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Advertorial | August 2014

R&D activities are a prime focus

Rajeev Sharma, Head-Corporate Services & Strategic Planning, Mitsubishi Electric India, speaks on the latest technologies that his company is adopting and his outlook for the power sector.

Can you tell us about the latest technologies that you are working on in your Pune R&D centre? Are you planning to set up more such centres in India?
The Factory Automation and Industrial Division, headquartered in Pune, provides factory automation solutions with products like Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Human Machine Interfaces (HMI), Inverter, Servo Motor & Drives and Low Voltage Switchgear along with Energy Monitoring devices, Computerised Numeric Controllers (CNC), Industrial Robots etc. to various industry verticals which include Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Food & Beverage, Textile, Water & Waste Water Treatment and Building Segment.

Our Automation division has developed new cutting edge technologies like e-factory and eco-factory concepts to meet the ever increasing demand for customised solutions. The e-Factory model: The e-Factory model is based on productivity improvement through ´visualisation´ of the manufacturing floor. The model makes complete use of leading-edge control and network technologies. It is now possible to visualise production information (both qualitative and quantitative data) and equipment information. This is then linked to higher manufacturing execution systems to be incorporated into production plans and ensuring quality traceability.

The Eco-Factory model: On the other hand, another model, the Eco-factory technology model allows ´visible´ management of power usage. This is achieved through measuring equipment and technologies that support energy conservation by meticulously measuring power usage. It also provides for effective installation of inverters and other energy-saving devices to eliminate wastefulness and surges in energy consumption, thus reducing overall power usage.

Research and Development activities are among the prime focus to ensure products and solutions to match the taste of the Indian market; the Pune R&D centre was our first step in this endeavour. We may set up similar centres in India if the need arises. However, there is no such plan in this financial year.

You have told the press earlier that you are planning to set up a sales function in India for the power division. Can you please elaborate on the progress of the same?
MEI´s Semiconductors and Devices division is performing impressively and showing good results. The division provides power devices which are indispensable for switching currents and maintaining motor control in electrical equipment and appliances.

Mitsubishi Electric offers a large selection of power devices for a wide variety of applications ranging from high-current power plants and railcars to low-current air conditioners and refrigerators. In recent years, large expectations are being placed on the development of electrical equipment that contributes in protecting the global environment. Mitsubishi Electric, for its part, is actively helping to reduce power consumption through new power devices such as IGBT modules and Intelligent Power Modules (IPMs) that have a built-in drive circuit and protection circuit.

Mitsubishi Electric´s broad product line also provides optimum solutions for applications ranging from satellites and ground stations to mobile telephone terminals. This infrastructure forms the backbone of a ubiquitous information network community; all of these pioneer products are available for the Indian market.

The number of Metro networks coming up across the country must have meant good business for you as you supply equipment to most of these projects. Can you give us some details on the type of equipment that you provide, the details of the Metro projects that you have supplied to, and the volume of this business?
Rail systems solutions are emerging as viable transportation with less damage to the environment. Mitsubishi Electric is contributing to reliable, safe and comfortable railway transportation through its state of the art products and systems. Mitsubishi Electric India offers products such as low-energy consuming rolling stock, regenerated electric power, levelling of power loads etc. For over 50 years, the company has been developing and manufacturing components for rolling stock, railway control and management systems and railway station facilities. From propulsion control, traction motor, braking and air-conditioning systems to train operation and information, Mitsubishi Electric's cutting-edge products and service network are expanding internationally, bringing the company to the forefront as a major force in 21st century transportation. Our Rolling stock includes:

  • DC Propulsion Control Systems
  • AC Propulsion Control Systems
  • Traction Motors & Drive Equipment
  • Linear Motors
  • Locomotives
  • Auxiliary Power Supply Systems
  • Braking Systems
  • Train Safety Operational Systems
  • Air Conditioning Systems
  • Train Information Systems
  • Train Vision Systems

MEI has proved its prowess in the evolution of mass transit systems in India. Responsible for design, manufacture, supply and commissioning of rolling stock for the Delhi Metro & its rail corridors, MEI in now working for Metro systems in various major cities like Jaipur, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

You have expertise in manufacturing satellites, and India is a growing space power. Will Mitsubishi think of any tie-ups with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)?
We are already working with ISRO on a case-to-case basis (as per) the requirement of ISRO. Currently we are dealing mainly in product supply. However, we are keen to enhance our association with ISRO and act as a catalyst in India´s growth in space research. We are manufacturer of satellites and have already supplied satellite and space equipment to Singapore and a few European countries as well.

Can you please give us details on the environmentally responsible growth pattern that your company follows?
Environmental Vision 2021 is the long-term management vision of the Mitsubishi Electric Group. It establishes a framework for realising a sustainable planet and defines long-term initiatives to prevent global warming and create a recycling-based society. The motto, ¨making positive contributions to the Earth and its people through technology and action,¨ calls for the organisation to work towards the realisation of a sustainable society by utilising the wide-ranging and sophisticated technologies as well as by promoting assertive and persistent actions by the employees. The vision sets 2021 as the target year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Mitsubishi Electric Group.

Please give us more details on your factory automation (FA) development centre?
Mitsubishi Electric India´s Pune centre is its fourth global R & D centre, established to show commitment to the Indian market and utilise the rich technical expertise available in India. The Factory Automation and Industrial Division, headquartered in Pune has employee strength of more than 350 and 51 channel partners. In India, MEI has 5 training centres, 21 offices and 5 satellite offices.

MEI´s FAID offers reliable products for automating the manufacturing process, thus increasing the productivity of the processes and applications used in manufacturing and making the business efficient and profitable. The FAID is a one-stop-solution for technologically advanced, robust products which prove to be catalysts for automation processes.

The product basket comprises Inverters (AC Drives), PLCs, Motion Controllers & AC Servos, HMIs, SCADA, Robots, CNCs, Low Voltage Switchgear products (Air Circuit Breaker, Moulded Case Circuit Breaker), Control Gear, Miniature Circuit Breaker & Residual Current Breaker. Distribution Board along with Energy Measuring Offerings have helped OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), SIs (System Integrators), Panel Builders, Consultants and EPC Contractors catering to different applications and providing reliable solutions. In addition, FAID´s extensive service networks around the globe provide direct communication and comprehensive support to customers.

Have you been able to meet the objectives of acquiring the Messung Group? In light of this, how do you find the growth prospects for the industrial automation market in India?
It has been quite some time since we acquired the Messing Group and we have been able to meet the business and organisational objectives of the acquisition. Industrial Automation goes hand in hand with growth and development of the industrial sector of the economy. The rate of growth of industries has been on the lower side in the last decade due to economic factors and we are positive that it´s bound to bounce back. Also, Industries are gradually realising the value addition and efficiency of automation. Demand is expanding in new market segments as well like water and wastewater treatment, packaging, food and beverage and volumes of the traditional users like automotive and pharmaceutical etc. have also helped.

-DEVARAJAN MAHADEVAN

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