With Linz Electric Inc., we look at the North American market from close up

Linz Electric has been operating directly on the US and Canada markets for more than a year now, working through its branch in Northbrook, Illinois. This has enabled us to show what Linz Electric is truly able to offer in terms of products and services. And with a direct presence in the market, we can also get a better understanding of local needs and tailor our range of products to many different applications, always coming up with original and innovative solutions to satisfy customers.

Following an initial period of corporate organization, we embarked on a marketing and sales campaign that has shown our product, manufactured entirely in Italy, to be just as attractive to the North American market as it is to our own.

The factors that have persuaded US and Canadian gen-set manufacturers to go for the Linz Electric product are basically these:

  • Speed of response and technical backup: thanks to the experience of engineers and support staff based both at our headquarters in Italy and at our US branch, we are able to provide the help and the speed of response typically expected in our sector.
  • Readily available stock: the strategic decision to set up offices and a finished product warehouse located in Chicago was taken in the knowledge that we would be able to meet the needs of customers in the US and Canada swiftly and efficiently.
  • After-sales network: our internal after-sales service has been incorporated into the EASA organization — www.easa.org — which operates through a penetrative network of more than 1400 service and repair centres on the American continent, ensuring a prompt and practical answer to the needs of our customers.
  • Products of innovative design offering performance higher than market benchmarks: a wide certified range of compact products, with high efficiency ratings, optimum wave form — including series dedicated to sundry applications — and quality guaranteed constant over time, thanks to extensively automated manufacture and tight quality control of materials and components utilized.
  • Possibilities for customization: our products are designed to offer opportunities for customization to suit different applications.
  • Notable corporate flexibility: Linz Electric is well known in the sector as a fast-moving and flexible company capable of responding immediately to the demands of the market, developing new products and offeringa high level of manufacturing capability. The main strength of the Pedrollo Group derives from a studied vertical integration of its manufacturing processes.

 By establishing a direct presence, Linz Electric has been able to benefit from the substantially robust health of the American economy, which is reflected by an appreciable number of indicators, namely:

GDP — the rate of growth envisaged for 2017is forecast at between 2.5% and 3%. In other words, around twice the forecast for the Euro Area

The rate of unemployment continues to move toward the natural unemployment rate. This should reach 4.5% for 2017, and there are expectations for a further drop over the next three years

US Production — analysts predict an increase occurring at a faster rate than that of the general economy. Production will increase by over 3%. This reflects the strongly optimistic outlook of the North American manufacturing sector, with production expected to grow over the next three years.

Inflation — calculated at 1.9 % for 2017 and more than 2% for 2018. These percentages are higher than the 1.5% experienced in 2016 the ultra low 0.7% recorded in 2015. The modest rates of inflation in those years were attributable to the falling cost of oil.

In addition to these macroeconomic factors, we have had:

  • a strong dollar, making our product even more competitive,
  • a trend, established over several years, that has seen almost all the major American manufacturers of alternators to transfer production to Asian markets;
  • the recognition of the North American market as world leader in the Power Generation sector.

 

Surveys and analysis of the global generators market suggest a projected increase from $16.61 billion in 2015 to $24.76 billion in 2024, corresponding to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.58% between 2015 and 2024. The biggest share in this particular market is held by North America, at 31.70%.

Industries such as mining, oil and gas, petrochemicals, building, automotive and manufacturing, likewise data centers, telecommunications and residential structures, all make use of generators as additional energy sources.

The demand for medium power generators is currently greatest in the residential, commercial and light industrial sectors. Furthermore, the integration of generators with renewable energy sources has opened up a range of new opportunities for companies operating in the sector.

Many governments and environmental bodies have long been deeply concerned with the question of carbon emissions, so that for top players in the generator market, the improvement of efficiency in terms of fuel consumption is key in gaining a strategic edge.

Manufacturers focus increasingly on the development of generators that make less noise and offer advanced technologies such as remote control and wireless connection.

A look at the various fields of application for generators can offer useful insights into the trends and tendencies typical of the sector:

Residential

For some years now we have seen an increasing demand from residential consumers for electricity needed to operate electrical and electronic appliances. Numerous manufacturers now concentrate their efforts on developing technologically advanced generators that will be more competitive in this market segment, offering features that make a substantial difference when compared with Asian imports.

The development of next generation generators represents a trend toward diversification now becoming more and more evident in the residential generators market. These new smart generators are equipped with additional applications that allow the connection of equipment over the internet, as well as maximizing the focus on efficient energy consumption, reducing carbon emissions, extending service life, minimizing noise and excellent wave form (THD) of alternators, thereby enabling operation with any type of domestic load.

Linz Electric offers a wide range of options for the residential market, using both single-phase brushless machines with capacitor control (SP and E1C), and brushless types with electronic control operating at 1500/1800 rpm or 3000/3600 rpm (E1X, SLS and PRO series).

Telecommunications and hybrid

The very nature of telecommunications is such that all systems utilized demand a high level of reliability. As anyone operating in the telecommunications industry knows, one of the greatest challenges is that of keeping repeaters permanently connected and ready for use. In certain cases, the problem is one of maintaining electrical energy in the system so as to actually generate and supply power to the repeater. Having equipment available for construction work is generally a critical process, especially when considering that the repeaters are located in isolated areas.

Our SL and PRO series are built with no compromise whatever made on quality, so as to ensure that higher levels of reliability required in the telecommunications sector will be comfortably met. And when equipped with a digital electronic controller of the latest generation, these units will also allow remote control and analysis operations.

For hybrid applications using DC, we offer the BC9 series which can be equipped with an advanced Battery Management System (BMS) to guarantee controlled recharging and significantly increase the service life of next generation batteries.

Lighting towers

This application, which has widespread use in the construction industry, could benefit in the medium term from renewed investment in the oil & gas sector and in the mining industry.

The segment of lighting towers powered by diesel engines is one expected to see a certain amount of growth over the next 3 years. Given the superior reliability of diesel generating sets, the high capacity of fuel storage systems, longer life expectancy and simple maintenance, the market for light towers powered by diesel engines has expanded significantly over the last 10 years.

The LED segment is regarded as the one presenting the highest coefficient for growth in the Lighting Towers market, in the near future, by virtue especially of certain factors such as the increasing use of solar panels to reduce the impact of carbon, resulting from the need for compliance with new regulations and the availability of subsidies for the installation of PV energy and LED lighting systems.

Linz has developed a series of alternators for this sector, marketed under the name ALUMEN , designed in collaboration with leading makers of Lighting Towers.

Gas Generators

Whilst the market for diesel generators is currently the most important due to their extensive presence or availability, it is expected that the market for generators powered by natural gas will expand rapidly in the medium/long term, given increasing concerns over the need to curb harmful emissions. The compound annual growth rate forecast for the natural gas generators market is around 8% for the period from 2015 to 2024. Industries in the United States are witnessing an increased demand for generators of this type.

Electronically controlled brushless units of the E1X and PRO series  are already in widespread use for applications of this type.