ELSTA is a Polish company present in the market for over 20 years now, which operates in three branches: electrical power engineering, mining electronics and industrial automatics. Elsta can offer electrical and automatics designs, low-voltage equipment, such as switchgears, comprehensive deliveries, electrical installations and assembly works as well as programming of control system. Owing to its extensive experience and modern technologies, Elsta can offer reliable service and high quality products. The electrical solutions used by Elsta are always cutting-edge, thus invariably enjoying great popularity among clients. The company strives to develop even further and make use of more advanced systems so as to keep the offer competitive and anticipate clients needs.
Groundbreaking systems for mining
The beginnings of Elsta go back to 1988, when Mr Jacek Stankiewicz set up a three-person plant in Wieliczka, in south-eastern Poland. Over the years the company has been dynamically developing both in scope of business activities and the number of employees. The moment which proved crucial to the development of Elsta was the commencement of cooperation with the mining industry, which took place in 1992 and consisted in producing power-electronic and electronic equipment for this sector. This part of the company’s activity has remained one of its pillars to date. The first mass-produced system was Tusdelk, which is used to control drives in traction locomotives operating in hard coal and ore mines. The system makes it possible to operate the locomotive in a precise way by e.g. a steady start-up, speed regulation and braking the drive. Because of the fact that Tusdelk heightens the safety and comfort of operation it is highly cost-effective, it is still used in new locomotives, although there are more innovative system in the market today. In 1994, two years after introducing Tusdelk, Elsta achieved the first commercial success by designing the SSRK 1001 radio control system for longwall shearers, used in coal mining. As the President of the company, Jacek Stankiewicz admits, this innovation filled the company with particular pride: “The SSRK 1001 system has been giving us much satisfaction because it has found application not only in a majority of Polish mines, but also in those of Great Britain, Spain, the Czech Republic, Belorussia, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, and even Argentina. The system was awarded many times (e.g. with the Highest Quality “Małopolska” Medal in 1996, or Gold Medal from the President of the Association of Polish Electrical Engineers (SEP) in 2002) and it was one of the most modern systems in the world at that time.” The new, more technologically advanced systems of that type are ESSRK 1001 and SSRK 2000, which form a group of electronic devices used for radio control of mining machines. Some of them are also applied for the control of floor cars, traction locomotives, switches in the transport routes with pneumatic drive, emergency and ventilation stopping. Today, thanks to extensive experience and knowledge of the mining industry, Elsta can also offer the following groups of products: control and diagnostic equipment for diesel-powered mining machines, auxiliary equipment for mining machines, RFID-technology based identification system for mining machines, as well as the software used to communicate equipment, transfer data to dispatching centers or visualize the data. Elsta’s offer was addressed mainly to mining industry until 1999, when it was decided to begin the company’s restructuring. This decision was one of the milestones in Elsta’s history, because it resulted in establishing new departments, namely design, industrial automatics and electrical equipment production, which all allowed the company to commence complex implementation of designs in electrical power division, including turnkey completion. Apart from broadening the scope of activity, the legal status of Elsta changed into a limited liability company in 2002, which sealed the restructuring process. The crucial years for the development were also 2005 and 2006, when the company entered the foreign markets and started providing assembly services abroad.
The company’s business activity revolves around three main fields and branches. In the primary branch, mining, Elsta’s activity concerns the design and production of equipment and IT systems. The second important activity is the design and production of low-voltage electrical equipment, i.e. switchgears and controlgears. The broad selection of single-module switchgears is based mainly on the Sivacon 8PT system from Siemens, Tri Line from ABB, and X-Energy from Moeller Electric. Until recently, the offer range was broadened to include double-module switchgears – Sivacon 8PT, which are manufactured on Siemens license. When it comes to the third prominent element of the offer, Elsta carries out electric assembly works in the field of medium-voltage and low-voltage electrical power engineering systems. The company specializes in making wiring systems and industrial automatics for power plants and heat and power stations, environmental protection facilities, mines, glass-works and steelworks, industrial facilities and process lines. As easily noticed, the offer is comprehensive, but Elsta doesn’t give priority to any of the fields in which it operates, because it strives to satisfy all clients’ needs in all sectors: “Each and every field of our activity is equally important for us. Such an approach enables us to adjust easily to changeable situations in the market. New needs of clients as well as demand for particular services and products obviously determine the focus of our attention. However, we always want to be ready to execute all tasks within the range of our activity at client’s demand. Actually, what matters the most is the client satisfaction, so we pay special attention to this matter while deciding on the direction we should follow,” said Mr Stankiewicz.
