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Feature | November 2016

Street lighting accounts for major revenue in the Indian LED market

Anirudh Kajaria | Business Head, Century LED

What opportunities are expected in India in the next two years?
Indian LED lighting market will grow with a CAGR of 42 per cent for the next five years, which means that there is enough room for the organised players to grow. We also believe that the focus of the consumers in this sector is shifting from dependency on trust and heritage and rationalising their purchase to making emotional decisions in favour of products. Government initiatives to replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, increasing energy demand-supply gap, and declining prices are the factors driving the growth of LED lighting in India. Street lighting application accounts for majority of market revenues in the Indian LED lighting market.

What potential drivers will boost adoption of LED lighting?
It is the initiatives taken by the government that is bringing in revolution in the lighting industry. GoI is spending on energy efficiency through EESL, utilities, PSUs and street lighting projects. The street lighting segment has highest growth as per the ESCO model, which enables energy efficiency savings in India. There is immense scope for the growth of infrastructure wherein the government is taking initiative in building housing societies, connecting cities by building more highways, improving and extending the metro services along with better facilities from the municipalities. This has enabled mass consumption of LED through awareness, besides allowing for price cuts. With Indian products growing in competitiveness the focus on quality has increased, this will have an impact on the export of LED products, which are expected to steadily rise in the years to come.

What are the challenges faced while doing business in India?
India made products witnessed growth last year. However, we are dependent on imports today and imports are still in excess of about 75 per cent. Things could change very soon with increase in sales and import duty going up. India has a huge opportunity to build capacity for chip manufacturing.

What opportunities do you sense through the shift in policy towards LEDs?
LED has been the most disruptive change in the lighting industry´s history so far. The business is growing significantly and is expected to reach $1.3 billion by 2018 and capture over 50 per cent of the market. By 2018, demand for LED lights from government or central bodies will be 40 per cent and the demand from the industries will be 60 per cent. Demand from residential, commercial and automotive sections are also expected to rise. Opportunities would be in the growing pace of the market; govt. promoting LED lighting; increased awareness of benefits; introduction of regulation and standards; a shift of consumer perception towards better looking homes; environmental friendly.

Retrofitting for street lights is gaining momentum. What is your take on this?
The rapid changes in LED lighting technology have given rise to a retrofit revolution. Across the globe, municipalities are opting to switch out their older street lighting to new, more energy-efficient LEDs. There is low energy consumption: many LED lighting retrofits have been claimed to dramatically reduce energy use, they also have a long and predictable lifetime of 10 to 15 years. If realised in practice, the less frequent need to service or replace LEDs will mean lower maintenance cost. Lighting demands 18 per cent of electricity consumed in India. This is against a global average of just 13 per cent. Large-scale LED adoption will bring the figure for India down to the global average, significantly cutting down the need to build more energy plants.

How has the demand for LED lights increased in the last two years?
The LED lighting business is growing significantly and is expected to reach $1.3 billion by 2018 and capture over 50 per cent of the lighting industry. There are several factors contributing to the rise in demand such as the flourishing real estate sector, more investment in green buildings, mandatory energy efficiency regulations for new buildings and facilities, government incentives, demand from healthcare, retail, hospitality, IT, LED street lighting projects. demand from institutions, residential colonies and export market, demand from industrial and corporate houses.

What is your strategy to fight the competition?
The future of lighting will be built on smart, innovative, and semiconductor-based LEDs. Our brand ´MAGIK´ is unique and built on three solid foundation pillars: 1. Manufacturing at its state-of-the-art facility at West Bengal, where every single product is crafted carefully under the supervision and scrutiny of our technicians; thus ensuring, that our products offer the best quality services at the most reasonable of prices. 2. Marketing that focuses on enhancing the consumer´s experience with a wide range, thoughtful product design and prompt service. 3. Monitoring through a world-class laboratory and design centre which help us deliver consistent and continuous performance. Our range of over 200 products all our products are designed for easy to fit products that come in varied shapes and sizes, each product seamlessly finds its place in your home and commercial spaces.

What focus does the company put on R&D for LEDs?
All of our products are conceived at our design lab in Kolkata, where each parameter is meticulously designed and selected. Our R&D engineers select LEDs that deliver high lumen and colour accuracies from specific lots or ´bins´. They are then assembled inside specially designed housing which help in proper heat dissipation. The electronic driver is designed to withstand the harsh Indian electrical voltage variations. Finally, each product is tested on our in-house Goneo photo meter to ensure the right light output making it truly worthy of your beautiful home. Installed in a big dark room, our mirror goneo photo meter tests and records data on the luminous intensity distribution curve, effective angle and beam angle, total luminous flux, light efficiency, utilisation factor, current, voltage, power and power factor amongst other parameters. This data helps us provide you with the optimum lighting solutions. We also conduct extensive checks including colour analysis sphere test, spectro radiometer integrating sphere test, IP chamber tests and other electrical and mechanical tests such as the vibration test, salt test and drop test. Additionally, we also perform Accelerated life ageing lines for ensuring high light output throughout the life of the product. Our quality management system ensures rigorous performance tests using various NABL-worthy testing equipment and gives us the confidence to provide a two-year replacement guarantee across our portfolio. Each one of our products goes through an ageing test where they are subjected to extreme voltage, high temperature, frequent switching on and off before they are packed for the market. We are one of the very few organisations to enter into the LED lighting space on the back of a manufacturing unit, a fully equipped lab for R&D and quality assessment. Also the team bring together over 200 years of collective experience in the field of lighting.

What is your current manufacturing capacity and its usage?
We have our manufacturing unit in Srijan Logistic Park, Howrah, West Bengal. We have spent Rs.45 crore over an area of 60,000 sq ft. Driver, printed circuit boards and assembly of bulbs, tubes, street lights and floodlights. At our manufacturing unit, an automated SMT section prepares all of the LED units and electronic drivers. Then, semi-automated assembly lines in our plant produce high quality bulbs, battens, tubes, street lights, panels and down-lights. To provide a sense of consistency across all of our products, we incorporate strict manufacturing disciplines into all our production processes; thus leading to fewer mistakes and variations. Moreover, this helps us in delivering high quality products with optimum input costs. Our products are not just best-in-class, they are part of the national initiative to foster innovation and skill development and Make In India. An automated printer first applies glue on pre-designated locations of a PCB, which then passes through an automated line onto a pick and place machine which places the LED packets along with other components on the board. The PCB then passes through a re-flow oven, where it is baked to form the desired PCB for a given product.

How do you contribute to developing the LED product manufacturing ecosystem in India?
We are inspired by the Make In India campaign and have our own manufacturing unit in West Bengal. To provide a sense of consistency across all of our products, we incorporate strict manufacturing disciplines into all our production processes; thus leading to fewer mistakes and variations. Moreover, this helps us in delivering high quality products with optimum input costs. Our products are not just best-in-class, they are part of the national initiative to foster innovation and skill development and Make In India.

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