always fascinated me.

After high school, I got the grades for mechanical engineering, so I studied at Melbourne University and graduated in 2010. Once I graduated, I found my first job working as a Design Engineer for a mining and recycling equipment supplier. I worked there for five years where I learned the basics and got some valuable experiences before I moved on to my next job.

How did you end up at Isuzu Australia?

I found a job advertised online, and it was pretty ambiguous as the company’s name was not stated. I applied for it anyway, and to my pleasant surprise it was Isuzu Australia. Three years later, I’m still here.

And how has it been at Isuzu since?
It’s awesome. I feel very blessed to be working in an industry I’ve always been passionate about while growing up. When you truly love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. Sometimes, I still pinch myself just to make sure I’m not dreaming and that I actually work for Isuzu.

What kind of work have you done for Isuzu?
When I first started, I was given the opportunity to work on a new advanced Engine Controller, what we call the Pro Panel now. Commissioned with the task of making sure it will function, but also will meet current and future needs, it required much research, field testing and validation get it at the level it is today.

There is really no standard day here. There’s always so much going on which is a good thing and good to be apart of. Right now, the focus for me has been on engine control systems and generator sets which is something we’re keen to finalise and push into the market.

Generator sets is a new product for Isuzu Power Solutions—can you tell us about the project?

At the start of the year, we began releasing our first Generator Set (GenSet) models and this will continue throughout this year. Currently, we have 7 models with more to come. At the moment, our range covers 13.5kVA right through to 165kVA and everything in between.

How was the development process of the Generator sets?

The development has been exciting. It has been established and carried out in such a way that it allows for a more robust and streamlined design process and ultimately end product. By bringing the design completely in house, we have full engineering control, intimate product knowledge and a competitive edge against our competitors.

Historically, we purchased most of our accessories from our sister company in North America, and the climate there is quite different to the Australian climate we have here. For this reason, we have purposefully engineered our GenSets to not only withstand but perform and excel even in our harsh Australian conditions.

For example, our new locally designed and sourced cooling packages have an ambient temperature rating of 50°C or higher and utilize heavy duty bar and plate technology. This gives us and our customers peace of mind knowing we won’t have overheating problems, even on those hot summer days. By bringing the design in-house has given us great control over quality, performance and supply chain. The other benefit is it supports our local industry.

Have you seen the improvements in the product after switching to Australian parts?
Definitely. Most of our engine accessories are fully designed and locally to withstand tough Australian conditions and so far, they have worked exceptionally. For example, one customer in northern Victoria pumps bore water from 45m below ground using one of our 6HK1 engines. This region is subject to harsh environmental conditions, but the engine is still performing extremely well.

One of the most exciting things in this job is building a product from start to finish— bringing it to life and delivering it to a customer. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing a happy customer satisfied with our engines and products.

Fantastic stuff. You mentioned earlier about having a competitive edge over your competitors, can you tell us more about that?
Yes, not only is this due to the in-house engineering we do but also the level of service and relationship we have with our customers. Once, a particular customer rang up saying he had an issue with his product. So, we drove about four hours just to see the customer and diagnose the problem which we fixed on the spot. I guess the difference between Isuzu Power Solutions and our competitors is that you can expect the people who engineered and built the product to also provide the after-sale support and provide solutions in a timely manner. We believe in quality after-sale support.

Awesome! And lastly, how is the future looking for Isuzu Power Solutions?

It’s been very exciting working with Isuzu, and I don’t think this will stop any time soon. We have a great team, product, engineering and production capability, level of customer service and some strong plans for the future. We’re looking forward to some very exciting times ahead.