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Top 20 innovators in the Middle East

Here is our list of GCC's 20 best innovators

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ANALYSIS

ABB

ABB manufactures a range of power and automation products in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to serve rising local demand for electrical infrastructure. Their engineering teams across the region design and deliver a range of complex solutions from substations to serve new cities, oil and gas electrification, to electrical infrastructure for new property developments globally.

The company spends more than US$1bn on research and development activities. In 2012, the company developed the world’s first circuit breaker for high voltage direct current (HVDC) – a breakthrough that the firm says ‘removes a 100 year old barrier to the development of DC transmission grids’.

The circuit breaker is said to be capable of interrupting power flows equivalent to the output capacity of a large power facility within 5 milliseconds. ABB says that it will enable effective integration and transmission of renewable energy. Air-insulated circuit breakers is a well-proven technology with various applications such as the Disconnecting Circuit Breaker with less footprint and increased reliability, as well as numerous compact and integrated solutions for both live and dead tank circuit breaker technology.

AES Arabia

AES Arabia is a Saudi-based company that specialises in wastewater treatment. The company is one of the regional pioneers in membrane treatment and has played an important role in the evolution of reverse osmosis through innovative designs, improved pre-treatment techniques and cost effective solutions. It specialises in the manufacture, maintenance and operation of custom made water and wastewater treatment systems.

The company has fully equipped manufacturing and support facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia occupying an area of 11,000sqm, which is one of the largest in the region. This facility also provides design, engineering, production, installation and maintenance support for the company’s operations in the Gulf, Middle East & North Africa. The company’s provides products and services in reverse osmosis, sewage treatment, demineralisation, wastewater treatment, membrane filtration, surface water treatment among others. It also specialises in 13 other fields such as refinery, petrochemicals, electricity and power generation.

Aqualyng

In the relatively short span of time since 1998, Aqualyng has garnered an excellent industry reputation for delivering desalination plants for production of all qualities of water.

Its reverse osmosis-based plant solutions have increased efficiencies and reduced costly assembly times for projects in the Middle East, especially in the GCC countries.

The Recuperator is Aqualyng’s patented energy saving device which allows recycling up to 98.5 per cent of the energy contained in the reject of the desalination process, which lowers operating costs. A compact, tower-like structure, the device has had three versions in the past, each one building on the strengths of its predecessor.

The Recuperator uses the saline-reject (brine) from the membranes to pressurise pre-treated seawater in a sequential process regulated by the brine flow from the RO membranes. The device consists of vertically standing pairs of duplex stainless steel chambers that work alternatively in a compression-transfer and decompression-discharge sequence. Pre-treated seawater comes from a pressurised feeding tank that keeps a constant flow and pressure into the system.

The Recuperator allows the pressurized brine to ‘recycle’ its energy back to the membranes in conjunction with a booster pump – only that the brine is replaced with pre-treated seawater at an identical flow. The device has played a large part in revolutionising the industry by dropping energy consumption as low as 2 - 2.5 kWh/m3. With the Recuperator, Aqualyng has brought high-efficiency energy recovery to many countries including Oman.

Atlas Copco

Atlas Copco is a global manufacturer of industrial tooling and equipment and one of the world’s largest producers of air compressors. Last year, the company launched its latest range of sustainable light towers - the new QLTS light towers - that are charged by the sun during the day and are powered by batteries during the night.

As well as being environment friendly, the solar powered lights are cost effective and – without an engine and alternator – are quiet to run. Powered by AGM batteries that are charged by the sun, the LED towers can provide light for days without needing a recharge. That energy is captured by highly efficient solar panels that are easily tilted for optimal performance. The energy is then stored in heavy duty batteries. The QLTS series comes with both manual and automatic photocell controlled on/off requiring no user input.

For those challenging winter days and 24/7 operations with shorter day light hours, an external charge connection is provided. When light is needed, the high efficiency LED lights switch on and off instantly. The QLTS optimises light output for the battery charge to provide quality light throughout the night. The QLTS is robustly designed with a heavy duty, steel enclosure for the control cubicle, a mast that extends vertically up to 6 metres and that can be rotated 359°, stabilisation legs and an on-road undercarriage.

