SEW-EURODRIVE is punting system integration as a new area of differentiation in order to increase the uptake of its products in the marketplace. This will also help promote the OEM as a total solutions provider for entire project lifecycles.
The main aim behind system integration is to bring together companies that supply automation components and technology, like SEW-EURODRIVE, with system integrators, who invariably tackle entire projects. The key here is that products from different suppliers can be used in a single system or project, Hendri Oosthuizen, Mechatronics Sales Engineer, explains.
“Although we would like to supply SEW-EURODRIVE products as far as possible to our clients, there may be a requirement for something we do not supply, such as a PLC or pneumatic component,” he points out.
However, the total solution is predicated on SEW-EURODRIVE technology, in addition to any additional requirements. The system integrator is essentially tasked to integrate all of these disparate elements in order to be able to present the end user with a complete solution,” Norman Maleka, National Sales Manager, comments.
Systems integration is an important market for the OEM, as such integrators typically have exposure to a range of client applications and requirements. “The more comfortable they are with integrating our products, the more likely they are to go out there and promote our products to end users as integral components of the overall system,” Maleka notes.
The opportunities for system integration run the gamut from mining to automation and food and beverage. “For example, if an end user wants to set up a typical process or assembly line, the system integrator will supply all of the necessary products he is familiar with that meet these specific requirements. The end result is a total solution that integrates the mechanical, electrical, and even data needs,” Oosthuizen highlights.
Launched this year, SEW-EURODRIVE’s systems integration push is an attempt to ‘shake hands’ with potential customers and introduce them to the wide range of technology and solutions available from the OEM.
“Our aim is to establish partnerships with companies specialising in automation, and to sell our extensive range of electronic and automation components to them. Not only will this help these companies in meeting the diverse daily needs of their own end users, it will build confidence in the broader marketplace as to SEW-EUDROIVE’s competency and expertise in this arena,” Maleka outlines.
Importantly, Maleka adds that these constitute two-way partnerships. “We may receive an enquiry on a large project that requires some mechanical components that do not necessarily form part of our own product range. We would then be able to partner with a specific system integrator in supplying the automation side.
“While SEW-EURODRIVE has a solid reputation as a gearbox and drives supplier, our business approach this year is to focus much more on our extensive electronics product ranges. Not a lot of people in the industry know about this particular portfolio of ours, which we would like to promote to the point of it becoming the standard option across the board,” Maleka states.
The OEM has already staged a well-received Open Day at its Johannesburg facility, where system integrators were introduced to the company’s extensive automation and electronics product ranges.
“We brought them here in order to show to them exactly what SEW-EURODRIVE is about, the investment in our infrastructure, our training focus with the Drive Academy, as well as the general competence and expertise that underpins every single one of our products.
“We are going to roll this out to all of our other branches as well, in order to be able to reach as many system integrators as possible countrywide.” These will include Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, and Port Elizabeth. Attendance at any of the Open Days will be free of charge.
In terms of specific support offered to system integrators, Oosthuizen explains that SEW-EURODRIVE can visit a potential customer in order to best determine its precise requirements. “Following this, we will provide them with a complete overview of our products, and how we can assist them in the most cost-effective and innovative manner possible, in conjunction with the system integrator.”
Oosthuizen concludes: “It is important to note that we do not charge our customers to become system integrators. The enabling software that we provide in this regard is free to use, with no annual licence fees.”