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Eaton is still investing, despite the downturn

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Eaton is still investing despite the downturn, says Middle East general manager Haitham Ahmad

Can you provide an overview of the products that Eaton is offering to the local market?

One of our latest products is the MV distribution switchgear, which has a voltage level of up to 24kV. Our green switchgears are great for the environment, an issue that has become increasingly important for us and is playing a massive role in developing our technology. We are also the only company to use SF6-free RMUs.

Most European and non-European manufacturers tend to work with SF6 insulation technology, whereas Eaton has very clear guidance to go for green technology, which means green switchgear and avoiding the use of SF6.

We also have a range of air-insulated and cast-resin switchgears.

What sort of clients do you have for these products?

Any customer who is looking for the latest maintenance-free components will be interested in our portfolio. In the region, environmental concerns may not have been a big issue in the past, but all that has changed. The environment is starting affect everyone’s daily business and I believe that it’s the future. Look at Masdar, for example; we are hopeful of winning some business there in the near future.

How have you been affected by the crisis?

At Eaton we see this crisis as an opportunity to restructure and optimise our local team, local resources and capability. About a year ago, we bought Moeller, a leader in power supply and industrial components, and by integrating the two groups together, this gave us additional resources. We have also started to develop our local channel partners and distributors to offer support and investment, helping them see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I am delighted to say that we are almost the only multi-national firm in the region that hasn’t lost a single employee.

What are your plans for the future?

For the future, we are investing and will continue to do so and we’re confident that what is happening today is ‘summer clouds’ as we say in Arabic. It’s temporary, and we’re confident that the GCC national governments are working hard and have a strong plan to attract investment back here. You can see that we are continuing to grow via our recent joint venture with SEG Power Solutions in Abu Dhabi, which is proof of our optimism. We’ve also taken the opportunity to expand our warehouses, associated systems and our service team.

What sets your products apart from the competition?

Eaton is committed to our customers, the region, our partners and distributors. We have rich history of brands - especially MEM, Cutler-Hammer, Bill - some of which have been around for a hundred years. One of our mantras is repeat sales; it’s important for us that the client feels confident enough to revisit us for more business. We also provide all the relevant international standards, and that is compounded by our extensive network of local offices. There are than 125 countries where Eaton is established and active.

Lastly, the high quality of the products, our commitment to the environment, and our strong service team mean that clients can trust us, an issue which truly gives us presence in the market.

Can you provide an example of a recent successful implementation of your products?

We were a turnkey solution provider for the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, providing the MV distribution network, digital metering and management control systems for the site, as well as other services. The client picked us because of our quick reaction and our strong technical proposal. The fact that we are a single source for the complete electrical package also helped.

I’m proud to say that we completed the job in a tight timeframe. In addition, with our busway system already present on Taipei 101, currently the world’s tallest building, we were keen to leave our mark on the Burj Dubai as well. I’m glad to say we won the same contract for that project as well, which is more evidence of our quality and commitment.

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