Averda

Averda is one of the largest environmental solutions provider in the MENA region, specialising in integrated resources management. The company is at the forefront of innovation within the regional marketplace in terms of providing sustainable solutions, and brings more than 35 years of experience in the effective management of waste for both private and public sector clients across recreational, residential, commercial and industrial areas. Averda’s extensive portfolio ranges from services like street cleaning, waste collection and recycling to some full-scale technology solutions for water & wastewater treatment and the recovery of valuable and recyclable resources- paper, metals and water.

One of Averda’s highly-successful offerings in wastewater recycling is Lavora, a laundry wastewater recycling system that purifies wastewater for reuse without using chemicals. Lavora helps overcome both environmental and financial challenges in wastewater recycling by helping reducing water consumption by 70 per cent while also keeping the temperature of the water close to the operational temperature, thus reducing heating cost by some 40 per cent.

The closed loop system uses several stages of treatment and filtration to recycle purified wastewater in high volume applications and is capable of processing up to 1,200 litres of water per minute.

In addition to these features Lavora also boasts ease of maintenance, environment friendly components and a compact size. The system’s popularity is further enhanced by the fact it is fully automated with instant reporting on water and energy consumption and can even be remotely monitored.

Lavora is ideally suited to serve a wide range of establishments like commercial laundries, hotels, hospitals, universities, army barracks, staff accommodations and even prisons.

Dow Water & Process Solutions

Dow Water & Process Solutions (DW&PS) has been actively engaged in region’s water market, offering a broad portfolio of ion exchange resins, reverse osmosis membranes, ultra filtration membranes and electrode-ionisation products, with strong positions in a number of major application areas, including industrial and municipal water, industrial processes, pharmaceuticals, power, residential water and water reuse.

In the Middle East, Dow has a wide list of references for such innovative integrated technologies through their high-performance Dow FILMTEC membranes, utrafiltration modules and Aqucar Biocide technologies that help millions of people across the region access a sustainable source of potable water in some of the most water-challenged areas of the region, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman.

For example, a recent Riyadh water treatment project in Saudi Arabia features 13 unique high recovery Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis (BWRO) plants designed with the latest integrated DW&PS solutions to treat high temperature, high iron and high salinity deep well water.

Other important water treatment projects for Dow in the region are the Al Ain Dairy and Park Hyatt Dubai wastewater reuse projects. These projects demonstrate that sustainable water reuse practices are also profitable as Dow technologies help shift the cooling and utility water sources from high cost desalinated seawater to low cost treated wastewater.

Ducab

Ducab is a leading provider of high-quality cabling products in the Middle East and is considered to be one of the most important modern manufacturing units in the region. It is equally owned by the Dubai and Abu Dhabi governments. The company occupies an area of 590 thousand square meters in the Jebel Ali district of Dubai and around 330 thousand square meters within the Mussafah district in Abu Dhabi, which incorporates two factories. Ducab currently produces approximately 105 thousand tons of copper cables per annum including high, medium and low voltage cables.

The company’s product range includes high voltage cables up to 400kV, Ducab Power Plus medium voltage cables up to 33kV, low voltage power cables, control and auxiliary, wiring and lead-sheathed cables, Ducab Smokemaster (Low SmokeZeroHalogen cables), RuBICC rubber cables and FlamBICC (Fire Resistant cables), in addition to cable components and cable accessories, as well as copper rods.

Ducab recently ran a campaign called ‘Power Over Fire’ jointly with the UAE Civil Defence. This involved raising awareness of fire safety in the UAE, and Ducab took a unique approach to this, by utilising a nationwide Ducab FlamBICC truck tour, aboard which experts provided an interactive learning experience regarding fire safety, and provided the public with information of Ducab’s FlamBICC cables and wires.

Emerson Network Power

Emerson Network Power – a division of Emerson Electric company – is a global technology company that specialises in the development and manufacture of power backup systems, power supplies, precision cooling, racks/enclosures among others. The company has had a steadily growing presence in the Middle East and Africa for nearly two decades and has established a reputation for technology innovation and industry leadership. Customers in the MENA account for US$1.3bn of Emerson sales.

