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Spotlight | March 2012

In India, power quality concerns are rising

In a power shortage situation, distribution infrastructure should minimise transmission losses and bridge the power demand-supply gap, Raja Kochar, MD, Eaton Corporation, informs R Srinivasan.

We met Raja Kochar, MD, Eaton Corporation, on the sidelines of Elecrama conference and he spoke about the company’s plans and some of their products which are just what our country needs in terms of the sheer power shortage, among other things. Excerpts of the interview:

For two consecutive years the company was named ‘Power Quality Company of the Year’ by Frost & Sullivan in view of the company’s contributions to the electrical power quality industry. In terms of power quality and the most common problems i.e., power failures, under and over voltages etc, what ought to be done in India?
The recognition by Frost and Sullivan was a result of the company’s strategic focus on delivering new, customer-driven power quality capabilities to organisations that demand high performance. Our company is a global leader in the power quality business. Our portfolio encompasses a comprehensive offering of power management solutions including uninterruptible power supplies, surge protective devices, switchgears, power distribution unit, remote monitoring, meters, software, connectivity, enclosures and services.

In India, power quality concerns are rising due to the demand and supply gap majorly because of an acute power shortage which further increases downtime and production losses. The main cause for the gap between demand and supply is power lost in transmission.

Distribution infrastructure has to be designed to be more efficient to minimise transmission losses and bridge the demand-supply gap. There is an urgent need to adopt loss reduction technologies which could also to some extent help reduce the cost of electricity. There is a need to ramp up the power production capacity, power supply has to be reliable and failures have to decrease.

India needs to switch to alternate sources like solar, wind, waste and tidal energy to generate electricity as the coal and natural gas reserves are limited and are depleting fast.

The company, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, provided distribution equipment for the Heathrow airport Terminal 5 (T5) expansion project, one of the largest construction projects in Europe at an estimated value of around $7 billion. Are there any such plans for India? What is the status of your projects here?
The company’s electrical business provided low voltage switchgear, busbar trunking, capacitors and loose gear as well as engineering and start-up support for the Heathrow expansion. In India it has provided its power quality solutions for Terminal 3 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. The solution provides vital backup power protection for the massive facility’s information technology systems, including those that manage the surveillance capabilities and ground freight movement for the state-of-the-art terminal.

Are there plans to introduce any of the below-mentioned products in a price-sensitive country like India?
A) The company’s power quality monitoring equipment (Xpert meters) prevent equipment from being damaged by accurately detecting disturbance, providing early warnings, and reducing risks and maintenance activities since problems can be detected before they occur (preventive) and also reduce the efforts of engineers in rectifying the problem.
The company’s Xpert meter connects, monitors, manages and models the critical components in a facility. It accomplishes this through a single, customisable, web-enabled software interface. This software interface gives key information at a glance, with centralised measurement and provides early warnings.

Our software offerings are designed to meet the needs from monitoring a single data centre or facility to monitoring a large, world-wide enterprise. Power Xpert meters also integrate into Ethernet networks to provide real-time detection and Web-enabled reporting of power anomalies affecting equipment performance and system uptime.

Our power Xpert architecture combines hardware, software, and communication elements to bring diverse power components into a unified system that can be monitored and managed effectively.

B) At the heart of the S-Max Series 250 kW grid-tied solar inverter is the active front-end (AFE) technology which is proven to reliably operate in harsh environments with 24x7 operation cycles over decades.
The company is always at the forefront to develop technologies and solutions to promote green energy generation and utilisation. The S-Max Series grid-tied solar inverter is based on our PowerChain Management solutions, which incorporate our programmable logic controllers (PLCs), variable frequency drives and protective relays.

A core piece of the S-Max 250 kilowatt (kW) grid-tied solar inverter is the Active Front End (AFE) technology. The S-Max Series is also said to reduce the need for physical contact with equipment through embedded intelligence, which automates commissioning, operation and shutdown.

By emphasising on maximum energy harvest, our S-Max series minimises offline events through the use of utility grade electric relays, which provide superior fault tolerance.

C) On the Blackout Tracker, visitors can view a region (in US) for information about the duration, number of people affected and the cause (animals, weather, falling trees, theft, vandalism, faulty equipment, human error, vehicle accidents etc) of the blackout.
The Blackout Tracker provides a snapshot of reported power outages. This is a very helpful tool to analyse the cause and impact of power outages.

D) Powerware 9155 ensures immediate transfer to back-up power in the event of a power outage and offers an impressive 22 minutes of back-up time at 10 kVA. It also provides protection from power failures, surges, under and over voltages, frequency variations and harmonic distortions.
The company’s Powerware 9155 has technological advancements to make it compact, more user-friendly, and more cost-effective to meet customer demands.

