Dr. Thai Lai Pham, President and CEO of Siemens Vietnam, tells VET about Siemens AG's new strategy as part of its Vision 2020 and what it means for Vietnam.
■ Since October 1, 2014 Siemens AG was positioned along electrification, automation and digitalization. What was the main reason behind this critical alignment?
The answer is quite simple. We want to concentrate on what we can do best and where we can help our customers the most. And across the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization, there are concrete growth fields – fields in which we see major growth potentials.
Firstly, we are focusing along the electrification value chain because the future global energy demand will remain at high level. Emerging and growing economies, such as Vietnam, are hungry for more energy in order to enable and secure the rapid economical development. Along the value chain of electrification our products are designed to efficiently generate, transmit, distribute and utilize electrical energy.
Secondly, in a globalized world, industrial productivity and cost efficiency are crucial factors for competitiveness. We have been successfully helping our customers in many industries to automate and to continuously optimize their processes for years. With Industry 4.0, we see another emerging trend that will help our customer to elevate their manufacturing automation to the next level of effectiveness.
Lastly, today digitalization has been embedded in and become part of our daily world in the way that is difficult to believe, how we had lived without it before. We want to exploit the opportunities offered by digitalization even better, because added value for our customers lies more and more in intelligently utilizing the enormous amount of data and software solutions and intelligent data analysis.
Thus, we are rigorously aligning ourselves to exploit these potentials in order to achieve long-term successes.
■ Talking about electrification, what can you say about today’s energy landscape?
“We make real what matters by setting the benchmark in the way we electrify, automate, and digitalize the world around us.”
The world is heading into a new energy age, in which energy is becoming more important, more complex, and more demanding. Energy generation based on fossil fuels is more and more complemented and substitutes by renewable sources such as wind, sun or biomass. This put a higher complexity and demand to the management of energy resulting from different fluctuating sources. Furthermore, as mentioned before for many economies electric energy will be the driving force for economic, social, and cultural development, as well as the basis for economic success and wealth. Consequently, in many countries, the future of energy is now at the very top of the agenda. Demand for electrical power is growing three times as fast as the world’s population. By 2030, global electricity requirements could increase by two-thirds. At the same time, the challenges facing energy markets could scarcely vary more. While energy demand is increasing, there is an utmost need for comprehensive environment protection by e.g. limiting CO2 emissions. Around the world, regional energy markets have one thing in common: a need for sustainable energy sources and a growing focus on natural gas as a solution.
■ Why do you think the natural gas can have a bright future?
Natural gas could play a major role in this context. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), gas has a golden future: by 2035, it could be providing a quarter of the world’s energy – up from one-fifth today. By 2030, natural gas could surpass high-emission coal as a key energy source.
And it would be a good thing for the world’s climate if it did. Why? Because gas-fired power plants emit substantially less CO2 than the coal conversion technologies that now dominate energy production. And they also have another advantage: gas-fired plants can be ramped up very quickly, enabling them to compensate for sudden declines in output from renewable sources when the wind drops or the sun doesn’t shine. Today, we provide a broad portfolio that includes everything from solutions for natural gas production to complete gas-fired power plants. Our H-class gas turbines, the most proven efficient gas turbine, are a bestseller. Since their market launch in 2011, Siemens has sold more than 70 of these high-performance systems worldwide.
■ Could you share some of Siemens’ project highlights in Vietnam in this area?
Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most rapidly growing economies. The demand for electricity in Vietnam is expected to soar by as much as 14 percent a year until 2020. However, due to insufficient capacity, the country is still plagued by unreliable supply. Vietnam’s energy master plan for 2011-2015 with vision to 2030 calls for its present capacity to be tripled by 2020. To cope with this demand is the pre-requisite for Vietnam to continue the path of successful economical growth and to become an industrialized nation in 2020. It is truly a very challenging task for the state-owned corporation Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) and other investors in power generation. But, this is where Siemens can help the most.
The total installed electricity capacity of Vietnam by end of 2014 is about 33GW and Siemens contributes about 14% of the total generated electricity. We supply 10 large gas turbines for gas fired power plants. Combined cycle power plants (CCPP), such as 740MW Phu My 3, 1500MW Ca Mau 1&2 and 750MW Nhon Trach 2 are among the most efficient and environmentally friendly power plants in Vietnam. In particular, Nhon Trach 2 CCPP, which was built together with a local partner in record time, has achieved the high rating for having the stable operation and short construction time, as well as for being one of the highest plant efficiency and cost effective. It also has received the Gold Award in the “Fast-track power plant of the year” category at the Asian Power Award 2012.
■ You mentioned above that Siemens wants to exploit the opportunities offered by digitalization even better in the future because added value for its customers lies more and more in software solutions and intelligent data analysis. Can you give a few concrete examples of how Siemens is making progress in the area of digitalization?
For Siemens, digitalization is much more than a business field; it’s our biggest growth driver, with which we intend to lead the company to a successful future. With our broad range of offerings along the electrification value chain and our IT expertise in many industrial sectors, we’re ideally equipped for the era of digitalization and to participate in the market growth.
This growth is based on our digital service offerings, including data-based forecasting, asset management, systems optimization and vertical software like NX (CAD/CAM/CAE SW), Teamcenter (data exchange between Siemens SW solutions and other manufacturers), Syngo.via (healthcare imaging visualization and diagnosis SW) or Tecnomatix (SW for virtual design and simulation of production). And the foundation here includes greatly improved methods of software development. For example, agile software development shortens development cycles for PLM software substantially and enables us to work closely with our customers.
Further, our Industrial Data Analytics (IDA) platform is another excellent example of the progress we’re making in the area of digitalization. This platform can be used to develop data-driven services. For examples, rather than concluding standardized maintenance contracts as in the past, our Siemens Power Generation Services Division now offers flexible service contracts that take into account customers’ concrete requirements for maintenance scope, intervals and performance. All these together ensure higher availability and reliability of the system than with traditional maintenance contracts and thus help the customers to minimize and optimize the downtime of their power plants.
■ Will Vietnam be able to benefit from Siemens’ investment in digitalization?
Of course. In reality, vertical software as mentioned above have been already introduced and launched on Vietnam’s market with a number of key customers such as Samsung, Canon, Nike or Cho Ray hospital. For instance, Syngio.via is helping the radiology department of the Cho Ray hospital to optimize the clinical workflow in imaging diagnostics significantly, resulting in much higher patient throughput and improved quality with the same resources. This is of utmost importance for emerging countries like Vietnam with limited number of trained medical personnel and constrained budgets to optimal utilize any of available skilled resources. Or the Tecnomatix software enable the manufacturer Nike Vietnam and its partner Ching Luh to operate more efficiently and optimize their resources in a twenty thousand workers manufacturing facility.
Last but not least, as mentioned earlier we are focusing in making Industry 4.0 or Digital Factory, where virtual worlds keep merging with real production and create competitive advantages for our customers, a reality. Vietnamese customers are very welcome to try our Digital Factory offerings, which significantly help to reduce time to market by increasing productivity and flexibility.