Mónica Samudio
Country Managing Director Mexico
Circutor
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Rational Energy Use at Root of Ad Hoc Engineering Solutions

By Cas Biekmann | Tue, 12/01/2020 - 10:03

Q: What is Circutor’s history and why did it decide to focus on the Mexican market?

A: Circutor’s name comes from the term “toroidal circuits.” It began as a technical company that delivered capacitors and other equipment related to electricity. Today, it defines itself as a company providing specialized engineering solutions, focused on the rational use of energy through technology. About 65 years ago, Circutor developed its products in Spain and started to look at other countries to set up business in India, France and the Czech Republic. Fifteen years ago, the company arrived in Mexico, working through representatives. The company officially set up its own office here seven years ago. The majority of our clients in Mexico are in the industrial sector, and we have also begun exporting our products to Central America. Circutor has been growing steadily and today it has consolidated its presence with a manufacturing plant with 250 employees that builds capacitors to correct potency factor; while producing most of our inputs locally.  Our manufacturing plant is furthermore innovating the energy market by understanding the needs of our customers and the Mexican energy market. In addition, our company has a central office for Mexico and Central America that operates from Mexico City and employs 17 people. Our company has established several strategic alliances with power plants. We are opening a distribution center and will soon open a manufacturing plant for low-voltage capacitor banks. The work in this area has been halted for 2020 but it will pick up in the next few months.

 

Q: In what sectors does Circutor put its focus?      

A: Two sectors, in particular, are the most important for us: utilities and private industry. The solutions we sell are useful for the internal operations of the industry, which are focused on low voltage. In the area of medium voltage, we are present in several industries, such as food and beverages, mining and metals and starting this year, automotive, where our equipment is focused on reactive energy and measurements. Another important segment are electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. We do not only work with the automotive sector in this regard; but also, with companies that are venturing in this sector, such as Mercado Libre and various hotels and shopping malls.

 

Q: How has the company formed strategic partnerships to bring its services to its clients?

A: We have several distributors as partners and they hold our standardized products in stock. These distributors are focused on selling automation processes in the form of projects they provide. Our products complement these projects. We work together to look for potential projects that can be implemented within various industrial processes. Circutor also partners with companies specialized in installing EV charging stations, who then work with major car manufacturers such as Audi, Jaguar, Nissan and Renault. Not all our work goes through partners. We also connect directly with the final user, as in the case of Kellogg’s, Heineken and GM. Working through partners allows us to have a complete range of solutions for the final user and we work with them directly to get the specifications right. A capacitor bank, for instance, needs an engineering expert, which we offer to the client so that they can implement the solution fully tailored to them. Protection and adequate measurement are key.

 

Q: What added value does Circutor offer?

A: We fully adapt our solutions to the needs of our clients. A small Oxxo, for instance, can implement our solutions to become more energy efficient. A large mining operation, however, has completely different needs. For bigger clients, it is absolutely essential that they receive precise quality energy around the clock. A break in this supply can have serious consequences.  If a production chain is interrupted because the electricity shuts off, it can cause damage to the product or take a long time before the chain can work again. This can cost companies millions of dollars. Safety needs to be taken into account at all times. Electrical protection for equipment is of the essence, which we adapt to every industry.

Mexico’s network code is another important issue for Circutor. Penalties have been a hot topic of discussion since the government announced that SMEs can receive large fines if they do not comply with the code. We help clients check their installations to avoid these potential fines but assuring they have quality energy supply is always top of mind.  Another trend is the decarbonization of the industry. Our EV charging stations can run on renewable energy and help countries take leaps forward, although in Mexico the renewable energy sector is facing some struggles. Nonetheless, we expect decarbonization to move forward because there are ambitious climate goals the country needs to achieve. Furthermore, Circutor has solutions for renewable resources. For example, we can design structures to mount solar panels on buildings, such as on a car park.

 

Q: What are the benefits of the company’s strong approach toward R&D?

A: Our R&D department is the most important division in the company. It develops new solutions or provides frequent updates. Recently, the department has focused on technology that increases the life cycle of our products, which will be included at no extra cost. Even though we work to provide engineering, this in-depth knowledge about development allows us to contribute by pointing out enhancements and further possibilities.

 

Q: What does the future look like for charging stations?

A: There is a great deal of interest from the private sector. Initially, expanding the number of charging stations was on the government’s agenda but now the private sector is aiming to promote social and environmental responsibility. This will take shape through hotels or shopping malls offering charging stations to show clients that they are committed to sustainable goals. However, the pandemic and reforms in the energy sector have made growth in this segment somewhat uncertain. Regardless, Circutor’s pipeline in this area shows a great deal of promise because there are many players ready to invest. How fast this business will take off is still unknown but it is clear that it will indeed progress. Without a doubt it is a development that will happen eventually. We expect a boom for EV charging stations in 2021 and forecast higher growth rates as we develop new products and services to meet customer needs linked to the expansion of the renewable energy market

 

Q: What are Circutor’s goals for 2021?

A: We hope to be recognized as the company that is top of mind as clients work to comply with Mexico’s network code requirements. We want people to see us as a provider of equipment and as a company that provides engineering solutions. We can help clients improve their production process and become more cost-effective. When it comes to the network code, reactive power, protection and measurement, our goal is to be recognized as leaders in this segment. We are also working on our profile in renewable resources through the EV charging stations. In Mexico, this is still somewhat seen as a status symbol but we want people to have access to EVs. Furthermore, we aim to be pioneers when it comes to products that meet regulatory standards. We bring a lot of cutting-edge technology to the market through our R&D center and we want people to be aware of the value that this can bring to them.

Circutor was founded in Spain and operates in over 100 countries.  The company’s solutions portfolio aims to boost efficient use of energy. It offers over 3,000 products to this end, through a strong focus on R&D.

Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst