Carlos Hernandez
Director Latam
Chardon Group
/
View from the Top

Adaptable Cable Accessories for Every Electricity Market

By Pedro Alcalá | Thu, 06/30/2022 - 16:48

Q: How has the company maintained the balance between affordability and quality with its products?

A: The root of this equilibrium lies in the design of the product. A company could have the best materials, tools and raw materials but if the product does not have a good design, it will fail. The development of the product is key, as well. Every Chardon product has spent a great deal of time in development, undergoing numerous tests until we reach a product that the company knows can surpass the competition. After that, it is a matter of production and efficiency. We are proud of our production skills and the efficiency of our factories. This is where Chardon can reduce costs, which requires a great deal of investment and know-how to achieve. With good distributors, logistics and low-cost operations, Chardon can sell an excellent product at a good price.

At the moment, we are only manufacturing these products in Taiwan and China. In China, we are building the largest factory for cable accessories, which should be finished by 2024. Right now, the company is focused on products for the US and European markets. We have a product line for Europe and we are expanding to the Middle East and Africa. With the new factory, we will be able to supply products all around the world.

Q: Which industries are driving the demand in Mexico?

A: Chardon has both customers and users. The user in Mexico is CFE and our customers are the distributors of electrical equipment catering to the construction industry. If the construction industry is growing strong, our distributers will grow too but when construction activity slows down, it all get puts on hold. Although CFE is a key user, it purchases next to nothing. Nevertheless, it recommends the product and tells companies to install it. Therefore, Chardon must be flexible to keep CFE happy and then sell to companies unrelated to the state utility.

Q: The EPC environment in the electrical sector is shifting, as CFE gains more control and takes charge of tenders. To what degree has that changed your business strategy?

A: CFE has launched more tenders to construct projects and our market niche has almost doubled as a result but it is still less than 3 percent of the electrical equipment market. Nonetheless, we created a strategy tailored to CFE and we take advantage of all the people we meet during these specifications. Today, Chardon accounts for 70 percent of the tenders involving cabling and their accessories that CFE has issued.

Q: How do your products contribute to efficient and cheaper operations for clients?

A: What a user wants when installing a product is to never have to think about it again. In that regard, Chardon’s product, as soon as it is properly installed, will last at least 20 years. Of course, it will require maintenance, as any other product does. The product works seamlessly with power transformers and other products. Every time a transformer requires maintenance, professionals can check the cable accessories quickly, making the product almost maintenance free.

Q: What opportunities is the company seeing regarding the possibility of legacy transmission lines being refurbished and modernized?

A: In that regard, we are taking a flexible position. Even if the industry changes the way power is produced or how connections are carried out, these connections still need to happen. Chardon is moving toward European-style connectors because more European products are coming to the Mexican energy market via wind turbines and solar panels. These are products that mostly use integrated circuit (IC) interfaces, which is a type of semiconductor. Here, we merely change the connector to gain the flexibility to supply products meeting either American or European standards.

Q: What does Chardon bring to the table in terms of added value and customer service?

A: Currently, the biggest challenge for us is the supply chain because there is a shortage of raw materials. One differentiator is that Chardon tries to build inventory but for further added value we are modifying some products. One example we aim to launch in 2022 is the 35kV 200amps, a fuse that does not yet exist in the industry. We are creating a product that will be very useful and work perfectly, with the quality that Chardon provides. The product will be much cheaper than other solutions and incredibly easy to install.

Chardon Group is an ISO 9001-certified manufacturer of medium-voltage polymer products, following IEEE and IEC standards. As a cable accessory manufacturer, the company has its own EPDM formulations.

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst