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1928 2018

SMART CITIES IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC

PILLARS OF CZECH ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING: HEAVY CURRENT AND AUTOMATION THE FUTURE OF PRODUCTION, GREATER EFFICIENCY, AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

ENERGY INDUSTRY 2 2018


www.acervoltage.com ACER VOLTAGE was founded in Hradec Králové in 1992. It is a purely Czech firm, which is focused on the manufacture and development of arresters and overvoltage limiters for the protection of low- and high-voltage power distribution networks. These products find their use especially in railway applications, applications for transport enterprises, in industry in general and power generating systems.

We offer: n Low-voltage surge arrester for AC networks – protection of external networks, instruments, distribution transformers, etc. n Overvoltage

protection

limiters/switches

for

AC networks – protection of transformers, cables, motors, etc. n Overvoltage

protection

limiters/switches

for

DC networks – protection of traction lines, electrical equipment for trolleybuses, tramcars, electric locomotives, etc. n Low voltage protection limiters/switches for railway applications – protection of metal constructions in power traction systems, etc. n Universal surge arresters – protection of feeding networks up to 1 000V and LED lighting n Measuring instruments – diagnostics of surge arresters and GDT

ACER VOLTAGE s.r.o. Bratří Štefanů 1170 | 500 03 Hradec Králové | Czech Republic Phone: +420 491 618 571 | +420 491 618 573 | E-mail: info@acervoltage.com


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

Czech Business and Trade – With a Tradition of 90 Years Economic Magazine is Designed for Foreign Partners, Interested in Cooperation with the Czech Republic Issued by PP AGENCY s.r.o. in cooperation with n Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic n Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic n Ministry for Regional Development of the Czech Republic n Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic n Confederation of Employers‘ and Entrepreneurs‘ Associations of the Czech Republic n Czech Chamber of Commerce n CzechTrade PARTNER OF THE MAGAZINE: ICC Czech Republic EDITORIAL BOARD: Vladimír Bärtl, Jiří Hansl, Marcela Havlová, Jaromír Kohlíček, Dagmar Kuchtová, Martin Lukáš, Karel Machotka, Marie Pavlů, Tomáš Seidl, Miroslav Somol, Jarmila Škvrnová, Jan Špunda, Martin Tlapa, Jan Wiesner MANAGING EDITOR: Pavla Podskalská EDITOR: Jana Pike TRANSLATION: Vlasta Benešová, Marta Darom PROOFREADING: Ivana Kadlecová, Matthew Booth, Pearl Harris

n INTRODUCTION

Questions for Vladimír Dlouhý, President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce

n ENERGY

The Energy Industry– One of the Most Important Sectors in the CR Savings Must Be Sought in Lower Energy Intensiveness in the Area of Buildings and Transport Electricity Production Increases Thirty Czech Pellet Mills Announce Record-high Production. In 2017, 365 000 Tonnes were Produced

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5 12 18 22

n PR

We Are a Leading Company on the Czech Market in the Field of Supplying and Servicing Very High Voltages Colour Light Signal SNA-100

n RESEARCH

Dynamic Research Projects in Power Engineering

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n PROFILE

OSC 24 SALTEK 25

GRAPHIC DESIGN: Stanislava Podaná COVER PHOTO: www.bigstockphoto.com

n ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

Pillars of Czech Electrical Engineering: Heavy Current and Automation Where Is Czech Electrical Engineering Moving?

26 30

DEADLINE: 25/5/2018 © PP Agency ADDRESS: Myslíkova 25, 110 00 Praha 1 Czech Republic e-mail: journal@ppagency.cz www.ppagency.cz, www.doingbusiness.cz

n TREND

Press run: 10 000 copies. It is not allowed to reproduce any part of the contents of this journal without prior consent from the Editor. Attitudes expressed by the authors of articles carried by CBT need not necessarily be consistent with the standpoint of the Publisher. MK ČR E 6379, ISSN 1211-2208 „Podávání novinových zásilek povoleno Českou poštou, s. p., odštěpný závod Přeprava, č. j. 3468/95, ze dne 24/10/1995“

The Future of Production, Greater Efficiency, and Technological Development Industry 4.0 Offers Great Opportunities

Smart Cities in the Czech Republic

n AUTOMATION

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36 40

n PRESENTATION OF FIRMS

ACER VOLTAGE s.r.o.; AŽD Praha s.r.o.; BD SENSORS s.r.o.; CADWARE s.r.o.; Doosan Škoda Power s.r.o.; EGEM s.r.o.; Fenix Trading s.r.o.; I.B.C. Praha spol. s r.o.; Lady Sol, s.r.o.; LUX - PTZ s.r.o; OSC, a.s.; SALTEK s.r.o.; Terinvest, spol. s r. o.; TOS VARNSDORF a.s.; VA TECH WABAG Brno spol. s r.o.; Veletrhy Brno, a.s.; VIENNA-COMPONENTS-TRADING s.r.o.; VÍTKOVICE HEAVY MACHINERY a.s. 3 |


INTRODUCTION

The Czech economy is doing well, GDP for 2017 grew by 4.5 %. How do you explain this situation and what are the expectations of Czech firms for 2018? Last year´s growth was no surprise to us, the Chamber of Commerce was one of the first institutions predicting such growth. Our growth is strong and standing on firm foundations. One of the main factors of growth this year again is the economic revival in the Eurozone, which, together with the private investments of firms, boosts foreign demand. This dynamics, accompanied by the firms´ strong demand for labour, is placing pressure on wages, thus supporting domestic demand, which in turn adds to the good economic results. We are firmly convinced that the years of growth do not belong to the past. The prediction of the Chamber of Commerce is that this year the economy will grow by 4.2 % and in 2019 by another 3.3%. Unlike other prognoses we accentuate the effect of certain neglected factors – drawing EU funds, greater revival in construction and the results of the firms´ massive investment in digitalisation. The Czech Chamber of Commerce is the organiser of a number of export-oriented events. What is your perception of the repute of Czech products abroad? The Chamber of Commerce is seeking investment opportunities for Czech firms mainly in markets outside the EU so as to enable them spread their export prod| 4

uct portfolios. Therefore we organise not only business missions to other countries for our exporters, but also bring foreign businessmen to the Czech Republic and arrange export-oriented information and instructional events for them, such as conferences on export opportunities in the regions. We support especially exports to third countries where, except the Balkans and Eastern Europe, we help firms breaking into Southeast Asia, the Near East, markets in north and Sub - Saharan Africa and some countries in Latin America. We are trying to revive the awareness of our foreign partners of the traditional Czech brands, such as Baťa, Zetor, Jawa, and Škoda, which have built an excellent reputation for themselves abroad. As for our support to Czech firms, the most popular is the organisation of business missions accompanying the country´s leading representatives on their visits to foreign countries. Opening business forums by leading state representatives is an indisputable advantage in a number of countries, which also adds to the prestige of the members of the business delegation. The absolute majority of firms are currently concerning themselves with the obligations ensuing for them from GDPR. Are Czech firms prepared for this legislation? A survey carried out in February among our members has shown that more than 80 % of firms concern themselves with the personal data protection issue. Only a few months before the number was less than one-half. The fact is that on 25 May up to one-fifth of firms will not be prepared for applying GDPR. The interest in GDPR is growing with the size of the firms. Considerable differences exist between businessmen in large cities and those in small communities. According to the Chamber, the offer of educative programmes, especially in small communities, is not sufficient. The Chamber is very active in this area. It has organised a series of instructive meetings for businessmen and firms, has published a GDPR manual and offered it free on its website. The Chamber´s instructions are that the ÚOOÚ (The Office For Personal Data Protection) supervisory body should act with restraint in making checks.

The Chamber of Commerce, the largest representative association of businessmen in the Czech Republic and an umbrella organisation for more than 15 000 members associated in 62 regional chambers and 110 industry associations, this year celebrates 25 years of its new history. Which are the most important milestones in the history of the Chamber? And what are your priorities for the future? In the 1990s our vision was that we´ll be fostering the interests of businessmen as a full partner at the national and EU level. In 2004 we succeeded in being instituted as an obligatory place for comment procedure in legislation concerning the business environment. As a member of the European Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, we actively pursue the interests of Czech businessmen on European ground. In the years 2007-2008 and 2011-2012 the Czech Chamber of Commerce was one of the creators of the National System of Professions, a catalogue containing a description of occupations and definition of the right competencies, which is being continuously developed and is easily available to all. We participate also in the follow-up project National System of Qualifications, which will make it possible for businessmen to influence the quality of specialists in the market. In 2017 we presented another project, the Legal Electronic System (LES), which will help businessmen reduce their administrative burden and financial costs in the order of billions of crowns a year. Over the past 25 years we have organised nearly 300 business missions with seven thousand firms, and thus helped promote Czech exports. Also in the future it is our ambition to be a constructive partner to the government and to help ease the impact of regulation on firms. It is our wish that the Chamber may become the main partner to schools in promoting technical education. We want to help businessmen so that they are ready for electronisation and digitalisation. We would also like the Chamber to become the main place for forming ethical standards in business.

Photo: Czech Chamber of Commerce, www.bigstockphoto.com

Questions for Vladimír Dlouhý, President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

Energy Industry– One of the Most Important Sectors in the CR The energy industry is one of the most important sectors in the Czech Republic. Traditionally, we are very strong in the area of engineering and the manufacture of power generating facilities, which the industry can build and operate efficiently, including nuclear power sources.

The Czech Republic is self-sufficient in electricity production, based predominantly on domestic brown coal deposits and nuclear power sources. On the other hand, natural gas and oil are imported from politically unstable countries, which may endanger safe and reliable supplies in future. The adequate capacity of national and international transmission facilities creates prerequisites for international trade in electricity. The energy sector is a stable branch in the Czech Republic, which attracts foreign investors and creates good prerequisites for the further development of Czech industry. Since the beginning of the millennium, the Czech energy sector has undergone a number of important changes. As the vol-

ume of electricity generated from coal has declined, while the importance of other sources has increased, the energy mix, too, underwent a change, in addition to changes that occurred in the electricity and natural gas markets following their liberalisation. In 2016, domestic electricity consumption reached the highest level since 1990. Gross electricity consumption in the Czech Republic in 2016 rose to 72.4 TWh and net consumption, too, rose to its historical maximum, specifically 60.9 TWh. Consumption increased most significantly in the household category, by 437 GWh (+3 %), in comparison with 2015. In the future, the volume of electricity consumption will depend on a number of factors. In the long run, elec-

Key Actors in the Electricity and Gas Markets in the Czech Republic The most significant player in the Czech market is the ČEZ Group, currently figuring among the ten most important players in the European market. ČEZ is a vertically integrated company, operating in the area of coal mining, conventional and renewable energy sources production, trading, electricity and gas sale, electricity distribution, energy services, and telecommunications. The ČEZ Group has the capacity to flexibly react to changes in the energy sector which, according to EBITDA, ranks it alongside the best energy companies in Europe. The second most important actor in the Czech market is Innogy Energie (formally the RWE Group), which concerns itself with gas transmission, distribution

and sale, and energy services. Other important players in the Czech market include the E.ON Group, selling and distributing electricity and gas and providing energy services. The group's portfolio also comprises smaller manufacturing facilities. Another company with a similar structure is Pražská energetika, operating on the territory of the capital city of Prague, which also invests in renewable energy sources outside its own distribution area. The Veolia Energie Group in the CR, too, is one of the largest producers and suppliers of heating, cooling, electricity, and other energy commodities. At the same time it is a European leader in providing energy services for cities, villages and their inhabitants, healthcare facilities, schools, industrial enterprises, public institutions and clients in the tertiary sector. Bohemia Energy con-

tricity consumption is expected to increase, according to a report of the OTE Electricity Market Operator, mainly due to advancing automation and mechanisation in the manufacturing sector and wider use of household appliances. Electricity consumption will also increase as a result of the replacement of primary fossil sources by renewable energy, broader use of thermal pumps and the development of electromobility.

n FROM COAL TO NUCLEAR

ENERGY, GAS AND RES

The Czech power industry is still dominated by coal resources. Traditionally, the largest proportion of energy is generated by brown coal-powered power stations, which trols about three per cent of the electricity and natural gas markets and is still growing thanks to acquisition of its weaker rivals. In 2016 alone, it took over Right Power clients and bought the companies Europe Easy Energy and X Energie. Each of them had dozens of thousands of supply points in the retail segment. In 2016, Amper Market came close to gaining a two-per cent share of the electricity market, although it entered the market only in 2011, later than its main rival. It specialises in the purchase of renewable source electricity and its resale to end users. There is also a number of alternative electricity and gas suppliers and energy service providers in the Czech Republic. Energy services are another step towards broadening the activities of vertically integrated companies and a segment with great potential for future development.

