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English Español Interview with PWM's Max Krawinkel: “We need to rethink our entire system to fit IoT”

PWM, one of the world leaders in price sign technology, presented its latest products at the NACS Show 2019. We spoke to their CEO about fuel price signs, IoT and how to enter a new market.

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After years of selling electronic light advertising, PWM introduced a new generation of price displays with an electronic input of data. Since the new system hit the market in 1984, PWM grew into one of the world’s market leaders for electronic price displays, today active in more than 100 countries.

In 2018, PWM introduced TRACK, the first internet-based control system for electronic price displays on fuel stations. “We have to rethink our entire system to communicate through IoT,” says Dr. Max F. Krawinkel, CEO of PWM.

Present on over 100 countries, we asked the Krawinkel how the company prepared to enter a market when fuel price liberalization processes begin.

“Actually we are typically in the market before it opens. We always have connections all over the world in the different markets where fuel stations are available. We do the groundwork to stablish a network of distributors and a service network. Once the market is deregulated, we are ready to roll out.”

China is a market that currently offers great potential, according to Krawinkel. Major foreign players such as Shell and BP have already put in place plans to open thousands of sites.

“The Chinese market is hardly regulated so there is still a lot of potential. With China, as a foreign company in a market dominated by national players, it all depends on the local partner you have in the country. That’s what will determine your success – a good, connected partner that sees the benefits of working with a Western supplier.”

Another area that’s provided fuel price sign companies with business opportunities is the increasing number of fuel types at service stations, including electric vehicle charging.

“In the German market, for example, some retailers have up to 8 different fuel types (diesel, gasoline, LNG, H2...) so that gives us more possibilities. In the case of electric vehicle charging, it can also be positive as some operators do not offer electricity for free and have price signs charging by the minute.”

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