We Support renewable energy sector with wide range of products

  • Technical Articles
  • Oct 01,17
EPCOS, a TDK Group Company, develops, manufactures and markets electronic components and systems, focusing on fast-growing leading-edge technology markets, which include automotive electronics, industrial electronics and consumer electronics as well as information and communications technology.
We Support renewable energy sector with wide range of products

EPCOS, a TDK Group Company, develops, manufactures and markets electronic components and systems, focusing on fast-growing leading-edge technology markets, which include automotive electronics, industrial electronics and consumer electronics as well as information and communications technology. Natarajan Balakrishnan, Managing Director, EPCOS India Pvt Ltd, in a conversation with Shashank Chaurey, shares the intricacies of the renewable energy sector as well as the electronics and component industry in India.
 
What are the different application domains, EPCOS caters to?
EPCOS India Pvt Ltd is a TDK group company that manufactures a broad spectrum of capacitors and ferrites. As a global player, we offer solutions for automotive electronics, information and communication technology, industrial, home applications and healthcare. These applications are serviced with a very broad range of TDK’s passive components as well as sensors, sensor systems, power supplies, magnet products, and energy devices. TDK also offers factory automation systems, micro modules, EMC and RF engineering, and wireless charging technologies. 
 
How would you describe the present situation of the manufacturing process with respect to the power generation sector?
In the power sector, the current situation is that, we have good local manufacturers, who have been in the field for decades in India, and even longer outside of India. As of today, we can confidently say that India has a good manufacturing base and is reasonably self-sufficient across the entire range from low-voltage to the extra high voltage and ultra high voltage. 
 
Tell us about the company's product line up? 
From a global perspective, we have an extensive product line up that covers a broad spectrum:
Sensors and sensor systems: Temperature and pressure sensors, inertial and MEMS sensors, Hall-effect and TMR angle sensors and many more
 
Magnetic application products: Magnets, recording devices, power supplies
 
Film application products: Applied films, energy devices like lithium-ion batteries
 
From an Indian context, the market is driven dominantly by the industrial sector, and from our basket, capacitors form a major part of the revenue. Today, we have two plants located in India manufacturing an extensive range of film capacitors.
 
Where does the EPCOS Products stand, in the solar/wind power generation process?
Energy which is generated by wind or solar equipment is in the form of a DC voltage. To be able to use this energy, this DC voltage (power) has to either be: Stored in batteries by way of charger/charge controllers - to be used later; Converted to high voltage AC and fed directly to the grid - so that it can be transported to far places where it is needed; or Converted to line AC voltage - so that it can be used closer to the point of generation (e.g. roof mounted PV systems).
 
In all these 3 cases, EPCOS products find applications, in DC to DC, or DC to AC power management and conversion. We support the industry with protection devices, capacitors, magnetic products and sensors which are used at multiple stages of the inverter/chargers/charge controllers. 
 
How different is the manufacturing of solar/wind power based products from the other sectors? What are the challenges involved? 
Due to the nature of installation and high costs involved, the solar and wind installations typically have long lifetime requirements, in the order of 25-30 years.  Secondly, the inverters are mounted in remote areas and sometimes under harsh environmental conditions. Lastly, as they supply continuous power to many establishments, 100% upkeep of the inverter equipment is an absolute must, over the life of 
the equipment. 
 
These 3 parameters can only be met by having very robust products which are properly designed for the application, through extensive research and development.  Over decades of experience, EPCOS has the expertise to gauge specific needs, and supplies specially designed products to meet these stringent requirements. All EPCOS products are tested and approved, as per leading industry standards. They are also qualified according to the company's rigorous quality norms and ensure long-term operation. 
 
With 5525 MW solar power generation capacity for last fiscal, India has tremendous potential in this sector. How does EPCOS plan to avail this opportunity?
It is true that the solar power generation capacity is very high in India due to its tropical location and large land base. As mentioned above, EPCOS has specially designed products to meet the demands of the industry and we are already supporting many industry leaders in this segment. 
 
Our production plants are located in India and China, which are cost-competitive manufacturing regions and are able to sustain the stiff cost pressures across the value chain. Secondly, as the industry moves to usage of higher power systems to increase efficiency and reduce systems costs, our R&D teams are working to bring out new products in tandem with the market needs. With a history of close to 50 years of being established in India, our technical and marketing teams are present across all major cities to support the customer base in India, in a timely and effective manner. 
  
What kind of scope does EPCOS products have for export? Which products get exported in majority?
We started our operations in India as an export oriented unit (EOU), and even today close to 60% of our production, namely film capacitors and ferrite cores, is exported out of India. We take pride that our products are exported across the globe to Japan and the Far East, NAFTA, Middle East, Europe and South American countries. 
 
GST has been implemented from July 1, 2017. How would it affect the electronic component and system industry?
I think the implementation of GST is a breakthrough reform measure and this has already started making a positive impact in terms of ease of transacting interstate business. The transport times have come down considerably due to the zero waiting time at state borders. Having said that, it needs a few more months before the impact can be assessed and quantified, but it can be said with certainty that overall impact would be positive.
 
You also deal with marketing of electronic components solutions. What are the challenges faced to accomplish this?
There are two basic challenges related to this industry. The first challenge is that the industry has to develop in the direction of manufacturing within the country. This has just started. The second challenge is for the components industry to extend its manufacturing depth to the point of populating the PCBs. Even at that stage India needs to have design houses within the country to be able to design products suiting our requirements. By the time we reach this stage it is necessary to have high quality, mega scale manufacturers fit to compete from all three critical parameters namely quality, cost and delivery. We are striving to sustain our success in such an environment by offering competitively priced products of high quality, serving specific needs of the customers, addressing the cyclic and seasonal nature of demand and ensuring customer satisfaction.
 
Any remarkable change observed post the 'Make in India' initiation?
As very nicely emphasised by our Prime Minister, in order to ‘Make in India’ we need to first ‘Make India’. Generous outlay for investments to develop infrastructure under the ‘Make India’ drive is adding to the optimism towards a better infrastructure. That should add to the pull factor to ‘Make in India’ and one can definitely see a flurry of activities taking place all around in this area. With specific reference to electronics and components industry, a major impact is seen in the area of mobile phone manufacturing. In the last two years, there are already some 35 manufacturers of mobile phones setting up production facilities in India. Even if this is initially at an assembly level, I expect it will extend back into at least the PCB manufacturing level. Experts believe that this trend will spread beyond mobile phone manufacturing to other areas of electronics over the next few years. These developments will offer an array of attractive opportunities for TDK's broad portfolio.
 
With the intense competition in the electronic components industry, what are the future plans of EPCOS to tackle it?
In any business, the biggest challenge is to stay competitive and be the first to reach the customer. We, as TDK Corporation, have an inherent advantage that we have a broad product spectrum cutting across applications and, despite stiff competition, we have been able to sustain our leading position with our powerful manufacturing network of factories spread across the globe. To sustain this success and remain competitive, it is imperative that we continue to be innovative. Our robust R&D arm is constantly working on new innovations. This coupled with our strategically located manufacturing plants will help us to build on the strength that we have today. 

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