For example, Copeland Scroll compressor technology from Emerson has become the workhorse that provides the cooling power for energy efficient air conditioning and refrigeration systems around the world. The company is adding electronics and diagnostic intelligence capabilities to further improve efficiency, enable more precise temperature control, and help to identify potential issues.

Similarly, embedded power supply, UPS, and precision cooling technologies from Emerson are enabling the growth of the information-based economy by ensuring business-critical continuity and high availability of electronic equipment used in telecommunications, data centres, and other businesses.

Emirates Steel

Emirates Steel is the only steelmaker in the MENA region qualified to supply Q-class (nuclear quality) reinforcing steel to the UAE nuclear energy programme and the fourth company in the world to be qualified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to produce Nuclear Qualified reinforcing rebar. In September this year, the company delivered the first steel cargo to ENEC’s (Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation) nuclear power plant site in Barakah.

“It took us more than two years to make the grade and to implement a nuclear quality system that would allow us to manufacture and supply nuclear quality products to the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program,” said Saeed Ghumran Al Romaithi, chief executive officer of Emirates Steel. “This system was only developed to supply products to nuclear projects and can only be activated for nuclear orders.”

“Public safety in nuclear power generation is the main concern of every operator and this is one reason why Emirates Steel adheres to every nuclear energy standard in production, safety, testing, inspections, and control of measurement devices. We are confident that our products conform to established safety standards,” added Al Romaithi.

The reinforcing steel has been tested by US-based ERICO International Corporation to confirm that it is manufactured in accordance with ASME standards.

Fluke

Fluke is a specialist in hand held test and measurement equipment. Historically, the company specialises in digital multi meters, but now their portfolio spreads much wider, into current clamps, insulation testers, instrumentation signal analysis, power quality, indoor air diagnostics as well as predicative maintenance tools for electrical, instrumentation and mechanical systems. Fluke has helped define and grow a unique technology market, providing testing and troubleshooting capabilities that have grown to mission critical status in manufacturing and service industries.

Last year, the company launched the CNX Wireless system, the first set of tools that wirelessly connects multiple measurement modules and sends simultaneous readings to the master device up to 20 metres away, allowing users to troubleshoot problems quickly and efficiently. More recently, Fluke launched the 570 non-contact thermometers which measure surface temperatures, helping to quickly locate lubrication problems, overloads, short-circuits or misaligned and overheated equipment.

GE Energy

With regional activities since 1930s, GE’s presence today comprises an array of established utility projects across the Middle East. The company has been a leading global supplier of water treatment, wastewater treatment and efficient process systems solutions in the region. GE has products to serve power generation customers that range from transformers to completely housed power equipment centers.

Additionally, GE provides services that range from staff augmentation to full turn-key responsibility for defined scopes of work. GE provides products and services to address critical needs in the areas of reactive compensation, power transformers, and high voltage breakers.

GE provides large utility customers with products and services encompassing distributed generation, power management, and critical power applications necessary for the more cost-conscious customer.

One of the companies most innovative product is the Entellisys low-voltage switchgear, which increases safety by allowing operators to stay out of the arc flash zone and by including features that lower the arc flash incident energy. The Near-Gear HMI allows monitoring, control & maintenance outside the arc-flash protection boundary, thereby reducing the risk of employee incidents resulting from arc-flash. The company’s Remote Racking Device allows operators to be located outside of the arc flash zone when racking circuit breakers between positions.

iPEK

At iPEK, engineering and craftsmanship converge to create crawlers known for their maneuverability, versatility and reliability, and which is acclaimed by inspection professionals worldwide. As a manufacturer of pipeline inspection systems the company can look back to 25 years of high quality technical developments.

The ROVVER-system with the pan and tilt camera RC80 or the zoom camera head RC90 is one of the milestone products of the company. It was later followed by the Supervision system which has set new standards in camera and pipeline inspection technology with its modular design and the mobile control unit.

