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#41 marke

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 12:36 AM

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But the best way to go about saving energy is to look at each different application on a case by case basis and evaluate where energy is being wasted, then look for individual solutions.

You can only save part of the energy that is being wasted.
First step, determine where energy is being wasted and how much.
Second step, determine if there is an easy may of reducing the wastage. - can be procedural or technology based.
Third step determine cost of saving energy, how much will be saved and potential payback period.
Fourth step, convince customer that this is worth doing.

Some companies offer technology as a solution to everything with out establishing that there is a problem to solve. Induction motors are actually quite efficient and usually the lowest loss part of the equation.

Best regards,

#42 Alexis

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 01:15 PM

QUOTE(jraef @ Aug 1 2006, 12:55 AM) View Post

I think that an important point the Mario has brought up is that "energy savings" is not a technology issue, it is an application issue. Sure there are technology devices such as Nola Energy Savers that can, under the right circumstances, provide an energy savings benefit. But the best way to go about saving energy is to look at each different application on a case by case basis and evaluate where energy is being wasted, then look for individual solutions. Mario's example is an excellent one for that purpose. Will lithium grease solve every energy problem? No, not if there is very little friction involved to begin with, but in the right circumstances it may be more beneficial than you would imagine. Can VFDs save energy? Yes, in the right circumstances, but if the motor is going to run at full speed all of the time, then they actually WASTE energy!

I once got involved in a large project where a salesman had sold a lumber mill on the idea of putting in soft starters with the "energy saver" feature as a way of reducing his power consumption and his peak demand charges. By the time I got into it they were 95% complete in converting every motor starter over 25HP (19kW) to having a soft starter. I was working on the last batch when I asked him why he had started this process and was appalled by his answer. I started to explain to him that the energy saver was not going to work when the bypass contactors came in (they ALL had bypass contactors) and that Peak Demand charges were not going to be reduced because the utility calculated them on a 15 minute sliding window. He stopped me and produced an energy audit they had just completed. Sure enough, he was using over 30% less energy than the same period in the previous year, yet production was essentially equal! To him, this was proof.

I was not convinced because I knew better, so I investigated. As it turned out, the reason why they saved so much energy was the simple fact that having soft starters made the operators more inclined to turn machines Off when not needed. Prior to that, the voltage dip was often so bad when they restarted large machines that they just left them running, whether they were in use or not. Even though the problems stemmed from large machines such as chippers and resaws, the attitude extended to every machine. Once the problem went away for the big machines, the new attitude extended downward as well. So IN EFFECT, the soft starters DID save them on energy use AND demand charges because there is no better energy saver than the OFF button. It taught me a lesson in looking deeply at a problem rather than just assuming that there is some sort of "magic box" that will solve it. As it turned out, the magic box WAS the answer, but in an indirect way.

So Alexis, don't give up on your idea of providing energy and carbon reduction strategies to your customers, just don't hang your hat on a single technology and expect it to be the magic box, especially if the magic box purveyor expects a big up-front buy-in. There are plenty of soft starers products out there that are in fact of better design and quality than the Somar and the manufacturers do NOT require a big investment in inventory and training materials. I would also align yourself with some VFD manufacturers, energy efficient motor suppliers, lighting controllers, heck, even lithium grease suppliers and offer a complete package of solutions to your customers.


Dear Jraef,
What an excellent reply and examples of how we can so easily get confused by our assumptions ( it had to be the soft starters saving the money!) We are looking at other soft starters, and the Lithium grease idea is excellent. a BIG thanks to all again. Meanwhile just to keep you all amused we had a call from Somar today to say:- they had read our "heads of agreement" document where we asked 35 questions including some pointed ones from one of our electro engineers. To my surprise they said that they were happy with our questions and would answer them when we visit their premises to see the facilities and meet the people with a view to signing up if all our questions are answered to our satisfaction. This we stated was not our intention without seeing their replies to our questions first. So they have now 'booked' a telephone appointment to call us on Thursday to give us our answers ? ? This should be fun and we will amoungst other things ask for these answers IN WRITING ! as phone calls can be denied. They remind me so much of the 'time share' sales guys working the beach fronts in Spain. They must have some sales roots in the time share world somewhere!!
We will let you all know what is dicussed in this phone call ( part of the subtle pressure today was - "yes we (somar) are considering your application for a distributorship and we think you stand a good chance of becoming one, but with so many applicants we can't guarantee this of course" Suddenly when it's being taken away from us we want it all the more!
We''ll keep you posted meanwhile be lucky in what you do,
kind regards
Alex wink.gif

