September 2019, Dubai

Interview with Sick Sensor Intelligence

Martin Palmer, General Manager, SICK Middle East

Our reasons for coming on-board as a Launch Partner at SPS Automation Middle East

In Europe, SICK AG and SICK Italy are long-standing participants of the SPS Drives Germany and SPS IPC Drives Italia. Given our experiences at these events as well as the pedigree of the SPS industrial goods exhibitions, when we heard that an SPS event was to be held for the first time in the Middle East, we wanted to be associated with the region’s first automation showcase due to the synergies with our operations and strategic focus in this region.

Our expectations for this inaugural event

The automation industry is abuzz with the concept of Industry 4.0 currently. At the same time, the more traditional industrial automation business continues to grow steadily in the region, particularly in the fields of track & trace, safety, emissions control and applications for precise measurement. 

We expect that this event will be an opportunity to discuss and promote these opportunities as well as to bring together solution providers with regional customers who are interested in bringing their operational efficiency and performance visibility up to the next level.

An overview of Sick and our activities in the Middle East

SICK is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sensors, safety systems and automatic identification products for Factory Automation and Logistics Automation applications as well as gas flow and analyser solutions for Process Automation. 

Whether automating factories or optimizing distribution centers, or monitoring emissions from a stack, SICK provides cost-effective sensor solutions. Our company has pioneered a long line of industry firsts – such as the first safety light curtain, the first colour sensor, the first flue gas monitor and many more. These innovations provide solutions to virtually every industry application across the globe.

SICK FZE, based in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is responsible for supporting SICK's customer base across most of the Middle East region where we have a wide network of competent distributors, system integrators, technology partners and re-sellers. 

SICK FZE commenced operations as a regional branch office in Dubai in 2007, and in 2013 was converted into a wholly-owned subsidiary of parent company SICK AG of Waldkirch, Germany. 

We provide sales and technical support for all of our customers in the region, including service & maintenance, project coordination as well as applications development. With knowledge of local and regional customs, languages and often uniquely challenging conditions, SICK FZE is well-positioned to add value to the Middle East sensor and automation markets.

On the UAE and wider region’s automation sector

The UAE was an early adopter of automation technologies relative to the region. From large logistics projects for roads, ports and airports through to the establishment of regional distribution hubs for multinational consumer goods companies, the UAE has established itself firmly on the regional industrial automation map. 

Increasingly across the Middle East, we see automation becoming more relevant, especially as manufacturers seek to increase productivity and safety whilst the consumer demands higher quality and better value for money.

The challenges facing the regional automation sector

For sales and service providers in the Industrial Automation sector, a key challenge is to ensure that critical spares and service competency are of the desired levels locally to minimise operational downtime at customer sites, especially as the machine/OEM sourcing is typically located outside of the region.

The opportunities for this emerging regional market

Across the region, there is growing impetus on developing alternative and renewable energy resources such as solar energy. This brings exciting opportunities for technology and automation providers to bring more innovative solutions to the market.

Additionally, a major focus on tourism is an increasing trend in the region, driving major investments into infrastructure and logistics.  Customers are increasingly demanding end-to-end solutions and streamlined processes with faster & higher outputs. Smarter, innovative solutions and technologies are constantly being sought, and here the automation providers have a key role to play within the new Industry 4.0 evolution.