Efacec is a Portuguese company with a strong exporter profile and international presence in more than 80 countries. They offer a comprehensive portfolio, delivering tailor-made solutions according to the specificities of each client and market. The company anticipates and shapes the future through transformers, switchgear, service, automation solutions, energy systems, environment and industry projects, transportation, and electric mobility solutions. Efacec is a brand with more than 70 years, made by people and for people. Their purpose is to design a smarter future for a better life. Interview with Michael Silva, Board Member and Chief Commercial Officer at Efacec. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? Michael Silva: Anchored in innovation, technology, and proximity, Efacec anticipates the future through the development of integrated solutions in the fields of Energy, Mobility and Environment, shaping the future of our cities with digital connectivity always present. E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products? M.S: This was a particularly challenging year for our brand – and for all companies -, due to the constraints caused by the pandemic. Nevertheless, Efacec maintained its focus and investment in technological innovation. We continued to develop international projects, and, in the last six months, we have launched new products in Transportation, Power Transformers, Electric Mobility and an open innovation platform aimed at national and international entrepreneurs and start-ups. The outlook is a significant growth in new orders like those obtained in previous years and, despite the constraints, we expect to resume revenue growth. E.E: What are the ranges of products? M.S: Recently, Efacec expanded its electric mobility offer with the creation of more sustainable products, prepared for digitization and industry 4.0. The products, launched at the online event “To The Future, Fast”, bring more design, more control, more power, more versatility and flexibility, offering dynamic management, reducing the charging time and simplifying maintenance. The new generation of our “Public Charger” offers robust and reliable solutions, more compact, competitive and customizable. Efacec extended the HV350 range, a solution for the high-powered ultra-fast charger segment, 350 kW, capable of charging all electric vehicles. Reliable, robust and with flexible customization, the HV350 G2 offers our customers several functionalities, developed to keep up with the new technological and operational challenges of the energy infrastructure in the electric mobility sector. In the fast charger segment, Efacec presented the new platform QC that includes QC60/QC90/QC120. Efacec R&D team has also developed a new charging network management tool – EV Core – Charging Point Management System. Efacec’s digital solution, already implemented in several prestigious national and international customers, from different sectors, allows an effective and customized response to each customer´s needs. With this solution, our clients can manage their entire EV fleets, with a scalable platform, ensuring compatibility with future products and built according to their business data needs. All these charging solutions grant integration with Efacec’s Load Management system (LMS), a tool that allows to dynamically manage the use of power stations on site, dynamic management with Smart meters as well as integration with CPMS / OCPP and web-based HMI. Furthermore, Efacec also launched the Modular Transformer – the first power transformer to benefit from Efacec’s modular technology – which product design was awarded with a Red Dot Award in the subcategory Industrial Equipment, Machinery and Automation. This equipment reinforces the company’s commitment to excellence, placing Portugal in the route of the best product design in the world. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? M.S: The international market continues to have a fundamental importance for Efacec’s business, representing nearly 70% of the orders and 64% of the revenues in the current financial year. Efacec is positioned in the market as a fully integrated solutions provider. We continued with our strategy of investing in technological innovation as a key element to generate value through differentiation and as a critical vector to better respond to market trends and challenges posed by each client. Efacec’s strategic commitment to technological innovation, based on the existing endogenous know-how skills, has led to an update and expansion of the company’s portfolio, through innovative, sustainable and value generating solutions. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? M.S: The growth of EVs and the charging infrastructure brings new challenges. This includes the need to optimize the operation of the network of charging stations (NCS) with new strategies and tools to support the integration of connections available to the electrical grid under the “Smart grid” paradigm. The charging infrastructure needs dynamic control tools to support the management of the electrical grid and the quality of energy. Another challenge is related to the new models of electrical grid architecture – micro grids and energy communities -, as well as the increase in the generation of distributed power, supported mainly by renewable (solar) power generation, which also poses new challenges to the charging infrastructure. Equipment is there to provide advanced energy control functions in the EV charging infrastructure. Charger systems support the stability of the electrical grid and allow the integration of energy storage and EV chargers must provide in turn local control features that make it possible to optimize connections to the power grid. Interoperability is another critical challenge for the growth of electric mobility. The implementation of ISO 15118 offers better user experience, greater safety using digital certificates enabling the safe exchange of tariffs and meter data, as well as Smartcharging that includes reactive energy compensation and injection of energy in the electrical grid. Supporting the implementation of Plug & Charge is also a priority to allow this business to grow. Cyber security requirements pose another challenge, and this led to changes in new implementations. We work for the development of new architectures, hardware, and software, which provide more robust solutions, as well as the digitization of the electrical infrastructure, which also requires a new approach for the integration of EV charging stations with the electrical grid operators. These are the challenges of electric mobility that help us move forward. We are at the forefront of mobility for the future, and we are part of an exclusive group of brands that have been selected to deliver several ambitious projects in the world. Despite our achievements, there is still a lot to be done in this area. Mobility has changed and has become smarter and Efacec is part of it. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? M.S: Recently the Red Dot Design Award, the world’s most prestigious design competition, organized by Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen (Germany), distinguished Efacec with two awards in the Product Design 2021 category for its aesthetic richness, design impact, advanced digital functionalities, and contribution to reducing the carbon footprint. XBarrier100, the barrier mechanism for protecting level crossings, and the Modular Transformer (Modular Systems), the first to benefit from Efacec’s modular technology, were the products awarded in the Industrial Equipment, Machinery and Automation subcategory and reinforce the company’s commitment to excellence, placing Portugal on the route of the best design in the world. The XBarrier100 solution represents an innovative approach in the field of critical railway safety systems, through a level crossing barrier mechanism that is simultaneously functional, safe, and aesthetically stimulating. XBarrier100 has already been installed by Efacec in the Swedish railroads and is in use in the most demanding market in the world, by the Swedish Railway Infrastructure. The Modular Transformer (Modular Systems), presented to the market in 2020, allows the same equipment to receive new features at the pace of customer needs and combines technology with design, maintaining the same “look & feel” for the various applications, without compromising performance or overall architecture. According to the jury’s evaluation, the Modular Transformer “convinces by its sophisticated and aesthetically appealing application of a complex concept” and the XBarrier100 is characterized “by its simple functionality and stands out above all for its reliability and contemporary appearance”. The Red Dot Design Awards are achievements that honor us and assure us that we are on the right track. These awards are the recognition of the talent of our team. These awards are the recognition of the company’s strategic investment on design, combined with technological innovation, born from the expertise and talent of Efacec’s team. With over 70 years of history and permanent focus on innovation, this is the first time that Efacec applies for the Red Dot Design Award, winning two awards immediately. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021? M.S: Efacec’s management maintains its focus and competence on demonstrating, with results, the value, credibility, and potential of the company, thus ensuring the best possible future in accordance with all the capacity and potential that make Efacec a major Portuguese industrial and technological player. Efacec is in a recovery process, and the recovery curve is visible. With two consecutive positive quarters, maintaining a strong focus on technological innovation. The positive results of the last few months are very encouraging, given that the start of the recovery was marked in the last quarter of 2020. We are confident in the coming year, with the implementation of a new approach matrix for our projects. A matrix oriented towards the release of funds, with recovered and normalized operations, with lower structure costs and with a technological roadmap that foresees rhythmic launches of new solutions in the sectors in which we operate.