#43 Tony Welsh

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 04:24 PM

QUOTE(SIENSRILANKA @ Apr 4 2006, 12:42 AM) View Post

I am also trying to go into the business of selling energy savers.I amm baffled after reading the messages about these products.If the correct position is that the energy savers are fakes why not the industry take it up create awareness among the uninformed public.Some of these products claim to have got ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 .What does that mean?
SIENSRILANKA


I can answer the bit about ISO 9000 because a company I used to own was acredited. It means absolutely nothing. You have to write down all your procedures in painstaking detail but what you write down can by anything. For example, if you were to have a standard practice of sticking a pointed stick into the customer's eye when you first meet him, it would be ISO 9000 compliant as long as you wrote it down and stuck to it.

#44 Alexis

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 09:12 AM

QUOTE(Tony Welsh @ Aug 8 2006, 05:24 PM) View Post

I can answer the bit about ISO 9000 because a company I used to own was acredited. It means absolutely nothing. You have to write down all your procedures in painstaking detail but what you write down can by anything. For example, if you were to have a standard practice of sticking a pointed stick into the customer's eye when you first meet him, it would be ISO 9000 compliant as long as you wrote it down and stuck to it.

THE SOMAR STORY.
Well to our surprise they were honest about our questions submitted to them in our "heads of agreement" and actually answered ALL the questions, The problem was a couple of our questions were specific instalation examples of modern high efficiency motors such as you would find in A/C units etc, and the question was - Would power boss work in this scenario? They were honest enough to say " No not really" This immediately reduced our potential market by around 85% ! so we basically thanked them for their honesty and said no to their distributorship. Somar state that they have 2 new technologies that are being launched and that these have great potential. Thats all well and good but I still have VERY grave reservations about paying for a distributorship. We are now soucing product from Asia and offering energy solutions to our commercial clients.
Again thanks to everyone on this forum for their help and lets see if we can help any other potential Somar distributors reach the right decision !
( by the way Somar are VERY, VERY process driven- did someone say ISO? - I to was the MD of a large clothing company which was ISO 9000 and all ISO did was create a paper trail of EVERYTHING we did and made us slower, cumbersome and inefficient, blink.gif but we were accountable! - yippee!(sic), and we went bust, as we could not afford all the additional staff to run all the due dilligence, and we were not efficient etc!).
be lucky
Alexis smile.gif

#45 marke

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 09:45 AM

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all ISO did was create a paper trail of EVERYTHING we did and made us slower, cumbersome and inefficient, but we were accountable!

If ISO makes the system less efficient and uneconomic, there is a major problem with the way that it is being implemented. If ISO9000 is used correctly, it will actually improve efficiencies as a part of the standard requires reviews of existing methods, looking for improvements.
I have seen many ISO9000 consultants and managers use the ISO9000 system to take control of the company and force their own ideas onto the company operation.
With ISO, you simply document what you currently do, - don't change anything, then periodically review your procedures and look for ways of making improvements. If the system is not working, then make it work. An ISO9000 manual is a living document. Nothing is cast in stone, and the management should determine the level of accountibility that is appropriate for the company. The auditors should just be ensuring that you say what you do in the manual, and you do what you say that you do. If you want to make a change, just do it, but make sure that you document it. ISO9000 is about consistancy of performance, not about introducing mil specs into every process.
I once got audited in a new company after being there for about three months. I told the auditor to ignore one whole section because it could never work as described. We sat down and talked about the problems that I saw and the solutions I would implement and had no troubles passing the audit. The next audit, we sat down again and discussed progress with the changes and I was able to show that processes were in place, they were documented and they were working. - It is not all bad, but it certainly is not a quality control regime in terms of product performance.
I have seen companies of 20 implementing mammoth systems designed for 20000 employees and of course it is neither appropriate or neccessary to run those systems for a small company.
"If you made a profit last year, write down how you did it, and then look at how you can improve it."

Best regards,

#46 Somar International

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 05:45 PM

Many comments have been posted on this forum regarding our company and its Powerboss products. With a view to assisting readers of this forum to gain a more balanced view of our company and products, we have composed a comprehensive response which, due to its size, can be viewed here.

