Cover Story: POWERBEAR brings new standards to the UAE
They are ubiquitous: seen beside buildings and by the sides of many streets in the cities of the United Arab Emirates! They are garbage receptacles!
German Distribution LLC
We find them in different sizes and shapes, used to collect myriad types of waste. And there is no denying that we need and will continue to need these skips and bins in the country due to our dubious distinction of being one of the biggest producers of waste per capita in the world. It is estimated that Dubai alone needs thousands of garbage bins every year.
One of the companies supplying these bins and more for the waste management industry is German Distribution LLC (GD), within Dubai Investments Park in Dubai and markets more than 15 import brands including Rheinwerk/OTTO, W-Weber, Auweko and Geesink Norba. But GD’s breakthrough came only since it is making bins right here in the UAE – to be precise – Fujairah, in a Business Partnership with a new factory, called Beringer Middle East FZC.
Under the umbrella brand Power Bear, German distribution promotes all the products made at Beringer Middle East in the UAE, elsewhere under the brand name Beringer.. Beringer, which has four such factories and has its headquarters near Munich in Germany, opened the fabrication facility in the new free zone of Fujairah in 2009.
Globally Beringer is a leading manufacturer and supplier of bins, skips, containers, compactors and has more than fifty years of experience in fabricating waste handling equipment that provides environmentally friendly waste management solutions. In Germany, it is a market leader in container and compactor manufacturing and supplies to all the major waste management companies there. It employs about 350 people in its factories and utilises approx. 50,000 ton of steel annually
“When we first came into the UAE market in 2006, we were not happy with the waste handling equipment that we got fabricated here by some subcontractors. The products could not meet our quality or design specifications. That is why in 2007 we decided to have our own manufacturing facility that would make steel skips, bins, containers and compactors designed specifically to the Middle East market but at the same time meet stringent European and German quality and safety standards. Our products here are similar to those in Germany and are robust, long lasting, high-tech and with advanced designs. And our employees here are trained in our factories in Germany. Since production started Beringer Middle East has successfully secured some prestigious and sizeable orders and is capable of supplying to clients all over the Gulf,” says Hans-Joseph Beringer, Managing Director of Beringer Middle East.
Beringer Middle East FZC in Fujairah
The Beringer facility in Fujairah fabricates an extensive range of waste equipment made from steel. These include steel and galvanized trolley bins, skips for chain loaders and containers for hook loader trucks, hazardous waste handling products, dry and wet waste compactors and rarely, loading bridges or flats for transport of cargo.
The galvanised trolley bins widely used in the Middle East are made in the standard sizes of 1.1, 2.5, and 4.5 cubic metres with or without wheels, and usually come with domed lids. But in the current popular design, the mechanical hinge that enables the lid to open tends to break with use and so do the wheels if placed on an uneven surface. Beringer has invented an alternative and stronger flat lid as well as the wheel-less, stand-alone types of bins for areas where the waste collecting truck can access the bin easily. “Since we fabricate here, we are able to offer all these choices to our clients, who benefit from our flexibility,” explains Stephan Czech, Managing Director of GD.
The spacious factory is lined with various electric and computerized tools to design, cut, shape and fabricate steel into desired products and a finishing area where they are painted and fitted with steel or imported flat plastic lids as per the customers’ specification. Each product line starts at the beginning where the program is entered and then starts cutting the high grade steel for that particular product. This is worked on at different stages of its production by trained personnel and comes out at the end fully shaped and welded. Many of the parts are pre-fabricated and stored within the facility to be used appropriately during production. Usually the factory makes one product line each day, which boosts overall efficiency.
Inventions will change the market
“The major difference between us and that of a standard steel fabricator who also manufactures steel containers for the waste industry is that, Beringer does not do anything but waste management product lines. We probably have less than ten product lines but that fact allows us to give more thought and go into every little detail of our products to improve them and make them more effective in their mode of use. And above all, we never compromise on quality,” says Czech. “The long term expertise in the waste management industry in Germany has given us the knowledge of what works well in the industry but we have also realized that just importing products from Germany does not address the problems that this region poses. So here we customise and fabricate the product according to its use, locale, etc.,” he adds.
Czech lists the benefits of having the Beringer factory in the UAE. The first advantage is that the raw material used to fabricate the waste receptacles and compactors is high-grade steel of Swedish standards (DOMEX or HARDOX) which makes them weigh almost as less as 50 percent because the sheets are thinner yet much stronger.
The factory fabricates containers not of the standard rectangular shape but an advanced convex rounded shape, making joints unnecessary and the smooth bending giving it strength and stability. This shape has been the standard in Europe for more than 10 years but it is only coming into the market here. The convex shape is not only aesthetically pleasing and allows expansive branding but also less heavy. It also allows easy discharge of waste leaving nothing behind when emptied.
The third main advantage of fabricating at Beringer is that it produces a line of containers designed to address the problem of food waste, resulting in higher liquidity ratios of the waste in this market. Because of that, Beringer has designed new portable and static compactor lines that can be fully sealed, as well as others with a tube tank at the bottom fitted with an outlet where the liquid is collected and then drained out.