In 2011 a new system ROVION was introduced to the market, through which iPEK has developed a completely scalable entry-level solution for the industry. With regard to size, economic efficiency and functionality this crawler system offers everything a pipeline inspector requires for his work. The application area of the ROVION system starts at a pipe diameter of DN100, which with suitable accessories, can be used up to a nominal width of DN1000.

The VISIONCONTROL control panel serves as the core control unit for the mobile crawler technology. Additionally it is the interface to the AGILIOS pan and tilt push camera system, which can optionally be connected to the ROVION system.

Kee Safety

Kee Safety is a supplier of collective and personal fall protection systems to various markets, predominantly power plants and wastewater treatment plants. It offers cost effective, flexible and safe solutions by providing components and bespoke safety systems for handrails, railings and barriers.

The company’s range has expanded from their original KEE KLAMP products into a portfolio of safety equipment such as one of its latest innovations - the KEE WALK system. Designed for use on composite, trapezoidal metal profiles and standing seam roofs, this type of off-the-shelf, modular system can be easily adapted on-site to a wide range of different roof types, pitches and configurations. The result is a system that’s easier to install and more cost-effective than traditional, bespoke walkway systems. A tested and proven counterbalance system, this modular roof guardrail system meets or exceeds prescribed fall prevention safety standards including OSHA, EU Directives & CDM Regulations.

“We’re always looking for something that will sell products and expand markets and lets us quickly get new ideas through R&D,” president of Kee Safety Mike Mumau says.

Megger

Megger manufactures test equipment and measuring instruments for electrical power applications and is an important supplier in the GCC market. For over 100 years the company has been an innovator in its field, being the first to bring to market a wide range of products including insulation testers, multimeters, cable fault location systems and automated relay test sets.

Megger has strong sales growth in the GCC countries in the past few years. Its product range of portable test instruments covers a broad spectrum of testing applications and its product developments in the transformer testing field have been very well received.

One of Megger’s innovations, TM1700-series circuit breaker analyser system, is a multifunction tester which can be used to measure electrical installations in commercial and domestic properties in compliance with IEC60364, VDE0100 and BS7671.

This multifunction testing device can be used to measure insulation at selectable ranges of 250V or 500V, carries out 200mA continuity and resistance testing with adjustable buzzer threshold, can carry out RCD testing and performs 2 and 3 wire non-tripping loop testing procedures.

There are four models starting from PC-remote controlled to fully stand-alone. All models can be controlled from a computer using the well proven data management and analysing software CABA Win. All inputs and outputs on the instrument are designed to withstand the challenging environment in high-voltage substations and industrial environments. Galvanically isolated inputs and outputs makes it possible to perform all relevant measurements in one test, eliminating the need for new setup and re-connections.

Nynas

Nynas is one of the world’s leading providers of transformer oils. The company has a wide product range, a global supply network and an extensive service and knowledge offering. The company has been doing quite well in the Middle East, thanks to the various investments from the authorities and general growth in the economy and population.

The company invests heavily in R&D and have laboratory dedicated to just studying oil, with access to bench-scale hydrotreatment units and micro-reactors.

Nynas’ Super Grade oils meet the toughest performance demands and have been developed to provide outstanding stability for a longer service life with less maintenance of the transformers.

The firm’s high grades are well refined and offers good inhibitor response, providing excellent oxidation stability for a long service life. If the company’s product range doesn’t meet specifications, it can even customise a grade. Their products are manufactured at refineries in Europe and North and South America.

Phoenix Contact

Founded over 80 years ago, Phoenix Contact manufactures industrial automation, interconnection, and interface solutions in the area of electrical engineering, electronics and automation. It offers terminal blocks, which include relays, signal conditioning, controller system cabling, surge suppression, transition interfaces, and custom interfaces; printed circuit board terminal blocks; controllers and IO; as well as industrial plug connectors.

The company recently launched the FAME testing system, using which complex testing tasks in switching systems can be completed quickly and safely. It also offers a range of operating, testing, and dummy plugs.