This response gives access to downloadable test reports, case studies and accreditations.

We trust this information will prove useful to those evaluating the opportunities within the energy saving market.

Best regards

#47 jOmega

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:49 PM

QUOTE(kevintjmoran @ Feb 11 2006, 02:40 PM) View Post


My doubting Thomas side asks...if it' so great why hasn't Siemens, ABB, Schneider, Rockwell or some other large electrical company bought them ???



kevintjmoran


To answer your question, consider that each of the companies named, have their own Softstarter Products; and Somar, isn't a threat to them in the marketplace and they are able to offer complete solutions WITH proper support on a global basis.

'Nuff said ?


Kind regards,



#48 PTFE

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 01:10 PM

I have read the various comments about the Powerboss with considerable interest. There seems to be, among the contributors, not all thatmuch realism and a goodly over-dose of cynicism. Nowhere does Somar claim that the Powerboss will save energy on all motors, as it would appear that some expect or even demand that it has to, to avoid being labeled as a dishonest product.

I have been a distributor in Germany since October 2003. I am most certainly not an expert in electric motors and still cannot myself give technical advice beyond the simplest matters. But I took from the start what I believe was a realistic view of the possibilities, and of my own limitations and strengths, and so, while there have been some disappointments, I have established a good customer base and added a very good new branch to our firm's business activities.

Some comments run along the line that anyone can find some stupid people to buy any product. This may be true, but how often will such stupid people re-order ? Our customers include a number of machine manufacturers and importers, who - after taking considerable time to evaluate for themselves - now fit as standard, or as an option, various sizes of Powerboss for their customers. Two such firms are headed by Drs. Elec. Eng., so the idea that one can only sell to technical idiots hardly holds true. One of these Drs. had read somewhere that no savings would be possible on motors bigger than about 30 kW. He is now well outside this box and still has not yet hit a brick wall.

In other cases we have delivered the end-customer direct. For example, a sawmill started with one unit for a trial, ordered shortly thereafter a further four, and then a batch bringing the total to 28, of various sizes from 22-225 kW. Their energy costs per unit of production fell by over 15%. Further, the start-up of the two biggest motors every morning no longer caused the breakfast TV to black-out in their village, thanks to the soft start.

Another company, one ot the biggest component supplliers to the automotive industry world-wide, installed 22 and 55 kW Powerboss in two identical types of machines in two factories about 650 km apart. For all these machines, they wanted both soft starters and (for safety reasons, on switch-off) braking. For the 22 kW motors, they would have had to spend 440 Euros for each soft starter and 650 Euros for a mechanical brake. Add to this the costs of installing - the brake alone required considerably work, costed at about 450 Euros. The Powerboss cost 875 Euros, so they had saved money already without counting any energy saving. They were of course pleased in both works when they found that the 22 kW units were also saving about 16%, the 55 kW units nearer 20%.

We have had our disappointments too, of course. There are applications which were tried, and produced no saving at all, and we have learned the hard way that some types of injection moulding machines should be given a wide berth. Somar has not always been as responsive as one would hope, but we have never been left high and dry with a problem. As a one-time business consultant I can understand that any company going through expansion at the rate Somar is (in spite of the great cries from those who have failed to contribute to it) simply cannot be perfect, it is always catching-up.

I too share my doubts about "buying-in" to the game. But, when I see the level of stupidity attached to some of the failures, and consider the cost to Somar of setting-up a new distributor, I can understand that they feel it necessary to demand some committment. I had no difficulty in having my payment refunded comfortably within 2 years. I can only wonder at those, such as "werner", who fell qualified to make totally negative comments about Somar and its products, while never having even drawn-down their initial stock (which was paid for in their "joining fee", so what had they to loose ??). There is no free lunch, and Somar never offered one.

Our (releative) success can, I feel, be atributed to a number of factors. On my side, I am an experienced marketer (not salesman), with the successful introduction of a number of products into the German market behind me. My experince told me never to tell a customer how much he could save, but to let him find this out for himself. (It is fatal to promiss 15% and have the customer get only 14%.) The market itself is also ideal for one without more idea about electricity than is needed to change the battery of a torch, as long as he makes this clear to customers from day one. Nearly all German firms beyond a certain size have well-trained electricians, who can read and follow instructions, and those who have not (as was the case with the sawmill above), use an external contractor with equally good staff.

