WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG
Instrument for progress
As a family run company founded over 60 years ago, WIKA boasts a wealth of experience, strong values and a rich history.
Its consistent commitment to service and technical quality, combined with a workforce comprised of 6000 highly qualified and knowledgeable staff, enables WIKA to provide competent and individual advice to its customers.
Established directly after World War II, in its first decades of growth the company focused on mechanical pressure gauges, which meant that by 1970 WIKA had become the biggest European manufacturer in its sector. By 1990 it had become the world’s biggest manufacturer for pressure and temperature measurement. Today, the business has an annual turnover of 515 million euros. For the past 30 years ago WIKA has expanded its product line from mechanical pressure gauges to incorporate full range pressure instruments, temperature instruments and, more recently, level gauges.
WIKA’s success is founded on its strong brand, reliability, product quality and problem solving capability for making instruments work in difficult environments. Additionally WIKA has an excellent international reach, as WIKA’s CEO Alexander Wiegand explains: “Our key strength is our global presence in the form of our sales organisation, coupled with our ability to provide local services to our customers; we have the strength of a big company and the flexibility of a local business. Our product range is also important – there is no one else in our industry that has such a wide range when it comes to pressure and temperature instrumentation.”
WIKA’s impressive range includes multi-point temperature probes for boreholes, for chemical reactors and crackers; mechanical level gauges for big liquid tanks; pressure gauges certified for NACE applications (WIKA is the only manufacturer with a NACE certificate for pressure gauges); diaphragm seals for extremely difficult environments; and vacuum and diaphragm seals according to the specifications of all big players in this market.
More than 43 million WIKA products are delivered in over 100 countries every year. About 350 million measuring devices of WIKA are used throughout the world, demonstrating the company’s worldwide flexibility. Discussing its client base, Alexander says: “Approximately 20 per cent of our worldwide sales can be attributed to the oil and gas industry. WIKA has several specialist project sales teams worldwide that support customers in the engineering of measuring points, documentation, special packaging and shipping.”
Key customers are Shell, BP, Exxon, Conoco, Total, OMV, Pemex, Petrobras, Gasprom, Gasco (Katar), NIOC (Iran), Saudi Aramco, Anarcargo, Devon Energy and DOW and BASF. The main products for those costumers are mechanical pressure gauges, diaphragm seals, mechanical temperature gauges, thermowells, electrical temperature probes and temperature transmitters, pressure transmitters and mechanical level gauges.
“About 20 per cent of our sales are standard products, the rest are products that can be configured through our catalogue and customer specific – we work closely in development with our customers when it comes to specific solutions and problems, such as difficult environments for measuring systems,” Alexander states. In order to retain its leading position and to continue providing the high level of service to customers that has put WIKA at the top of its game, the organisation understands it is necessary to invest in research and development. “We allot about five per cent of our total sales to R&D, mainly in the area of electronic pressure measurement, calibration technology and diaphragm seal technology,” Alexander comments. “Most of our R&D activity at present is focused on industrial automation. For oil and gas, our interest in R&D is more application oriented; for example we are currently developing a diaphragm seal that can operate at a deep sea level of 5000 metres.”
WIKA’s primary objective is to contribute to its customers’ success by supplying excellent instrumentation solutions on the basis of quality, price, delivery reliability and flexibility. It reacts quickly, so as to achieve a high customer satisfaction rate and is always considering its future progressions – WIKA knows that improving its processes, products and services will be integral to enjoying longevity in the marketplace.
Revealing how he would like to see his company progress, Alexander states: “We see plenty of opportunities to grow in the coming years especially in the areas of temperature and level measurement. In addition there are growth opportunities in some special market segments in energy distribution and renewable energies. We will look for possible acquisitions of smaller companies that have product lines to complement our offering. In fact, we have recently acquired a company that produces mechanical level gauges based on floats. We have more or less the same customers, and the product line fits in well with our existing range.”
While the current global recession cannot be ignored, WIKA astutely notes that recruitment will have more of an effect on the long-term shaping of the business and its market position. The biggest challenge in the long-term is the demographic challenge because in 15 to 20 years there will be a considerable shortage of engineers and talented managers in central Europe because of the demographic structure in those countries,” Alexander observes. One way in which WIKA is combating this issue is by actively improving the knowledge, skills and motivation of WIKA’s employees – and by undertaking strategic training of new recruits as well.
Addressing the future of the business, in light of the economic decline, Alexander summarises WIKA’s plans: “Our growth rate in the past was about eight per cent each year, and last year this figure was a little higher as the market was quite good. Comparatively 2009 is a difficult year but I assume we’ll be back on track with our usual growth rate by 2010 or 2011. Owing to our strong sales organisation, we have some product lines with which we will be able to enjoy growth in the future and that’s mainly with our pressure sensors, electronic pressure instrumentation, temperature sensors and transmitters, and level gauges.”
WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG
Services: Pressure and temperature instruments, and level gauges