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JEMA offers technical solutions and high customization for top demanding projects that very few companies can offer, explains Ibon Cerro

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JEMA's main activity is the development of bespoke power electronics solutions in the world of energy with an extremely high customization environment that very few companies can offer, explains Ibon Cerro, Technical Area Manager of the company, located in Lasarte-Oria (Gipuzkoa). This market requires JEMA to undertake "constant development and innovation in our products" with more than 50 highly qualified people assigned to R & D.

What are JEMA's main business areas?

We have four key areas. One addresses renewable energies, especially solar. Another is critical power supply systems for sensitive and critical systems that cannot be exposed to the risks of incidents that occur in a conventional power grid, such as hospitals, data centres or nuclear power plants. The third area is buses with the Irizar Group, Irizar e-mobility and the development of all the equipment that is installed in electric vehicles (chargers, energy storage, auxiliary converters to power the steering, traction or communications, etc.) We also have another line that demands more development of us and which benefits the other business areas - we call it advanced powersupplies. In this last area, every project is a development in and of itself and requires constant innovation.

How does JEMA stand out in this last area?

We are one of the three European benchmark companies in the nuclear fusion market. JEMA collaborates in particular with the international scientific community in research to obtain clean and inexhaustible atomic energy.

Apart from public bodies, major international private companies that are very interested in developing these technologies are trusting in us. In this area, we are European leaders in high current power supplies for magnetic confination coils and (normal or superconducting) and high voltage power supplies for plasma heating.

Are you ahead of the competition in this area?

Clearly, we are a benchmark in the sector. We have been lucky to be one of the three European companies that have developed the most projects in the last 15 years and which are also the most technically and economically significant. We enjoy huge international recognition. Beyond Europe, we have significant business in the United States and Japan.

What important projects is JEMA currently developing?

We currently have projects in different phases, in design or commissioning. We have projects for different nuclear energy agencies of Spain, France, Italy ,Great Britain ,in the United States and Japan. These projects have long maturation times, as it is necessary to design, manufacture and commission the systems due to the complexity and number of power supplies, so they are projects that take years to develop. They are economically significant projects with a high degree of technical risk. We have the capacity to complete them on time and beyond the expectations of customers specified in their requirements. Right now, our staff is involved in commissioning projects in Japan and the United States. We have very rigorously tested equipment and we provide customers with great added value. At JEMA, we provide cutting-edge technology, tested bespoke projects and a high degree of flexibility. The quality and reliability of our equipment goes before us.

What project are you developing in Japan?

Japan is the end customer. The country is working on nuclear fusion and needs twelve power supplies. To do this, two projects were completed; one with seven power supplies whose tender was put out by the Italian national agency and another with five that was put out by the French agency. We won the two independent tenders.

What is required to have this knowledge available for the Customer's benefit?

At technological level, we are always forced to be constantly changing and innovating because what they ask us to do always forces us to go a step further. As important as designing the power components is the development of control, meaning the intelligent unit that will make the whole power unit work properly and accurately to provide the necessary protection and security systems. At JEMA, we design and develop these control systems in their entirety. These are highly tested and robust systems, which are also very flexible so they can be adapted to the different needs of customers in their projects and different sectors.

Is this quality one of your key values?

Yes. We are now implementing a very important solar project in Chile . When the client came here to perform a technical evaluation of the solution, they praised our highly advanced and innovative control system. It is one of the strengths that they saw compared to our competitors - who may be using developments that have been static in recent years. They were surprised at our updating ability.

To what extent do you collaborate with Creatio, the Irizar Group Research and Development Centre?

JEMA works in the worlds of E-mobility with different research centres such as Tecnalia or Cidetec in the Basque Country or Fraunhofer in Germany and also with important international engineering firms. With Creatio, the research and development centre of the Irizar Group, to which we belong, we collaborate through the different working groups of which we are members. The JEMA R & D department collaborates with the Creatio working groups. We are involved in the project of the new range of interoperable chargers for buses. There are people with more than 15-20 years' experience working on the development of these new technologies which are absolutely key in our sector in the coming years.

What value does JEMA bring to the customer?

We offer the customer an integral control solution. We provide the hardware platform in addition to the entire software package that we develop in-house. What's more, the customer can be certain that we have the flexibility, adaptability and internal knowledge to address any change that may arise during the project. Customers are aware that we will be able to offer them any change within the physical range that the teams can provide and, in addition, we will do so using innovative solutions. What they value in us is our extensive knowledge and experience and our ability to offer an innovative customized solution to each problem with cutting-edge technology and maximum reliability. In the field of electro mobility, we are recognized for our experience of 20 years. We have a large knowledge base in the world of power and energy and electrical systems.

What is JEMA's annual investment in R & D?

Around 10% of our sales. We are now in a period of very strong developments in the field of photovoltaic and energy storage, bringing out new equipment, and in the world of coaches, both traditional and electric, with many developments, major investments, test benches, trials.... We are consolidating the projects that we have already released and developing new products to prepare the second bus range.

What are the future challenges for JEMA?

To continue developing some control electronics for different Irizar Group companies and advance version 2.0 of the electric bus family, in which we increasingly want to integrate more equipment made and designed within the group. In the more traditional business areas, the challenge we now face in the field of renewables is to bring out a range of equipment at a higher internal voltage. This is what they are demanding of us because photovoltaic plant solutions are becoming more profitable.

We are developing cross-cutting electronics and control knowledge, which can be applicable both in the transport sector and in any of our other business areas.

© Jema Energy S.A. Tel. +34 943 376 400 · Paseo del Circuito 10 Lasarte-Oria, Gipuzkoa, 20160. Spain.
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