For the last 15-18 months, our sales have been serously restricted by a shortage of sales people on the road, the interest being spurred-on by rising energy prices and the positive reports some of our installations have had in the technical press. This, rather than any of the indisputed short-comings on Somar's part (which they themselves admit to), causes frustration.

It is a bit unfortunate that this forum is limited to energy saving in electric motors, not in complete drive trains, as these often offer, even where there is no application for a Powerboss, considerable savings potential, much more than the piddling 1-3% which motor designers pride themselves with. (The encapsulated thinking so often met: "I'm an electrician, I have nothing to do with the gears" is very prevalent, and, I find, deplorable). In a recent case, as a prelude to finalising discussions about several Powerboss, we applied one of our lubricants to a 5.3 mW compressor, and reduced energy consumption by over 5%. (The oils and greases of the big oil companies are on the whole very second-rate on energy reduction [also = wear] and on longevity [disposal costs for old oil]). Elsewhere, with complex gearings, we have achieved 10%. With this competence behind us, it has been far easier to be credible when discussing other methods of savings with our existing customers.



#49 jraef

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 11:46 PM

PTFE,
While I can appreciate your having already made an investment in the technology and most likely feeling some distress at reading these opinions, I must point out to you that the issues at hand here are not that the technology is false, but is presented in such a way as to make people believe they are going to get something that they will not, namely massive energy savings. Keep in ind that none of us voice these opinions for financial gain, we do it because we all actually BELIEVE in the benefits of soft starting. It's just that the marketing methods employed by people selling then mainly as "energy savers" is actually creating ill will in the market place by setting users up for disappointment, and many of us have been victim to that market perception then being cast over ALL soft starters. Many of your points are quite valid, especially those related to the benefits of soft starting. But some of the points you made are not as valid as others, at least from my perspective.

QUOTE
Nowhere does Somar claim that the Powerboss will save energy on all motors,...
This is a direct quote from a MotorBoss website FAQ, which is the US name for PowerBoss.
"Which types of motors can benefit from Motorboss?
Any AC Induction Motor from ¾ HP to 1100 HP."

Now I'll grant that they said "can" not "will", but my opinion is that this is a form of spin doctoring that technically avoids prosecution, but IMPLIES that any motor "will" benefit by not even mentioning exceptions, when in fact the exceptions are actually the rule!

QUOTE
One of these Drs. had read somewhere that no savings would be possible on motors bigger than about 30 kW. He is now well outside this box and still has not yet hit a brick wall.
As far as I know, nobody has made a claim such as that here, that would be as ridiculous as their claims in the other direction. Nobody has ever claimed that the technology CAN'T work, only that it only works in certain narrow conditions. However, if it is working for him, then he MUST have had an application where it COULD work. Stating an exception to a general rule is not proof that the rule is invalid. I can drive a Hybrid car and prove to you that I can in fact attain 60 miles per gallon as Toyota advertises, but that in no way proves that every Hybrid vehicle will get that kind of economy and in fact the vast majority get far far less than that.

QUOTE
In other cases we have delivered the end-customer direct. For example, a sawmill started with one unit for a trial, ordered shortly thereafter a further four, and then a batch bringing the total to 28, of various sizes from 22-225 kW. Their energy costs per unit of production fell by over 15%. Further, the start-up of the two biggest motors every morning no longer caused the breakfast TV to black-out in their village, thanks to the soft start.
While I applaud the success, I still do not fully accept the 15% drop was a direct result of the "energy saver" circuit, there are a lot of circumstances that could account for that. I have personally witnessed AND INVESTIGATED a very similar situation, and the benefit could be directly linked to the fact that by fitting soft starters to all of the larger motors, workers were more likely to turn the machines off when not in use rather than leave then running because they were reluctant to restart them DOL. So indirectly, the soft starters DID in fact lower his energy use but not as a result of the energy saver circuit. Your other issue about the "breakfast TV" is a very valid point about soft starting, but again, not about the energy saver aspect of the PowerBoss.

QUOTE
For all these machines, they wanted both soft starters and (for safety reasons, on switch-off) braking.
In this example, I sincerely hope you are NOT implying that they used the braking function of the PowerBoss in lieu of the mechanical brake!!! THIS IS INHERENTLY DANGEROUS!!! Under NO circumstances should electronic braking of any sort be used to supplant mechanical safety brakes! What happens if the power fails? Again, no offense, but you said yourself that you are not an expert on electric motors applications. If this happened, it is clear evidence that neither you nor your customer was in fact, qualified to be using this technology, regardless of how many titles he has etc. This could actually cost someone their life or limb.

