Electrical Suppliers You Should Know

A blend of big and small players within the electrical field in the GCC region

SPECIAL REPORTS, Sectors

The GCC is expected to add 76.8GW of capacity for power generation between 2016 and 2020, according to estimates by pan-Arab energy investment bank Apicorp. Abu Dhabi-headquartered International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) states that the GCC electricity consumption is expected to reach 856TW-hours by 2020, requiring 100GW of additional power over the next 10 years to meet the demand.

Strong economic and demographic growth has led to a dramatic surge in power consumption. As the demand increases, the GCC countries are also experiencing significant requirements for power sector infrastructure development. The countries have also collaborated in developing a joint gulf power grid, to create the region’s electricity network and also help unify the six countries.

The grid has already led to savings of $3bn in investments, in addition to a savings of $330m of operating costs and fuel, according to the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority. The total value of GCC power projects was estimated to be worth $247bn last year.

The UAE is the leading country among the GCC countries for launching several solar-power projects. The country is likely to be more successful in diversifying its energy sources within the next decade, with the development of a nuclear power plant and increasing focus on renewable energy.

Having furnished these numbers and knowing that there is a clear demand in this sector, it is essential to know the big and small players in the electrical industry. The players who cater to this budding demand. In this feature of Top GCC Electrical Suppliers You Should Know, we have created a blend of some of the big and small players in the electrical sector.

This list is neither a ranking nor exhaustive. The intention of the list is to only capture the presence, insights, and innovations of the very best companies that are leading the field with trusted and efficient products and services.

Sentor Electrical

Sentor Electrical was established in 2000 following 20 years of trading experience in the Middle East, supplying electrical products to major MEP contractors, FM companies, and local contractors. The company has grown substantially during this period, becoming an associate company of Edmundson Electrical UK in 2008. Sentor Electrical now has operations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and Oman.

Gary Hipperson, chief executive officer at Sentor, believes that service is key to their business. He says: “Great service is a challenge to maintain in the region, but people work with people and as long as we continue to invest in our teams, business will continue to grow as we provide our customers with excellent service, world class products and the very best after sales support.”

Despite the accomplishments by Sentor, challenges still remain. Hipperson explains: “Tighter lending policies and decreasing cash flows continue to affect all businesses in the supply chain resulting in extended payment terms in some areas of our business. However, we always seek to work with our customers and provide our fullest support through any period of difficulty, resulting in improved relationships and developing a true mutual trading partnership.

“The increase in construction activity over the past six months, along with the announcement of numerous exciting and groundbreaking projects for the future, has resulted in Sentor being able to forecast a positive outlook for both current and future trading periods across all of the locations we operate from.

“However, we remain mindful of the difficulties many contractors face in completing projects. Our positive outlook ensures we continue to invest across the region in new divisions within our business, enabling us to broaden our product offering to customers, as well as investing in significant levels of stock to support both current and future orders.”

Schneider Electric

Empowered by 11,000 research and development engineers worldwide, Schneider Electric creates innovative solutions that solve customers’ biggest challenges and pain points. The company tackles megatrends such as industrialisation, urbanisation, and digitisation — all within the context of the world’s energy paradox. This landscape drives Schneider’s innovation strategy.

According to its last year’s financial report, Schneider Electric reported first quarter revenues of $6.1bn globally, which was up +0.1% organically. However, the Middle East showed slower growth as investments were impacted by continued weakness in the price of oil.

Schneider Electric in a bid to highlight how the future of energy management and automation is being redefined, held an Innovation Summit on 11 and 12 April, 2017, in Dubai. The flagship event showcased the latest technologies providing homes, data centres, hotels, healthcare, businesses, utilities providers and oil and gas operators with analytics, real-time data management and intelligence capabilities. Over 2,500 attendees were welcomed from the MEA region at the two-day event. Esteemed regional speakers included HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), HE Eng. Yasser El Kadi, minister of Communications and Information Technology -  Egypt, Mamdouh Raslan, chairman and CEO, Water and Waste Water Egyptian Holding Company, Osman Sultan, CEO of du, and Dr Badr Al Badr, CEO of Dur Hospitality.

During the plenary, Frédéric Abbal, executive vice president of Energy Business at Schneider Electric, spoke on co-creating a new decarbonised, decentralised, digitised and more electric world with innovation at every level. He highlighted the benefits of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure architecture and platform that delivers IoT-enabled solutions at scale for building, grid, industry, and datacentre customers.