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in 2016 produced 36.2 TWh of electricity. The second largest electric power source in terms of output in the Czech Republic is the Temelín and Dukovany power stations, which in the same year generated 24.1 TWh of electricity. The greatest production increase in the past few years, however, was shown by renewable sources where, mainly thanks to the solar boom, production in photovoltaic power stations in 2016 rose to 2.1 TWh. Although wind power generation in the Czech Republic has not been showing any massive development so far, in 2016 Czech wind power stations generated nearly 500 GWh of electricity.

n OPENING UP OF ELECTRICITY

AND NATURAL GAS MARKETS

Until recently, electricity and natural gas consumers could not choose their supplier. A change occurred in 2002, when the electricity market started opening up. The first group to be allowed to change their supplier was large consumers purchasing electricity in the order of dozens and later units of GWh a year. Czech households had this possibility opened up only at the beginning of 2006. The turn for natural gas consumers came three years later, on 1 January 2005, when large consumers with an annual consumption of more than 15 million cu. m could choose their supplier. In the second phase, from 1 January 2006 on, the market opened up to all other consumers excluding households, which had to wait until 1 January 2007. | 6

This practically consummated the market liberalisation process. Electricity and gas end users, however, began to use their right to change their suppliers more wide-

ly only in the years 2009 and 2010, when the number of consumers changing their suppliers of both commodities exceeded the 100 000 mark.

Energy Production Altogether 77.412 TWh of electricity were supplied into the network in the Czech Republic in 2016. The largest proportion of this amount was delivered by steam thermal power plants (53.6 % of the total volume of electricity produced and supplied into the grid), followed by nuclear power plants (29.4 %), steam gas plants (5.2 %), gas and combustion plants (4.4  %), photovoltaic plants (2.7 %), hydroelectric power stations (2.6 %), pumped storage plants (1.5%), and wind power plants (0.6 %). Heat is generated especially in cogeneration power stations as a by-product of electric power stations or in city heating plants. Cogeneration is widely used in the Czech Republic and is at a high level of development. A considerably large amount of electricity flows from the Czech Republic across the frontier, mainly to Austria and Slovakia. Most of the energy exported from this country is generated by the Temelín and Dukovany nuclear power stations. In 2017, the Dukovany and Temelín nuclear power stations delivered more than 28 terawatt hours of electricity to the grid, 4 TWh more than in 2016. At the end of 2017, the Dukovany nuclear power station obtained the required permits for long-term operation. Its production will start growing al-

ready this year. In spite of special checks and modifications of the equipment needed in connection with the renewal of the permits at Dukovany the total output of both Czech nuclear power stations taken together is the fifth best since the year 2000, when the first block at Temelín was put into operation. The Temelín nuclear power station, larger of the two, has been the subject of much discussion from the outset. Now the power station is approximately in the middle of its planned service life and is most likely to stay in operation longer than the planned 30 years. The decision on the construction of the nuclear power station in the Temelín locality was made in 1980. Its planned capacity at that time was four VVER 1000 blocks. Actual construction started in February 1987, but after 1989 the project was reviewed and the new plan was to build only two blocks. Trial operation of the first block started on 10 June 2002 and one year later, on 18 April 2003, trial testing began on the second block. The whole power station was put into commercial operation in 2002-2003. During the next ten years the power station was modernised and in September 2013 its output was raised to 2 x 1055 MWe, an increase of 600 000 MWh. In September 2014, the output of the first block was raised again, to up to 1078 MWe.

Photo: pixabay.com, wwww.bigstockphoto.com

ENERGY


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

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| HIGH LEVEL OF USER INDEPENDENCE FROM PART TO TOTAL

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ECOSUN panels

ECOFLOOR cables and mats

ECOFILM heating foil ISTSG L A I IN EC EAT

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Address: Slezská 2, 790 01 Jeseník, Czech Republic Foreign Sales (Trading): Phone: +420 584 495 302; Fax: +420 584 495 303; fenix@fenixgroup.cz

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ENERGY

n PHOTOVOLTAIC BOOM In support of the EU renewable energy policy the Czech Republic pledged to cover 13 % of its final gross energy consumption with renewable energy sources by 2020. As renewable energy production is not cost effective for the time being, a subsidy system had to be introduced. For photovoltaic power stations, however, the system was designed inadequately and its application led to an enormous expansion of solar power stations. The solar boom in the Czech Republic was triggered in 2008 by the fixing of excessively high purchasing prices of electricity generated by photovoltaic power stations and the impossibility of their meaningful reduction in the following years, which would necessarily have led to cost reduction.

n TERMINATION OF URANIUM

MINING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC

n ENERGY ENGINEERING Czech energy engineering is currently showing a slowdown caused primarily by low electricity prices, which in turn led to a halt in new power plant construction. A herald of a brighter morrow is seen in the rapid development of know-how and extensive production capacity, traditions and a good name in the world. Especially strong instances of this can be found in the East European countries, the former Soviet Union and in the Middle East, where Czech companies were successful suppliers in the past. A solution is to offer of new products and establish a footing in new markets. One of the big firms holding a prominent position in this field is Vítkovice Machinery Group comprising thirty firms

Electroenergy Statistics for 4 th Quarter of 2017 Gross electricity production in the 4th quarter of 2017 increased by 7 % in comparison with the same period of the previous year, to some 23.4 TWh of electricity. The greatest increase occurred in October, by nearly 12 %, while in December year-on-year production declined by 1.6 %. The nuclear power stations raised their production by more than 47 %, while the steam gas power plants showed a decline of nearly 38 % in the same period. Total domestic gross electricity consumption in the fourth quarter of last year was practically stagnant, showing minimum growth of 0.2 %, to 19.6 TWh. An interesting point as regards changes is cross-border electricity flow statistics, according to which from October to December 2017 the Czech Republic exported 3.7 TWh of electricity more than it imported. Year on year, the balance of exports in the whole quarter increased by 58 %; in October, it increased by as much as 107 % in a year-on-year comparison.

Photo: www.bigstockphoto.com

Uranium mining had a long history on the territory of today´s Czech Republic, going back to the 16th century. Its greatest boom, however, came in the period after the Second World War, with the development of the nuclear energy industry and especially the worldwide massive nuclear arms production prompting world demand for uranium. During the second half of the 20th century, Czechoslovakia became a urani-

um powerhouse. The importance of Czech uranium is shown by the fact that despite its small size this country ranked among the world´s ten largest uranium producers. By 2007, more than 110 000 tonnes of uranium was extracted from Bohemia´s mines. Until the end of 2016 the Czech Republic was the only country in Central Europe extracting uranium. The last uranium mine in the Czech Republic to terminate commercial extraction of the precious mineral was the Rožná Mine.

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CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

www.vitkovice.cz E-mail: lubomir.gogela@vitkovice.cz Mobile:+420 724 178 829

VÍTKOVICE HEAVY MACHINERY a.s. is one of the most significant Czech engineering companies with a strong position in selected segments of engineering production and engineering projects. The company has a modern, wide and unique manufacturing base and know-how based on research and development. Production takes place in a closed production cycle, it means from production of steel, forgings, castings to final products. The company exports to more than 60 countries worldwide. Traditional production, besides series products, also includes products for wind, hydro, conventional and nuclear power plants. The company creative and innovative potential is developed also in the course of preparation and implementation of the programme for production of components for nuclear power plants. VÍTKOVICE has good experience in this area that can be further developed. In the past, they have been a major supplier of components for nuclear power plants. Voltage compensators and steam generators produced in VÍTKOVICE are still in operation in Temelin NPP, Dukovany NPP, as well as in other nuclear power plants abroad.

Our company VÍTKOVICE ENERGETICKÉ STROJÍRENSTVÍ a.s. is building on a long tradition and know-how in manufacturing of pressure and non-pressure parts of power plants, equipment for chemical and petrochemical industry, parts for steel industry and others in VÍTKOVICE’s factories. Except manufacturing of fully finished items, we also offer various types of cooperation, especially in form of rolling and bending of plates, bending of pipes, welding, post weld heat treatment and machining.

www.vitkovice-es.cz

VÍTKOVICE ENERGETICKÉ STROJÍRENSTVÍ a.s. Address: Na Poříčí1071/17 | 110 00 Praha | Czech Republic Production plant: Pohraniční 3017/11 | CZ-703 00 Ostrava – Vítkovice | Czech Republic E-mail: lubos.beliancin@vitkovice-es.cz | Mobile: +420 602 336 717

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concerned with the preparation of large investment projects. Another important player is Doosan Škoda Power, s.r.o., a member of Doosan Heavy Industries, based in Plzeň, with a centenary long tradition in turbine manufacture, which also makes turbo generators, heat exchangers and engine rooms, using its own development and product testing. Also well known is Modřany Power, a.s., an important manufacturer of piping systems for the energy industry, which it exports to some 40 countries the world over. It also supplies parts for the gas industry, petrochemistry, and construction. The following are some examples of its successful projects: Cramlington, co-generation biomass power plant in Northumberland, North Anglia; prefabrication of the piping system for Red Dragon 375 MW thermal power plant in Chile, Škoda Praha, Sigma Group, a.s., Mpower Engineering, a.s., G-Team a.s. Ekol s.r.o., Enkom a.s., and Mavel a.s. in the Czech Republic.

n ENERGY STABILITY IN THE CZECH

REPUBLIC AND ATTRACTIVENESS FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS

From the foreign investors' point of view, the Czech Republic is very attractive as regards the energy sector, both in regards of legislation and future development. More investment can be expected to go into production facilities, cross-border installations, and protection against electricity spilling across the border, especially from Germany, investment in the infrastructure in the area of distribution and the completion of the backbone gas pipeline running from north to south. The parameters of the updated State Energy Concept and the draft to regulate the pipeline system create good conditions for ensuring a reasonable payback period for the capital invested.

n IMPACTS OF NEW TRENDS

IN THE ENERGY SECTOR ON INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC

For industrial production, prospects of more investment in the energy systems are a good signal. Such investment will ensure good energy supplies, thanks to the opening of alternative transport routes, the risk of non-deliveries from politically unstable countries will be eliminated and a high | 10

quality and reliability of deliveries will be guaranteed. For the period of the next three to five years, prices are expected to remain stable. The only risk is a change of the market model and switching to payment for connection. With the help of state support for raising energy efficiency, a reduction in

the energy intensiveness of industry is expected. This, however, is the concern of the industrial enterprises themselves. The outcome of these efforts should be an overall reduction in energy-related costs and higher competitiveness of Czech enterprises at home and abroad.