QUOTE
It is a bit unfortunate that this forum is limited to energy saving in electric motors,
Actually, it is not specifically limited, there has in fact been discussion of lubricants here before as well. But realize that this is not a web site specific to energy consumption, it is specific to electric motors. Do you go to the bakery and complain about a lack of meat, chiding the baker for not thinking "outside the bun"? Besides, the only reason why the Nola energy saver issue continuously pops up in this forum is because many people want to hear both sides of a situation, and Somar, among others, tended to offer only one. As has been mentioned here, it appears that Somar may be tempering their approach of late, but I know for a fact that their distributors are not, in fact if anything it has escalated with the recent energy crisis. Somar by all meas is not the only manufacturer doing this, just perhapse the most widespread. Succes in marketing does not equate to success in technology. Sony sold a lot of BetaMax VCRs didn't they?

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#50 marke

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 06:56 AM

Hello PTFE

I agree with Jraef, we are certainly not trying to present a biased view point and are certainly not targeting Somar or any other supplier.
If you look through this forum and also look at my paper (written in the early 90s), you will see that I have stated many times that the technology does work, but you can only save a portion of the energy that is being wasted.
I have been involved in this technology for many years, being one of the originators of the three phase implementation of the NASA single phase algorithm.
I certainly question the claims and implications made by some of the suppliers of this equipment. I have seen claims of up to 50% savings on "All" motors, and even a claim that there will be a 50% saving on motors operating at half load!!
The bottom line is that you can only save a portion of the energy that is being wasted and if the motor is operating efficiently, there is very little to be saved because there is very little being wasted.
There is no doubt that you can save energy on all motors provided that they are operating under open shaft conditions, but the energy that you can save is small relative to the motor rating.
Much of the promotional material that has been around for years in one form or another, implies that the energy saved is significant relative to the total connected motor load. This is definitely incorrect.
When I see statements such as "Electric motors consume more electricity than everything else combined; yet international research bodies calculate that around 50% of drive power energy could be saved if motors became more efficient" I get concerned about how this would be read. If we were to save 50% of the drive energy globally, we would have to increase the average efficiency of motors well beyond 100% and this is not possible. Motors are typically operating at efficiencies of 60% - 95%. There are a small percentage of the total motors installed that operate at lower efficiencies, but the load contribution of these is small relative to the total connected load.
I am regularly contacted by potential purchasers/distributors expecting to save up to 40% of the rated load of the motor. For those that do not work with induction motors, there is a common and "obvious" expectation that the induction motor will draw it's rated load under all conditions (like a heating element). When you read some of the claims with this in mind, it is easy to see how the wrong message is recieved. Quoting percentages leads to false expectations. I have had communications with a number of distributors of this technology who have had the expectation that much higher savings can be made than is possible. They have become very negative after spending a lot of money and time learning the hard way.

My comments have been about the energy saving principle as proposed by F Nola of NASA and derivations thereof. I have not targeted brands or implementaions, but, some suppliers have taken exception to my statements. Other suppliers have taken a responsible approach and moderated their claims to present a more realistic picture. I have not attempted to justify or qualify the value of "additional benefits" of some implementations of the energy savers commercially available.

There are also a number of suppliers of reduced voltage soft starters claiming that the use of a soft starter will reduce the demand charge. In reality, the start current is reduced, but the duration is longer resulting in a higher average current and if anything, the maximum demand metering, which is averaging over a half or quarter hour interval, may read higher rather than lower.
For example, if we halve the start current, we reduce the start torque to a quarter. This results in a start time that is four times longer. If we had a start current of 600% for 5 seconds, a soft starter may reduce the start current to say 300% for 20 seconds. The average curent over one minute without the soft starter (assuming the remainder of the time is at rated load) would be (5 x 6 + 55)/60 =85/60 = 1.4167
Starting the same machine at 300% current would result in a one minute average of (3 x 20 + 40)/60 = 100/60 = 1.67
Sometimes logic just does not come up with the correct results. If you pay for the short term peak current (rare from my experience) then you will save.

