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Communication Feature | May 2017

Demand for Cables is Expected to Grow at 15% CAGR in Next 5 Years

Rakesh Amol, President - Infrastructure & Cables, KEC International Ltd; and Chairman - IEEMA Cables division.

What are the types and kinds of cables that you have for the Indian power sector? What are these specific offerings?
We are offering a complete range of electric cables - i.e. LV power and control cables, high voltage cables and also extra high voltage cables of up to 220 kV grade. We are also undertaking turnkey EHV cabling projects.

How is the market trajectory in the segment like currently?
The size of the cable industry has grown substantially over the years. Demand for cables is expected to grow at 15 per cent CAGR for the next five years. There has been a significant thrust towards development of key infrastructure for the year 2017-18, (total allocation of Rs 3.96 lakh crore), viz. Railways (Rs 1.3 lakh crore, with a Rs. 3.9 trillion network decongestion plan), smart cities (Rs 9,000 crore), highway development (Rs 65,000 crore), smart grids and renewables sector. The economy has also witnessed a focus on reviving the manufacturing sector through the Prime Minister's 'Make In India' campaign. This, along with clear target to build a pan-India optical fibre network for defence and other sectors, is going to create significant demand for the organised sector in the wires & cables industry. The large and significant manufacturers are also calibrating their manufacturing facilities to cater to the demand in next wave of 400 kV+ EHV range of cables that are predominantly imported at this stage.

Do you see the market future as positive? What impact have renewables had on this segment?
With rapid urbanisation, more and more cities are preferring underground cables to overhead cables. Almost 100 smart cities are planned and the housing and industry segments are also growing. All this is expected to boost the demand for cables. In addition, the government's thrust on renewables, especially solar, is also expected to provide an impetus to the cables industry.

What is the impact of the unorganised sector? How big a part does pricing pay and how can this be countered?
While high voltage cable segment is more or less organised, a substantial portion of LT cables to the tune of around ~30รป35 per cent and more - specifically the house wiring segment, is still unorganised, which is a concern and it results in price pressure to the organized sector. This can be countered by bringing in regulatory requirement towards using standard products, for example by making it mandatory to use BIS marked cables.

What are the emerging trends in regulations and standards for safety for users?
While regulation and standards for safely and reliability are already there, implementation and compliance of regulatory requirement seems to be the issue.

What are the installation standards and regulatory provisions for lighting protecting and fire safety in buildings, especially when it comes cables?
There is a BIS standard for installation and testing guidelines for HV and LV cables and earthing system requirements. Similarly there are IEEE, BS and other standards for cables used in buildings and fire test requirements etc. The user needs to be educated for all these requirements.

What are the emerging technologies that you have implemented? Kindly give examples.
We have upgraded our manufacturing range in the EHV segment and are manufacturing and supplying cables up to 220 kV voltage grade. Our 220 kV grade cable has been tested in International Test laboratory for type test and long duration pre-qualification test.

How could advancement in cables support growth in home automation, e.g. smart grids and smart meters?
We continuously upgrade our manufacturing and testing facility to support development and testing of new cables as per emerging needs of the market. With regard to smart grid, we would like to mention that we have manufactured and tested hybrid cables, which integrates optical fibre cables with high voltage cables. The hybrid cable can be used to transmit power transfer as well as for communication system and data transfer between sub-stations and augurs well with smart grid requirements.

What is your emphasis on R&D? How forward is the Indian market technologically?
R&D is an ongoing process to keep pace with emerging trends worldwide in material development and testing requirements for different cable applications. We have currently manufactured some special cables for export for special applications. We are also going in for 400 kV cable segment and our team is already working on this.

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