What makes Power Bear Products special?
Thoughtful, even minor yet important design innovations make those products completely suitable to the market. The wheels of the big containers and compactors are of European standards but not typical to this region. They are cylindrical and strong and keep the container stable. The big rectangular skips for chain-loaders usually seen at construction sites are shaped slightly conical so that they can be stapled and plenty of them transported to sites on a single truck or shipped. Some of these large skips, which are usually seen in the UAE without lids, are being fitted with lids that lift effortlessly aided by a spring. These are in preparation to an impending law in the UAE stating that waste in industrial areas has to be stored in covered containers. There are also mini hook-lift skips of 2 to 5 cubic metres capacity that are useful in villa complexes where people can order such skips to fill with waste and later removed easily.
Rear door skips for hook-loader-trucks,made at Beringer, come with safe and strong locking devices that allow them to be used more than a thousand times without fear of break-down. In a typical rear door skip the lock springs open and the worker who opens it has to move away quickly so that he is not engulfed in the garbage that comes out in full force due to the tilted angle in which the skip is emptying. The Beringer skip has a second safety lock on the side, which also has to be disengaged for the rear door to open. “This is a major invention for the market here and proven successful in high security companies like Dubai and Abu Dhabi Airport, ADGAS and others that follow a strict employee safety policy directly connected to the relevant quality certifications that they have achieved,” informs Czech.
The Portable compactors, applying strictly the advanced vertical RAM technology, are designed for the highest compaction rate. For example, a 16 cubic meter compactor can compact up to twelve tons of garbage efficiently and is highly useful in high garbage areas like malls where this kind of tonnage means less number of trips of the truck. In addition, compactor heads are available for both short and long hoppers to compact dry and wet wastes. Lids with smell seals and rubber seals of these compactors can open to the side or to the top, as the customer wants, and all types of hydraulic bin lifters are available for maximum convenience
One of the important product lines for the upcoming future is that of the pre-certified and approved containers for storage of hazardous solids and liquids (ASP and ASF). They have the special approval for worldwide transportation of such goods on any means of transport. They are fireproof for many hours and therefore fire-rated, and are treated to not allow any kind of leakage of acids or other hazardous liquids. Beringer is the sole manufacturer in the UAE of such containers which are expected to become mandatory once an announced new law comes into force.
Having a good collection of pre-fabricated parts stored at the factory premises allows a product line to be taken up at short notice and completed on schedule. “We can usually complete even large orders within two weeks time. Each finished product is fully tested for quality and certified before it leaves the factory,” confirms Marshal Alphonse, Plant Manager at Beringer Middle East.
Power Bear – a one-stop-shop
Other than the steel product lines at the Fujairah factory, the most popular waste handling product that GD markets in the region are the plastic bins, MGB type of sizes 120, 240, 360 and 1100 liters, made from HDPE. These are of high quality and completely made to European standards and imported from Germany. GD stocks high quantities in all colours in its Dubai warehouses.
Among Gd’s other products of the import brands are balers and recycling machinery, high-tech refuse trucks and underground waste collection units. A separate product line stresses on urban decor products such as litter bins with appealing design from stainless steel and wood. A full range of other public furnishing products for parks, hotels and malls, that are green or environmental friendly, comes along with those. All of them and Beringer products as well as their spare parts are available at showrooms and warehouses of GD in Dubai, the Fujairah factory and dealers and sales representations in other GCC countries.
“We use high tech equipment in the running of our operations and can provide our customers exactly according to their requirements and complete after sales service for all our products. We can also help them with waste management plans and their implementation. Our services include management of waste logistics companies and software optimisation of waste logistics,” informs Czech. “We want to serve our customers as a One-stop-shop for all their Waste Handling Equipment.”
Arabian Masters of Waste – a showcase
Arabian Masters of Waste (AMW) is own waste collection company that GD started in Dubai, under separate management. There are about ten high tech refuse trucks in the fleet and all use the Beringer containers to carry out their daily jobs. The marketing approach is on quality and on environmental standards. AMW even allows its potential customers try out its products before committing to purchase them and provide full support even during the trial period. “The purpose of the company is not as to compete with the established waste management service providers here but to showcase our advanced and premium products and prove that they work in a feasible way here,” emphasizes Czech.
Among the notable achievements of GD is that it supplied 17 wet waste compactors to Dubai Municipality to be used at the Fruit and Vegetable Market. In addition, the company is supplying all the compactors needed at the new Doha International Airport and is the exclusive supplier for Saadiyat Island Waste Management through the Australian company Thiess Services.
During 2009, GD broke even in its business in spite of a global economic recession. “2010 will be the year of our regional expansion into the GCC market. We are now pushing into the Saudi and other GCC countries with products made here as well as our 15 import brands. We are working with partners and by ourselves to increase our business further,” remarks Czech.
There is more space within the factory premises where a second production facility can be built later as the GD products become more popular. That will mean having a mechanical workshop that can even produce truck bodies, a good stock of spare parts, a mobile hydraulic service that will be upgraded and the short delivery times and excellent service that distinguishes GD from competitors.