There are applications where the energy saving technology based on the Nola priciple, can achieve good payback periods. I believe that it is fair to say that the "good" applications are more the exception than the rule. The best results will occur on motors that are overfluxed, operating at no shaft load for extended periods of time. Modern motors operating within their design criteria will yield much lower returns than older motors and motor operating outside of their desing voltage/frequency range.
Target inefficient motors operating at light load and you will find good applications for energy saving. Try efficient motors operating with reasonable loading (greater than 50%) and you will generally be disappointed in the energy that can be saved.

It would be great to hear more genuine success stories and failures to give a balanced picture of the results that can be expected.

Best reards,

#51 paxitw

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 10:06 AM

Hi all,

I have not been around as far as this forum is concerned for a while, for various reasons.
It has however, been brought to my attention by a number of parties that in Somar's extensive rebuttal of various postings related to their business in this forum, they deemed it necessary to name me. I therefore want to clarify one or two points, without wanting to get into a tit for tat:
-I did in fact attempt to order initial stock as included in the Somar package, but because I had exceeded the 6 month period in which I had the option to do so by about two weeks, they refused to supply unless I paid. This in spite of the fact that I had made clear at the outset that because of other commitments it would take me some time to get rolling. To be clear, Somar were behaving legally perfectly correctly here, but my understanding of the moral obligations and "partnership" were somewhat different. I should have put something in writing at the outset.
-As far as Germany is concerned, Somar in their rebuttal use the example of the failed distributor (that's me) and the successful distributor. Interestingly, no mention was made of the other 8 or so distributors in Germany who have come and gone or are still around in one form or another. I cannot judge the success of the other German distributors with Powerboss (although there were clearly some successful businessmen amongst them), however on a global scale it should be easy for Somar to provide clarity on this aspect: i.e. we have signed up 200 distributors, xxx are successful, yyy have failed, and name the successful ones.
-In my original posting on 06/02/2006 the core of my message to Rob was: do the due diligence at the outset that I failed to do sufficiently. For any open, transparent company that should present no problem and I remain of stated opinion.
Lastly, my apologies to a number of forum members who replied to my posting, but who got no response due to above mentioned absence. Marke, the forum/website is much improved, hope it's achieving what you had hoped for.

Regards,
Werner.


#52 marke

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 10:36 AM

Hello Werner

Welcome back to the forum.
I believe that your point about the successes and failures is very relevent, and here in New Zealand, there have been a number of distributors and I am not aware of any successes. I found it interesting at one stage, to find that there was apparantly more than one distributor operating here at the same time, each believing that they had the exclusive rights for the territory.
I had major difficulties finding an active distributor in order to get a price, most of the distributors that I approached had failed.
I do firmly believe that there are applications that will benefit from the use of the technology, but that these will often benefit more by the use of a more efficient motor.
I also believe that the market potential is a small segment of the installed motor base, and not the large segment that appears to be implied in some of the marketing by some suppliers.
Statements like "Motors consume around 70% of the world's industrial electricity; imagine a new business opportunity where you help contribute to reducing that by up to 40%" suggest an average improvement in motor efficiency in tens of percent is possible by the use of an add on technology. Loaded motors draw most power and they are not that inefficient.

Best regards,

#53 marke

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 06:41 AM

Here is another paper on energy savers written by Ray Bristow, ex Fairford.
I note that the numbers that he quotes are similar to the number that I quote. Worth a read.
http://www.fairford......Snake oil.pdf

Best regards,

#54 jraef

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 11:53 PM

It's a well done paper for sure. I find in amusing that this came from Fairford though! A few years back I locked horns with a Fairford distributor here in the US who was doing the exact thing this paper was complaining about. I understand that you had a hand in getting Fairford to recognize that this sort of marketing was doing them more harm than good Marke, I just enjoy the irony involved in this paper coming from them. It's kind of like the fox lecturing the farmer on the security of chicken coop, right after having partaken of the eggs! tongue.gif
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#55 Stormbird

