Energy cost awareness is the main trend in building automation and industry

EnergyInterviewSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 2/2014

Christian Irrschik, Managing
Director for Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia in WAGO Kontakttechnik

Dear Mr. Irrschik, how do you assess the current business climate in South East Europe?
After a clear decline of investment activities in SEE had been noticeable in 2009, the situation and perspectives are now improving. The SEE countries are precisely a market depending on Western Europe. A decline in demand from Western Europe has a detrimental effect on the Balkan countries, as these partially function as an extended workbench.

Throughout the entire area, no OEM companies in the areas of electrical engineering or automation have so far been identified that would be able to offer continuous processing in the long term. In my opinion, this is certainly going to change over the coming years.

Changes to the leadership of the SEE countries and also the slow allocation of EU funds have certainly had an impact on the economic development, but some progress can still be seen.

Which industries are the most promising ones for WAGO at the moment?
WAGO has an extensive product portfolio covering industry and building services equipment. There are innovative products available in the areas of printed circuit board terminals, electronics and power supplies as well.

Printed circuit board assembly, and this includes printed circuit board terminals, becomes an ever larger part of the enquiries. There is an increasing trend in industrial plant construction to automate plants or to bring them up to the latest state of the art. The demand for automation is certainly rising and, with our offer of complete solutions, we see a positive market development in there.

What are the latest trends in building and industrial automation and how WAGO meets these new challenges?
The trend in building automation or in industry goes in the direction of energy cost awareness. Energy and electricity in particular, keeps getting more expensive. More and more attention is paid to monitoring and checking energy withdrawal. Requirements on the part of the operators are on the increase whilst monitoring the cost of energy, to simply allow them to keep competing in the market.

There, WAGO current transformers in conjunction with WAGO I/O automation models meet all requirements. This is about measuring, visualising, evaluating and parameterising to space out peak loads evenly and to recognise where countermeasures must be taken.
With the WAGO I/O XTR series - extended temperature range, a closed system has been made available which offers the possibility to operate these modules at an ambient temperature of between -40 degrees C and +70 degrees C.

What is the current state of development of the Bulgarian market of electrical and automation equipment in comparison to neighbouring countries? Which of those countries made most progress and why?
WAGO is the world’s largest manufacturer of screwless connection systems. In automation, too, we have risen to become a well-known manufacturer and developer.

At the beginning of WAGO’s market activities in Bulgaria, it was not easy to convince the interested parties of the Cage Clamp and screwless connection systems. But due to higher demands and cost awareness, acceptance and users’ understanding increased significantly, too.

Services, such as commissioning and after sales services, are of great importance to WAGO. Here, through our team, we have got competent contacts able to respond rapidly.
Through our offer of complete solutions for automation, buildings and industry, we have become a distinguished developer.

The situation of the market development in the countries surrounding Bulgaria with regard to WAGO can be assessed in a fairly similar way. The market in Bulgaria, compared to its Romanian neighbour, is much smaller, but, on the other hand, administrative hurdles are much less, too. This increases the realistic chances to carry out projects.

Serbia still has a long way to go but, still, there are some investments in Serbia in the form of production plants of well-known companies. If you look at the area of energy distribution and energy production, we can already produce some references for investments made available.

In Serbia, we have been represented by a WAGO sales engineer since the beginning of this year, who has assumed responsibility for this region together with our office in Sofia.
Generally speaking: The prospects for the current and the coming year are good and at any rate better than they were over the past years.

Could you present the long-term development strategy of WAGO for the Bulgarian market and the South- East European region?
Since 2006, WAGO has been represented in Bulgaria independently with an office of the parent company. We are building our presence there continuously. Our objective is to further develop our complete solutions for automation applications and to reinforce technical support for users.

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