Víctor Fuentes
Director General
Mitsubishi Electric Automation Mexico and Latin America
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View from the Top

Japanese Manufacturer Relaunches Electricity Initiative

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 15:12

Q: What opportunities does Mitsubishi Electric see in the electricity wholesale market?

A: Mitsubishi Electric is a component supplier, so we deliver services in association with business partners such as integrators, EPCs, IPPs or wholesalers. We see many opportunities as a result of the market opening in generation, distribution and commercialization. The Mexican industry is open to hearing about new technologies, suppliers and alternatives and we focus on publicizing the new technologies that Mitsubishi Electric offers. We have been in Mexico for 28 years and increased our participation during the last seven years. The company is diversifying its portfolio and clients. Although Mitsubishi Electric is typically associated with the manufacturing industry, the company is entering the process industry and the electric segment.

Q: How is Mitsubishi Electric making equipment more affordable for companies?

A: The company focuses on making our clients’ ROI tangible and achievable from the moment a proposal is presented. Our value proposition is the lowest total cost of ownership. In simple terms: amortizing expenses at a lower cost during the useful life of a project or the components of the acquired equipment to positively impact asset management. Mitsubishi Electric supports its clients and advises them to make the best possible decision about automation-related investment costs. The keys to success are an assessment of production processes and the positive impact of automation investments, lower ROI times and a lower total cost of ownership.

Q: What is the main advantage that Mitsubishi Electric wants to deliver in terms of energy management?

A: The e-Factory concept delivers several advantages. We can integrate information from the production floor at a manufacturing level in the same communications protocol. It is possible to take signals directly from the switch, both in low and medium voltage. For instance, an encapsulated middle voltage substation is equipped with a communications module that collects data on current, voltage, amperage and output and sends it directly to the SCADA system. This process enables visible and tangible monitoring of electric transformation and can be scaled to a circuit in a low-voltage cabinet. Mitsubishi Electric’s bet is on integrated solutions for electricity distribution.

Q: What are Mitsubishi Electric’s expectations regarding its participation in the electricity market?

A: Participation in this market is a medium-term project. When the electricity market was opened, it was not among our priorities. The projects that are being executed or tendered were specified one or two years ago. Mitsubishi Electric must focus on medium-term projects and start working on technical specifications while formalizing its alliances with the players resulting from the Energy Reform. When building alliances, we must look for domestic companies that have experience in the market. There are Mexican companies that have a lot of experience and Mitsubishi Electric’s priority is building trust among partners by developing quality products and providing assessments to develop solutions. Mitsubishi Electric follows three basic principles: passion for our customers, corporate responsibility and the development of long-term relationships based on trust.

Q: How does Mitsubishi Electric differentiate itself in the Mexican market?

A: Mitsubishi Electric Automation is responsible for the factory automation business unit of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation in Mexico and Latin America. We supply components and equipment to all industries. Mitsubishi Electric has been present in the Mexican market with strong brand recognition due to its state-of-the-art Japanese technologies.

One of our strongest assets is that we do not outsource the manufacture of our equipment. While many other technology providers outsource their production and simply label the product once it is finished, we do not play that game.

Mitsubishi Electric has production facilities all over the world, even in China, but all are Mitsubishi Electric facilities that comply with all our requirements and have all the certifications we demand. We are the only company in the world that has a yearly R&D investment of US$2 billion, and our range of products and solutions is a reflection of that.

Q: What makes Mitsubishi Electric the best partner?

A: Mitsubishi Electric provides a single programming environment that allows for the simple and transparent flow of information. At the same time, we have a robust security system that protects all that information. These three elements facilitate knowledge and information transfer among automation components and between us and our clients.

Mitsubishi Electric has a very clear statement that guides all its activities: we are a global partner and a local friend. This means that all the technology we offer, no matter if it is destined for Mexico, Japan or the US, is the same. Reducing product importation costs plays a big role in allowing us to provide the same technology all over the world at competitive costs in each market.

Q: What percentage of Mitsubishi Electric’s operations are focused on the electricity market?

A: Less than 5 percent. Our participation in this market is an initiative that the company recently relaunched because we did not have a constant presence for a couple of years as we went through organizational changes. Although Mitsubishi Electric is a global company, its operations in Mexico are small. We are selective about our projects and how to address them. This makes strategic partnerships fundamental to us. The company provides products and equipment, and a partner works with us to develop the final solution. I think we will be able to reach a share of between 8 and 10 percent of the market in the coming years. Capitalization is necessary to keep investments in that market. We have a short-term plan with two focuses, one is updating or migrating an obsolete installed equipment base and the other is servicing this base. There is a large amount of equipment in middle, low and even high voltage, including transformers, substations, generators and turbines that are Mitsubishi equipment and constitute an interesting market for us.

Q: What kinds of alliances does Mitsubishi Electric need to complement its activities in energy?

A: Globally, Mitsubishi Electric can deliver anything from a high voltage transformer to a simple domestic switch. However, in Mexico we need partners to develop integrated solutions because bringing a complete and assembled substation from Japan has a low cost-benefit rate. Diversifying the commercialization strategy has enabled us to be more agile than other companies that are more closed. Working locally enables us to tropicalize and adapt to the wishes of our clients.