It can easily accommodate today’s high power factor load requirements and is well suited for modern servers and computer loads. It provides increased installation flexibility, while increasing serviceability and reducing repair time. Its unique multi-lingual LCD display and wide range of connectivity options make power management easy for IT and facility managers.
All the above offerings mentioned above are not a part of our India product portfolio. The company will announce the inclusion as and when the company plans to introduce these products to the Indian market.

The company announced a breakthrough in medium voltage switchgear technology that can significantly reduce a project’s overall cost due to its reduced clearance installation requirements, portability and intelligent integrated trip units. What are the challenges and opportunities for the switchgears industry in India?
India’s switchgear market which caters to industrial, residential and commercial, power generation and transmission and distribution needs have shown considerable growth in the past few years. Both the low voltage and medium voltage switchgear markets in India are now well established, with a mature technology base and considerable demand from end-user segments.
Growth in key sectors such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, steel, cement, and telecom and investments in the development of huge commercial and residential corridors across the country will raise energy consumption. Here lies the opportunity for manufacturers and to meet this growing market demand global players are upgrading technology, while local participants are procuring it through acquisition or technology transfer.

In view of the government’s National Solar Mission, what measures has the company taken to leverage the opportunity in terms of solar meters, monitoring solutions, inverters etc?
The company has a strong focus on alternative energy and is an industry leader in offering solar and wind power solutions.
It is uniquely positioned to address the world’s current and emerging alternative energy needs through its innovative products and expert engineering services. It has built up its front-end capability to actively engage with solar developers and integrators in India for inverters and other solar solutions and will take the necessary steps to be a strong player in this fast-growing and important market segment.

Consumers may unknowingly be buying and using or reselling counterfeit products that may compromise their safety. What is the company doing to stop counterfeiting in India?
Ours is an ethical company and follows policies and procedures with great integrity. We have many checks and balances in place, to ensure our Intellectual property and copyright protection is up-to-date, and we keep making efforts to educate the end consumer on this very critical aspect.

About Eaton

Eaton Corporation is a diversified power management company with over 100 years of experience in providing energy-efficient solutions to help customers manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power. Its footprint in India has been growing steadily since 1999. With the global acquisition of Aeroquip Vickers, the company had acquired two manufacturing plants in Mumbai and Pune under the name of Vickers Systems International (VSIL). The Mumbai plant was integrated into Pune operations in January 2002. Today, the facility is an Eaton Centre of Excellence for gear pumps and is being expanded to commence manufacturing of steering control units and hitch valves. When the company completed its global acquisition of Powerware from Invensys in 2004, the New-Delhi based facilities of Powerware were integrated into the company’s India operations. The company provides electrical systems that improve power quality, distribution and control. The company has approximately 73,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 150 countries.

Human Resources

Staff strength, attrition rates, demand for skilled manpower, HR policies followed for their benefit and what policies you intend to implement in the years to come.

Superior performance is achieved when employees, managers and the company share certain key beliefs about mutual responsibilities to one another. The company’s philosophy describes a culture in which employees can achieve their full potential to make exceptional contributions, confident that these will be welcomed and rewarded.

Over 73,000 employees across 150 countries in the world work together to define and live a culture characterised by three key principles, namely: You can make a difference, accepting the challenge of lifelong learning and most importantly, employee wellness.

The philosophy of encouraging its employees to make a difference constantly inspires them to embrace the values of creativity, innovation and sustainability in their thoughts and actions. This philosophy has led to significant value creation. In response to the global economic and energy challenges, its staff continues to develop green technologies and provide sustainable solutions that will empower the world to do more with less. A key element of the company's philosophy is its focus on ‘accepting the challenge of lifelong learning’. The company believes that as it faces an accelerating change in customer expectations, markets, competition and technology, they recognise that they must be lifelong learners in order to make continuing contributions to the company’s business goals.

Eaton University provides innovative tools, solutions and expertise to support the continuous learning and improved performance of its employees across groups and cultures. It strongly encourages its employees to discover the endless amount of learning that it has to offer.

At the core of its commitment to building a sustainable workplace lies its philosophy of employee wellness. The American Heart Association has recognised the company as a platinum level Start! Fit-Friendly company. The programme recognises employers who champion the health of their employees and work to create a culture of physical activity in the workplace. The criteria incorporate three areas including nutrition, physical activity and culture, all of which were demonstrated in wellness initiatives at its facilities. Additionally, its global wellness initiative expands beyond these criteria by focussing on the 'five pillars' of wellness, namely:

• Know your numbers
• Be tobacco-free
• Eat healthy
• Get fit
• Manage stress

So the company says that its approach of ‘doing business right’ not just confines itself to the boundaries of its business operations but also rings true with employees in their personal lives.
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