Face to face: David Stevenson, Belimo Automation

David Stevenson, managing director, Belimo Automation, talks about the HVAC controls market in the Middle East

David Stevenson, managing director, Belimo Automation.
David Stevenson, managing director, Belimo Automation.

What can we expect from Belimo in 2017 in terms of its penetration and market strategy in the Middle East market?

Our market strategy is built fully on Belimo’s mission and values. We intend to expand our market leading position in development, production, and marketing of actuator solutions for HVAC systems, while focusing on actuators, control valves, and sensors, thus ensuring that the synergies among those field devices can be leveraged to provide more customer value.

Belimo will continue to focus on operational excellence, improving internal and external processes in a global network. Our aim is to be a trusted partner across the globe for its customers, offering them the added value they expect. Belimo delivers more than just products. We support our customers with innovative, efficient and energy-optimising solutions and bring success to both our customers and ourselves. We are close to our customers throughout the world; we speak their language and understand them. Everything we do gives them the reassurance that they have chosen the very best.

How do you see the market shaping up in 2017 and why?

So far this year we have seen positive results and have reaped the rewards of extensive sales and marketing from the previous years. This includes the installation in 2016 of a water training rig in our Dubai Airport Free Zone facility, featuring our innovative selection of Pressure Independent Control Valves that can be operated dynamically, allowing our customers to experience the efficiency and quality of our products. We also had a very successfully Big 5 Show 2016, which provided us with an opportunity to showcase our last innovative products to the market.

However, the market is not without its challenges both economically and politically and these are drivers for us to explore deeper, focus harder while keeping true to our mission and values.

What are the current trends in values and actuator for the HVAC sector in the Middle East according to you?

The days of static balancing of variable flow systems are numbered. Smart valves that can dynamically balance, control and utilise data to improve system performance will no doubt play a major role in modern buildings HVAC system efficiency.

Internet of Things (IoT), or the so called Industry 4.0, is a game changer in our industry, and so communicative devices such as control valves, will become ‘Performance Devices’  and will have an important role to play in the way we use and control energy consumption. Being able to ‘fine tune’ the circuit and system performance and, rather than rely on calculated design data, actually use ‘real time’ data from the system is a major step change for our industry. We will see a greater use of cloud-based services, where data can be stored and shared to improve building system performance and operation. It will also allow for regular reporting back to users of performance reports, which can then be used to enhance efficiencies.

Where are the next big opportunities for growth and why?

The HVAC market, and with this HVAC controls, will continue to grow on a global scale and above GDP-growth rates. This comes mainly from the following key drivers:

Urbanisation: Since 2007 more people live in cities than in rural areas and every year about 70 million more people are added to the planet. Because of the needs of people to live in urban areas, buildings become larger. As people spend most of their time in buildings they depend on good indoor air quality to feel comfortable.

Energy Efficiency: Depending on the design and purpose of a building, 40% to 80% of its consumed energy is related to HVAC. Consequently, the efficiency of HVAC systems is crucial to keeping the building operating costs low. The interest in the environment and CO² emissions will continue to be a growing driver.

Safety: Safety in case of fire is important and buildings must be designed such that a quick evacuation of people is possible while protecting important or valuable assets. With the largest share in the fire and smoke damper actuators market, Belimo has the obligation to innovate such products and applications, while promoting building codes that are continuously updated to reflect de-facto standards.

Digitisation and new IoT based business: In all segments of building technologies digitisation and IoT concepts are now being accelerated. Elevators, fire-safety-systems, electrical meters, power-systems and many other building-systems are becoming permanently connected to cloud-based IoT platforms. These platforms allow for permanent analysis of anomalies and, if needed, remote intervention.

What new products will you be launching in 2017-2018?

Belimo is currently launching many new products into the market:

(1) The new sensor range from Belimo are an ideal complement to actuators and valves from Belimo, optimising system performance and improving energy efficiency. The sensors can be seamlessly integrated into all major building automation and control systems (BACS) and are extremely reliable, guaranteeing high quality.

(2) The Belimo Energy Valve consists of a two-way characterised control valve, volumetric flow meter, temperature sensors and an actuator with integrated logic that combines many functions in a single installation-friendly unit. The new valve is an IoT device that measures and manages coil energy consumption by utilising an embedded flow meter, along with supply and return water temperature sensors.

(3) The communicative PR actuators have been upgraded with BACnet and SuperCap functionality. The PR actuator is also able to be programmed to control and simplify the effective staging of main plant items such as pumps, chillers etc.

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