Lars Gert Lose, Denmark‘s ambassador to the U.S., was in Atlanta Feb. 8 to highlight the cutting-edge innovations that have made two Danish companies with operations here globally competitive.
He visited the aerospace and defense company Terma North America Inc.‘s recently established innovation center on Windy Hill Road and attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for Kamstrup Water Metering LLC in Roswell.
Following the ribbon cutting, he told Global Atlanta that the U.S. is the third largest market in the world for Danish companies, trailing only Germany and Sweden, and that a country with slightly less than 6 million people has to be competitive overseas.
Terma North America came to the U.S. once it had signed a special security agreement in 2003 and established its first office in Arlington, Va. Soon afterwards it opened a facility in Warner Robins to supply aircraft survivability equipment including the latest electronic warfare technologies.
Steve Williams, Terma’s president and CEO who accompanied the ambassador to the Kamstrup ribbon cutting, told Global Atlanta that the company opened its innovation center in Atlanta for a variety of reasons including the resources of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the area’s connections with the military and the presence of Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta.
While attending the Singapore Air Show senior Lockheed and Terma executives agreed to expand their partnership and Lockheed confirmed it would order more than 440 parts for the F-35 aircraft. In 2016, the Danish government announced its decision to acquire 27 F-35As for their next fighter aircraft as a replacement for its aging F-16s.
Kamstrup’s CEO, Kim Lehmann, and senior vice president for North America, Lars Bo Kirstensen, spoke at the ceremony. Both praised the facility’s capabilities to eventually manufacture water meters from Roswell for the entire U.S.
Mr. Lehmann acknowledged that the Roswell facility is the company’s first to produce its “intelligent water meters” outside of Denmark, adding that “Here, American labor will work side aside with robots producing high quality water meters that will help to identify non-revenue water from California to Boston, from Canada to Chile.”
He said that the company has managed to claim one third of the global market for water meters in 2016 through automation. “Today Denmark is the country with the most robots per worker — and one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe.”
“Where other companies focused on outsource production to low income countries,” he added, “we have led the journey toward industri 4.0 and kept production and development under the same roof in our head quarter in Denmark.”
While the Roswell facility opened only four years ago, Mr. Kristensen said that over the past two years, the U.S. has become the biggest market within the Kamstrup Group activities around the world “and the market with the highest growth potential.”
“Seventeen percent of all static intelligent water meters sold in the U.S. in 2017 came from Kamstrup,” he added, saying that the need for its meters is more important than ever with the rising prices for water and the increasing demand for reduced consumption.
“Fifteen-to-50 percent of the produced water in the U.S. will never be measured due to the leaks of inaccurate meters,” he added.
The ambassador also raised the urgency of regulating water losses in the U.S. where, he said, 60 percent of the country’s water is lost in contrast to Denmark which has been on protecting its groundwater since 1999.
He recently met with California Gov. Jerry Brown and entered in to a memorandum of understanding to provide California with groundwater mapping and data collection, implement strategies for water conservation, and share best practices and regulatory approaches to wastewater treatment.
According to the website of the Denmark Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Over the next two decades, the U.S. is expected to make investments in water technology worth $300 billion. At the moment, the U.S. is likely to miss out on reusable water reserves of 3,400 billion liters since they have not been treated due to outdated technologies.”