Trading at Prague Energy Exchange Is Tearing Records After joining the German EEX group, the PXE Prague Energy Exchange in 2017 experienced a record year, when a total of 48.1 terawatt hours of electricity was traded there, 50 % more than in 2016. This volume accounts for approximately four-fifths of Czech electricity consumption. Higher amounts were traded by new businessmen who already had experience with trading at EEX and who, thanks to the inclusion of Prague products in the EEX system also gained access to electricity selling and buying in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. Altogether 39 new market participants traded Prague Exchange products. “They comprise nine new participants in the Czech electricity futures market, two in the Slovak market, nineteen in the Hungarian, and nine in the Romanian markets,” says PXE secretary general David Kučera. Before joining EEX, PXE never managed to gain more than fifty new members. Interest in trading was growing step by step. While in January the businessmen traded slightly over one billion kWh between them, in November the sum was 11.5 billion. The interest is boosted by uncertainty in the energy sector manifesting itself by the growth of electricity prices as electricity trading at PXE

does not have the form of physical delivery, but the form of financial settlement, serving as “security” for electricity companies and businessmen against the future development of energy prices. The growth of the volume of trading, besides collaboration with the Leipzig energy exchange, is also boosted by geographical expansion. This year, PXE for the first time ever, traded more electricity with delivery in Hungary (20 billion kWh) than with delivery in the Czech Republic (less than 17 billion kWh). The Romanian and Slovak markets mediated trading to the amount of five billion kWh each. The latest new activity of PXE is the mediation of electricity and gas purchases for final clients. In practice this usually involves the ministries, regional and local authorities, public enterprises and hospitals. Private firms use this mode of energy purchase only exceptionally. Here PXE meets with the Kladno ČMKBK exchange, which has been the dominant figure in this market on a long-term basis. In 2017, 6 875 contracts for the delivery of 6 108 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity and natural gas for final consumers worth CZK 3.986 billion. were made at ČMKBK. In financial terms, the balance grew by 11.4 % and the volume of traded energies for the fourth time exceeded the 6 million MWh mark.

Photo: www.czechtourism.cz (Libor Sváček)

ENERGY


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

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ENERGY

Savings Must Be Sought in Lower Energy Intensiveness in the Area of Buildings and Transport

According to the International Energy Agency, the greatest progress of the Czech Republic over the past few years can be seen in the development of renewable energy sources. What is your opinion on this issue? In the Czech Republic, the development of renewable energy sources was practically stopped in 2014. Regrettably, IEA´s comments on the situation only cover a period of just a few years back, i.e. the period from 2009 to 2014. For the time being, everybody is waiting for new subsidy patterns. Nothing will be built until then. Nevertheless, the process of renewable energy sources development is taking place even in non-conventional areas. For example China has announced its “blue sky again” programme for implementation during the next few years. “Since China still continues to be the world leader, it is absolutely clear that the development of renewable energy sources will become a priority for world industry. One important aspect linked with renewable sources is accumulation, which is essential for the further installation of renewable sources especially in the Czech | 12

Republic. I myself see great opportunities for us in this area. New technologies are being developed. An example is the Czech company HE3DA (see box), which concerns itself with applied research and the development of battery technologies. Traditionally, we are very strong in the area of engineering and the manufacture of energy generating equipment, which we can build and operate efficiently, with Czech energy firms successfully expanding to other countries. Where, in your opinion, do other opportunities exist for our firms? Great opportunities rest in the export of comprehensive medium-sized off-grid systems for rural areas in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These countries are trying to develop their energy industry and other industry sectors in general. We must realise that there are still millions of people without any access to electricity. Here, our industry can focus on the construction of infrastructure. After all, we are traditionally very good in this area. But the construction of a good infrastructure naturally needs a lot of investment and much time. This is where I see an opportunity to supply renewable energy sources and accumulation systems. For people who are completely without access to electricity even a connection for just a few hours a day means a tremendous change in the quality of their life. In addition, this is also linked with access to drinking water.

engineering both as regards legislation and future development. Can we expect more investment in production facilities, and if so, which ones are they? As regards power engineering, the Czech Republic is a country with relatively good legislation and well functioning institutions. What is missing is instruments stimulating the construction of new sources, in this respect no major construction of any new sources can be expected during the coming years.

From the foreign investor´s point of view, the Czech Republic is an attractive country in the area of power

Last year was the best for the Czech nuclear energy industry so far. The extension of the licence for all the blocks in the Dukovany power plant and the record high production of more than 16 TWh in Temelín are factors showing the stability of the nuclear sector. But what is the situation like as regards the construction of a new nuclear source in the Czech Republic?

HE3DA s.r.o. concerns itself with applied research and the development of battery technologies The firm has developed 3D technology and Li-battery production processes based on three dimensional electrodes using lithium nano-materials (HE3DA*). HE3DA* is a technological platform which meets all the prerequisites needed for successful placement of its products on the market. It has completed the development of an accumulator with technical and economic parameters making possible its use as a large-capacity reserve and high capacity frequency stabi-

lisation and energy storage system for the energy sector as well as other applications. In 2016 HE3DA prepared a battery application for the automobile industry. The HE3DA* technology eliminates all ballast from the battery, optimises nano materials properties and electrode morphology. It makes possible the use of thicker electrodes and consequently new, very advantageous construction solutions. This technology leads to much greater safety of the lithium accumulator and a wide range of completely new technical solutions with previously unattainable technical and economic parameters.

Photo: ČEZ archives

Last year saw many great changes for the big energy sector in the Czech Republic. For example, it was the best year for the Czech nuclear power industry with debates being opened on the construction of new nuclear power plant blocks and new possibilities sought for renewable energy generation. To learn more about these subjects, we addressed Ms Zuzana Šolcová, executive director of the Association of Energy Managers, with the following questions:


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

power stations across the world, but not in Europe. I think that quite soon we´ll find nuclear plants and experts everywhere in the world except Europe. So we do need a government decision that we´ll build new nuclear power plants and charge the minister concerned with taking steps to realise the project. Without this primary decision we´ll be just talking theoretically about it for the next ten years, but this will already be of no use. The situation will solve itself, but less favourably for the Czech Republic at that.

The construction of new blocks, whether in Dukovany or Temelín, is a highly political matter to decide. From the technical point of view this should not be a problem, although in my opinion time is already running short. Countries are building nuclear

How will the new trends in power engineering impact industrial production in the CR? Can we expect any further lowering of energy intensiveness in industry? A lowering of energy intensiveness in industry is naturally to be expected, as an obligation provided for by the EU regulation concerning this subject. Nevertheless

I think that as regards industry nearly all the relevant economically meaningful measures have already been taken. Any further savings must be sought in reducing energy intensiveness in the area of buildings and transport. At the same time, however, I am not sure that the energy intensiveness problem in transport can be solved by merely changing to electric cars. What opportunities and prospects can you see in the Czech energy sector? Which way will the sector develop? What is the Czech energy industry missing most? Political will to carry out what has been agreed in the strategic documents. Or political vision as to how and why the documents should be changed to make their fulfilment possible. As the situation stands, all development in the power industry has practically stopped and exists only in a vegetative condition.

ENERGY FOR YOU Lady Sol, Ltd., has developed a very effiicient solar source of electric energy, the Lady Sol® RANGER, intended for extreme climatic conditions, ranging from scorching deserts to chilly mountain ranges. The Lady Sol® RANGER is made of a highly resistant electric energy regulator and standby LiFe accumulators into which surplus electric energy, generated via solar panels, is stored. In this way, electric energy is available at any time, regardless of whether it’s night time or when the sun is hidden behind the clouds.

www.ladysol.com

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+420 387 008 240

EGEM s.r.o. - an engineering and supply company operating in the market for supplying and servicing high and very high voltages.

General activities

Main focus

Advisory activities, proposing solutions Project work from studies to implementing projects Comprehensive engineering, including public consultation Supplying material and technological equipment Construction, repair and maintenance of VHV and EHV lines Electrical installation and construction work Inspections and commissioning

VHV switching stations HV switching stations and substations Control systems, switchboards and LV distributions VHV and EHV lines Design work

WE OFFER comprehensive services from designing solutions tailored to the customer's requirements, project documentation processing and implementing services related to operating, servicing and maintenance. We are a renowned, sought-after and reliable supplier of all major companies in the Czech and Slovak energy market, operating in the field of production (both conventional and nuclear), transmission and distribution of electricity, heating and industry. Our deliveries are mainly focused on very high-voltage, high-voltage switchgear, protection and control system, switchboards, VHV and EHV lines, service, maintenance and design work.

EGEM s.r.o., Novohradská 736/36, 370 01 České Budějovice 6 Tel.: +420 387 008 240 Fax: +420 387 008 280 E-mail: egem@egem.cz Web: www.egem.cz


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

We Are a Leading Company on the Czech Market in the Field of Supplying and Servicing Very High Voltages

Photo: www.freeimages.com

We deal with constructing and servicing power distribution facilities. Our key customers include all leading domestic energy companies. Although our biggest market is the Czech Republic, we are very active in searching for opportunities abroad, where we can utilise our experience and unique know-how. Our success on both domestic and foreign markets is based on our investment in new technologies and our skilled and motivated staff!

We focus on the preparing, designing, constructing, reconstructing, repairing, servicing, and maintaining power distribution facilities including transmission routes and electrical components of electrical power sources. We have a reputation as a reliable supplier for switching and conducting very high voltage (VHV) and high voltage (HV), including their control and backup power supply. We are constantly looking for new ways to help our customers succeed, offering our services faster and better than our competitors. That is why we try to offer alternative innovative solutions that are flexible and adaptable, looking for answers to questions that have not yet been asked and proposing solutions in advance. It is a necessity to guarantee high quality when carrying out orders at the required time, despite the constant pressure to reduce end prices, all of which would be impossible without a good team of technically and professionally competent co-workers. Therefore, we continually focus on increasing

the expertise and qualifications of our staff at all levels of management. We have all the necessary authorisation to work in power engineering, with our own transport and mechanisation, special machines for mounting conductors, professional tools and special instruments. We use the most appropriate and highest quality materials. All activities are in compliance with the latest technology and trends. We are dedicated to saving the cost of equipment owners and we therefore try to repair and service directly at the facility site. We also prioritise areas of work safety, health and environmental protection. We keep up with the latest technology, using state-of-the-art technology and adapting to new trends so that we are able to provide our customers with services combining the use of unconventional and advanced techniques. These include, for example, offering special conductive Our company was founded in 1995 under the name EGE-montáže, spol. s r.o. as a subsidiary of the company EGE, spol. s.r.o., a traditional Czech manufacturer of power engineering equipment. In 2008, the company acquired a new owner and became part of the Energy and Industrial Holding. We have had a new logo and a new name EGEM s.r.o. since 1 January 2009. In the same year, we joined another major domestic energy service company, EGE-ENERGOVOD, s.r.o., which has resulted in a substantial

ropes with a composite core (“ACCC”), a “smart grid” application, and the Internet of Things (IoT). We now use industrial drones in hard-to-reach locations, which help pull out power lines instead of traditional methods. After minor modifications, they are used to perform visual revisions of energy facilities at significantly lower costs than conventional air or climbing routes. Mobile wooden gratings to strengthen transport routes for transporting materials, technicians and staff to the power lines help ensure reducing the environmental burden. The constant updating of mechanisation and transport technology, in line with the latest environmental regulations, help protect our environment for life. Instead of heavy concrete anchor points, we have developed our own steel anchor method to increase the productivity and safety of our colleagues. addition and expansion of our portfolio of activitiesand services. At present, our biggest market share is the Czech and Slovak markets, but we are also looking for suitable business opportunities abroad. In order to maintain stability, and in the face of the ever-growing competitive struggle, it is necessary for us to expand our reach to other foreign markets than Slovakia. We are currently carrying out contracts in neighbouring Germany, Poland, and Ukraine. We have successful references in Russia, Iraq, and Cuba.

15 |


RESEARCH

Dynamic Research Projects in Power Engineering

Řež Research Centre: the construction of the SUSEN infrastructure project is completed and research is continuing. The extensive research base for nuclear technologies in Řež near Prague and in Plzeň is already in operation. Officially, the infrastructure built in the framework of the SUSEN (Sustainable energy) project was put into operation in 2017. Under the SUSEN project, teams have been built in which scientists and experts from eleven countries participate in a number of international programmes planned to continue over several years. One of them is to help promote the global development of 4th generation reactors. It actually goes back to seeking primary prototypes, such as those which more than half a century ago, although considered as having good prospects, were found to be too complicated technologically. This concerns rapid breeding reactors, a concept based on rapid neutron fission. This would bring the possibility of splitting not only Uranium 235, but also Uranium 238, or thorium, which would mean making better use of the fuel. Thereby existing nuclear fuel sources could hypothetically have their life extended by as much as ten times. | 16

The SUSEN workplace in Plzeň focuses on the research of nuclear fusion, materials, diagnostics and testing for the purposes of the power industry. In Plzeň the researchers will be testing panels for direct contact with plasmas of temperatures of as much as a millions degrees. The reactor is currently being built in France. The electron gun nicknamed Helcza is globally unique. Among other assignments it will be used, for example, for testing turbine blades, boiler pipes and thermal shields for spaceship return modules. Another device installed in the experimental hall is the model of a part of the ITER international fusion reactor scale 1:1. Scientists will use it to develop the processes for repairing, welding, cutting, and testing special tools, including robots, which the technicians will optimise. Their experience will be used by ITER specialists in Cadarache, France, where an experimental fusion reactor is being built. Another important device is a helium experimental loop, used in the development of the high temperature helium cooled reactor Allegro. An important part of the SUSEN project in Plzeň are the non-destructive defectoscopy laboratories. The material research laboratories verify the firmness, resistance and service life of metals and welds.