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 11:03 PM

Hello everyone.
As a complete novice in the energy field it's been a real eye opener to me reading the threads on this forum.
Like some others I am considering entering the "energy saving" industry via a distributorship license of the sort promoted by Somar. In fact I'm looking at both Somar and their neighbour Enigin. Yes, both in the small town of Truro amazingly. Or perhaps not so amazing as they share a founding member.
Both companies offer similar products - Somar has Powerboss, Enigin has Eniscope and both also offer load side soft starters etc. The two companies differ in two main respects; Firstly Somar seems to be more hands on with the products (support in start up, technical help in the field etc) whereas Enigin appears to be more marketing orientated - almost more of a consultancy with snazzy, Apple ipod type packaging of the products that is very attractive to the unexperienced. Enigin also has very persuasive marketing - for prospective distributors and final customers. Just watch some of their videos. Strangely some of the people who appear on the Somar video turn up in he Enigin video. huh.gif
Secondly, they differ on the cost of the "licence". Somar's costs around 13,000 pounds sterling. Enigin were at around 22,000 pounds sterling but there is talk that their new "package" will cost closer to a whopping 59,000 pounds sterling. All of these figures are high but the latest from Enigin seems outrageous to say the least. How or when you're supposed to get your return on investment from that I have no idea.
Having said the above, and apart from the licensing costs that these companies demand, I feel there is a market for the solutions that they propose. Note I say a demand for the solution proposed, not solutions fulfilled and it is here that I start to feel a bit queasy. There seems to be data from outside sources, only in-house case examples on which you have only their word. If I'm going to get involved in the energy saving business with any integrity I really want to be sure that I'm not selling snake oil and that I will have a long term profitable business, not just a quick few bucks and then burn up with all my capital in Truro.
If there are any Somar or Enigin distributors / partners out there that can share their real life experiences with the distribution, installation, and follow through with the products proposed and supplied by the above mentioned companies I would be very grateful to hear them.

#56 EXPBUSER

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 12:03 PM

QUOTE (Stormbird @ Dec 16 2008, 11:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello everyone.
As a complete novice in the energy field it's been a real eye opener to me reading the threads on this forum.
Like some others I am considering entering the "energy saving" industry via a distributorship license of the sort promoted by Somar. In fact I'm looking at both Somar and their neighbour Enigin. Yes, both in the small town of Truro amazingly. Or perhaps not so amazing as they share a founding member.
Both companies offer similar products - Somar has Powerboss, Enigin has Eniscope and both also offer load side soft starters etc. The two companies differ in two main respects; Firstly Somar seems to be more hands on with the products (support in start up, technical help in the field etc) whereas Enigin appears to be more marketing orientated - almost more of a consultancy with snazzy, Apple ipod type packaging of the products that is very attractive to the unexperienced. Enigin also has very persuasive marketing - for prospective distributors and final customers. Just watch some of their videos. Strangely some of the people who appear on the Somar video turn up in he Enigin video. huh.gif
Secondly, they differ on the cost of the "licence". Somar's costs around 13,000 pounds sterling. Enigin were at around 22,000 pounds sterling but there is talk that their new "package" will cost closer to a whopping 59,000 pounds sterling. All of these figures are high but the latest from Enigin seems outrageous to say the least. How or when you're supposed to get your return on investment from that I have no idea.
Having said the above, and apart from the licensing costs that these companies demand, I feel there is a market for the solutions that they propose. Note I say a demand for the solution proposed, not solutions fulfilled and it is here that I start to feel a bit queasy. There seems to be data from outside sources, only in-house case examples on which you have only their word. If I'm going to get involved in the energy saving business with any integrity I really want to be sure that I'm not selling snake oil and that I will have a long term profitable business, not just a quick few bucks and then burn up with all my capital in Truro.
If there are any Somar or Enigin distributors / partners out there that can share their real life experiences with the distribution, installation, and follow through with the products proposed and supplied by the above mentioned companies I would be very grateful to hear them.


I am astounded that they try to get 59grand from you - this lot should be investigated by trading standards.

Funny that they are both in Truro - a very remote location in the UK. isnt it a strange co-incidene that Enigin now use the old building that Somar used to be located!

I challenge any prospective distributor of Somar/Enigin > go & purchase a 55kilowatt "fixed speed energy saver" and then go to find a customer with a 55kilowatt motor with varying loads (an injection moulder of plastic parts should do) sell them the concept of energy saving (please bear in mind that you dont really have a clue what they can save, but think of a number). The customer will want the unit on trial for a month before he decides. Splash out on an electrical installation (But you do have to send this engineer down to Somar to be trained on installation) (the cost is mounting up here, right?)
Then get your circtutor AR5 to take some readings (another £1500 somar scam you for) You will then see some reasonable current savings, but when you look at the kw savings they are minimal because you have increased the power factor of the motor.

