The global community of recycling technology has many niche markets. Did you know the worldwide market for magnetic waste separation is thought likely to reach US$ 1.3 billion by the end of the year? Year-on-year growth of 3% is predicted in the short term.
‘Business is good,’ confirms Ibo Serbest, product manager at Dutch firm Bakker Magnetics. In fact, his team doesn’t always feel the need to exhibit equipment during events. ‘The way I see it, our clients should take centre stage,’ Serbest tells Recycling International at the IFAT tradeshow in Munich.
‘It’s about what they want and need. Our equipment does what it needs to do, and people know our reputation.’ Indeed, Bakker Magnetics celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
He continues: ‘I could talk about the practical steps behind the magnetic recovery process in great detail all day. But where is the fun in that? Besides, every situation, every client is different. I prefer asking them questions rather than the other way around. Listening is so important, especially right on the heels of the pandemic.’
‘Speaking from our point of view, it’s simple; the magnet will get the job done,’ says Serbest. ‘I trust the process completely. It’s always turned on; there is no “off” button.’
He argues that it’s best not to overthink. ‘I get the feeling that people pat themselves on the back for investing in the latest cutting-edge this and that. The question is, is that really being clever? Being efficient? Or are you just throwing money at something that already works just fine so you can impress others?’
At the end of the day, Serbest believes it’s best to be practical, acting on what the market needs. ‘Don’t force innovation,’ he concludes. ‘Let it happen organically.’
This can lead to unexpected places. Bakker Magnetics has been tapping into new markets recently, having delivered no fewer than 1600 magnets to a hydropower (a sector is already worth over US$ 200 billion) plant in the Netherlands. These were bonded onto a rotor in a permanent magnet generator. The rotor in question was ‘bandaged’ with glass fibre reinforced epoxy coating to prevent any corrosion.
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