Another experiment, where the nuclear research institute in Řež collaborates with 23 scientific workplaces, is testing the possibility of keeping highly toxic molten fuel inside a crashed reactor. In a unique experiment scientists will test how to prevent the molten mass from damaging the walls of the reactor vessel in case of a total nuclear breakdown and contaminating the power plant. The last time the fuel, including the inside reactor equipment, leaked out of the reactor was in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011. With the help of a financial contribution from the EU Horizon 2020 research programme a precise copy of a part of the VVER 1000type reactor of Russian design was built at Řež worth CZK 42 million. This is the most widely used type of reactor in the world. There are 31 such reactors in operation, including two in the Czech Republic. The equipment, except the shape of the reactor pressure vessel, also copies its surroundings. This will make it possible to faithfully simulate how to let cooling water into the space between the vessel and the outside concrete shaft, which will take the heat away and keep the pressure vessel undamaged.

Photo: SUSEN archives

The Czech power engineering industry does not mean a mere operation of power stations, coal mining, or photovoltaics. In addition to all this, the Czech Republic has a number of interesting programmes and research projects it can be proud of.


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

n NOT ONLY THE ATOM, BUT ALSO

THE SUNRAYS

Broader contexts of “pure” energy generation are being sought by the Advanced Photovoltaics Centre being built in Prague, in addition to seeking ways of raising the efficiency of solar panels. At the birth of this ambitious centre were graduates from the nuclear engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering faculties of the Czech Technical University in Prague. The Centre brings together all aspects of photovoltaics from theoretical physics, which will help raise the efficiency of solar cells, to technological problems, the testing and diagnostics of solar panels and their integration in the structures of buildings.

n PROJECT TO USE GEOTHERMAL

ENERGY

A unique scientific and research geothermal energy centre, the only one in the Czech Republic, will be built in Litoměřice, on the site of the former King George´s barracks,

which is now being cleared for construction. The construction alone will cost some CZK 45 million. The next stage of the project will use geothermal energy for heating buildings by deep drilling. In the future, the city is planning to use geothermal energy as an environmentally friendly source of heat. The project will use the existing two kilometre deep exploration well, to which two seismicity monitoring wells will be added. The actual heat will be pumped from a well four to five kilometres deep, to which two

more will be added. Experts estimate that the temperature at the depth of five kilometres may be up to 150 degrees Celsius. The costs of the entire well system are estimated at CZK 1.3 billion. The geothermal energy thus obtained could in future serve to heat the entire town of Litoměřice. The heat would be transferred to the existing distribution system. Environmentally, this would be a much friendlier system than the use of conventional sources and would also be much cheaper.

www.wabag.cz VA TECH WABAG Brno spol. s r.o. Železná 492/16, 619 00 Brno Czech Republic Tel.: +420 545 427 711 Fax: +420 545 427 736 E-mail: wabag@wabag.cz

VA TECH WABAG Brno spol. s r. o. SUPPLIER OF COMPLETE WATER TREATMENT TECHNOLOGY Sphere of activity: Industrial waste water treatment plant Drinking water treatment plant Industrial water treatment plant Power plants water solutions Technology proposals Design works

17 |


ENERGY

Electricity Production Increases

“The consumption increase of nearly two per cent is primarily a reflection of the development of the economy. Furthermore, the decrease of electric energy production experienced in the previous years has stopped,” comments Petr Kusý, Head of the Department for Statistics and Safety of Electricity Supplies at the Energy Regulatory Office. Total (gross) production of electricity reached 87 TWh, an increase of 4.5 % compared to 2016. Nuclear power plants contributed the most (+ 17.6 %) to this increase, while the most significant fall occurred in hard coal power stations (-22  %). Renewable sources of energy have kept their 13 % share of gross electricity consumption for several consecutive years and covered 11 % of the gross electricity production in the past year. In 2017, the share of the combined produc| 18

tion of electricity and heat was 11.8 % of electricity production and 66 % of heat production. Gas consumption also saw a year-on-year growth of 3.3 %, reaching 8.53 billion cu. m. In total, 35 billion cu. m of gas were imported to the Czech Republic, 99 % of which was imported via neighbouring Germany. “Two factors influence the increase in the consumption of gas. Colder weather is one, of course, but also the fact that gas is increasingly used in the production of electric energy. Last year, the share of gas consumption in electricity production was over 6 %,” says Kusý.

n RENEWABLE ENERGIES GAIN

NEW SUPPORT

The share of renewable energy sources in heating is also quite interesting: biomass, biogas, and other sources provided for 14 % of the entire volume of heat. Renewable energies are thus also firmly present in areas other than just electricity production. The “battery industry” will also be booming this and next year, as new subsidies intended only for batteries were added to the existing subsidy programmes. This market will also be driven by the interest of “big players from traditional energy areas”, for whom investments in large

capacity batteries are worthwhile, even without subsidies. Transmission systems’ operators will thus be able to provide regulatory services in connection with traditional thermal power plants. Distributors and ČEPS, a transmission systems operator, estimate approved battery projects worth over 150 MV. The Czech photovoltaic and battery market has started off quite well: a market worth millions could soon become a business worth billions. However, future growth could be slowed down by the lack of photovoltaic and accumulation systems’ fitters. Foxconn is also active in this field: the company plans to launch a production of battery repositories, storing energy from renewable sources in its factory in Pardubice in autumn 2018. These could serve as reservoirs of energy from renewable sources, as energy networks’ stabilisers, as part of charging systems and for electric cars. Foxconn now has a prototype available. The six-metre-long container weights 16 tonnes when filled with batteries and has a capacity of 762 kWh and power of 500 kW. The system’s lifetime is estimated to be 20 years. One such repository would ensure enough electricity for one household for up to

Photo: Siemens archives

How did electrical engineering fare in 2017? Statistics for 2017 reveal the highest consumption of electricity since 1981; local (gross) consumption reached 73.8 TWh, an increase of 1.9 % compared to the previous year.


Professional magazine and portal dedicated to electronics

Electronics from A to Z

www.dps-az.cz

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR PARTNERS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND SLOVAKIA? DO YOU NEED TO PRESENT YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES? Our printed magazine DPS Elektronika od A do Z and web portal www.DPS-AZ.cz is the perfect solution for you! You may find a partner to cooperate with or to represent your business, as well as to spread info on your products, solutions and services – your advertisements, articles, and banners can quickly reach our readers from Czech and Slovak electronics industry, while you can benefit from our advantageous prices. The printed magazine covers the entire spectrum of electronics, from design and development to manufacturing, in several regular sections. It is published bi-monthly, six times a year, in printed and electronic form. It circulates both in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is available to subscribers as well as technical schools, universities, attendees of seminars / conferences, and visitors to exhibitions and trade shows. The number of printed issues varies according to the number of subscribers and the significance of the upcoming event (exhibition, conference, etc.).

The web portal (www.dps-az.cz) is the magazine website that offers, among other things, an electronic issues of the magazine, annotations of its current issue, archived issues, latest news, calendar of events, and advertising banners. Companies and individuals may place here their job requests. The search engine allows visitors to find any relevant information, articles, events, and webinars published either in the magazine or on the website. It is focused on the entire spectrum of the electronics as well as electronic industry in the Czech and Slovak Republics and abroad. Portal is focused on the wide range of readers from electronic community, like R&D and application engineers, PCB designers, production people, managers, as well as teachers and students. Please note, there is a Czech and an English version of the website with mutually different content available under this web address (www.dps-az.cz).

DPS Elektronika od A do Z

Published by CADware s.r.o., Aloisina výšina 447/13, 460 05 Liberec 15, Czech Republic Contact: inzerce@dps-az.cz | www.dps-az.cz 19 |


ENERGY

Project example 1: Clean energy for data centres A project worth 400 million US dollars: thanks to a Czech company, data centres will be powered by renewable energy sources combined with the Blockchain technology. Following photovoltaics, accumulation and water-sourced energy, SOLAR GLOBAL a.s., a Brno-based company, will expand into the construction of data centres. The company will thus combine its experience in electricity production from renewable sources with that of data centre management, to follow the latest global technological trends in the field of big data, machine learning and virtual currencies. H2SOL, a new international project with Czech roots, which will provide the opportunity to funds and individuals alike to invest in “green” IT, will

offer clean energy to data centres. The long-term aim of H2SOL is to build data centres which could be used by European research centres and universities for the development of innovative solutions and to provide data services which are in high demand, using zero carbon footprint energy. “The digital economy and modern energetics now have a shared opportunity in the field of decentralisation. The Solar Global Group has long been interested in new investment opportunities in the field of energetically sustainable modern technologies, which is why we are now investing in the international H2SOL project. We want to make use of our know-how in the acquisition, running, and maintenance of renewable energy source power plants and use our many years’ experience in the traditional sector in the world of DLT,”

says Vítězslav Skopal, Chairman of SOLAR GLOBAL a.s. Board of Directors, about the company’s entry into the H2SOL project.

100 days. In the case of a major blackout, a large number of repositories would immediately provide energy into the network, so that consumers would not even notice it: trains would not come to a halt, nor would factory production; electricity would remain available in households, shops, and hospitals alike.

n STATE TO PREPARE SUBSIDIES

new additions, one sole wind farm was built in the country. EEH put up 13 wind turbines with a total power of 26 MW in Václavice by Hrádek nad Nisou in the Liberec region. The total capacity of Czech wind power plants thus increased to 308 MW. According to Wind Energy, the share of wind energy in local energy consumption is less than one per-cent.

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The government is preparing a restart of state support for green power plants. Those interested should auction for available funds. New turbines are rarely built in the Czech Republic: last year, following two years without any

Photo: www.bigstockphoto.com

FROM THE EU FOR WIND POWER PLANTS

Project example 2: Smart solar solutions thanks to available technologies Using solar energy is becoming increasingly easy, thanks to more readily available technologies. One such example is a smart bench which can produce energy via panels and store it in its in-built battery. The bench was developed by Full Capacity and is an example of the use of renewable energy sources and island systems. It offers a place to sit and rest, as well as a Wi-Fi Internet connection, and a USB connector or cable-free, induction-based charging of mobile devices. The bench also monitors air quality and runs all its functions by means of solar energy.


Building your tomorrow today Doosan Škoda Power • One of global leaders in steam cycle design and high performance steam turbines • More than 110 years of experience as a steam turbine OEM • Wide range of steam turbines from 3 MW to 1200 MW • For all types of thermal power plant and other applications, including concentrated solar power (CSP) • High efficiency combined with extreme reliability and operational flexibility • Non OEM turbine retrofit and modernization • Complex engineering and supervising assembly • Industrial steam turbines set industrial operations in motion across the globe Doosan Škoda Power is part of a strong group of companies united under the Doosan Group that supplies its customers worldwide with cutting-edge technology and services of high quality and value.

Learn more at

Challenging global market is an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our rich experience.

