23 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Vacon expands into medium-voltage drives market

The Finnish drives-maker Vacon is entering the medium-voltage and systems drives markets for the first time, as part of a plan to achieve an average growth rate of at least 10% over the period 2014–2020. Until now, the company, which was formed in 1993, has focused on LV drives as well as converters for renewable energy applications.

Vacon plans to deliver its first MV drives, in ratings up to several megawatts, during 2014. It is targeting the expanding global market for MV drives that is currently worth around $3bn.

“Entering into the world of medium-voltage AC drives is a remarkable milestone in Vacon’s history,” says Vesa Laisi, Vacon’s president and CEO. “The medium-voltage technology in AC drives is a natural extension for Vacon, since the power levels of machines and systems have increased over the years.”

According to Dan Isaksson, Vacon’s vice-president for MV drives, the impetus to expand into the new market came from some of the company’s existing customers.

The move is part of a redefined strategy with new long-term financial targets announced recently by Vacon. The company aims to achieve an average annual growth in revenue of more than 10% from 2014–2020 by expanding the business organically in a market which it says is growing faster than faster than average GDP. Vacon may also make “selective” acquisitions to accelerate this growth.

In terms of long-term profitability, the company is aiming for a sustainable EBIT margin of 14%.

As well as moving into MV and system drives, Vacon is also planning to expand its service business. It also wants to target new industries and to expand its operations into new geographical areas, and to focus on countries with fast-growing drives markets.

Working with its personnel, Vacon has also defined a new vision for the company, which it calls The Drives Family.

“We see that true value is created together,” Vaisi explains. “That is why we will create The Drives Family where the best people work together to develop the best products, applications and services for our customers.

“We aim to grow faster than the market and with solid profitability,” he adds. “This allows us to invest in the future growth and to share the value within The Drives Family.”

In 2012, Vacon, which employs around 1,500 people worldwide, generated revenues worth €388.4m.