The distinguishing feature of this system is that it automatically short-circuits the transformer when any connectors are replaced. Together with the touch-proof design, this ensures the best possible measuring safety. The modular system structure enables cost-efficient testing layouts based on the following premise: Each application must be provided with the correct number of pins.

Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation is a global provider of industrial automation and power solutions. The company is the preferred automation vendor to many blue chip companies in the Middle East. Their wide range of products and services offers end users, system integrators and OEMs a way to increase their competitive advantage while meeting specific business objectives.

Rockwell Automation has the technology and solutions to mitigate the potential risks associated with these challenges and to help compnaies adapt to the changing landscape of electricity generation. Rockwell Automation offers a broad portfolio that enhances efficiency, optimises plant operations, reduces emissions, avoids unplanned downtime and provides the low total cost of ownership (TCO).

Rockwell Automation offers integrated control, power, safety and information solutions in one open, scalable architecture for complete plantwide control – for conventional or renewable energy generation. Rockwell’s PowerFlex 525 AC drive helps machine builders and end users simplify equipment design and operation, and speed installation and configuration. The PowerFlex 525 AC drive features a modular design in power ranges from 0.5 to 30 horsepower or 0.4 to 22kW at 100 to 600 volt input. It’s embedded EtherNet/IP, safety, USB programming, energy savings and a variety of motor control options are ideally suited for machine-level and stand-alone applications or simple system integration.

Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric specialises in electricity distribution, automation management and produces installation components for energy management. In 2012, the fourth Zayed Future Energy Prize paid special homage to Schneider Electric in the large corporations category, for its innovations in cleantech. The company hopes to continue leading the effort in resolving the global energy challenge with innovative and efficient solutions that curb energy waste, promote clean generation and influence consumption habits that respect and help resuscitate the environment.

One of Schneider’s most talked about innovations is the MiCOM Relay protection range, a cost-effective one-box solution for integrated numerical time-overcurrent protection and control. The 10, 20, 30 and 40 series hardware platforms are the building blocks of the MiCOM protection relay range providing the capability for a wide variety of protection, control, measurement, monitoring and communication functions. The unit’s protection functions provide selective short-circuit protection, ground fault protection and overload protection in medium- and high voltage systems. The systems can be operated as solidly grounded, low-impedance-grounded, resonant grounded or isolated-neutral systems.

Siemens Energy

The Siemens Energy Sector is a leading supplier of a broad spectrum of products, services and solutions for power generation in thermal power plants. The company uses renewables and power transmission in grids for the extraction, processing and transport of oil and gas. It enables customers to generate, transmit and distribute electrical power at the highest levels of efficiency and also help them produce, convert and transport the primary fuels oil and gas.

The company’s state-of-the-art system SICAM PAS (Power Automation System) fully complies with IEC 61850. Networking and IT capabilities, interoperable system structure and integration into existing systems are characteristics that make SICAM PAS a sound investment for the future. It makes configuration and commissioning easy, saves time, and helps increase the efficiency of operations management.

A successful automation system is the foundation for a high level of functionality and flexibility. Naturally, that also includes comprehensive options for telecontrol, communication and for connecting peripheral equipment. SICAM PAS can be easily included in existing systems and used for system integration, too. With modern diagnostics, it optimally supports commissioning and maintenance.

Toray

Toray offers integrated skills and expertise in water and wastewater treatment technologies, high quality membranes, and complementary water treatment products to help customers improve their competitiveness and plant performance. It is one of the very few companies with expertise across the entire spectrum of high-performance water treatment membranes, including reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, nano-filtration (NF) membranes, ultra-filtration (UF) membranes, micro-filtration (MF) membranes and membrane bioreactors (MBR).

The company product line includes state-of-the-art cross-linked polyamide composite membranes manufactured under ISO-9001 certification. The range of ultrafiltration elements, both in pressurised and submerged configurations, employs a PVDF hollow-fiber and serves in numerous water treatment units around the world. Toray’s membrane modules for membrane bioreactors uses flat-sheet PVDF membranes and can be configured for gravity-driven or suction-controlled operation.

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