PLUM designs and manufactures electronic devices and components dedicated to industrial sectors. The converters, controllers and IoT solutions created within the company’s design teams are primarily used in the gas, water and HVAC industries worldwide. 

Interview with Giovanny Zepeda, Business Development Representative at PLUM.

Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities.

Giovanny Zepeda: We create solutions which are safe, reduce costs and meet the required Worldwide standards.  Integrated Quality Management System ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 certified by BSI allows us to produce electronics under full quality control. 

The manufacturing process of Plum devices is located at our headquarters in Ignatki, Poland. This allows us to maintain full control over the quality of solutions introduced to the market. A specialized machinery park allows us to produce technically very advanced electronics.

When creating our devices, we put emphasis on their functionality, intuitive operation and design. We offer both technologically advanced and end-user-friendly solutions.

E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

G.Z: Plum Ltd. focuses on the design and manufacture of innovative industrial electronics for strategic industries: Gas and Water, and HVAC controllers.

In the natural gas and water industry, we are a manufacturer of measurement and control equipment. Our solutions enable the safe and cost-effective management of energy consumption worldwide through solutions based on two pillars: energy efficiency improvement and IoT development.

In the HVAC industry our devices are designed and dedicated for heat pumps, heating boilers, fireplaces. We offer modern solutions for recuperation and air handling units. We developed and produce a Staircase Pressurisation System. 

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

G.Z: We have been doing a lot of R&D on NB-IoT and LTE CAT M1 technologies to integrate them into our gas and water devices, slowly we have been making our line of dataloggers available on new telecom technologies, most of our models are already available on these technologies, and we will continue to refine them according to market demands. In parallel, I can mention that we will soon launch the 5th Generation of our Flow Computer – MacMAT 5 for ultrasonic and turbine gas meters, which has been thought and designed to be technically compatible in many markets worldwide, we have been collecting a lot of technical specifications from relevant TSOs in Europe, Asia and the Americas, in order to integrate them in our upcoming Flow Computer. Finally, we expect to launch in the coming months our fully digital smart diaphragm gas meter, which works with NB-IoT or LTE Cat.M-1 communication technologies, in future also other technologies

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

G.Z: We manufacture IoT data loggers for water and gas distribution networks, Electronic Volume Correctors for natural gas distribution systems and Flow Computers which are mainly used by midstream transmission system operators. We invite you to visit our social networks as well as our website to learn about all the solutions we offer.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

G.Z: When it comes to our solutions for the Gas and Water sector, we are active in all 5 continents, with more penetration in Europe. In Western, Central and Eastern Europe, our gas volume correctors, as well as our data loggers for gas and water distribution systems, are quite popular.

In the Middle East, our MacBAT5 Electronic Volume Corrector with integrated telemetry module is the main product in demand. In the APAC region, our solutions for natural gas distribution have become quite popular in recent years, mainly our Electronic Volume Correctors. In the African region we have had very positive results with our gas products, we are present in 5 countries in this continent. In the Americas, we are present in all Latin American countries with piped natural gas network infrastructure and we are preparing our entry into the North American region. And finally, in the Oceania region, you can also find our gas volume and pressure data loggers with NB-IoT or LTE Cat.M-1 technologies. 

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

G.Z: We can limit ourselves to mention 3, which we consider to be the most relevant.

1) Ecological gas generation.

A clear example is the boom in biogas generation companies in Europe and North America. We believe that the trend in natural gas generation will focus on techniques that do not generate polluting gases or waste. Another example that can be mentioned is the generation of green hydrogen, an environmentally friendly technique. 

2) The molar composition of the gas being distributed.

The increase in the percentage of hydrogen in the molar composition of the gas is a trend that is being talked about a lot, with regard to the distribution of gas, we observe a trend in the generation of policies that demand the increase of the molar % of H2 in the gas that is distributed, this will demand that manufacturers like us adapt their products to be in technical compliance with the use of this gas. 

3) Intelligent measurement, monitoring, control and billing of gas and water networks. 

We see a clear trend towards devices that also have integrated telemetry systems that work with the latest telecommunications technologies such as NB-IoT or LTE CAT M-1 (colloquially known as 5G or IoT). There is an increasing technical demand globally for smart metering devices, the main products that started being demanded with integrated telemetry modules are water meters, diaphragm gas meters and electronic volume correctors. 

But lastly, the main challenge for us in 2022 is the Russian aggression in Ukraine which made natural gas market in Europe very unstable and unpredictable. We all truly hope this is temporary situation. Fortunately, there are alternatives to Russian natural gas, all European countries needs to adapt their infrastructure to operate in the new reality.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

G.Z: In the last 2 years we have observed an increase in the demand for: 

Gas or water data loggers with NB-IoT or LTE Cat.M-1 communication technologies. Battery life: 10 years at least.  

Electronic Volume Correctors with integrated GSM modules as an all-in-one device, which can be online (live monitoring) or transmit data at scheduled times in battery mode. In addition to multiple inputs and outputs to control the entire pressure reduction and measurement system, it is no longer necessary to add an external PLC or RTU.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

G.Z: In the remaining months of this year, we estimate an increase in demand for our Electronic Volume Correctors with integrated GSM telemetry, as well as for battery-powered data loggers with NB-IoT or LTE Cat.M-1 communication technologies. We also estimate some uncertainty in the definition of policies for gas supply sources as well as the definition of the % of H2 that gas networks will have. There are many issues to be defined at the policy level, and this will affect our product development strategy for 2023.