Rafael Jaramillo, Vice President & General Manager, Emerson Process Management, Brazil
Rafael Jaramillo, VP and General Manager at Emerson Process Management in Brazil, precisely defines what it takes to carry out a successful project with some of the most demanding customers like giant players E&P and Petrobras. He stresses that companies must not only provide the right services and solutions, they must also be willing to follow their clients’ demands on a long-term basis.
Emerson Process Management is one of five business platforms of Emerson, as our Latin American operations include network power, climate, industrial automation and other platforms.
Emerson Brazil is one of the three major poles of Latin America, which also includes Argentina and Mexico. Our strategy in Brazil and across the world is to get as close to our customers as possible, while offering short lead-time and fast plant availability. This is why we decided early on to settle our plant in Sorocaba (Sao Paulo) and meet the demand of long lead-time, complex projects. We are the only process automation company in Brazil that has such a complete factory for process automation. We assemble valves, pressure and temperature transmitters, systems, cabinets, and skids. We have been expanding our factory capabilities from the first factory in the 1960s with rudimentary possibilities to a full open concept including shared storage, material planning and quality facility. This open concept gives us more flexibility and transparency as customers can visit our facility. This factory expansion and complete modernization strategy is our commitment to Brazil and to our long-term vision for this market.
Moreover, when our customers are willing to invest billions of dollars in new refineries or power plants, they expect a return on investment for the next 30 to 50 years. This defines our need to stay close to our customers and provide a quick response for any type of demand on a permanent long-term basis. This is why we also decided to open new service facilities, located here in Sorocaba, as well as Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Macae. We are also planning to open a new one in Santos, as the oil and gas sector is concentrated there.
We are certainly focused on oil and gas, but other markets in Brazil such as food and beverage, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, power plants and other industries, which also depend on process automation, hold great prospects for our solutions. These markets overall have allowed us to achieve double-digit growth year after year.
Our technology allows quicker implementation of projects. We provide wireless technology and solutions that facilitate the customer’s initial plant operations. In a way we define ourselves as a complete solution provider and as the nerve system of a project, accelerating the project completion time via our plant web technology.
Clients need companies that can provide a complete solution to minimize environmental contamination, optimize existing equipment, and come up with preventive and predictive indicators for any type of system malfunction. This is exactly what our offer at Emerson covers.
These statistics definitely indicate great market opportunities for the power sector and are a means to define our investment strategy across the country. As these figures unfold, Emerson adapts its strategy by allocating a sufficient amount of sales team and engineers capable of providing the best solutions to our customers. Once a specific area meets a large interest for our solutions, we establish a new service center and direct channels of logistics to be able to ship parts within 24 and 48 hours anywhere in Brazil.
Considering the wide array of sources that Brazil has to offer, from renewable energies to an increasing need for thermal power, what is EPM’s strategy in this highly diversified Brazilian energy market?
Our process control and automation solutions adapt to the needs of thermal power plants as well as hydro. Our solutions in general optimize their assets, whether it is an existing plant needing to be revamped or a new greenfield plant. Our technology allows our customers to predict system malfunctions and anomalies at all times, created by vibrations, abnormal temperatures and oil viscosity.
Hydro and thermal share the same concern: availability. These plants need to be fully operational at all times to meet today’s energy demand, and by being able to predict flaws in the system, preventive measures can be taken, and our technology gives them the confidence to operate safely and smoothly at all times and from distance with the use of our wireless technology.
We have been collaborating on several hydro projects with renowned local players such as AES for Aguas Vermelhas and Promissão. We are really excited about these projects as we have developed a new Iops (integrated operations) concept where we centralize our operations, requiring fewer personnel for process and maintenance of these plants located in different locations. This technique allows our customers to reduce costs drastically and to specifically target those instruments that are malfunctioning.
Biofuels are another sector where our integrated operations have a real purpose. Since mills are spread across large distances in Sao Paulo or in Bahia, having one control center to monitor windmills spread across a large territory becomes necessary, saving time and money. We are currently working with a client for a new Iops control center in Sao Paulo.
These integrated operations are already well spread across the world, and Emerson has been able to market these solutions in Norway as well as in Australia mainly for the oil and gas sector. We have already started discussing this option with Petrobras in Macae and I hope to one day see a Petrobras control tower managing all the refineries and platforms from one place.
Besides integrated operations, Emerson partnered with Petrobras on a multi-billion dollar project to develop the largest petrochemical facility in Rio de Janeiro. What have been the greatest challenges in realizing this project and in meeting the requirements of Brazil’s largest state-run energy company?
This project represents one of Emerson’s largest business ventures and most complex projects achieved around the world to date. The complexity of this project is directly correlated to the large number of EPC players present throughout the project. Normally projects gather together two or three EPCs, but this one includes more than 20. When we were awarded the contract to participate in this great project, other EPCs had already been providing their solutions and services, creating logistical and administrative challenges for us. From the first steps, we had to gather an experienced and efficient team, relying on our worldwide project management capabilities and engineering centers in India. Through our commitment and impressive results at Petrobras, we have been able to carry on similar or even larger projects. Gaining experience and participating in such projects is a blessing, and today our clients rely on us knowing what we have been able to accomplish successfully throughout time. This is why leading international players such as Braskem and Vale have demanded our services and solutions.
Emerson Process Management is planning to gain a larger market share within the oil and gas industry, targeting mainly FPSOs (floating production, storage and offloading). Many refineries will appear to take advantage of Brazil’s large resources in oil production, and existing refineries need to be revamped and maintained. These factors indicate significant opportunities for us and through our services and complete solutions, customers like Petrobras will be able to save millions of dollars.
Overall I would like to stress that Emerson in Brazil and worldwide must be seen as the partner of choice. Emerson must be the customer’s first choice, and this is why we generously invest in proximity service centers to provide a customized and fast response to our customers.
Our plan for expansion is to consolidate our five different business units at Emerson here in Sorocaba. A new building will be built to integrate these units and provide the most advanced technical solutions to our customers. In terms of human resource planning, we will double our employee number in the next five years and continue with our double-digit growth. We are living a great moment for Emerson in Brazil and we know many more opportunities are at our reach.