Take into account:

1) installation costs
2) overhead recovery costs
3) visits to site costs
4) delivery charge from somar

Add this lot into the sale cost to the customer. Suddenly the payback doesnt look so great.

Now you have to look at the cashflow side of the somar business.
For this 55kw energy saver you will pay around £1000 (round figures, so please dont chastise me if its incorrect) to somar, you have to pay this upfront - YES with order! then you will wait around 6-8 weeks for delivery, then install at the customer for 1 month, then wait 30 days from end of month to be paid. Your negative cashflow runs to around 4 months.

Just ask yourself a simple question. If these units were the best thing ever invented, Somar/Enigin would sell them direct to the end user.
Somar/Enigin are after one thing only in my opinion - your license fee!



#57 Ian Wrigley

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 03:03 PM

Having worked in the Energy Saving Business for almost thirty years I have seen many individuals and organisations endeavour to get a foothold in this industry only to subsequently give up and throw in the towel long before they see any return on their investment. In truth this is not unique to this business - statistically most people will fail within the first year – it’s almost always going to be harder than you think!

Having said that I have personally enjoyed conspicuous success in this industry selling products directly to the end user and at this time I cannot think of a business with greater potential. I can point to several businesses I either personally started or individuals who were initially distributors of mine who now run successful multimillion pound companies – so don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

If you wish to know the pitfalls to avoid you should read my white paper entitled “What Are The Critical Success Factors For Starting Your Own Energy Saving Business?” If you Google ‘Ian Wrigley Enigin’ you should find my Blog with a link.

In carrying out your due diligence on any new business venture it is vital to ensure the information you are relying on is correct, and at the same time remember that everyone has an opinion, on almost every subject so you need to deal with the facts.

There are a number of postings on this forum that provide information that is wholly untrue and it would be sad to think that people have made a decision based on false information.

For example: -

EPBUSER, who pretends to be an EX Powerboss distributor quotes the cost of a 55kW controller as being circa £1000 pounds wholesale when it fact it is nearer half that (anyone who truly had been a Somar distributor in the past would of course have known that). A partner can purchase an Enigin 55kW iMEC fixed speed controller for less than £500 pounds, which drastically affects both payback to the customer and profitability for the distributor. I have supplied literally thousands of motor controllers to end-users and consistently delivered a payback of less than two years.

On the matter of evaluating suitable applications I have a reliable software driven payback calculator which based on known parameters will accurately estimate the potential savings on a motor prior to the installation.

Apparently Somar recommend the use of an AR5 meter. This is a one-off purchase and with care should never need replacing. Surely, any self respecting businessman/consultant who claims to be in the Energy Saving Business will have as a minimum the equipment to do the job properly which includes the ability to measure energy parameters.

As a matter of best practice Enigin recommend the installation of an Eniscope web-enabled meter on every site before you begin to think about load side products – the principle being that you cant save if your can’t measure. Thereafter everything you do for the client is transparent.

On the matter of availability of stock… almost everyone I know in business carries at least a minimum amount of stock from which they supply their customers – that should be part of your business investment. However Enigin can enable a partner to draw down stock on an ad-hock basis in the initial start-up phase to help with cash flow and this can be paid for once it’s installed and the end-user has paid (nb. Naturally you have to meet the terms of trading).

Perhaps the most glaringly misleading statement is in the form of a question “If these products are so good why don’t they sell them themselves?” The simple answer is they do – and lot’s of them in fact millions of pounds worth to end users each year!

For the record Somar and Enigin are totally independent companies with a different business philosophy and unique products, the only relevant connection being is; I am proud to say I started them both from scratch.

To your success,

Ian Wrigley FRSA



#58 EXPBUSER

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 05:27 PM

A good reply there Ian,

However, to substantiate your products and businesses that you started from scratch - a couple of direct questions for you:

what is the success & failure rate of Somar & Enigin distributors? by this I mean what is your churn rate of distributors (how many distributors fail each year and how many new ones are signed up?)

By success, I mean a sustainable business?

What I am looking for here is, are you interested in selling equipment or license fees?



#59 pardeep

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 08:22 AM

hi all,
was considering distribtorship, all my dreams are shattered , but shattered for good, would have been great if Alex had posted about his telephonic questionaire with somar

#60 marke

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:46 AM

Somar Powerboss have changed ownership, perhpas the golden egg was not as golden as portrayed??




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