Selected projects • • • • • • • • • •

Empalme 280 MW, CCPP, Mexico – under execution Zarqa 182 MW, CCPP, Jordan – under execution Grati 198 MW, CCPP, Indonesia – under execution Red Dragon 354 MW, FPP, Chile – under execution Salalah 2x90 MW, CCPP, Oman – under execution Värö 64 MW, industry – biomass, Sweden Gummidipoondi 181 MW, FPP, India Dorad 2x140 MW, CCPP, Israel Salmisaari 175 MW, HPP – Non OEM modernization, Finland Stendal 46 MW, industry – biomass, Germany

www.doosanskoda.com 21 |


ENERGY

Thirty Czech Pellet Mills Announce Record-high Production In 2017, 365 000 Tonnes Were Produced The year-on-year increase of wood pellet production reaches two-digit numbers for the fifth consecutive year. In 2017, the production of environmentally friendly fuel by 30 Czech pellet mills increased by 11 % compared to the previous year. Another improvement: 96 % of pellets produced in 2017 were certified as top quality ENplus A1 by the international ENplus wood pellet certification.

n WOOD PELLETS Wood pellet production increases every year. This environmentally friendly fuel is made of residues from wood-processing plants: sawdust particles and other wood residues are pressed into pellets in 30 pellet mills spread all around the Czech Republic. The three most productive sawmills are: Mayr-Melnhof Holz in Paskov (85 000 tonnes per year), Stora Enso in Ždírec nad Doubravou (75 000 tonnes per year) and Pfeifer Holz with its pellet mills in Chanovice and Trhanov (60 000 tonnes). Vladimír Stupavský, President of the Czech Pellets Cluster, an association of most Czech producers which compiles regular statistics on the pellet industry, discloses the plans of the biggest players on the market: “Stora Enso will soon build its second pellet mill in the Czech Republic and Pfeifer Holz plans to increase its production capacity to 110 000 tonnes over the next two years.” Production will increase in Chanovice, too. | 22

“We produce 4 000 tonnes of pellets per month, but in the near future we plan to refurbish the pellet line and the drying room. This will allow a significant increase in pellet production,” says Hynek Mandula, Pfeifer Group regional representative for pellet sales in Central and Eastern Europe. There is no reason to worry about a lack of pellets made of Czech wood: “We constantly encounter needless concerns about a possible future lack of pellets. But it’s quite the contrary. Unlike coal, wood is a renewable source of energy and it keeps growing and keeps being extracted. Sawmills produce ever larger volumes of pellets because it is profitable for them to process sawdust, a natural by-product in the wood-processing industry,” says Stupavský.

n THE ENPLUS CERTIFICATION

HAS BECOME A NORM

Only a negligible percentage of Czech pellets do not have an international certification as yet. In 2017, 96 % of Czech-made pellets received the ENplus certification as being of the best quality, designated as A1. The A1 designation means pellets are made of chemically untreated wood residues without bark and with less than 0.7 % of ash. Uncertified pellets may con-

tain more ash and forbidden ingredients, resulting in lower heating value. The certification has been awarded by the Czech Pellets Cluster since 2012, meaning that the overall quality improvement of local production took a mere five years. The official ENplus stamp is also a prerequisite for entering Western European markets, to which two-thirds of pellets made in the Czech Republic are exported at present. Most Czech pellets are sold in Austria, Germany, and Italy. “We have delivered over one-quarter of our production to the Czech market; the remaining volumes were produced for export,” says Tomáš Krčil, Sales Manager at Stora Enso Wood Products Ždírec s.r.o.

n THE NUMBER OF PELLET

BOILERS WILL INCREASE

In 2017, the number of pellet boilers and stoves in Czech households increased to 27 000. Pellet consumption in the Czech Republic averages 100 000 tonnes per year. The Czech pellet market is now being impacted by a “boiler subsidy” which makes it easy to exchange an old, non-environmentally friendly solid fuel boiler for a pellet boiler. The subsidy can cover up to 85 % (up to a maximum of CZK 127 500) of the price of a new automatic wood pellet boiler.

Photo: Czech Pellets Cluster archives

Boiler subsidies led to an increase in the number of pellet boilers in Czech households, reaching 27  000 units. Czechs burned some 100 000 tonnes of pellets, while the rest of the local production was exported to Germany, Austria, and Italy.


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

Surge Protective Devices For Buildings, Industry, PV solutions, IT

The safety / users satisfaction / reliability of technologies SALTEK®. A leading Czech company specialising in the development and production of surge protective devices. We offer either a complete range of Type 1 to 3 Surge protective devices for low-voltage power systems according to EN 61643-11 or surge protective devices for informatics, measurement & control and telecommunications. Our products provide protection against atmospheric and technological overvoltage and ensure safe and trouble-free operation of technological equipment, machinery and electrical appliances in industry, transport, telecommunications, data centres, office buildings as well as households.

We are here for you SALTEK s.r.o. Drážďanská 85 400 07 Ústí nad Labem Czech Republic Phone: +420 475 655 511, E-mail: info@saltek.cz www.saltek.eu

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PROFILE

1.

Year of establishment of company Essential economic data

Composition of company bodies

Contact Address Phone Fax E-mail Website

OSC, a.s.

1994 Total annual output CZK 138 128 thousand Operating result CZK 31 610 thousand Operating result for the year before tax CZK 31 040 thousand Operating result for the year after tax CZK 26 597 thousand Assets = liabilities in total (net) CZK 149 330 thousand Ing. Jindřich Kysela, Chairman of the Board of Directors Ing. Robert Peca, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors Ing. Miroslav Konečný, Member of the Board of Directors Ing. Tomáš Fuks, Chairman of the Supervisory Board Ing. Martin Jašek, M.A., Member of the Supervisory Board Ing. Karel Otto, Member of the Supervisory Board OSC, a.s. Staňkova 557/18a, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic +420 541 643 111 +420 541 643 109 osc@osc.cz www.osc.cz

Profile of company

We offer a wide range of qualified engineering services, often provided with delivery, installation, and entry into service of the solution (hardware, software), including long-term operating assistance according to clients’ requirements. Our engineering services include feasibility studies, projects, and their execution, as well as entry into service, including guarantee and special measurements. Deliveries of hardware, software and know-how cover the area of simulation systems, managing and information systems operating in real time, and special electronic equipment.

The company´s production programme

Trainers and simulators for nuclear power plants Preparation of production facilities for provision of ancillary services for transmission system operator Solutions of emergency situations in electrical grids (island operation black-start) Automatic management system in energy and heating Dispatching production management of electricity and heat Measurements for hydropower Expertise and advisory services Software for real-time operations Cybersecurity of information systems GPS time synchronisation

| 24


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

2.

Year of establishment of company Essential economic data

Composition of company bodies

Contact Address Phone Fax E-mail Website Profile of company

The company´s production programme

SALTEK s.r.o.

1995 Turnover: EUR 10 m Number of employees: 200 Ing. Jaromír Suchý, Statutory Representative Ing. Jiří Kubeš, CEO SALTEK s.r.o. Drážďanská 561/85, 400 07 Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic +420 475 655 511 +420 475 655 513 info@saltek.cz www.saltek.eu SALTEK s.r.o. specialises in the development, manufacture, and sale of surge protective devices. With its headquarters in Ústí nad Labem, the company is among leaders on the Czech market. SALTEK® products ensure protection against atmospheric and technological over-voltage, thus providing safe and problem-free operation of technologies, machines and appliances in industry, telecommunication, data centres, office buildings and households. The company aims at customer satisfaction with the best technical level, top quality, safety and reliability of its products. S urge Protective Devices (SPD) for low-voltage systems S urge Protective Devices for photovoltaic systems, wind power plants and energy depositories nS  urge Protective Devices for data, signal and telecommunication lines (M&R, antennas, Ethernet, IP equipment) n Isolating spark-gaps and other solutions, especially for oil and gas pipelines. nV  oltage limiting devices for electric railway systems. n n

25 |


ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

Pillars of Czech Electrical Engineering: Heavy Current and Automation The Czech electrical engineering industry, known for its fine tradition, top quality and international success, is a true phenomenon of the local economy. Numerous companies further increase the industry’s already excellent reputation as they bring innovative solutions on a global scale. We discussed the challenges the industry is facing with Jan Prokš, Head of the Electrical Engineering Association of the Czech Republic.

Which areas of the electrical engineering industry do you consider as dominant at present? In the Czech Republic, we usually divide electrical engineering industry into four categories: heavy current, weak current, measuring instruments & automation, and computing. The last category, computing, is important when it comes to economic indicators. However, computing production in the Czech Republic is usually run by Asian companies: Chinese, Korean, or Taiwanese.

When we say “industrial production”, the need to bring added value is almost always mentioned. How are the Czech electrical engineering companies doing in this respect? When it comes to the added value, economists usually point out the “U curve”, i.e. the capital letter “U” representing the added value of a product. The left vertical line represents the development, the bottom horizontal line represents the subsequent production and the right vertical line rep-

| 26

resents the sales. The highest added value is achieved in design and development. Production as such, quite logically, doesn’t have much added value. Therefore, companies able to develop and trade their products by themselves have a considerable advantage. However, this is not always the case: more often solutions provided by Czech companies are traded via business partners, the majority of whom reside in Germany. This is caused by the fact that most manufacturers aren’t sufficiently skilled businessmen. They sell their products globally, but they do so through their German partners. There is also another option: electrical engineering plants and production facilities in the Czech Republic are owned by multinational groups managing sales centrally and merely commissioning their production in the Czech Republic. What is the competitive advantage of Czech companies? I already touched on it when I mentioned that technical thinking, used and applied in electrical engineering, and engineering companies built by important industrialists have been developed here for over a century. While technical thinking and knowledge can be learnt, to do so takes time, as can be observed in countries where industry was born much later than here. In the Czech Republic, we’ve had the technical spirit, this immaterial aura, for years and we should protect it.

Photo: Siemens archives

How is the Czech electrical engineering industry doing? In short: it’s doing extremely well! If we look at Czech and European statistics, we can see that electrical engineering is the second most important industry in the Czech Republic, the first being the automotive industry. Such a large share of the manufacturing industry and electrical engineering as there is in the Czech Republic is unseen elsewhere in Europe. Our only worry is the lack of workforce willing to seek employment in the electrical engineering sector. This fact slows down the development of the industry. But perhaps, it’s just a natural reaction preventing an “overheating” which could be dangerous.

From our perspective, the added value is missing there, as these facilities are more of assembly workshops. If there is one thing we can do really well in the Czech Republic, it is heavy current electrical engineering. We excel in transformers, electric motors and motor controllers, as well as in a wide array of equipment for production, transmission and distribution of electricity. In this area, the Czech Republic is competitive, without any doubt, on the global level. The second area where we are doing extremely well is automation. There are many Czech companies creating solutions which are appreciated globally. In this respect, we successfully keep up the tradition, the foundations of which were laid by František Křižík, Emil Kolben, Čeněk Daněk, Josef Sousedík (see box) and others. In short: in the Czech Republic, the predominant fields are heavy current and automation.


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

You are certainly right, but will there be someone to continue developing this tradition? I refer here to the issue of the lack of workforce in your industry which you’ve already mentioned. This issue isn’t exclusive to electrical engineering. At present we lack employees in all fields. It is obvious that Czech industry has reached its production limits and, unless we radically change the demographic parameters, the situation won’t change significantly. Of course, we wish for as many young people as possible to dedicate themselves to technical fields of study. I am certain that technical engineering has a future. We offer prestigious work positions where people can work on interesting projects, have the possibility to travel and meet with the best in the industry globally. There aren’t many other fields offering that. Of course, we should consider whether, in the case of adverse demographic development, the situation could be improved by employing people from non-EU countries.

