Michel Yehuda
Industrial Business Unit Director
Fluke Dominion
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View from the Top

Revolutionizing Energy Measurement Solutions

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 15:14

Q: The opening of the wholesale electricity market is hailed by many. How would you describe the main opportunities that have arisen, particularly in the commercial and industrial segments?

A: Fluke has been a preferred Test and Measurement solutions leader in the Mexican energy sector for many years by creating added value and fostering commercial ties with public and private players alike. For Fluke, the opening of the wholesale electricity market is a natural transition that entails balancing its client portfolio equally between public and private sectors. The new Mexican energy market has attracted foreign investment, and many of the arriving companies are already familiarized with our solutions. New companies arriving to these shores require guidance and want to make sure that they are opting for the best possible solutions. Two years ago, we began to map out the key energy players arriving in Mexico and identify their needs in a wide variety of applications. Today, it is not enough to cater to giants like CFE and PEMEX, but we must also look for other companies that would benefit from the efficiency and savings our test solutions provide. Through our on-site support and seminars programs, we are helping energy-related companies adhere to the highest quality test and measurement solutions so that their plants and manufacturing sites uphold the best efficiency standards. We are planting the seeds that, as the energy market grows, will generate more demand for us.

Q: What kind of projects does Fluke wish to be involved in with the parastatals, and how will it reflect the shift in perception?

A: Fluke Power Quality analyzers are the only ones in the world that can monetize the cost of energy waste due to poor power quality. This unique feature allows customers access to the estimated cost of their energy failures on a yearly basis. The customer can then prioritize the correction of these issues. CFE has recently started to use this feature with its customers, carrying out power measurements and immediately identifying the related cost for each electrical problem it finds. This displays how Fluke promotes effective decision making within a company in terms of its energy management. Another recent technological contribution has been provided by our Industrial Thermal Imagers. These tools use infrared images in order to detect electrical/mechanical failures faster. In the past, thermal imagers were expensive and fragile but Fluke’s engineers have designed affordable and durable thermal imagers for the industrial end user.

Q: Which technologies stand out from the crowd, and what benefits do they bring to the electricity market?

A: One recent innovation that is bound to revolutionize the test and measurement culture is Fluke Connect. This system of wireless tools and software helps increase productivity, lower costs, and maximize uptime. Fluke Connect test tools have both wireless and online communication capabilities that enable the transfer of measurements from one instrument to another. The data is then uploaded to our secure cloud and can be shared with the end user’s team. This is valuable for energy companies like CFE, PEMEX, Iberdrola, or Shell that have several sites spread across large geographical areas. Using our connected tools, they can measure and crossreference the results with different sites. This software can help predict possible downtime of key industrial elements, so predictive and corrective maintenance can be swiftly carried out. One of the competitive advantages of this solution is that it reduces the amount of labor force required to carry out critical measurements.

Q: What are the common malpractices committed by Fluke’s clients that result in energy waste, and how are these mitigated?

A: Many companies in Mexico do not have an in-house predictive maintenance program, so they hire third parties to carry out the measurements and spot the maintenance issues. There is a distinct lack of culture surrounding predictive maintenance, and this must be urgently incorporated into the daily operations of a company. A success story that showcases the technology’s advantages is a project with Walmart Mexico. It used to have a third party carrying out measurements and maintenance, and some of its stores experienced critical electric failures that caused fires and major losses to the company. A few years ago, we contacted Walmart Mexico and explained the benefits of having an in-house predictive maintenance program that measures energy consumption and efficiency. Fluke offered to train the engineers in energy test and measurement, which took a few months and today, Walmart’s engineers use a complete toolbox of Fluke solutions. They have much less energy management issues and they do not have to depend on third party measurement services. Recently, we developed an important project with Audi Mexico, with our thermal imagers helping to increase the productivity within its manufacturing site. Automotive companies understand the importance of high-quality test and measurement systems, and the impact they have on the assembly line.