BACCARA is optimistic about its next 60 years in automation and control 

A leading Israeli manufacturer of precise flow control solutions and components for integrated automation systems, BACCARA was established in 1964. With its products found in applications throughout industry and agriculture, the business supplies a global customer portfolio from its locations in Israel, the US, Australia, Spain, and India. 

As Paul Steiner, CEO, explains, BACCARA is 100 percent owned by kibbutz Geva. “Kibbutzim began in agriculture but began to broaden their activities into manufacturing in the 60s. At this time BACCARA Geva got involved with Maxam, a British company, working with their technology, and we started manufacturing solenoid valves.” 

Over the ensuing years BACCARA expanded into industrial automation, while continuing to develop its solenoid technology. It celebrated the kibbutz’ 80th anniversary by introducing the G80 series of smaller valves, and then experienced another milestone in the early 1980s when it won the distribution rights in Israel for SMC Corporation, a Japanese company. “I think we were their first distributor outside of Japan, and we maintained that relationship for 40 years. They have now established their own independent presence in Israel, and we wish them every success with that.” 

Continuing to broaden its reach, today BACCARA offers a wide portfolio of products under two main brands: the industrial brand – GEM-SOL™: solenoid valves, heavy-duty air valves, and cylinders; and the agricultural brand – GEM-FLOW™: agricultural solenoid valves, irrigation controllers, instrumentation, and irrigation valves. “What sets us apart is our ability to develop specific solenoid valves for the needs of customers where standard products don’t exist,” notes Paul. 

Celebrating 60 years of business this year, BACCARA has plans to commemorate the anniversary with a variety of activities, including a staff party, events for suppliers and customers, and a new logo celebrating the anniversary, which was chosen by employees. “Sixty years is a big achievement, and for the kibbutz it is significant, as the financial backbone of the community. 

“My mission is to encourage our owners to continue to invest in the business to develop further and remain competitive. We have made some recent large investments, including a new production line for a new range of irrigation valves and solenoids. In fact, we’re launching a new model this year, called the B60 and we also plan on ordering another new line for our next generation of GEM solenoid valves.” 

Paul also revealed another new product launch planned for later this year. “This is our GEM Smart Plus, which is a smart solenoid valve that can be programmed and is very versatile. Another solenoid valve for chemicals and corrosive media, the GEM-C, is getting a new diaphragm, and this will give it a lifespan of 20 million operations. We believe this valve will be the preferred valve for fertigation machines, and we’re very much focused on precision agriculture.” 

In this area, BACCARA also has a development program focused on IOT products, including a cloud-based version of its Octopus™ filter backwash controller, and the planned new SPIDER™ range of smart solenoids, also operated remotely through the cloud. 

Discussing the new investments brings Paul to the topic of sustainability. “Given our work in agricultural markets, where they’re moving towards more precise solutions to address climate change, volatility, and the global need for food security, I see opportunities in vertical farming. 

Baccara Solenoid Valves“We’re focusing on the niche market of automation for growing fodder for animals in the dairy industry, because this is a big emitter when it comes to greenhouse gases. We need to mitigate and minimize the impact of this industry. 

“Our solution is fully automated, requiring barely any human intervention, requires 0.1 percent of the land and five percent of the water used in traditional farming, uses no pesticides, is fully organic, and produces cheaper fodder that doesn’t decrease milk yield or quality. In a world where growing conditions are unstable, this will offer totally predictable quality and quantity all year round. 

“At the moment it’s in the early stages, but we’ve developed the technology, filed patents, and established a proof of concept on a model farm. Potential customers can come and see the automation in full operation, with actual cows. It’s an exciting project, that we’ve set up as a separate startup called BACCARA Vertical Farms.” 

Working on projects such as these requires a solid supply chain, and Paul concurs that supplier relationships are pivotal to BACCARA’s success. “We’ve worked with many of our suppliers for years, and they’re absolute partnerships. I don’t think it’s possible to deliver consistent quality at reasonable cost, without such relationships.” 

Looking to what else is on the agenda for BACCARA over the next few years, Paul is eager to move on from the challenges presented by Covid-19 and getting the business aligned on its future objectives. 

“The difference between a good company and a great company is the ability to get 100 percent from your workers. So, I am looking to get everyone committed and focused on the same goals. I am focusing on recruiting new, younger people, training them, and giving them the chance to rise through the ranks.” 

Overall, Paul and the owners of BACCARA are looking for significant, but steady growth and continuous improvement in margins. “I personally would like to see a stronger European presence, maybe through acquisition, and I also believe our activities in India will continue to evolve. I think India is going to be the most important global market, and it will make sense for us to begin manufacturing there, at least for the domestic Indian market. There will be some challenges but it’s a great market with a lot of opportunity.”