Schneider Execs Take a Look at the Markets for 2007

By Staff October 1, 2006

Executives from Schneider Electric’s North American Operating Division, headquartered in Palatine, Ill., shared their views recently on the hot markets of the near future. The occasion was “Initi@tive 2006: the Gateway to the New Electric World,” a conference and tradeshow attended by 1,400 Schneider dealers and customers and convened Sept. 28-30 in Orlando, Fla.

Schneider officials claim to be in a good position to read the markets: “We’re number one in the low-voltage market, number two in ultra-terminal (controls) and number two in medium-voltage,” boasted Dave Petratis, president and CEO of Schneider Electric North American Operating Division.

In fact, the exhibit floor and educational sessions were designed to illustrate the applicability of the company’s solutions in several specific industries, including water and wastewater treatment, distribution center automation, packaging, control panel building, automation systems and HVAC, among others.

“We especially see key growth opportunities for 2007 in water, wastewater and HVAC,” said Andy Gravit, vice president for automation and controls. In fact, Schneider operates an HVAC application center, focused mostly on drives, in Raleigh, N.C.

The importance of the market for electrical and control systems for water/wastewater plants in 2007 was seconded by Allen Breeze, vice president, electrical distribution, who added a few other hot markets to the list. “We expect good growth in water/wastewater, but also in the demand for data centers and health-care facilities,” he explained.

Finally, as part of a global corporation, officials at Schneider’s North American division emphasize foreign developments—especially in China. “We have 20 years of experience in China,” said Petratis, “and a large number of global engineering centers.”

In fact, Schneider boasts a host of application, engineering and competency centers around the world. The Critical Power Competency Center, which brings together the company’s products and services for mission-critical applications, was established a few years ago. The Initiative@2006 conference offered an opportunity to track how the system has evolved over that time.

“The big issue in mission-critical these days is energy efficiency,” said Mark Bidinger, director of the Center. So, it was no surprise that critical power and energy efficiency—and the intersection of the two—were dominant themes of the conference.

There are several developments driving the importance of energy efficiency. With respect to the Schneider product, one of the most significant and recent is the energy act that Congress passed last year.