IES Soler celebrates its 80th anniversary

IES Soler celebrates its 80th anniversary

“We have established ourselves as a solid benchmark in the field of electrical heat for large-scale industrial processes”

OilGas magazine highlights us in its latest edition, celebrating our 80 years of passion and excellence in electrification and industrial safety.

This year IES Soler celebrates its 80th anniversary as a nationally and internationally outstanding company in the fields of Electrification for Electrical Heat Processes and Industrial Safety. The company was established following the philosophy of its founder, Joan Soler Torroella, and experienced significant growth with the participation of his sons, Joan and Jordi Soler Moradell. Today, the company has consolidated its position with the third generation, maintaining a solid commitment to excellence, based on flexibility, innovation and constant curiosity to question and improve in all aspects.

On the following pages, we interview Joan Ignasi Soler, CEO, and Jordi Soler Vilà, the company’s Export Manager, respectively. Joan Ignasi and Jordi form the third generation in the company. This successful tandem has proved its worth during more than 15 years of commitment at the helm of the family business.

With an adventurous and dynamic personality, both brothers share a great passion for sport and nature. It is their escape route, their way of disconnecting from the daily routine and recharging their batteries; immersing themselves in physical activity clears their minds, rejuvenates them and makes them ready to face new challenges.

Joan Ignasi, who says “I am a lover of the world on wheels”, enjoys everything to do with wheeled vehicles: bicycles, motorbikes, automobiles. Such is his hobby that in his spare time he has become the manager of a great friend and rally driver and even taken part in the Titan Desert, a cycling competition that crosses the Sahara Desert in Morocco.

Jordi is an avid former hiker who loves to climb mountains and overcome challenges in nature, and is a keen photographer. “I have had the opportunity to conquer more than 350 peaks to date,” he says, “an experience that has given me countless adventures and memorable moments in nature”.

In this interview, the Soler brothers offer Oilgas readers an overview of the company’s history and share their plans to continue to grow with their customers in the field of industrial decarbonisation

In 2023 IES Soler celebrates its 80th anniversary. We would like to know what the company’s beginnings were like and how it has evolved to this day.

We are a family business that emerged with the aim of manufacturing electrical resistors for the repair of small household appliances and industrial heating equipment; our mission was to improve the quality of life of people and businesses that had suffered the consequences of the Civil War.

We presented ourselves under the brand name IES SOLER, a company rooted primarily in the Maresme region, and we are known more informally as ‘Las Eléctricas de Canet’. This name stems from our close relationship with the local community, as the vast majority of our staff come from Canet de Mar and the surrounding area. This approach, which we strive to maintain, not only reinforces the identity of our company in the region, but has also created a close and familiar working environment.

After 80 years and three generations, we can say that we have established ourselves as a solid reference in the field of electrical heat for large-scale industrial processes in such complex industrial sectors as gas and oil, metallurgy, chemicals, natural gas processes, energy and others. The last twenty years have seen us experience a very significant transformation in all respects!

The market has demanded a change in our business model and we have decided to focus on the evolution of our products and on international expansion. Our focus is now on providing comprehensive, more complex and more demanding solutions.

What is the value proposition that distinguishes IES Soler as a benchmark in the industrial field?

Our value proposition consists of providing our broad experience in the sector, supporting customers in all stages, from design to commissioning, anywhere in the world. Flexibility is our constant commitment, ensuring that each customer receives support tailored to their specific needs.

With a well-established distribution strategy, we connect directly with engineering companies and electrical stores to make quality products available to our customers. This global distribution network allows us to meet the demands and expectations of a diverse and dynamic market, and to consolidate our position as a worldwide supplier of industrial heating solutions.

We remain steadfast in our original philosophy: to provide complete solutions in electrical heat and industrial safety without going out of business.

In this value proposition, the IES Soler team is the key to providing a comprehensive service tailored to the needs of every customer. What is the company’s team like? What core values would you highlight in this area?