ABB

Under ABB’s global ‘Next Level’ corporate strategy, a key driver for ABB in the UAE and gulf countries, will be the successful deployment of ABB Ability™. ABB Ability™ is the Group’s digital offering that builds on ABB’s pioneering technology and more than four decades of industrial digital leadership. It will enhance the customers’ ability to innovate and compete in the emerging digital-industrial marketplace and the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution.

By combining ABB’s deep domain expertise with network connectivity and the latest digital technologies and innovations, ABB Ability™ creates powerful solutions and services that solve real business problems and produce tangible business opportunities, helping consumption.

ABB has operated it in the UAE for over 40 years. It currently operates from two corporate offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with a manufacturing and service facility in the Al Quoz industrial area in Dubai. At its Abu Dhabi office, ABB also operates a 1000m2 ‘Learning Zone’ showcasing ABB’s products, services and solutions in a unique collaborative training environment.

ABB is a pioneering technology leader that is writing the future of industrial digitalisation. For more than four decades, the company has been at the forefront, innovating digitally connected and enabled industrial equipment and systems. The company drives efficiency, safety, and productivity in utilities, industry, transport, and infrastructure globally. With a heritage spanning more than 130 years, ABB operates in more than 100 countries and employs around 132,000 people.

Ducab

Since Ducab’s founding in 1979 by the government of Dubai as a joint venture with BICC cables, the company has supplied cables and wires for a number of landmark projects within the UAE and internationally. Some of Ducab’s biggest projects in the UAE include Burj Khalifa, Dubai Metro, Emirates Palace, Burj Al Arab, Atlantis, The Palm, and Yas Marina Circuit.

Ducab operates five manufacturing facilities in the UAE that include Ducab Jebel Ali, Ducab Mussafah 1 Factory, Ducab Mussafah 2 Factory, Copper Rod Factory, and Ducab High Voltage (HV) Cable Systems Factory. Ducab facilities also include the soon to open Ducab Aluminium Company (DAC), a joint venture with Senaat.

Talking about investing in staff training at Ducab, Ashish Chaturvedy, marketing manager at Ducab, says: “At Ducab, employee development is a planned collaborative process in which managers and employees share responsibility to align individual needs with Ducab’s business needs. The training of every Ducab employee is customised by a Professional Development Plan, initiated by the Human Resources Department, and agreed upon with the employee and his/her line manager who also acts as their mentor. Ducab also provides its employees with many relevant in-house and external training and has a number of development programs tailored to meet the specific needs of its various business units. The training department lends special focus on developing UAE nationals and maintains close links with universities and vocational institutes to enable nationals to continue training after joining Ducab.”

Elaborating on the challenges facing the industry, Chaturvedy says: “One of the major challenges lies in the industry being flooded with substandard low cost cables which often do not meet minimum required safety standards. This often leads to consumers looking at prioritizing cost over important factors such as efficiency and safety. Ducab offers customers total quality excellence, both in terms of products and service that fully meets every aspect of expectations and delivers superior value in comparison to competitors.”

Faisal Jassim Switchgear Division

Power Distribution equipment solutions that enhance power reliability, safety, and efficiency have always been the major factors that customers seek.

On the safety front, demand for arc-flash safety technology continues to rise. Arc-resistant design engineered to contain arc blast energy is no longer limited to Medium Voltage Switchgear. The most widespread international Standard is the Technical Report IEC 61641 and it verifies the capability of the switchboards to meet some requirements typically linked to the operator safety under conditions of arcing due to internal fault. Faisal Jassim low voltage switchboards Promaster are designed and certified to guarantee a protection against internal arcing by reaching arc withstand values up to 50kA for 0.3s. Promaster switchboards are tested and certified in compliance with the Standard IEC 61641 fulfilling all the seven criteria of the internal arc-proof verification test. This translates to enhanced safety around the entire  perimeter of the switchboard.

Another growing trend is the fast delivery requirements. Quick response and speedy deliveries are the main hallmarks of Faisal Jassim Promaster Division and it has also been the key success factor. With over 130 engineers and technicians and substantial stock backed by an efficient production process ensures that any demanding projects schedules are adhered to.Price

is very important but it is not the only driver. In a market which is highly quality conscious clients and specifiers are interested in quality, reliability and type-tested product. In Promaster panels all the all major components like Breakers, Capacitors/Reactors, Variable Frequency Drives are all from ABB-Western Europe. To add to that all the panels have been type-tested as per IEC 61439-2 with stringent conditions like 50 deg. ambient, natural ventilation, and tested at unity diversity factor.

