Arcteq Protection relays and arc protection. Arcteq looking to double its revenue in coming years.

Arcteq looking to double its revenue in coming years – “We are only in the beginning”

Arcteq looking to double its revenue in coming years – “We are only in the beginning”.

Protection relay company Arcteq is set to continue its quick growth, with the intention of hiring many new specialists for both R&D and production this year. This growth is made possible by products that are better than what Arcteq’s competitors can offer.

The strong growth is visible as soon as we set foot in Arcteq’s Vaasa headquarters. The interview is set to begin in a couple of minutes when Managing Director Juha Arvola asks us to take a seat on his office sofa.

“I’ll take care of one more thing while I have a minute,” Arvola says and sits down to type on his computer.

Arcteq manufactures protection relays and arc flash protection devices. These products ensure the safety of an electrical grid when something goes wrong. In practice, this means that protection relays cut off electricity as quickly as possible when a fault of some kind occurs.

Back in 2010, when Arvola founded the company with four others, the field of protection and control was not as magnetic and topical as it is nowadays. But even in 2010 businesses could see that controlling the safety of power grids would become more and more complex with each passing year.

Traditionally, electricity has mainly been produced in large facilities, and power has only flown in one direction. However, these days a household can be both a consumer and a producer of electricity, thanks in part to the increasing number of residential solar panels.

“This means that power flows in various directions which makes grid protection more complicated. A fault current can now come from any direction, instead of from just one.”

Keeping control of the grid in these situations therefore requires much more from protection relays than traditional one-way grids did before.

The best products on the market

Right from the company’s foundation, Arcteq set out to develop its own devices. The bar was set high from the start.

“A small operator like us needs better products than what our competitors can offer to survive. If our technology were on the same level as theirs, we would not be sitting here today.”

Arvola explains that product development that stays ahead of competitors is embedded into the company’s very core.

“If I went to our research and development team and suggested we do something similar as a competitor does, they would not go for it. They want to do things better.”

According to Arvola, this attitude combined with all the R&D know-how in the company is the basis for making Arcteq’s protection relays the most accurate protection relays in the world. This in turn opens up all kinds of new possibilities.

High accuracy also allows Arcteq’s relays to produce data on grid operation. This knowledge is especially valuable for distribution network companies when determining development targets.

“Since we are a small company, our products have to offer something that isn’t already commercially available. And in this, we have succeeded.”

Doubling revenue as the goal

In the last few years, Arcteq has increased its revenue by 20 to 30 percent annually.

“Last year our revenue surpassed ten million. We are looking to double that in the near future,” Arvola says.

Arcteq is very clearly an export company. Arvola tells us that last year over 90 percent of the revenue came from exports.

Arvola explains that Arcteq’s growth comes fairly equally from different parts of the world, thanks to the many partners the company has around the globe. Partners also play a very important role in Arcteq’s growth as it is common for protection relays to only be one part of larger purchases made by distribution network companies.

“We are an independent operator which allows us to easily co-operate with many kinds of companies.”

New year, new horizons

Arcteq has changed to a higher gear as far as growth is concerned. The company aims to increase its sales resources especially in the Middle East and in the United States. Arcteq’s Dubai office has already opened its doors, and the first employees in the States have been hired.

The company is also reaching for growth opportunities with product launches that incorporate their latest patented technologies.

“We are bringing out new and ground-breaking technology for line protection. This new technology allows for protection that is even better, faster, and more accurate.”

Continuous recruiting

The best products in the world and strong, expanding growth. Achieving these requires more people with relevant skills.

Arvola says that the company is always recruiting more people. In addition to electrical engineers, Arcteq is currently looking for experienced salespeople as well as software experts for product development. And because the company manufactures all its devices in Vaasa, additional assemblers are also needed in the coming years.

At the moment Arcteq employs over 40 people. It will need to hire some 20 more in order to reach the company’s growth target.

“Since our business is growing so fast, we need to strengthen every part of our company. We’ll be recruiting quite a lot this year.”

Published in Vaasa Insider (FIN):
Photo: Vaasa Insider / Pekka Leiviskä