Facing the challenges
Elsta has always been eager to take up new challenges and make the most of opportunities. After joining the European Union and opening foreign markets to Polish companies, Elsta managed to comply with requirements of individual member countries. Over the last years Elsta focused on receiving certificates and licenses entitling it to operate in new branches abroad, which helped it to gain a good reputation as a professional partner. The company’s priority is to stand out in the market, which is why it keeps on searching for groundbreaking electrical solutions and strives to maintain the high quality of products and services. In 2004 Elsta obtained the ISO 9001 certificate, which assures top quality and enables the company to maintain the leading market position. Moreover, Elsta would like to widen the offer range for the mining industry, which has always been the company’s primary recipient, but it is also ready to face new challenges and develop in different fields. Elsta is also customer-oriented, since one of its priorities is to be perceived as a synonym of individual approach and flexibility. According to Mr Stankiewicz, “building a good brand consists in improving working skills all the time and sparing no efforts to have a good opinion of a reliable partner among potential contractors.” Among the challenges Elsta has to face, there is a global crisis, which decreased the number of investments in Poland and abroad. Confronted with the predicament, numerous companies started changing their business profiles and entered the market with competitive offers. Such a situation may pose a danger and requires additional efforts, but owing to the long experience, Elsta is able to react quickly and adapt to new circumstances. However, “the company is not going to rest on its laurels; at the moment we are working on further organizational changes which will guarantee our further development,” assures Mr Stankiewicz.
Focus on people
What contributed to the company’s success was undoubtedly long-standing experience in the industries, but the success would not have been possible without the 155-person staff , which is highly motivated and oriented towards achievement. “We are fortunate in people who strive to develop and aspire to reach the status of an expert in their field. Despite the company’s development in recent years, we have managed to maintain a close relationship with employees, which I consider a success itself,” says Mr Stankiewicz. Elsta gives its employees opportunities to take up technical challenges and deal with latest technologies. Moreover, the company appears to be an attractive employer because it invests in people by organizing internal and external staff trainings and raising their professional qualifications, which is absolutely indispensable in the branch. Another advantage of being employed in Elsta is the possibility of working abroad and gaining invaluable experience. Apart from taking care of its employees, Elsta conducts social activity and charity works, trying to help financially to people in need, especially children. The company cooperates for example with the “Nasze Dzieci” Association and “Górnik” Wieliczka sports club and often sponsors rewards in various competitions and initiatives, e.g. for the best computer program organized by Association of Polish Electrical Engineers SEP.
One of the greatest achievements of the company was gaining the ISO 9001 certificate. What is more, a variety of its products and services have been awarded on numerous occasions, e.g. at trade fairs. One of the most essential ones was the Golden Medal received together with CARBOAUTOMATYKA SA at the fair in Donieck (Ukraine) in 2006. The same year Elsta got the title of “The Golden Partner of CMG KOMAG”. One year later during International Fair of Mining, Power Industry and Metallurgy Katowice 2007, Elsta was granted the second award in the category of Novelty. The next key success came together with the distinction in the “Wehikuły Czasu” competition for the Małopolska region as well as the 16th place in the Business Gazelle ranking for the Małopolska region. The company can also boast the 5th place in the second edition of the 2007 Business Cheetah Competition for the fast developing companies in the Małopolska region. Finally, in 2009 Elsta was included in the „Forbes’ Diamonds” ranking and also got the prestigious „European Medal” for the “Design and build service”.
Written by Anna Chudzik