The partnership with ABB allows Faisal Jassim to provide high-quality products, the technical expertise enables it to provide innovative solutions, the efficient production team ensures fast delivery, modern testing equipment and highly qualified QC testing engineers ensures that all the panels rolled out of the factory is of the highest standards. Type-tested panels empower the company to supply safe and reliable panels. It takes pride in the fact that Promaster is reliable, type-tested, well proven, and fit for purpose solution for Low Voltage Panels requirement.

Siemens

Siemens Middle East provides advanced technology solutions across the entire electrification value chain with strong expertise in automation and digitalisation to help its customers increase efficiency and create value. Siemens has been a growth development partner to the UAE and the wider Middle East region for over 150 years. The company’s presence and commitment has grown from strength to strength.

Siemens believes that a connected Middle East means seamlessly interfacing the physical world of humans and machines with the virtual world of big data.

In more recent news, Siemens and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) signed an agreement to collaborate on an advanced data-driven project. The project is designed to help DEWA achieve its vision of becoming a sustainable, innovative world-class utility, and to ensure the highest levels of performance, efficiency and reliability of its power generation assets.

Siemens and DEWA are working together to identify ways to improve thermal efficiency, provide cost-effective solutions for performance optimization, manage costs and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. At the core of the project are Siemens’ data-driven Digital Asset Optimization services, part of the company’s Digital Services for Energy portfolio, and the development of a new intelligent, self-learning controller for the SGT5-4000F gas turbine.

Siemens’ Digital Asset Optimization uses on-site digital monitoring of a unit’s performance and advanced data analytics to more closely target a specific issue, such as age-related degradation, and to provide recommendations for an operating mode to address this and other issues that may be leading to the unit’s under-performance.

Lucy Electric

Lucy Electric is a leader in secondary power distribution solutions with over 100 years’ industry experience. Specialising in high-performance medium voltage switchgear for utility, industrial and commercial applications, we enable the safe and reliable distribution of energy to homes and businesses worldwide.

Its products are at the cutting edge of medium voltage design and innovation, providing switching, protection and automation solutions with reliability, safety and value built-in as standard. The company also offers bespoke engineering, comprehensive warrantees and dedicated after-sales support, meaning that customers get what they need throughout the product lifecycle.

Based in Thame, Oxfordshire, UK, Lucy Electric also has offices in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, China and Malaysia, and manufacturing facilities in the UK, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India and Thailand. Through industrial partners and contractors, the company has an established international network and local track record in over 50 countries.

Lucy Electric operates as a subsidiary of W Lucy & Co. Ltd, a private organisation founded in 1897, which employs more than 1,000 people and has an annual turnover of around $191.8m.

Most recently, Lucy Electric, launched the new Aegis 36kV ring main unit (RMU), the latest extension to its popular Aegis range, at Middle East Electricity 2017.  A first for the company, the new RMU has been developed to meet the growing demand for switchgear to support 36kV networks and renewable power generation connections. Created using Lucy Electric’s proven and reliable technology, its uniquely compact design means it has one of the smallest foot prints of all 36kV RMUs on the market. The unit is automation-ready, with optional integrated remote terminal units for remote operation and control. Easy to install with simple and virtually maintenance-free operation, the Aegis 36kV combines the highest power ratings, safety features and is compliant with the latest IEC standards, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.  It offers a wide range of load switch and circuit breaker combinations and a large selection of IDMT relays, VPIS/VDS, EFI and other accessories, providing maximum flexibility.

Speking about the product, Sundeep Singh, Global RMU product marketing manager at Lucy Electric, said: “The unique combination of the highest power ratings, safety features, options and accessories, makes the Aegis 36kV a leading product for the global industrial and utility markets. This is our first 36kV RMU, and offers our customers a flexible, cost effective, reliable and high performance solution.”

SMKA Electric

Established in 1975, as the electrical trading arm of the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, SMKA Electric is a leading company in the industry and acts as the agent and distributor for a variety of electrical and lighting products.

When asked about the current state of the electrical sector in the Middle East, Krishna Pillai, general manager at Al Naboodah Electrical, says: “On a national level, the power and electrical sectors are rapidly progressing owing to the diversification of the regional economies. Governments in the region are heavily investing in resources to decrease dependence on oil and gas, and so countries like the UAE are witnessing a rise in investment in alternatives such as solar and nuclear energy. In the UAE, projects such as Expo 2020, Maktoum International Airport (Dubai World Central DWC), and Dubai Creek Harbour are going to create huge opportunities for suppliers to the MEP industry such as SMKA.

