After several economically challenging years Spain now finds itself again in growth mode. This applies especially to the logistics sector, which is reporting increases of twenty-five percent. Mario Pajuelo, Business Development Manager Iberia at Bihl+Wiedemann, reveals in conversation with the ASi MASTER NEWS why the manufacturers of horizontal transport applications are relying on ASi and ASi Safety when designing their system.
ASi MASTER NEWS: Mr. Pajuelo, Bihl+Wiedemann has only been active in the Spanish market since 2012. Nevertheless your country is already today one of the greatest consumers of your company’s products. Would it be fair to say that things are just taking off in Spain?
Mario Pajuelo: Yes, that formulation actually hits the nail on the head, because it is above all the rapid development in the logistics sector that has been for some time responsible for the great demand for ASi and ASi Safety solutions. Rentals of logistics space have shown an increase of an amazing twenty-five percent in 2018 compared to the prior year. This enormous growth is only manageable of course if the right technologies are in place.
ASi MASTER NEWS: Before we get to the technologies: what are the most important drivers of the logistics boom?
Mario Pajuelo: There are mainly two aspects to this: on one hand, following a weakness phase that lasted until 2015 the Spanish economy has been on a considerable upswing for the past two or three years. And if more is produced, logically more also has to be transported. The increase rates in logistics however are much greater than those of the gross domestic product. This in turn is related to the unusual growth of the e-commerce segment. Southern Europe is highly dynamic in this respect, and Spain even leads the e-commerce ranking of the Southern European countries, most recently with an increase of around seventeen percent compared to the prior year
ASi MASTER NEWS: Most applications implemented by you on the Iberian peninsula are horizontal transport applications. What does Bihl+Wiedemann have in particular to offer here?
Mario Pajuelo: One important argument in the eyes of our customers is certainly the variety of different solutions that we are able to offer for this very heterogeneous market. We are dealing essentially with two groups of applications: light transports up to 15 kg and heavy transports of over 15 kg. For many years the rule was: light transports are driven by DC motors, heavy transports by AC motors. AS-INTERFACE INTERVIEW 09 As the AC motors with integrated inverters became increasingly efficient as well as smaller, the two groups became mixed. In the meantime the distinction is rather based on the type of loading: packages or pallets. Our portfolio includes the optimal solution for any application: for DC motors for example we are compatible with Interroll, Itoh Denki, Rollex, Pulse and RULMECA – and with AC motors we are compatible with Lenze and SEW. Then there is our unique range of Gateways for the communication with virtually any fieldbus. This means: regardless of which PLC and which motor our customers choose, with Bihl+Wiedemann they are always on the safe side.
ASi MASTER NEWS: And what is the role that ASi Safety plays here?
Mario Pajuelo: Of course there are now safety solutions for many fieldbuses. But for this special kind of applications only very few safe signals are generally installed – and even then they are spaced widely apart. With our safety modules even one single signal can be decentrally collected. And if you consider the freedom of topology, the practical noise immunity, the great flexibility in cable routing and no least the costs, ASi Safety cannot be beaten.
ASi MASTER NEWS: Is cost effectiveness also one of your assets when it comes to standard applications?
Mario Pajuelo: Absolutely. This starts with the fact that thanks to the piercing technology in the IP67 field modules no additional connectors are needed for connecting fieldbus and power supply. However, the biggest potential for savings is provided by the decentral signals. Without AS-Interface two to three sensors plus the motor of each conveyor unit would have to be individually wired to the PLC. With ASi one single module suffices for combining all the components into one system. In addition to the cost savings there is another decisive advantage: the system builder can test his conveyor units without great effort before shipping, preventing problems for example during commissioning – an option which especially the manufacturers of larger systems appreciate.
ASi MASTER NEWS: Have you become integrated with the global players among the machine builders in the Spanish market, or is it more domestic manufacturers who set the tone?
Mario Pajuelo: Of course many large machine builders are represented with subsidiaries in Spain as well. But there are also a large number of Spanish companies in this sector. To be able to serve their needs even better in the future we opened a new location in Terrassa in the province of Barcelona. The boom in the logistics sector can continue to grow as far as we are concerned – we’re ready for it.
ASi MASTER NEWS: Mr. Pajuelo, we thank you for the conversation.