The company’s team is characterised by a mixture of experience and youth, which enriches the workflow and our capacity to adapt to the changing needs of the industrial sector.

What a company looks for in its employees is a set of core values: professionalism, commitment, teamwork, creativity, professional development, respect and social and environmental responsibility. These are basic to maintain a positive and productive working environment in the company and to foster its long-term success in the industrial sector. We recognise that is no easy task, as human resources are inherently unique and valuable in their diversity and individual contribution.

We employ approximately fifty people in specialised production, engineering and technical roles at our head office, as well as dedicated sales and administrative staff. This diversity of talents and skills is a fundamental pillar of our business philosophy. We have a healthy mix of youth and experience; we are a family, a fact that enriches the workflow and the capacity to adapt to the sector’s constant changes and needs.

From a technological point of view, we would like to know more about the portfolio of electrical heating and industrial safety equipment manufactured and marketed by IES Soler.

In terms of our core business, the Industrial Electrical Heat solutions offer ranges from simple heaters for heating of oil to advanced steam heating systems designed for complex industrial processes. A couple of decades ago, the company decided to manufacture high added-value equipment, offering a comprehensive service. Through a meticulous design process backed up advanced calculation programs, we manufacture resistors and add value to the whole: pressure tanks, pumps, thyristor control cabinets for process control, all pre-installed and interconnected in a skid ready to be deployed in the plant. Furthermore, in response to demand, we offer commissioning services at plants anywhere in the world.

This entire process requires and is carried out under the highest quality standards and is backed by certifications such as ISO9001, ISO14001, ATEX, IECEx, CE, ASME, EN15085. Among the most common equipment we work with are flange heaters, heat exchangers and electrical heat batteries, among others.

Within our outstanding range of signage products we highlight acoustic and luminous warning devices designed specifically for industry, as well as air traffic signalling systems and maritime signalling. We also offer high quality safety solutions in warning systems to the population, supported by specialised technicians and powerful software for acoustic studies. Together, we aim to provide comprehensive solutions that not only meet the highest standards, but also ensure our customers’ safety and confidence.

In eight decades of existence, the company has expanded its activity in numerous countries. What has the experience been like? In which markets does the company operate?

Our company has forged an impressive journey, expanding its operations across numerous countries. The experience has been a journey marked by constant evolution and adaptation to the changing challenges of the international market

The foray into exports started more than 40 years ago, when we decided to take our products beyond the national borders. Our first step was to Cuba in the 1970s. In the 1980s, before Spain joined the European Economic Community, we established our own presence in Paris, from where we coordinated the distribution of our products. At those times, exporting was a laborious challenge, with logistical barriers and the need to establish direct connections with customers Globalisation and new technologies have radically transformed this picture. Communication through platforms has greatly simplified our operations, but has challenged us to constantly raise our standards, as competitors have also taken advantage of these benefits.

Today, 45 percent of our turnover comes from international markets, covering more than 40 countries worldwide. Our approach has established strong roots in Europe and the Middle East, positioning us as a leading player in these markets. This success reflects not only our ability to adapt to an interconnected world, but also our unwavering dedication to innovation and differentiation, key elements that drive us forward in an increasingly competitive business environment.

What projects are you currently working on? Can you name any reference of which IES Soler is particularly proud?

We are currently engaged in a number of projects focusing on decarbonisation, a crucial challenge in today’s world. The transition to cleaner energy sources is a priority, and we are leading efforts to advise companies on reducing their dependence on fossil fuels.
Our contribution lies in the development of industrial electrical heat equipment powered by clean energy that effectively replaces fossil-fuelled processes, enabling companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

In line with our commitment to renewable energies, we are actively involved in molten salt heating projects for energy storage. These projects are vital for the advancement of renewable energies, enabling the use of energy both day and night. We are additionally involved in pilot projects to address the challenges related to hydrogen storage and transport, a crucial solution on the road to a wider hydrogen market.
We have also extended our presence in growth sectors such as gas, participating in the construction of LNG regasification plants in Europe.