Pillai says that the regional drive to reduce dependence on traditional sources of energy has led to a major increase in demand for alternative sources as well as for green technologies that improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption. He adds: “In the low voltage sector in which we operate, we are seeing a big surge in demand for energy-efficient lighting such as LED lighting and lighting control devices, which is a core area of our business, as we mainly supply LED lighting in our product range.”

Pillai says that the company is conducting extensive research with a view to moving into solar energy. He elaborates: “As the world is continuously looking to reduce demands on the national power grid, there are more initiatives and campaigns to increase awareness and the introduction of home solar solutions. As a result, we are starting to see an increase in demand for these products on both a developer and individual homeowner level. Aside from the well-known solar panelling on rooftops which is already prevalent in Europe, this can also include products such as solar-powered LED lighting for streets or gardens, and solar-powered water heaters.”

Cummins

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 litres, diesel and alternative-fuelled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

In the UAE, they are represented by three entities, jointly owned with local sponsors, which are registered as following: Dubai & Sharjah Branches - Cummins Emirates Sales & Services LLC; Abu Dhabi Branch: Cummins Power LLC (Engine, Parts and Service dealers only).

At Cummins Middle East, the commitment to their customers continues from initial contact to the end of the useful life of a product and beyond. They constitute a conclusive representation of Cummins business - Engine, Power Generation, and Aftermarket Support.

Dorman Smith

With over 130 years of experience in switchgear design and production, Dorman Smith Switchgear Limited continues to provide high quality equipment for low-voltage electrical distribution and circuit protection.

The Dorman Smith product portfolio starts with simple SP&N distribution boards and continues up to custom designed, factory built low-voltage electrical switchboards for a broad range of commercial, industrial and retrofit applications.

Together with instruments for measuring key electrical parameters and surge protection, the Dorman Smith product portfolio is able to meet the most demanding individual specifications.

Dorman Smith Switchgear Limited announced the addition of type A single module RCBOs to our Circuit Protection Product Portfolio.

These new type A single module RCBOs are available with B-type or C-type characteristics with 30mA sensitivity in current ratings 6A, 10A, 16A, 20A, and 32A.

End-user perspective

Mohammed Rashied Ali, director at Unicorn Electromechanical, speaks to MEP Middle East on the power sector.

Do elaborate on the power/electrical sector in the Middle East? How is the growth and demand?

Power/Electricity demand is increasing rapidly in the Middle East driven by urbanization, economic development, industrialization, increasing population. In the coming years we expect this demand to continue rising thus it is essential to increase the regions current capacity to generate enough to meet the demand. Especially in the UAE with World Expo 2020 approaching, the power consumption in the region will be more than doubled and the government needs to considerably increase energy supply in the future, especially cleanly-generated electricity.

We can already see a major change in government policies to shift to solar and other renewable sources of energy rather than depending on hydrocarbons. UAE is building its first nuclear power station in Barakah set to start power generation in May 2017. The entire plant will be fully operational by 2020. Once completed, Barakah Nuclear plant will produce 25% of country’s power requirement and will save 12 million Tons in carbon emissions every year. Many countries are diversifying fuel sources and investing in renewable energies, especially solar power, as part of their efforts to expand power supply.

What are the challenges facing the power sector in this region?

With the rapid increase in the power demand in the Middle East in the past many years, major challenge faced by the power sector in this region is the security of supply with ever increasing demand. To generate power the obstacles faced are affordability, efficiency and sustainability.

Governments are working hard for better, efficient and cost effective sources for power generation with sustainable resources and looking to maximize options to decrease the consumption of energy. Governments are also looking into partnering with private sector and independent power producers to increase the regions electricity supply.

As governments are diversifying the power sources like solar, nuclear, gas etc. the power sector should gear up with innovative products matching with the regulations of power distribution companies. One another major challenge in solar sector is still we do not have cheap power storing batteries and good solar power maintenance companies.

Power generated is mainly consumed for the HVAC equipment in the Middle East. Wrong selection of equipment, glazed buildings and unmaintained equipment will further increase the power consumption. Every watt saved will be a watt generated. The authorities need to look into these concerns.

According to you, what are some of the innovative products in the coming years for switchgears?

Switch gear industry is directly linked with the construction and industrial sector of the region. The growth in the construction industry has never dropped down in UAE even in the tougher times which will raise the need of advanced switch gears as well. The Middle East market is more in to importing the branded switchgear components which will be assembled according to the local authority specifications. The coming years will observe thinner and compact switch gears which will make smaller electrical cabinets in near future. The switches also started vanishing nowadays with the arrival of smart control systems and IP based controllers.

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