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Communication Feature | June 2012

Transforming India

Transformers and Electricals Kerala Limited has provided ground-breaking innovations for the transmission market for over 45 years, says its MD Arun Kumar Gupta.

The company was incorporated in 1963 for manufacturing, marketing and servicing transformers, on-load tap changers and bushings for public and private sector utility companies. “In India, our transformers are called ‘failure-proof’,” said AK Gupta, MD, Transformers and Electricals Kerala Limited (TELK). The company provides its services to almost every part of India. The company also serves customers in Nepal, Oman, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tanzania and Nigeria. He said, “For the last two years our main export market has been Oman – we have over 300 transformers there alone.”

Company milestones

TELK set its first benchmark in the early 1970s upon the completion of the country’s first largest 400 kV sub-station in Hyderabad by supplying the single-largest auto transformer, which was built for PowerGrid.

In 1977, India’s first 400 kV transformer was supplied to Bhakra Beas Management Board. Then in 1980 India’s first 500 MW thermal unit was implemented by Tata at Trombay and the entire plant was imported, except for the generator transformers which were sourced from TELK and even 30 years later they are still in successful operation. The company entered a new era in 2007 when NTPC acquired a 44.6 per cent stake in the business.

Uncompromising quality

The company provides transformers ranging from 10 to 600 MVA. “In terms of MVA, our total output is around 6,000 MVA per year,” he said.

To ensure product quality, the company has developed an in-house laboratory facility, ISO and National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibrating Laboratories certified for HV testing of transformers, bushing and on-load tap changers that conform to IEC standards. “Every part is checked for quality before going to the next stage in the production line and TELK also invites independent quality audits,” he said. One of the company’s main attributes is its uncompromising stand when sourcing raw materials. The company carries a longstanding tradition of innovation and he regards it as a key strength as it strives to increase quality with creative ideas. “This is what has led us to be known for our failure-proof transformers,” he said. About the low attrition rate, he said, “We are able to sustain a quality workforce for a good length of time.” In terms of competency building, it has made it obligatory for all 800 staff members to undergo at least seven days of training per year – in technical as well as managerial aspects.

Expansion and innovation

The company will enter a new era of production in FY 2012-13 as its current expansion project draws to a close. TELK has seen an extension of its factory floor with an added capacity of 1,500 MVA. “We are trying to reduce design cycle time,” he said. The company is continually searching for new innovations and its R&D department is working on a project to evolutionise the installation of transformers in heavily built-up areas.

About the future, he said, “The last five years have seen growth but productivity also tripled, resulting in some over-capacity. But this will be short-lived, as the government begins its six-year plan to add one lakh MW of capacity, with an investment of $400 billion. India is about to graduate from a 400 kV to 765-1,000 kV network so TELK is preparing to catapult into this space as utility companies begin to augment their capacities. The company is also seeking to expand its export operations.”

In conclusion, he said that one of his company’s greatest strengths is the constant dialogue between its employees.
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