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WF Electrical becomes Hitachi distributor

01 August, 1999

Hitachi drives are now available locally from distributors around the UK for the first time. HID, Hitachi`s UK drives partner, has struck a deal with one of the UK`s largest electrical distributors, WF Electrical, to sell the inverters through a network of specialist automation centres that WF has set up at 25 of its 125 branches.

HID`s decision was based, in part, on a survey of UK drives purchasers which revealed that 96% of customers buy fewer than 20 drives a year. More than half of them buy fewer than 10 and the most common number of drives bought by UK purchasers is just four.

According to HID`s joint managing director Stephen Scales, the move also reflects the changing marketplace where most of the growth is coming from people using inverters instead of traditional components such as starters. This trend is, in turn, being driven by inverters falling in price while becoming easier to commission.

"The new drives are simple to install and program without the need for expert intervention and most users can fit the units straight from the box," says Scales.

The WF deal "leaves HID to concentrate on accounts requiring detailed engineering support," Scales explains. "With WF Electrical handling a high proportion of our inverter sales, HID`s own team of technical experts can be dedicated to assisting customers with demanding applications that require higher levels of engineering advice."

He emphasizes, however, that this will not mean that HID will stop handling smaller accounts. Other suppliers have lost customers by adopting this approach, he says.

The 25 WF Electrical automation centres will stock HID inverters rated up to 7.5kW as standard but will supply any HID drive on request. Customers at non-automation branches will also be able to order the inverters. Staff at the automation centres have been trained by HID in using and specifying drives.

Scales expects to be doing more than £1m of business through WF Electrical within two to three years. He reports that despite the recessionary trend in the drives market, HID has raised its sales volume by more than 20% so far this year.

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