Indar machines are not the cheapest on the market, nor are they manufactured in a low cost country . The strength (indar means strength in Basque) of the Basque group that develops and produces electric motors and generators lies in its “great technological capacity”, an offer of “tailor-made solutions” for the client and the “firm commitment” to selling to world level.
A strong and well-established firm in the wind, hydroelectric and marine sectors, it has now made the leap to electromobility and the network or stationary energy segment.
“Our goal is to be where we can be leaders or co-leaders; if not, we won’t go in, ”says Peio Pagola, CEO of the company based in Beasain (Gipuzkoa)and plants in Segorbe (Valencia) and Milwaukee (USA).
Indar has managed to rub shoulders with the large multinationals in the international market and went from reaching a sales volume of 135 million euros in 2015 to closing last year with 227 million, 68.1% more.
“We have reached our 80th anniversary being one of the great leaders of the rotary electric machine worldwide,” says Pagola. They manufacture wind generators of more than six megawatts of power, generators for hydroelectric plants of up to 10 megawatts, motors for the electric propulsion of ships and ferries of 320 meters in length or the largest submersible water pumps in the world.
The company opened in 1940 with six workers who manufactured a small motor for a grinder, it was prospering and going to the foreign market at the end of the last century and it emerged in 2005 with the creation of a new business structure that was committed to the diversification of products and sectors .
In 2008 it suffered a fire that devastated the Beasain factory, just when it was at its peak and had a strong order book. That incident was very traumatic because it could put Indar’s entire industrial activity in check, but its flexibility and international presence allowed the firm to re-float. It has managed to install its products in more than 45 countries.
One of their emblematic projects, already completed, is their recent intervention in Lake Mead in Las Vegas, where they have installed “the largest submersible water supply equipment in the world”, which will make it possible to fight against the drought in the river basin Colorado.
Pagola adds that 40 four-megawatt pumps have been placed in this North American pumping station at a depth of 140 meters. Indar was awarded the $ 70 million contract in a competition that was also attended by an Austro-German and a Japanese firm.
In less than a year, it has also supplied three submersible motor-pump units for a desalination plant in San Diego County (California), its second largest contract, for which it will earn five million euros.
In this case, the Indar engineering team has managed to overcome the challenge of meeting the environmental requirements of the Ocean Plant Ammendment program of the North American State, which requires transforming ocean water into drinking water without harming marine life, since “fish can go through the shovels of the submersible equipment without suffering any damage ”, they maintain in the Basque firm.
In the Beasain warehouses all equipment is assembled and tested, some of which can reach 10 meters in diameter and weigh 300 tons. These motors and generators are transported in pieces to the destination point and there they are reassembled under the supervision of Indar technicians.
A team of 900 employees (700 in Beasain and the rest in Alicante and Milwaukee) acts as the lung of the company, says Pagola. The added value provided by the R & D & i departments, one for each of the five divisions, and to which 5% of annual sales is dedicated is noteworthy.
“It is what allows us to create our own technology, differentiate ourselves from the competition and being on the front line, protecting ourselves with the big multinationals ”. 60% of the workforce is made up of engineers and graduates in other disciplines.
Indar’s entry into the Ingeteam group in 1997 represented a “turning point” in the business trajectory, as it allowed it to incorporate the control and power electronics developed by the company specialized in electrical engineering into its motors and generators.
This sum of forces has made it grow year after year to exceed 200 million in turnover, of which 90% comes from the export of its equipment. “It is surprising that abroad we are being more recognized than in our own country,” says the CEO.
This year, despite the effects of the pandemic, Indar hopes to once again exceed the 200 million barrier and repeat a profit that will be around 1%. “We suffered a small hiatus in order entry during the spring,” says Pagola, “but our sector has not been directly affected by the covid-19 crisis.
After the initial impact, we are back to normal, thanks to the fact that we are a company that works with a lot of inertia and has a long-range portfolio over time.
Tomorrow’s strategy, based on flexibility and identification with the client’s needs, is directed towards its “consolidation” in the wind, marine and hydroelectric sectors and becoming “strong” in others such as electromobility, mainly in transport electrification systems. railway, and the segment of reversible pumps and synchronous compensators that stabilize electrical networks.
Pagola confirms that the evolution experienced by Indar has allowed them “to be the only ones with their own technology in the rotary electric machine sector in Spain after the departure of the multinationals.
“ We have shown out of here that we are capable of carrying out large technological projects and we should have a chance here. We are in the Champions League, but we have the ability to climb even higher ”.