Roger Viera

Made in Mexico Innovation

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 15:54

Mexico has long held a reputation as a high-quality manufacturing hub but a new wave of Mexican companies is working to help the country make a name as a center of innovation.

Pounce is part of the groundswell. The company holds more than 150 patents, a large share of which has been developed from scratch in the country. Pounce also has the manufacturing capabilities to transform ideas into actual products, which has allowed it to develop successful goods for different sectors, including energy.

“Energy is one of our main market segments at the moment, so we are working strongly on developing innovative products for this sector, such as smart meters or tailor-made solutions for companies in the power sector,” says Roger Viera, CEO of Pounce.

Solar-powered street lights and smart meters are two products Pounce highlights for the energy sector. The first is an in-house design, created with the goal of helping municipalities decrease their street-lighting costs while reducing the environmental impact.

“We are proud of our street-lamp design. In addition to light, it can provide between 200-240kW of energy at low marginal costs, which can also be used by municipalities to reduce their energy expenses. We think our product will revolutionize the way municipalities look at street lighting,” Viera says.

The lamp design includes a solar panel manufactured in Mexico, LED lights from Munich-based OSRAM and a patented battery that Pounce developed in a joint venture with electric car and battery-maker Tesla. “We have just created a solar street lamp that can work continuously without being connected to the grid. It uses a patented long-term battery that we developed with Tesla so the lamp can provide uninterrupted lighting.”

Pounce’s smart meters were acquired when the company bought 51 percent of Quadlogic, a US-based company listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. “We are particularly keen on Quadlogic’s smart metering products because they have proven successful in previous projects in the US,” says Viera. “We have won two important contracts for replacing CFE’s traditional meters with smart devices and we also have two large contracts in Jamaica and Colombia.”

All Quadlogic’s smart meters include patented frequency- agile Power Line Communications (PLC) technology, which Viera intends to mass market here. “Mexico continues using radio frequency technologies while the rest of the world is moving to PLC. That is concerning,” he says.

The company has also had success designing and manufacturing a variety of solutions for the energy sector. One flagship design is a turbine control-panel integrated solution that Pounce designed for California- based Capstone. It involved creating new firmware, hardware and mechanical parts in harmony with previous and current Capstone turbine models. Pounce’s new control panel was successfully integrated while reducing Capstone’s production costs by 50 percent. “Our goal is to reduce production costs while maintaining the products’ high quality. We want to be competitive at a national and international level,” Viera says.

The solar-tracking electronic system Pounce developed for Inventive Power, a Mexican company producing Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) solutions, is another innovative product. Pounce’s electronic card integrates solar-radiation sensors and motor controllers to move the thermal collectors and maximize their production output. Pounce’s solution simplified the mechanical control system while integrating a new family of sensors that can calculate the Sun’s trajectory regardless of location or time of the year.

Pounce’s record has allowed it to grow substantially during the past year. “We sold MX$3 billion in 2016. That represents 10 times more revenue than in 2015 and is an indicator of the company’s great potential. This year we expect to grow at least 10 percent more,” he says.