To what extent can the introduction of new technologies help replace the missing workforce? What can help us in the field of technical engineering is production automation, decision automation and operation management automation. In the Czech Republic these processes have been under way for many years. At present, we call it Industry 4.0, i.e. automation industry topped with other attributes, such as horizontal communication in predetermined corridors between machines, lines, factories and companies without management involvement. Communication across the entire value chain – from customer to production on the one hand and all the way to the disposal of the product following its end-of-life on the other hand – is the process that makes Industry 4.0 what it is. So it’s not merely about automation: the automation is just a tool. To simplify things: we view this as an opportunity to pass the hard work on to automatic machines and

to employ fewer people to manage and control these processes. And to answer your question: yes, new technologies will be of key importance and will help companies to deal with the lack of the necessary workforce. This can’t be done without new technologies, just as manufacturers won’t be able to succeed in global competition without them. Does the advent of new technologies mean Czech electrical engineering companies will need to make further investments? Yes, but we mustn’t generalise. There are top-level factories, perfectly equipped in terms of technologies and basically all set, so at present there is nothing that could be improved. But on the other side of the production spectrum, there are operations representing the legacy of the past which last saw investments decades ago. And of course there are factories in between these two extremes. Therefore, investment

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ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

Last year was a very favourable one for exports, reaching record volumes. The electrical engineering industry took part in this success. In terms of exports, in what territories does the electrical engineering industry do the best? Export is key for our field, because the Czech market is small and domestic consumption relatively weak. 80 % of our electrical engineering production is exported, of which 35 % to Germany and another big portion to other EU states. The advantages are obvious: geographical proximity and especially the single market, which reduces the paperwork load when compared to exports to non-EU countries. In some cases, export consists of subsidiaries supplying goods to their parent companies, which then use Czech products to assemble higher-rank final products which are then re-exported globally. We sometimes come across Czech products labelled with the brand names of multinational corporations. | 28

And exports to other areas? Exports to other areas are fragmented and individual. Some companies do well in Russia and in Cuba; others export to Iran, China, and Latin America. To give a few examples: ETD Transformers from Plzeň exports its transformers successfully to Cuba, TES Vsetín exports drives to Canada, Elko EP from Holešov supplies wiring for skyscrapers in Dubai – and I could go on. The company’s success in export is related to what it specialises in, how skilled its dealers are and whether the company has personal contacts in the area. How can your Association help electrical engineering companies to prosper? Our Association brings together over 70 electrical engineering companies, of which over two-thirds are producers and the rest are service providers. Our mission is to promote our shared interests in relation to Leading Figures in Czech Electrical Engineering František Křižík was a Czech inventor, electrical engineer and entrepreneur. He is best known for his invention of the self-adjusting electric arc lamp. Křižík also invented a light fountain, improved electric tramways and a number of other types of equipment. Emil Kolben was one of the most influential Czech electrical engineers and entrepreneurs and the founder of the Kolben & Co. factory, as well as the Director-General and main shareholder of the Českomoravská-Kolben-Daněk (ČKD) company. Josef Sousedík was a Czech inventor

and entrepreneur in the field of electrical machinery. Sousedík registered his first patent, an automatic electric starter, in 1920. In total, he registered over 50 patents in the field of electrical and mechanical engineering. His patents (some of which are patented globally) include an aircraft with diagonal start, electrical steering wheel for motor boats, rail and road vehicles’ propulsions, electrical machinery for industrial use, etc. Sousedík also participated in the development of the gas and electrical propulsion aggregate for the M 290 vehicle. Another of his inventions was an electric vehicle powered by hybrid drive which could reach up to 70 km/h.

Photo: Siemens archives

will certainly be needed, but I see it rather as a natural renewal because all machines have their natural cycle during which they can function and produce correctly. Also, the renewal must be done according to rational needs: perhaps a machine has insufficient parameters or it can’t be incorporated into the automation process. At present, in our hugely competitive globalised world, it is impossible to succeed without state-ofthe-art technologies and skilled people. This is even more true for electrical engineering. In my opinion, by now we are done with the “selection process”, which meant that some companies didn’t make it and I believe that the number of companies with the same destiny will be kept to a minimum.

state administration. We are active in the drafting of and commenting on legislation; we have working groups dealing with the creation of norms and related activities. We also do things for our members which are perhaps not that conceptual but influence companies’ daily lives. For example, we buy electricity and gas for our members at the commodity exchange, thus getting the companies very different prices from what they would get in bilateral negotiations. Favourable energy prices are quite essential for production companies. Our Association also monitors all public procurements in the Czech Republic, selects them and lets its members know about tenders related to their business field. We have a system of meetings: working seminars, conferences and general meetings attended by important guests, politicians and businessmen alike. Vice-ministers inform us about new strategies, representatives of the Czech National Bank inform us about the development of the relationship of the Czech Crown and Euro; they also explained to us the nature of the exchange rate obligation, the impact of which companies had to deal with as best they could. We have a working group for market supervision; we cooperate with research and development, fair organisers, etc. An important part of our activities is sharing experience among companies. This short list makes it clear that we aim, by all possible means, at strengthening the good reputation and professionalism of the Czech electrical engineering industry.


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

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ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

Where Is Czech Electrical Engineering Moving? Electrotechnical production is historically one of the essential sectors in the structure of Czech manufacturing industry. With its wide range of products and related services, it holds a vital position in the country´s economy. Today, it stands at the doorstep of a new stage, mapped out by the forthcoming fourth industrial revolution, which strongly affects the structure and efficiency of production.

n BROAD PRODUCT PORTFOLIO Today electrotechnical firms supply the domestic and foreign markets with devices for high voltage electrical engineering systems, computer and office equipment, consumer electronics, instruments and automation devices including medical and optical instruments. A number of products find use in transport and communications or in the consumer sphere. The electrical engineering sector currently employs nearly 200 000 people, and this number could be even higher if it were not limited by the labour shortage experienced by nearly all manufacturing firms. The most important position within the electrical engineering sector is held by big firms, where it accounts for three-quarters of their revenue and 70 % of value added, and employs approximately 60 % of the total workforce of 200 000. The remaining one-quarter comprises medium sized and small firms, including micro firms. | 30

n FAVOURABLE INCREASE IN

THE NUMBER OF NEW CONTRACTS

According to the Czech Statistical Office, the electrical equipment production indices in 2017 were comparable with those of the preceding year and remained between 104.9 % and 115.0 %. A marked increase was noted in the new contracts indicator. While in 2016 the new contracts indices stood slightly above 90 % in the different months, in 2017 they fluctuated between 109 % and 134 %. Closely linked with production is pricing policy and market competition pushing prices down. An important factor in this respect is imports from China, which force manufacturers to more frequent innovations and price reductions in the case of older products.

n THE LARGEST VOLUME OF

EXPORTS GOES TO GERMANY

As a result of a limited domestic market, about 80 % of the output of Czech electrotechnical firms go for export. The export commodity structure is clearly dominated by the electric motor and wiring equipment segment accounting for 19 %. Other important export commodities are accu-

mulators, cables, and different kinds of conductors, as well as monitors and projectors. The dominant position among Czech product importers is held by Germany. This is mainly due to the ownership structure of firms under foreign control. In addition, Germany is one of the largest importers of Czech goods. Although Czech firms are winning contracts all over the world, succeeding in new markets is by no means easy in the face of keen competition. It goes without saying that keeping pace with the world is only possible for firms that invest effort and money in research, development and innovation and are in a position to add value to their products.

n NEW JOBS TO BE CREATED Keen competition is placing pressure on manufacturers to seek savings in production and apply new trends in their line of business. The determining factor for their growth and development is a sufficient supply of skilled technical workers. In the years to come, a feature of the electrotechnical industry must be the creation of a new type of job position and the disappearance of the old ones. It is to be ex-

Photo: Siemens archives

The complementary character of electrotechnical production creates prerequisites for the competitiveness of many other sectors, especially power engineering and a number of segments of the manufacturing industry.


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

pected that less qualified professions will be gradually excluded from the market. In countries where the electrotechnical industry is based on services with high value added and on development and research, 30-50 % of all working positions in the sector are filled by university graduates. In the Czech Republic the percentage is much less for the time being. The key sign of the fourth industrial revolution is digitalisation – of the product, production process, and the follow-up functioning of the product concerned. Digitalisation will help increase the flexibility of the product and shorten the innovation cycle. In the virtual environment it is possible to create prototypes, simulate their functionality and operating parameters, i.e. create a digital twin that will make it possible to use flexible automation elements and autonomous robots. A necessary requirement for firms is and will be the capability to rapidly innovate and respond to customer demands.

Plzeň participates in a project promoting environmentally friendly production of electronic devices Plzeň has joined an international project promoting the production of environmentally friendly electronic devices by small and medium sized enterprises in Central Europe. The project is intended to encourage contracting authorities to promote the use of eco-electronics. The city will become part of a network of partners from the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. The applicant for the subsidy from the Interreg Programme and the project manager is the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of West Bohemia. The core of the programme is the development of highly innovative instruments for two target groups. The first

n TOPICAL CHALLENGE The basic challenge facing domestic electrotechnical firms concerns the organisa-

consists of small and medium sized manufacturers of electronic devices. For them, a set of instruments and instructions will be created for making eco-designs including the choice of suitable materials and technologies for environmentally friendly production. The objective is to support small and medium sized enterprises in applying for and obtaining the Ecolabel for their products from the EU. Other partners are the Czech Technical University in Prague, the Technical University in Brno, the Brno-Transport company, Technische Universität in Vienna, Technical University Košice, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and the Hungarian NHKV National Organiser of Waste and Asset Management Private Limited Company.

tion of research in the Industry 4.0 area. A system of applied research centres is being created at the national level with

60th International Engineering Fair

MSV 2018 11th International Machine Tools Exhibition

MSV 2018 IMT 2018

Last spaces available. Last chance to get them! www.bvv.cz/en/msv

1.–5. 10. 2018 Brno – Czech Republic www.bvv.cz/msv

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TREND

responsibility for technological support of the Industry 4.0 targets as a backbone of the entire project. There are subjects galore for research, from the construction of collaborative and mobile transport robots to the technical connection of machines, equipment and people to communication networks, to safety issues. Other important subjects for research are the cybernetic aspects of complicated system control and system integration. Czech research organisations are at the highest level of accomplishment, for example in the areas of machine vision, artificial intelligence, and huge data volumes.

n RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT The firms which drew support from the state budget under the national development and research support programmes include, for example, VUES Brno s.r.o., ČKD ELEKTROTECHNIKA, a.s., ATAS elektromotory Náchod a.s. and Siemens Electric Machines s.r.o, CLASIC CZ, spol. s r.o. (project; research and development of comprehensive technology of special tungsten pseudoalloys production technologies based on powder metallurgy), CONTEG, spol. s r.o. (project; production of innovative industrial distributors and cooling systems), NKT CABLES AUTOMOTIVE (special technology for new conductor production).

Electrotechnical production in Brno celebrated its 130th anniversary last year The history of electrotechnical production in Brno takes its roots in the year 1887, when two enterprising businessmen, Bartelmus and Donát, founded in the city an electrotechnical factory, the second oldest in the entire Austro-Hungarian monarchy of that time. All began with the production of electric distributors used primarily for connecting the first dynamos. The Bartelmus-Donát company had those distributors patented. The factory was not only the oldest, but also the largest electrotechnical manufacturing enterprise in the entire Austria-Hungary. After a number of

changes during the 20th century (new owners, change of name) the firm is now part of ABB company, forming the centre for the development, production, and sale of high voltage distributors. Today, the factory, covering a surface area of 144 000 sq. m, employs over 1400 people. More than 90 % of its output is destined for export. Most of its UniGear air-insulated high voltage distributors are intended for export to the European markets and selected markets in the Near East and North America. Its instrument transformers and sensors are sold to the whole world and modular systems made in this plant are supplied to Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.