Among our most successful projects, we are proud to mention the installation of electrical heat exchangers as part of the ITER project. This ambitious project, with an investment of 24 billion euro and the involvement of more than 20 countries, aims to create an experimental nuclear power plant in the south of France to obtain energy through nuclear fusion. Our participation in the creation of “a little sun on the earth”, as expressed in the project description, is a milestone that underlines our commitment to innovation and progress at the cutting edge of technology.

Another curious project, for example, involves the installation of a series of industrial electrical generators a few months ago at the Alma Observatory located at an altitude of over 5,000 metres in Chile’s challenging Atacama Desert. The ability of our equipment to operate effectively in this extreme environment demonstrates its reliability and performance even under challenging and remote conditions. We are proud to contribute to the pioneering research being carried out in this unique corner of the planet, nothing less than discovering life forms in the universe!

With regard to the safety division, we are particularly excited about our work on the ICAO Beaconing System for the three Besós chimneys in Barcelona. This project consisted of the design and supply of air obstacle marker beacons, a complex system developed in accordance with the rigorous aeronautical easement requirements established by the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency (AESA). The main objective was to prevent possible accidents in the vicinity of an airport, heliport or airfield.

The oil & gas industry is immersed in a cycle of technological transformation to achieve emission neutrality. How is IES Soler contributing to this decarbonisation process?

The industry is indeed taking significant steps to reform its operations and technologies in order to contribute to combating climate change and to promote long-term sustainability. This commitment involves a number of actions and approaches, and in this sense IES is developing a series of initiatives to address this challenge and also to contribute to reducing our customers’ carbon footprint.

  • -Energy efficiency: We implement energy efficiency measures at all stages of production and operations to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reduction of emissions in the supply chain: We work closely with suppliers who share our commitment to sustainability. From the procurement of raw materials to the delivery of our products, we prioritise collaboration with local and regional suppliers. We encourage material reuse and the implementation of more sustainable technologies in waste management.
  • Sustainable mobility: We optimise transport with more efficient practices, such as groupage of shipments. By introducing a continuous working day to help to reduce travel.
  • Research and development: We invest in R&D to develop technologies and practices to optimise processes and operations, thereby effectively contributing to reducing emissions.
  • Compliance with environmental regulations: IES adapts to increasingly stringent regulations and standards related to greenhouse gas emissions and waste management. Sustainability certifications such as ISO 14001.
  • Training, education and awareness-raising: We train, inform and educate employees and stakeholders on sustainable practices and the importance of decarbonisation. Remembering that every little action counts and that the sum of individual efforts can make a big difference in the fight against climate change and in decarbonisation.

With regard to new energy carriers such as biomethane, hydrogen, second generation eco-fuels, etc. on what does the company wager?

As already mentioned, our company’s vision is aligned with the broad range of sectors related to the decarbonisation on which we are actively working. From solar and wind energy to energy storage, nuclear fusion and hydrogen, we are committed to several areas that shape the sustainable energy future.

In particular, the focus at the moment is on improving our industrial park and focusing on the implementation of photovoltaic panels. Given our privileged location, just 40 kilometres north of Barcelona and on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, we believe that harnessing the sun’s power is essential for the uptake and generation of clean energy.

This project is at an advanced stage of development, and we anticipate its implementation in 2024. With this initiative, we seek not only to maximise our energy efficiency but also to actively contribute to transitioning to more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy sources.

Finally, we would like to know more about IES Soler’s plans and lines of growth for the coming years.

Since the third generation took over the management of the company, our priority has been clear: to offer our customers comprehensive services with increasingly valuable products and solutions in our industry, based on our experience and continuous innovation.

In recent years, we have also put more emphasis on taking our successful business model, recognised by our customers throughout the country, to the international arena.

In short, our key objectives for the future are: to provide a quality service, to constantly generate added value and to decisively expand internationally. We are committed to continuing to grow and evolve to achieve our goals and remain at the forefront of the industry.

>> Take a look at the 75 years celebration