Kshitij Batra | Director Marketing, Partner Projects Business, Schneider Electric India.
How has technology revolutionised the segment?
For the sake of clarity, I will restrict myself to the low voltage space. The single largest change we has been the evolution of ´Internet of Things´ or ´Industry 4.0´. The impact of this on users is immense, as the ability to communicate opens up a whole spectrum of possibilities for more intelligent use of power and more efficient processes. Hand-in-hand with this evolution is the development and increasing adoption of open communication protocols that offer both increased data transfer speeds and ease of connectivity. Another significant change is the regulatory - the evolution of type-tested panels - under IEC 61439, leading to an increasing sophistication in design and technology of electrical distribution panels, making them safer and reliable.
Which segment will drive growth in the coming years?
The top three segments driving growth are buildings, OEMs and renewables. Other segments that we continue to focus on are data centres, utilities, hospitals/healthcare and industries like pharma, F&B and automobiles. To begin with, the pace of urbanisation and the Smart City initiative of the GoI will continue to drive steady demand from the buildings (residential and commercial) segment, as they become more energy intensive and energy consumption per capita rises. This also impacts OEMs, as new buildings will need cranes for construction, HVAC systems, backup power etc. Additionally, with the ´Make in India´ initiative, we see a significant up tick in demand from what has traditionally been one of our strongest segments. Lastly, renewables is a focus for any government, and is thus by default one of the biggest areas that we see. Not only does India have a strong homegrown base (e.g. Suzlon) but over the last 10 years there have been significant investments under the NSM. We see this as a continuing trend, and are therefore very positive about it´s growth.
What is your expectations for market in the medium term?
We pride ourself as ´Global Specialist in Energy Management and Automation´. Firstly, this is a tautology that economic growth is driven by energy - in particular, what we call Gross Fixed Capital Formation (buildings, industrial plants, machinery, transport etc), which will drive growth as energy needs to be managed, made productive, safe, and green. This is accompanied by increasing efforts to make energy available through increased investments in the power sector. As the fastest growing economy in the world, there is no doubt that India´s switchgear industry is set to grow very strongly.
What are the main challenges being faced by the industry?
Given the primacy of energy in economic development and the rewards of managing it properly, India lags far behind in appreciating the potential for adoption of latest technology. Consider power distribution - despite the enormous rewards in terms of human and installation safety, increased energy efficiency etc., switchgear panels remain a black box. While this is slightly less true of motor control in industries, we are still far away from embracing the transformational potential of connectivity in industries, or even appreciating the value that can be unlocked simply through economies of learning, as we harness the data that can be provided and analysed.
Based on technological trends, what are the products you offer?
We have consistently invested in R&D to gear up for trends of connectivity and Industry 4.0, ensuring that we have a comprehensive offer for all customer requirements. Customers have a spectrum of communication needs depending on their applications, and we have geared up to meet them. At the top end, we have the SMART panels - fully type-tested, communicable panels under the Blokset and Prisma offers, for both power distribution and motor control. On the product side, we have complete ranges of communicable switchgear and accessories under our Masterpact ACB and Compact NSX ranges. For advanced protection and motor management, we offer the TeSys T motor protection relay, which can communicate across 6 different protocols including EtherNet IP. In sum, Schneider Electric is unique in depth of its offer and its ability to offer an integrated solution to customers, right from plant-to-plug.
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