March 16, 2022
Recently Panel Builder & Systems Integrator had the opportunity to sit down with Volker Bibelhausen, Chief Technology Officer and Timo Berger, Chief Sales Officer from Weidmuller during a visit from Germany, along with Michael Daly, Weidmuller’s Managing Director for Canada.
The discussion naturally began with a discussion about the success in 2021 and the outlook and strategy looking ahead into 2022?
Volker Bibelhausen, Chief Technology Officer noted that: “In 2021 we have been successful in growing, especially in the field of OEM customers. We have enhanced our online marketing, customer visits, and pursued events when possible and safe. This resulted in wonderful growth with OEMs in different districts in Canada, which is also part of our strategy.”
The focus is clearly on developing relationships with a growing number of companies and market segments. Following this line, the team noted that a “major shift in the perspective and expectation is for direct growth in the Oil & Gas market; therefore, we also expect to focus more on this market, since it is one of our traditional strengths.”
Considering that Canada is the fifth largest natural producer of Oil & Gas, and the segment is rapidly advancing in its use of cutting-edge technology we turned to the distribution and accessibility of products to those working in this industry.
Timo Berger and Michael Daly both noted here the importance of utilizing the strong distribution partnerships they have developed and continue to focus on. However as new verticals are considered they noted that some areas will require direct attention from Weidmuller, but Michael was clear that “majority will continue with our distribution partners.”
Volker noted that “we enjoyed lots of opportunities in the intralogistics section, and that was a direct effect of COVID. There were several companies that experienced a boom and that has accelerated a lot of the development that we benefited from. Growth in the logistic sectors like in warehouses, cold storage, and similar provided new opportunities that were accelerated by COVID.”
With the discussion about new directions and product needs it became necessary to ask about R&D and how that has supported growth in traditional sectors and new markets.
Volker was keen to discuss the company’s focus in this area, stating that “during the pandemic restrictions, we increased our level of R&D in a number of areas like digitalization. We increased our focus and direct assets to the development of an IoT platform which we need for our customers. Weidmuller is spending 6.5-7% on R&D; at the beginning we had a discussion to see if we needed to cut, because no one knew where this pandemic situation was going to go. We decided to do the opposite, to boost spending, and that has been rewarded with lots of new stuff coming.”
And one result of the R&D investments is the SNAP IN:
“The SNAP IN Technology has taken Weidmuller technology to a new level. We are strong in connection technology with Screw; we introduced all kinds of cage clamps and spring terminals. We have learned so much about connection technology, it was like a mountain we needed to climb. However, our experts thought that there were new opportunities for the technology because it was ready to robot. We considered the opportunity for a robot to do the wiring. With the advantage being that you do not need a tool and there is this acoustic and optical feedback that the wire is really integrated and secured.
And on the discussion of new and exciting technology the team noted that we really should also be talking about u-sense and Weidmuller’s new u-remote portfolio that has transformed them into a true automation and IoT company.
Since November Weidmuller has offered an IIoT platform where they can service devices in the field, meaning they can provide superior I/O systems with remote support and data collection. It is as exciting as SNAP-IN, but we are having fun and see tremendous potential.
And they also noted how we could discuss collaborative engineering which relates to the middle east and southeast Asia where they have a global platform to process Oil & Gas. Or about the next generation of DC device connection, and SNAP IN technology, or a second factory in China, a logistics company in Germany, or several other things.
Clearly Weidmuller is HERE and has clearly set its focus on growing the market in North America with new product developments that will push the boundaries and firmly root Weidmuller as a true IIoT company.