Engineering services for electric power industry � Simulation and technology trainer systems for NPP � Emergency states of Electric Power Systems - island, black-start � Distributed data acquisition and control systems � Engineering services for hydropower � Preparation for ancillary services provision for TSO � Development of real-time applications � GPS time units and time servers OSC, a.s. | +420 541 643 111 | osc@osc.cz | www.osc.cz

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Photo: Czech Smart City Cluster archives

� Operational adjustment and optimization of power plants


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

Smart Cities in the Czech Republic The Smart Cities concept is becoming increasingly popular in the Czech Republic. We can say that the first city which can be termed a Smart City in the CR is Písek, followed by Prague, Brno and other towns and cities. Smart Cities are defined as cities which introduce modern and intelligent technologies making it possible, for example, to save energy and raise the standard of living of their citizens and which behave considerately to the environment. We discussed the Smart Cities issue with Jozef Regec, executive director of Czech Smart City Cluster, whom we asked the following questions:

What are the actual trends in the Smart Cities movement? This subject is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its frequent discussion of SC technologies on the internet, in the media and the Smart City Cluster. It cannot be specified which trends prevail because of the specificity of the towns and cities. In some towns working groups are forming, attached to local governments, which promote projects such as smart benches, lighting, parking lots, applications, etc., while in other places they further ideas such as transport strategy and smart building projects. Some cities are planning the development of smart city quarters on greenfield sites. How is the Czech Republic doing in comparison with the rest of Europe? Does it keep pace with it or is it lagging behind? The Czech Republic is trying to catch up with Europe. Regrettably, at the begin-

Are there any dangers associated with the Smart Cities concept? Dangers potentially associated with the SC concept may rest in society itself, especially as regards monitoring by camera systems and personal data protection, where I am not sure about their potential abuse.

ning, when in other countries they already knew about SC projects and made funds available for their development, we were just marking time. On the other hand it is true that thanks to visionaries and people believing in innovation and new technologies there are efforts to persuade local governments to approve and realise their plans. However, we have problems with legislation as some existing laws, and they are not few, are incompatible with EU legislation. Can you give some examples of smart solutions being applied at a high level? According to information we have obtained from the regions and different cities in the Czech Republic, there are places where some smart solutions have already been applied, for example in Ostrava – transport systems; Třinec – electric buses; Třebíč – smart parking lots with electric charging stations; Brno – smart underground parking, charging stations; Kolín – city application and keychain, Písek – technology pioneer, and Plzeň, which prides itself on a polygon with the choice of several smart solutions. Czech Smart City Cluster The mission of the Czech Smart City Cluster (CSCC) is the promotion of the unique partnership between the firms, state administration, self governments, knowledge institutions and the citizens

Which is the greatest driving force as regards the development of this sector? Its greatest driving force is people believing in innovation and modern technologies. There is a relatively large number of such people, but not enough of them to massively influence the thinking of the majority. Much will also depend on the young generation, on its understanding of modern technologies and their use, and on the level of the general education of society. I think that a breakthrough is currently occurring in the education system and the teaching of modern technologies, with a generation exchange and with it an exchange of the teaching personnel taking place. So that we wish that all the visionaries believing in the SC idea may persevere and be persuaded that one day they will wake up to see their dream come true, in a world full of new technologies serving the needs of society and not otherwise.

n EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL

PROJECTS

n PÍSEK – SMART CITY PIONEER In 2015, Písek representatives were the first in the Czech Republic to draft a comprehensive concept of how to turn an ordinary Czech town into a laboratory of the future and the flagship of progress. Now, their project is already coming to fruition. One of its latest projects is that of 2018, when a unique navigation system began to work in the city navigating drivers reliably to a vacant parking place. For years, drivers in Písek were annoyed by the lack pioneering the Smart City idea in the Czech Republic. The cluster is trying to build smart cities where the social and technological infrastructures and solutions facilitate people´s lives and support sustainable economic growth.

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of parking space. “At first sight it is clear that the greatest parking problems are in the city centre. Therefore we opted for a solution combining the digital panels navigating cars to the parking lot with a system offering vacant parking places right in the streets through a mobile application,” says Josef Knot, vice-mayor of Písek and South Bohemia regional vice-president. Písek is the first city in the Czech Republic to use the eParkomat application capable of monitoring the movement of cars in the particular area. “In addition, the artificial intelligence application can forecast with high precision the occupancy of parking places in the streets. Naturally, people need not fear about their privacy. The data are supplied by the operator in absolute secrecy preventing the particular person from being traced,” says Pavel Vrba, co-owner of City Smart Parking Company.

n PLZEŇ - UNIQUE PROJECT

SHOWING WHAT SMART CITY MEANS IN PRACTICE

Plzeň takes pride on its unique technological project using the Smart City technology. The project, called Smart City Polygon, shows what a “smart city” looks like. Within one space, comprehensive systems have been installed whose function is to enhance the security of citizens, ensure greater protection of their property, “smart parking”, improve traffic passability through the locality, pedestrian safety, environmental protection, | 34

intelligent management of buildings etc. “The term Smart City is very often used, but only few know what it really means. Smart City does not mean special, new technologies. For most systems we use well tried and tested solutions. But only the intelligent way they are used and controlled makes a Smart City of them. The sense and aim of the Smart City system is the satisfied citizen,” explains Zdeněk Židek, Managing Director of OMEXOM GA Energo, adding that Smart City means a new, responsible way of public infrastructure management.

n BRNO – EMPHASIS ON DATA Brno, too, wants to become a progressive Smart City. For example in March 2018 it launched a new Data Portal. Data. brno.cz serves its users to share data concerning the city itself, the municipal organisations and other providers. An interesting part of the portal is the Firms in Brno application, an interactive map of firms, organisations and juristic persons in Brno. In addition to basic visualisation, it comprises a list of firms classified by sector and time animation.

n KEY SMART PROJECTS IN KOLÍN The city of Kolín, too, has a number of projects, such as Kolín in the mobile phone, an application serving especially the people. In it they can find all they need to know about the city, look up contacts they need and directly call them or write to the city

authorities. All this helps people, who no longer need to go to the particular office in person. More at http://www.eternal.cz/kolin/. The smart waste management system, in turn, can monitor the free storage capacity of sorted waste containers. The purpose of the project is to optimise the waste collection van routes and the number of containers needed in different places in the city and monitor the growing proportion of sorted wastes and how well the place around the containers has been cleaned after the containers have been emptied. The service is based on a simple principle: each sorted waste container is provided with either ultrasound sensors (active mode) or a special sticker with an NFC chip or QR code (passive mode). These detectors inform about the degree to which the container capacity has been filled, either by the data network or read off via a mobile application. Smart parking – by means of sensors in the pavement people can find out, via the web, mobile phone application or on interactive boards placed across the city how many vacant parking plots are available and where. In addition, the application uses an extremely simple parking payment system inside the city, where drivers do not need to look for a parking payment machine and use a ticket. The application will notify them automatically of when their parking time will run out and enable them to prolong the time by sending a remote order (e.g. from a restaurant). The city police has a detailed overview of the payments in

Photo: SIEMENS archives

TREND


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

their mobile telephones and tablets and may check, simply and interactively, who has actually paid. The driver will obtain confirmation of his or her payment in their e-mail. The application can even supply a summary monthly tax document, visualise all parking places on the map and navigate the driver to the parking place he or she has chosen. https://smart4city.cz/. The Kolín smart keychain http://www.chytraklicenka.cz/ is a unique project not only on the national scale, but also on the scale of all Central Europe. Kolín is a leading Czech city integrating modern technologies purposefully and with great success in its own urban ecosystem. Kolín´s smart keychain project is designed especially for use by primary school children. The keychain has the shape of a small plastic card the aim of which is to replace the large number of chips, keys and purses children normally use by a single tool. One such unifying tool should be able to carry out all identification, access and

payment operations of the different tools. Thanks to the use of a contactless chip, the Smart Keychain can now perform the function of the Kolín Municipal Library reader card or the chip for ordering and dispensing lunches in the school canteen. It can also open the school electronic lock and can be used as a Kolín public transport time ticket. The Keychain can also be activated as a prepaid card making it possible for parents to send pocket money to their children.

n OSTRAVA LAUNCHED A UNIQUE

PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM OF PAYMENT, THE MOST UP-TO-DATE IN EUROPE

In 2016, the Ostrava city public transport operator introduced an absolutely breakthrough system using a contactless passenger payment card for all trams, busses and trolleybuses in the city. The cards use an absolutely unique technology, which at the time of its launching

was used nowhere else in the world except London. The unique nature of the project is quite simple: on boarding the passenger just places the card against the terminal, which will issue an electronic ticket, and the intelligent system will choose the optimum fare. If the ride takes less than 10 minutes and the passenger is not going to change, on getting off he or she once again places the card against the terminal and the system will issue a non transfer electronic ticket. In case the ride takes more than 10 minutes or if the passenger changes to another line, the system will issue a transfer ticket. When switching to another line, the user needs only to place the card against the terminal again.

n PRAGUE – INNOVATION

FOR A BETTER LIFE

In 2017, Prague leading authorities approved their historically first long-term strategy for the capital city concern-

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AUTOMATION

ing modern technologies used in public spaces. “To me, Smart City means a place which, partly due to modern technologies, brings its inhabitants comfort. People will get services to which they are used from their private lives, such as useful applications, where they will be able to find the closest vacant parking place, a modern payment system in public transport, a dense network of charging stations for electric cars. At the same time the technologies will make a more economical management of the city possible, such

as planning of transport, energy saving or more efficient decision-making on the basis of data analysis. Quite essential is collaboration with the universities, municipal enterprises, the city quarters and the private sector. I am persuaded that in this way we´ll soon be catching up with other European smart capital cities, such as Barcelona and Vienna,” says Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová. The Smart Prague 2030 concept is coordinated by Operator ICT company. In 2018, Prague was accorded an international award in appreciation of its

Smart City projects. For example, Prague placed second in the Europe Mobility Week Awards competition, organised each year by the European Commission. The leading idea of the competition is to highlight cities showing meaningful efforts in furthering sustainable urban mobility projects on their territory. The term sustainable mobility means an environmentally friendly transport system, which does not place unnecessarily high claims on financing and is faster, even in the city centres. More at https://www.smartprague.eu/aktuality.

The Future of Production, Greater Efficiency, and Technological Development Digitalisation, robotisation, automation – this and much more is comprised in the term Industry 4.0. Some consider the Industry 4.0 initiative a threat, others an opportunity to innovate, raise productivity and introduce new technologies in the firm.

Despite the launching of the Industry 4.0 system and in spite of broader automation, a large number of skilled workers will still be needed in the Czech Republic. Already now industrial firms are pointing at the shortage of such workers, which might become critical in the future. That is why they call for reform of the education system. In coming years, new jobs will be created in connection with the new models of production processes and their interlinking with the energy and transport systems, according to Vladimír Mařík, former director of the Czech Institute of Informatics and Robotics (CIIR) attached to the Czech Technical University. “These new professions will require either higher education and training or re-training,” Mařík added.

n AUTOMATION AND ITS EFFECTS For domestic industrial firms, however, this may signify a problem in future. “Looking at the supply of skilled people in the Czech Republic I seriously fear whether we´ll be able to fill the new positions which Industry 4.0 will create,” said Leoš Dvořák, head of digitalisation at Siemens ČR. His fears are substantiated by the education expert Bohumil Kartouš of EDUin. “The Czech Republic will be affected by the launch of the Industry 4.0 system more than other Eu| 36

ropean countries. The OECD Employment Outlook 2017 analysis comprises a forecast which pinpoints this country as one of the most endangered labour markets in Europe as regards the impacts of automation,” said Kartous. According to this prediction, some 45 % of jobs will disappear or will undergo a significant change over the next 15 years. “This will be mainly due to the structure and orientation of the current Czech economy based largely on production without value added and on subcontracting with Germany and other EU states. This concerns production and the related jobs, which will be replaced by robots or algorithms, or the skills needed for their performance will change,” Kartous added.

n FIRMS: WE NEED A CHANGE

OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

Industrial firms believe that this threat could be eliminated by changes in the education system. “Regrettably, today´s education system is focused mainly on teaching economics and humanities, while technical sciences are on the decline. The main change should be towards motivating students to study mathematics, physics and informatics, which are the key to filling positions for the new would-be professions,” said Jiří


27 th International Trade Fair of Electrotechnics, Electronics, Automation, Communication, Lighting and Security Technologies

2019

19. – 22. 3. 2019 | BRNO CZECH REPUBLIC

www.amper.cz organized by

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Prášil, Executive Director of ZKL concern, manufacturer of spherical-roller bearings, mentioning his own initiative to at least partly face up to the changes in the labour market. “As there is a lack of mechatronics, mechanics and skilled programmers in the labour market, we are trying to train our own employees. To cope with the needs of the future completely new professions, however, such training will hardly be sufficient,” he added. The Ministry of Education is preparing for the change and is planning to introduce new curricula at all levels of education, from pre-school courses to university studies. “This concerns changes in the pre-gradual training of teachers with emphasis on digital technologies, revision of framework education programmes for pre-school, elementary, and secondary-level education, support of teachers in the form of further education in the development of digital competences and the preparation of new tuition materials for pupils and students and methodical materials for teachers,” said Jarmila Balážová, spokeswoman of the Ministry. | 38

n FIRMS ARE SEEING “INDUSTRY

4.0” AS A CHANCE, BUT...

