The last 12 months have been a time of anniversaries for generator set manufacturer FG Wilson: 2016 marked 50 years in business for the iconic brand and this year marks a 40 year presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
FG Wilson offers a range of generator sets from 6.8 to 2,500 kVA and globally, a typical FG Wilson generator set puts out about 150 kVA. It’s generator sets of this size for which the brand is best known.
It wasn’t always like that though. Johnny Maguire, FG Wilson Regional Manager in the Middle East says, “When many people think of FG Wilson today, they usually think of high quality ready-to-run generator sets. But FG Wilson’s early focus was on building and commissioning custom-designed mini power stations in the Middle East. FG Wilson’s first small power station (six 2,000 kVA units) was commissioned in Abu Dhabi in 1976 and was followed by similar projects in Saudi Arabia, often for standby power in hospitals, but also for prime power. Later in the early 1980s, FG Wilson supplied self-contained mini power stations for remote Bedouin settlements which were then rapidly developing at the edge of the desert.”
This experience in the 1970s led to the formation of a very capable design and engineering team which continues today, and custom-designed generator sets remain an important part of FG Wilson’s business. However, what FG Wilson became well known for is translating the relative complexity of generator sets into automotive-industry-style mass production, with consistent quality and still giving customers the ability to specify their generator set to a very high degree.
Also key is the way FG Wilson generator sets are supported. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, TAMGO have been representing FG Wilson exclusively since 1995. TAMGO’s Power & Engineering Products Division Manager Islam Fathy says that the partnership with FG Wilson is as strong as ever: “We have an incredibly close working relationship with the FG Wilson team in the UK, regularly visiting the facilities there to carry out testing and validation work with our major customers. When they see us, they see one team.”
Islam Fathy sees the market for standby generator sets evolving, especially as the world moves to much greater reliance on digital communication. He says, “When we started working with FG Wilson in the mid 90s, the need for standby power was often for production facilities and power for buildings for light and air conditioning. But today there’s an added edge to it. Businesses and telecoms providers are just not prepared to take the risk of even short interruptions of electric power. That means generator sets need to be of good quality and be well supported.”
TAMGO service team are supported by FG Wilson’s global parts facility which carries 11,500 parts lines, takes 500 orders a day and ships up to 3 million parts a year globally. Islam Fathy says that this ability to offer round the clock support is key: “We offer the levels of support you would expect to find from an automobile dealer with facilities in many of the major cities and towns of the Kingdom, all well-equipped with spare parts warehouses and high-end service and maintenance workshops, staffed by professional, dedicated and highly trained specialists.”
For FG Wilson, the Middle East, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular feel like a home market. Johnny Maguire says: “Forty years ago, this was the first region outside the UK where we established ourselves and we have very strong commercial and emotional ties with this part of the world. In February 2017, many of us attended the Middle East Electricity exhibition in Dubai which gave an opportunity to meet many customers and friends, old and new. Despite the current economic uncertainty in the world, there is a strong current of optimism for the longer term. We all live in a demanding world with a growing need for electric power. It’s an exciting time to be here.”