BEHIND THE SCENES

Mexico 2012 | ENERGY | B2B: ELECTRICITY GENERATION SECTOR

A growing electricity sector demands reliable suppliers. Luckily, innovation is no rarity in Mexico.

Carlos F. Gottfried
CARLOS F. GOTTFRIED
President
Potencia Industrial
Gilberto Sousa
GILBERTO SOUSA
Director
Arteche-Power Quality North America

How have the company's operations progressed in Mexico?

CARLOS GOTTFRIED Potencia Industrial started manufacturing in 1958, incentivized by a state policy promoting national integration and national manufacturing. That was at a time when the government had a plan for Mexico to become an industrial-based economy through strong investment and subsidy programs. My father and his brother, the founding members of the company, made the decision to start manufacturing in their garage. In just a few years, the company expanded and was engaged in vertical integration, from lamination to assembling. From its beginning, Potencia Industrial has shown a deep level of flexibility and creativity driven by the best Mexican electrical engineers at the time, becoming the first company to locally develop a wind turbine in 1974, the “Hummingbird," the world's first direct-drive permanent magnetic generator. The coming together of strong know-how and experience with flexibility, creativity, and commitment has been the key ingredient for our achievements.

GILBERTO SOUSA Our operations here are growing considerably. We have increased our market share for instrument transformers to over 25%, almost 30%. We are also introducing new product lines such as recloser units, relays, and various other components. Right now we are competing against the major players in the market such as Siemens, Schneider, and Alstom. We're competing on a global level, and not just in Mexico. The competition is tough and right now we are competing at a higher level than we ever have. Our product range is broader than it has ever been.

From which sectors do you receive demand?

CG Traditionally, the company was set up to supply the industrial sector and the OEM market as a compressor, pump, and machinery manufacturer. Para-state companies were some of our main customers until the opening up of the borders, when such clients started to purchase electric motors and generators from abroad. After losing our market quotas in those segments, we decided to expand our customer portfolio. Now we sell to the industrial, oil and gas, and renewable energy sectors.

GS We have introduced new product lines in Mexico over the last two or three years, and the demand for these products has grown impressively. It depends not only on the product that we manufacture, but on what the market demands. We sell products to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), and also to companies for industrial applications. Sales of the recloser, a type of circuit breaker, have grown over 300% in the last two years alone. This is also our first year in metal clad applications. We thought we were going to sell around 200 sections, and we ended up making 350 sections in the last year. We expect to keep on growing. Our growth will see a reduction in our reliance on orders from the CFE. We want to rely more on electro-intensive industries including companies involved in steel, paper, cement, and oil and gas production. We're already in those sectors with our traditional products, such as capacitor banks and filter banks.

What is your strategy going forward?

CG Our strategy is to remain in the renewables sector, particularly servicing the wind and hydro turbine segments. We want to expand our penetration in these segments. These markets are still developing and require higher efficiency products, and we have all the capabilities to improve our presence in them.

GS We develop products that are custom made for specific applications. We develop products that we believe are the most effective possible for each industry. For example, we have products that go directly into drilling platforms and other similar areas. We always strive to be different from the competition. We want to offer something innovative to the customer that can bring the best results. We are completely customer driven.