“Light is part of the cities. For that reason, we have to take good care of it”, explains Ángel González Calvo, managing director of Setga, a Galician company dedicated to the design and manufacture of outdoor and indoor lighting, as well as urban furniture and signage.
SETGA was born in 1988 as an engineering and lighting design company. “It was the result of the meeting of several engineers who understood that, in this sector, everything had to be done”, González remembers. My initial partner, who is an economist, gave us the necessary rigor and character”.
The founders’ objectives were the technological anticipation and also the practice of disruptive design, working in collaboration with other technicians and architects. Their first important project was the installation of public lighting in Pontevedra. “It was our test laboratory”, the managing director says.
The installation of 3,000 kilograms of street lights on the promenade of A Coruña was also one of their most outstanding projects. “It was a challenge and the most ambitious public lighting project executed in Europe in the nineties”, he points out.
Nowadays, SETGA is present in over 15 countries in four continents: Europe, Asia, Africa and America. In fact, the turnover obtained abroad represents 50% of the total.
“We have managed to overcome the crises without problems, preserving our principles of quality, innovation and collaboration”
Ángel González, managing director of SETGA
The company’s income has been risen from 7 million euros in 2015 to 11 million euros in 2019, with an annual growth rate of over 6%. Its activity generates 70 direct jobs and 140 indirect ones. “We have managed to overcome the crisis without problems, preserving our principles of quality, innovation and collaboration with prestigious architects. We have distributed very few dividends and we also have been able to keep very good clients,” Ángel González says.
SETGA has a production capacity of nearly 265,000 luminaires per year. In addition, the company designs and manufactures outdoor lanterns, LED modules, beacons, steel and wooden columns, facade supports and catenary systems. The company also has projectors to work in indoor spaces.
For the signaling area, Setga has traffic lights, beacons, and interactive tiles and pavements, focused on pedestrian safety. Bollards, bike racks and benches and litter bins complete the urban furniture offer. Lighting represents about 90% of the total turnover.
Among the latest achievements of Setga there is the award of a project to modernize the Amsterdam city lighting. As part of the project, Setga will renovate 42,000 light points – expandable to 100,000 – with LED technology, representing a third of the public lighting infrastructure of the city. The initial investment is 10 million euros.
“We have achieved a lot of prestige. We were competing with the world’s leading manufacturers,” the managing director emphasizes. Setga is present in more than 100 municipalities in the Netherlands. “It may be the most demanding market, but we are very comfortable”.
As for SETGA’s short-term initiatives, they have some directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. “When the health crisis broke out, we needed to have some kind of system to disinfect personal protective equipment” he says. The company immediately started the project with the support of the Agencia Gallega de Innovación, for the manufacture of sterilizing cabins through ultraviolet light.
The objective is to develop a system that can be used in hospitals, health centers and residences. “In about eight or nine months we will be able to present it to the market. It will be simple and safe, and initially will be used to disinfect masks and gloves”, he reveals.
The directive makes a warning: “there are many internet sales of articles to sanitize these materials that could threaten people’s safety”.
In fact, SETGA is especially concerned about intrusiveness. “The biggest tensions in the industry come from an increasingly low-cost, low-quality market, mainly from the Middle East. The administration should be more rigorous with new players and importers who do not even meet the minimum quality standards at the national and European level. It is something very serious, because it is a type of light that can damage the retina of people,” he argues.
Inadequate use of light has consequences not only for health, but also for the environment and the economy. “Installations that are not correct waste 25% of light. A well-executed luminaire can reduce consumption between 70% and 80%,” Angel Gonzalez argues.
On the way to greater health protection, Setga has developed an intelligent lighting technology to adapt to the circadian rhythm of people (Circadionic). The National Institute of General Medical Sciences explains that circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle, and that respond, primarily, to light and darkness.
SETGA’s technology, that is present in places such as Spain and Europe, allows to adapt the tone of light to the different hours of the day. “It is the present and the future. Replicating natural light should be a requirement,” González Calvo summarizes.
Social commitment and business efficiency
Talent. The recruitment of long-term unemployed people over 45 years and dependents let the company “to reveal new sources of talent thanks to the project Light and Talent, created together with the Spanish Red Cross. This is the first cross-cutting program of training and social employment carried out in the European industry.
Equality. The company approved an equality plan for employees that went into effect in the summer of 2018 and has a duration of four years.
LIGHT FOR THE STREETS OF THE WORLD AND THE DISINFECTION OF EPI
SETGA will launch cabins with ultraviolet light to sterilize masks and gloves
- urban furniture
Published on 28/08/2020