Internationalisation – Challenges and Chances; an Interview With NAMUR Chairman Wilhelm Otten

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PROCESS:But the crisis in 2009 showed that one can reduce production by 25 percent and more.

OTTEN: True. No-one thought that we would manage it. Automation technology made it possible. In the meantime it is obvious that our business is becoming more clearly cyclical, and we must be able to run our installations optimally not only at full load, but also any load level. On top of this, there is the major trend topic of using alternative energies and of dealing intelligently with superfluous energy. In German chemical enterprises they are certainly thinking about how one can adapt production to changing energy requirements.

“Energy Has Become A factor To Which Productions Have to Adapt”

Previously, energy was available in any quantity at any time. With the energy turnaround in Germany, energy, especially electricity, has suddenly become a factor to which I may perhaps have to adapt my production in order to operate production processes as cost-effectively as possible. But this variable kind of operation will only work if much more intensive use is made of automation technology.


PROCESS: What does this mean now for NAMUR?

OTTEN: The consequences are these: NAMUR is increasingly taking over the functional bundling of these questions. Here experts meet to set the necessary standards. The challenge of establishing this on an international basis, however, is extraordinarily difficult.

Foreign Markets Follow Their Own Rules

PROCESS: Will this possibly result in different speeds within the worldwide activities of NAMUR?

OTTEN: Our idea is of course not one worldwide NAMUR with a central office in Germany. Rather, we want each region to develop its own identity and to have its own regional priorities. The example of our NAMUR in China shows us that the priorities there can be different to ours. The topic of maintaining, for example, plays a much larger role in China: the relevant know-how is missing. An overlapping of the work of the two NAMUR units in Germany/Europe and in China must therefore be limited to the core topics. Anything else would be more than members can give on a purely voluntary basis.