According to a 2017 survey by EY Consulting, nearly half of the firms are planning, under the impact of the Industry 4.0 ideas, their current business model, which is 7 percentage points more than in the preceding year. Two-thirds of enterprises value their level of development on the Industry 4.0 scale as comparable or better in relation to rival firms. As in the previous year, 57 % of the companies consider the shortage of skilled employees to be the greatest obstacle to the practical application of the Industry 4.0 system. Most Czech companies link the idea of the new industrial revolution with expectations of higher productivity (51 %), higher labour efficiency (47 %), and availability of data for production control (40 %), according to a survey among 102 leading Czech manufacturing companies. Eight in every ten firms, which participated in the survey for EY, consider Industry 4.0 an opportunity for the development of their business activities and one in every three is planning

to invest in Industry 4.0 technologies and instruments more than one-tenth of their total investment expenses in the next three years. Using Industry 4.0 elements is a common practice in Czech firms. Two-thirds of the companies addressed in the survey consider their level of advancement in this area comparable with or higher than that of their rivals. Yet ample space exists for the further development of the entire industrial sector. Only 44 % of companies have practical experience with the use of instruments and technologies at the new industrial revolution level. However, many more firms (76 %) see in the Industry 4.0 system an opportunity for the promotion of their business activities.

n KEY IMPORTANCE

OF BIG DATA ANALYTICS

The principal motivation for introducing Industry 4.0 instruments is the expectation of higher productivity (62 %) and higher labour efficiency (51 %). Considering the current labour shortage in the Czech economy it is not surprising that the third

Photo: National Centre For Industry 4.0 archives

AUTOMATION


CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

reason motivating firms to introduce the Industry 4.0 system is their hope that it will solve their labour shortage problem (38 %). The survey testifies that these expectations have a good chance to materialise. More than two-thirds of firms which have used big data analysis have achieved an increase in productivity and work efficiency. “Czech firms closely watch technological development and introduce pilot applications. A frequent problem, however, is the absence of a comprehensive or strategic approach, which could make full use of the digitalisation and automation potential. In addition, firms think little about the impacts of the new solutions on the organisation and company culture,” Petr Knap, leading consulting partner at EY in the Czech Republic and Central and Southeast Europe. In comparison with the 2016 survey, firms have made progress in the use of instruments for internal big data analyses and the number of firms with practical experience in this area increased by onethird to 62 %. Demand for automation, too, is growing: one-third of firms (31 %) use autonomous robots in production (18 % in 2016). “The use of Industry 4.0 elements in our production is an integral part of our programme. The interconnection of control systems and equipment, data sharing, online diagnostics and the use of 3D post-processor modelling make it possible to devise new work processes and increase labour productivity,” says Jan Rýdl Jr., Managing Director of TOS Varnsdorf.

n THE HUMAN FACTOR

TOPS THE LIST OF NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS

The shortage of skilled workers mastering the new technologies and using their potential is the greatest obstacle to embarking on the Industrial 4.0 system for 57 % of firms addressed in the survey. This problem, they believe, could be partly eliminated by government investment in the development of new fields of study focused on interdisciplinary integration and intersectoral experiences. Besides the human factor, the largest obstacles are low spending on implementation (52 %), obsolete technologies (28 %), and the generally poor knowledge of Industry 4.0 (25 %). “Today, the primary hindrance to embarking on the Industry 4.0 system is not the shortage of technical facilities, but the human factor. Running like a red thread among manufacturing firms is lack of experience and the non-existence of strategic vision as regards the use of modern elements in production, which prevents any significant achievements in the field of digitalisation,” says Jan Burian, senior manager in the advisory practice of EY Czech Republic. Much needed for the successful launching of the fourth industrial revolution is government support. According to the companies addressed by the survey, it is very important to have a good investment incentives plan (50 %), higher financial backing for applied research (29 %) and support for collaboration between

enterprises and research organisations (27 %), in addition to getting support for new fields of study (49 %). Nearly one-half of the firms addressed (43 %) are planning to change their business model to meet the Industry 4.0 requirements in the next three years. Nearly three-quarters of companies are planning to invest in different automation and digitalisation instruments.. Half of them are planning to invest in this area more than 10 % of their total annual investments. “In the current situation, when the Czech economy is growing rapidly, but is hindered by a skilled labour shortage, the Industry 4.0 technologies are an efficient instrument for raising productivity and labour efficiency. Collaboration with suppliers and clients often facilitates companies their transition to using Industry 4.0 technologies,” Filip Havránek, Senior Consultant in EY Performance Improvement, adds.

n PROGRESS CANNOT

BE STOPPED AND SOLUTIONS MUST BE FOUND

Industry 4.0 has found many followers, especially among large firms. As regards Industry 4.0 elements and their use in production, it is to be expected that large enterprises will be more active in this respect, because they can rely on higher financial and human resources. In this connection, a helping hand has been tended to small and medium-sized enterprises by the South Bohemia Chamber of Commerce. “By activities undertaken as part of Industry 4.0 projects we are especially trying to help small and medium-sized enterprises by offering them expert training and suggesting them possible solutions on their way to digitalisation free of charge. “Thanks to the East Bavaria – South Bohemia International Big Data Centre project, a centre will be built that will join together small and medium-sized enterprises in the two regions to pursue research and innovation activities in the area of big data technologies. This will make it possible for them to develop specific applications making it possible to process data straight from their workplaces and to better respond to the rapidly developing market,” says Petr Rejnek, manager of the project launched by the South Bohemia Chamber of Commerce. 39 |


AUTOMATION

Industry 4.0 Offers Great Opportunities

The initial idea of the so called Fourth Industrial Revolution appeared in 2011. Along with the vision came the idea to develop “smart factories” that would use cyber-physical systems. How have Czech companies embraced the idea? In the Czech Republic the implementation of Industry 4.0 is progressing more slowly than let’s say in neighbouring Germany. The processes of introducing digitalisation, virtualisation and robotisation into production are initiated directly by companies’ needs such as shortage of workers and the demand for individualised production. However, their implementation faces natural obstacles such as relatively high intro| 40

duction costs, inadequate knowledge concerning the potential of Industry 4.0 and of course the lack of competence within companies needed to launch Industry 4.0. Only one-third of companies has so far implemented Industry 4.0 according to a CEEC study, however the difference between individual sectors is significant. It is mainly the large companies that invest in new technologies. Why is that? Companies often adopt digitalization knowhow from their foreign shareholders and so logically the leaders on the market are also the leaders in innovations. Smaller companies have to deal with the above mentioned problems concerning financing and often also the lack of development facilities and technological vision. In the case of small and medium-size companies we see the lack of information as the biggest challenge. It is the very term “Industry 4.0” that is not understood correctly. Industry 4.0 is not just a marketing label. On the contrary, it is a summary term for specific technologies, processes and approaches. The National Centre for Industry 4.0 was created based on this very need to function as an open national platform connecting academic institutions with industrial companies, to exchange information and spread education and knowledge in this area. Can you mention any successful examples of the 4.0 idea in the Czech Republic? At the moment the Centre works with nearly 30 partners who participate in the development of the Industry 4.0 in the Czech Republic either as suppliers or final users. These include not only large international firms such as Škoda Auto and Siemens, who are our main partners, but also

entirely Czech companies such as DEL, Sidat, and Abra Software. And there are others applying to join. Together we are looking for an optimal cooperation model: training, conferences, consultations, or specific applied research. In 2017 CIIRC CTU presented its Testbed for Industry 4.0 as a new research and experimental facility set up for testing innovative solutions and processes for the so called “smart factories”. Can you give us more details? What are your other future plans and projects? The Testbed for Industry 4.0 is quite unique as it is currently the only academic workplace in the Czech Republic using the digital twin concept which means that all real time processes can be simulated also in the digital environment. Testbed for Industry 4.0 aims to become the leading Industry 4.0 workplace on European level and offer open environment for different parallel systems, interconnect SW and HW solutions, support education and provide support for other areas of Society 4.0. What opportunities and possible threats do you see for the 4.0 agenda in the Czech Republic? Where does the CR stand in comparison with the rest of the EU? Industry 4.0 poses a great challenge not only for Czech companies, but for all firms in general. Even though we believe that it is primarily a great opportunity for improvement and innovation. Society 4.0 has the potential to deliver people a higher quality of life on the other hand it places high demands on continuous education and development of skills. It remains to be determined how the Czech Republic and in fact all mankind can use its potential and benefits.

Photo: National Centre For Industry 4.0 archives

The National Centre for Industry 4.0 was founded by the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague, the Technical University (VUT) in Brno, Siemens, Škoda Auto, the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the Central Bohemian Innovation Centre and the South Moravian Innovation Centre. The National Centre’s aim is to spread information about Industry 4.0 and promote collaboration between the academic sphere and the industry. “At the moment the Centre has nearly 30 partners who participate in its development both as suppliers and final users,” says Roman Holý, Head of the Centre, and Alena Nováková, Senior Project and Account Manager.


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Colour Light Signal SNA-100

AŽD Praha has a portfolio comprising a large selection of products for rail track operation; the company also develops colour light signals in order to meet the demand of higher rail track speed and the possibility of fitting more lights and indicators on to the railway signal. AŽD’s new release in this field is the entry Colour Light Signal SNA-100 which meets the requirements of rail track speed of up to 200 km/h and can be fitted with up to six lights and two indicators. The load-bearing element of this signalling device is a welded steel construction. The | 42

transformer box is attached to the structure’s lower part, thus enabling comfortable access to 14 ST-7B transformers (a safety protection transformer designated for non-stop operation). The box comprises channel cabling separating the entry and exit cables to/from transformers. The exit cables are run inside the load-bearing pole. A spacious work platform with protective railing is located in the upper part of the load-bearing structure. A ladder situated in the structure’s back part provides access to the work platform. The set of lights and indicators is attached to the upper part of the load-bearing structure and can be shifted and rotated. Lights and indicators are designed as independent modules which, upon being assembled, create a light set. This solution offers the possibility of changing a light or an indicator of a previously assembled signalling device. The signalling device is equipped with a complex anti-overvoltage protection.

The inner part of the transformer box is protected with insulation sheets, while all cables in the signalling device are in protective tubes made of insulation material. While at work, workers are protected by personal protective equipment and can also use a belt to position themselves. On 20 March 2018 the first two prototypes of the Colour Light Signal SNA-100 were successfully erected on the number 113 Railway Line Čížkovice – Obrnice by Libčeves Railway Station. The assembly of the signalling device was also tried out here: at first, transport structures were removed and a special lifting structure erected the signalling device and placed it on to a concrete base. The lifting structure was then removed and the entry cables connected to the signalling device. At present, the Colour Light Signal SNA-100 is being tested in operation on the 113 Railway Line. LUBOMÍR CHYTKA, ING. TOMÁŠ HEJHAL

Photo: AŽD archives (Petr Dobiášovský)

AŽD Praha has a portfolio comprising a large selection of products for rail track operation; the company also develops colour light signals in order to meet the demand of higher rail track speed and the possibility of fitting more lights and indicators on to the railway signal. AŽD’s new release in this field is the entry Colour Light Signal SNA-100 which meets the requirements of rail track speed of up to 200 km/h and can be fitted with up to six lights and two indicators.


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Czech Business & Trade - ENERGY INDUSTRY  

Economic Magazine is Designed for Foreign Partners, Interested in Cooperation with the Czech Republic.

Czech Business & Trade - ENERGY INDUSTRY  

Economic Magazine is Designed for Foreign Partners, Interested in Cooperation with the Czech Republic.

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