WEG's main commitment is to create quality products and efficient solutions that meet international quality standards and ensure sustainability. This Brazilian company manufactures electric motors and equipment, as well as energy and transportation equipment, and currently, thanks to the development and expansion of its water sector line of business, helping people achieve their goals to foster large infrastructure projects is a reality.
Jesús Rivas, Business Development Manager at WEG, leads this new water business line and tells us how the company has become a leading global manufacturer for the water industry.
Question: Mr Rivas, can you tell us about your career path up to your current position? What did you find in WEG to join them?
Answer: My professional career in the water sector started in former Vivendi, now Veolia, and since then I have worked for different companies in different positions. My first positions where as a process specialist, working in developments such as Actiflo® o CDI®; later on I moved on to contract and project management, and production and engineering in companies such as Veolia Water Systems, Befesa Fluidos, Abengoa and Técnicas Reunidas. Thanks to this, I have been able to see and experience the different stages of EPC projects, including the proposal, implementation, and commercial aspects.
Therefore, when I had the opportunity to develop and expand WEG's water sector line of business, I did not think about it twice. The company offered the capacity and solvency to become the technical partner of choice, the willingness to grow safely and constantly, and the possibility to keep in contact with my colleagues, providers, clients and friends in the sector. I think that the focus of the WEG Water team on service, and the commitment to the development of effective solutions were a good match for me. Moreover, WEG is a company firmly committed to R&D, with many professionals who are highly motivated to grow in large businesses and international projects.
WEG is a company firmly committed to R&D, with many professionals who are highly motivated
Q: WEG is one of the leading global manufacturers for, among others, the water industry. To get an idea of the magnitude of the company, can you tell us some of the company's figures (turnover, staff, presence in the world, segments)?
A: WEG is a multinational company with headquarters in Brazil, and one of the largest manufacturers of electrical-electronic equipment in the world. 43% of the products sold in 2018 were launched in the past five years, and 58% of the net revenue comes from external markets, something that shows the company's innovative and global approach. In 2018, the company's net revenue was 2,480 million dollars.
WEG has more than 31,000 employees across the world and develops equipment and solutions for sectors such as water, mining, energy, oil and gas, agriculture, mobility and energy efficiency, among others.
Q: What per cent of the business does the water segment represent?
A: The water sector is an important part of our business, but it would be difficult to provide an exact figure, because historically WEG has sold and provided support to the sector through different manufacturers (OEM), clients, and final operators, which are considered the industrial market. Moreover, when our water products and services are used for an auxiliary process in an energy or an oil&gas facility for instance, they are not always categorised as water sector project references, when they really are. And yet other times, products are sold to manufacturers of compressors, pumps, clarifiers, components and panels, transformers and drives, etc., to be used in water facilities across the world, but where we are not directly involved.
The idea from now on is to foster the water line a lot more and be able to count on all those projects.
Q: Where in the world is WEG present in the water sector?
A: WEG has specialised in the water markets in America, Europe and the Middle East, building a solid foundation to collaborate with the main engineering companies and manufacturers in the sector. We also have the capacity to develop projects in other world regions, such as Africa and Australasia.
WEG helps clients from the project design stage, letting them know about the products and solutions that can best meet their needs
Q: What makes WEG stand out from competitors?
A: We are a company that adapts to the client to supply what they need, but, at the same time, we do not provide a service or a product without ensuring that it is the best possible solution, and that the quality and durability of the products are guaranteed.
Even though it is one of the leading companies in the market, WEG wishes to consolidate the experience, adaptability, flexibility, innovation and knowledge it is known for in many places in the world. At WEG not only do we develop electric motors, we offer global solutions with a broad range of products and services, such as medium voltage drives, and many others.
Q: WEG is no longer just the manufacturer of choice, it is also a travelling companion for integrators and integrated water cycle managers. Please tell us about the motivation behind this and how is the transformation process working.
A: Nowadays, the water industry relies on technology to attain more efficient equipment and lower costs. Companies are selecting manufacturers, looking for fine tuning and better precision in the plant's design, as well as integrated systems and other efficient ways to monitor the desalination process or the water treatment process in general, both for process water and for waste water.
To achieve their objectives, WEG knows it has to help clients from the project design stage, letting them know about the products and solutions that can best meet their needs. The sector is changing its vision of WEG and now big companies from all over the world are ready to collaborate with us from the beginning of their projects.
Q: What are the most relevant projects done or being done by WEG in the area of integrated water cycle management?
A: We are working with the main EPC companies and engineering firms to provide global solutions in different world regions. We may note the Quebrada Blanca Phase II in Chile and the Yanbu-Madina Water Conveyance System in Saudi Arabia, where WEG has provided the equipment for most of or the entire water treatment process, from raw water abstraction pumps to Cleaning-In-Place pumps for reverse osmosis membranes. In addition, we expect to close soon deals for two significant desalination plants.
The trend is towards combining water and energy facilities to reduce energy use and ensure more sustainable projects
Q: The water-energy nexus is one of the great challenges to address in the coming years. What is WEG's proposal in this regard?
A: The current trend is towards combining water and energy facilities, sharing know-how and realising more efficient processes to reduce energy use and ensure more sustainable projects. At the local level, we provide higher performance solutions, efficiency and reliability, and at the global project level, whether it is integrated with energy saving processes or not, we provide a consistent, integrated solution for all parties involved in infrastructure works and water management.
Q: How do you think that the digital transformation will impact water resource management?
A: Aside from ensuring better products, with more adaptation and integration possibilities, the digital transformation is providing desalination and water treatment plants new ways to supervise and monitor processes. Equipment malfunction can be devastating for the membranes used in ultrafiltration filters and reverse osmosis racks, so the plant operator will be able to follow closely how the equipment works, including membranes, motors, filters, valves, etc.
We think that each supplier will have to answer for the quality and characteristics of its products more so than before, because the data will be a lot more precise. In this scenario, the project design phase will be the one having a greater impact, and we may see more equipment replaced due to predictive maintenance.
Q: What would you like to be WEG's position in the global water sector ten years from now?
A: We must continue to work to become the technology partner of choice for large EPC companies and engineering firms, working along with them in all project phases.
In the water sector, WEG will be the solution that transforms energy into reality. Both regarding products and treatment infrastructure, WEG will ensure that water reaches industries and end users, becoming a leading technology company in manufacturing, product development, efficiency, energy saving and sustainability.
Ultimately, WEG represents the force that drives the machine ensuring water treatment processes carry on reliably. Thus, in ten years we see ourselves as the undisputed leader in energy solutions with products and services for the water sector.