German manufacturers of industrial valves have made a very good reputation for themselves over many decades.
RITAG is an internationally leading manufacturer of check valves, sample extraction systems and floor valves. The new factory in Osterholz-Scharmbeck is one of the most modern production facilities for industrial valves in Europe. Numerous innovations and patent applications underline our claim of meeting our customers' continuously growing requirements. With around 50 representations and partners, we are active worldwide to reach our international customers from the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, the petrochemical industry as well as the oil and gas industry. Thomas Gellweiler is managing partner of RITAG.
Mr Gellweiler, there are only a few weeks left until the ACHEMA 2015 – what are your expectations for the next ACHEMA?
Thomas Gellweiler: The ACHEMA is not only the worldwide largest trade fair of its kind, it is also the most important event on our trade fair calendar. We are looking forward to presenting our new products and to discussing these with our customers. There will be a particular focus on our new products for the areas of check valves in PTFE lining, LNG applications and EHEDG approval as well as sample extraction systems.
What is the economic environment for ACHEMA 2015?
Gellweiler: The ACHEMA 2015 takes place in a quite difficult environment for the manufacturers of industrial valves. Europe still lacks the dynamics from the years before 2008. The political uncertainties in many parts of the world, which are of great importance particularly for the manufacturers of industrial valves, are certainly not creating an optimistic mood in these regions. The noticeably decreased oil price puts new construction projects in the refinery sector for the next one or two years into question. On the other hand, the lower oil price coupled with the development of interest rates and the Euro exchange rate are of course creating new demand impulses which are hopefully not just a flash in the pan.
How do you view the role of the German manufacturers of industrial valves compared to other countries?
Gellweiler: The German manufacturers of industrial valves have made a very good reputation for themselves over many decades. In recent years, internationalisation was furthered and new products and approvals set new standards. The favourable Euro exchange rate will further support this development. This, however, is opposed by increasing efforts towards “local content” in some markets which promotes local competition.
Which trends and new products do you think will be shown?
Gellweiler: Intelligent control and networking will play a role for the manufacturers of control valves. For media-controlled valves, we see a growing demand in the area of extremely high-quality valves with the respective approvals. We at RITAG are focusing on the pharmaceutical and food industry with a rising demand for valves with EHEDG approval. But we are also seeing a trend towards high-quality valves in the field of check valves for LNG, sample extraction systems and check valves with PTFE lining. RITAG offers a large range of solutions including customised products for special requirements.
Which changes has the energy transition brought about in the European market? How are your customer industries reacting?
Gellweiler: The energy transition and the resulting virtual stop in the construction of conventional power plants also brings changes for valve manufacturing. The use of decentralised power generation in private use, onshore and offshore wind parks as well as savings in general use lead to changes in the buying behaviour of our customer industries. As desirable as the energy transition may be politically, it is overall not leading to an increased use of industrial valves in Germany.
Everybody is currently talking about sustainability. What does sustainability mean to you, particularly with respect to your products?
Gellweiler: We are very pleased that the issue of sustainability is being pushed forward by our customers in the chemical industry. Particularly the TfS Initiative of the chemical industry is drawing attention to this issue. As one of the first valve manufacturers, we already achieved certification to ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 several years ago. These certifications in combination with approvals to ISO 9001 and PED as well as our compliance with ISO 29001 have long since created an integrated management system in our company which we see as much more than just a buzzword, actively putting it into practice. Today we can welcome our customers at one of the most modern production facilities for industrial valves in Europe which also stands for sustainability.
What are the challenges and obstacles to making crucial progress with Industry 4.0? What is the role of process engineering in this?
Gellweiler: It is certainly right that Industry 4.0 is a hot topic. After all, its aim is to strengthen – if not increase – competitiveness. In the end the key aspect is how each company handles this issue and also implements it. We have been trying for years to use intelligent IT in our production as well, wherever it is practical and economically viable. We consider ourselves to be very progressive in this area.
There is a lot of copying going on worldwide – how does your company protect itself?
Gellweiler: We try to protect ourselves with various patents and registered designs in the markets relevant for us. As a rule, though, the best protection is to always be a step ahead of the competition, particularly with regard to the combination of delivering first rate valves within the shortest time possible and at an acceptable price. Achieving this with a range of theoretically millions of variants is our daily endeavour and is difficult to copy.
What are your expectations for ACHEMA 2015?
Gellweiler: For RITAG, the ACHEMA is the most important trade fair for the chemical industry. We are hoping for a good reception from the employees from the chemical industry and for interesting discussions. These are our most important discussion partners with whom we would like to stay in a continuous dialogue so we can continue to align RITAG according to their demands and requirements.
Source of the image : http://www.ritag.de/