Salvador Aguilar Tijerina
Director General
IPC MTY & K-Tronix
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View from the Top

What Can Prompt PEMEX to Adopt New Technology

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 15:46

Q: What were the drivers behind the introduction of new technology at Pemex?

A: New technology is often recommended to Pemex by providers or engineering companies such as ABB, Alstom, Siemens or Abengoa as a means to modernize plants and improve processes. The majority of new technology is accepted following an information push from the private sector by means of expositions, seminars and inviting Pemex engineers to see technology in action in other locations. Increased awareness of successfully applied technology in other countries is what encourages Pemex to consider renewing its technology. Over the years, Pemex has started to be increasingly open to adopting new technologies in an effort to improve its processes.

Q: How can a relatively small company compete with the global players for Pemex contracts involving new technology?

A: When the company was founded in 1989, we started representing companies offering telemetry systems, which are a metering and control systems that measure temperature and flow, as well as safety valves. We compete today with Emerson and Endress+Hauser in telemetry systems, which are strong global companies. But by implementing their commercial strategies on a global scale, and changing representatives quite frequently, these companies have lost some of their strength in Mexico. Our strength is that we have remained in the market for years, providing services to Pemex, the CFE and big industrial construction companies. Nowadays, we represent 15 brands from the United States and Europe, have developed great strength in automation projects, and turned our aftersales service into a competitive advantage.

Q: In 2005, you introduced K-Tronix. Which opportunity did you see for K-Tronix in the Mexican market?

A: The truth is that representing a product line can be tiring sometimes. The opportunity came up because both parties believed in it. Newave is located in Locarno, Switzerland and has two owners. It’s always better to represent a company that has only a few owners because it’s difficult to represent a brand of a European, Asian or North American manufacturer that is dependent on the decisions of a board. It’s very hard to take a decision, especially when you have to provide Pemex or the CFE with an immediate solution. Sometimes, you have to invest in systems and then afterwards see if the contract will be given because you have to convince the customer first

For 12 years, we commercially represented the Swiss company Gutor, a partly German-owned manufacturer of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. The founders of Gutor eventually sold the company to American Power Conversion, after which Schneider Electric bought APC and the distribution agreements with IPC Monterrey changed again. It became diffcult to commercialize the equipment when warranties are in Switzerland and the work is done in Mexico. When several directors, administrators and technicians left Invertomatic, a GE company, to create another company called Newave in Locarno, they offered me a technology transfer agreement for the assembly of modular UPSs with Swiss technology and DPA (decentralized parallel architecture) here in Mexico.

Under this agreement, Newave supplies us with the electronics technology, and IPC assembles the UPSs in Monterrey, taking Mexican standards for measurement, voltage and frequency into account, and market them under the K-Tronix brand, of which we hold the exclusive rights. K-Tronix, which operates as a separate business division of IPC Monterrey Group, is much more than a commercial representation due to the transfer of technology and the fact that we are responsible for the national warranties. The Swiss company Newave certified our manufacturing process and facilities in Monterrey to guarantee that the product, even though it is sold under our brand, meets their high-quality standards. This, combined with the fact that we have national (ANCE and NYCE) and international (ISO and SQS) certifications, played an important role in convincing people that K-Tronix combines Mexican manufacturing with Swiss technology