One-On-One

IoT-enabled switchgears: Era of virtualisation

Rajesh Kumar, Director–Marketing–Electrical Sector, Eaton

“UDAY for financial turnaround and revival package for state electricity distribution companies has proven to be a true game-changer”

Rajesh Kumar, Director–Marketing–Electrical Sector, Eaton believes that the coming decade will be massive for the switchgear industry as it prepares to meet the fast growing domestic demand and also establish its presence as potential exporter to the global market.

Speeding electrification
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with current tracked growth rate of close to seven per cent annually. For sustaining the strong growing economy, it is estimated to double its installed electrical capacity over the next decade.

According to data, India still has 40.3 million households, which are not connected to electricity. The government initiatives and constant focus on speeding electrification will bring the time close when having power will not be a privilege anymore and all will have access to it. We have this as an opportunity to design our power distribution system in a way, which lowers the average cost of electricity supply while ensuring safety compliances and resilience at the same time. We should deploy global best practices and innovations to aid this transformation. Globalisation of technology and resources can make it possible.

Do you think electrification of energy demand in all regions and sectors will drive India’s growth?
It has been predicted that by the year 2020, the demand for energy will increase by two times and there is a need to reduce CO2 emission by two times. We are not witnessing thermal capacities being added at a fast pace to the infrastructure while emphasis has been on harnessing the renewable sources of energy.

Micro grid can be a great enabler to smartly design the power requirements of industries and buildings. Optimal sizing of energy storage devices to meet the peak loads while keeping the maximum demand from utility at a minimum possible level will not only reduce the operational cost, but also bring effectiveness and control in the entire system.

Power is definitely one of the most important components to aid growth. Almost every segment fostering growth – transportation, infrastructure development and manufacturing requires 24×7 clean uninterrupted power to support the continuous change.

UDAY proves to be beneficial
The UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna) for financial turnaround and revival package for state electricity distribution companies has proven to be a true game changer. This scheme is empowering the DISCOMs to buy massive units of unsold power and provide it to more than 250 million people in India who do not have access to electricity. The initiative also aims for significant reduction in the aggregate technical and commercial loss.

Most of the states have agreed to be a part of the scheme and are confident of achieving break even by 2019. This has been possible due to reduction in debt and increase in operational efficiency.

Contribution towards Indian economy
The coming decade will be massive for the switchgear industry as it prepares to meet the fast growing domestic demand and also establish its presence as potential exporter to the global market. With Make in India initiative, today we are having multiple state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in India. Eaton’s factory in Pondicherry makes switchgears with world-class design evolved through global expertise and years of innovation. We are confident to partner this transformation and are fully geared up to support upcoming requirements.

Are Indian switchgears accepted globally?
I completely agree with the fact that our switchgears can compete with the best in the world. We have the capability and expertise to make world class switchgears. Our Pondicherry facility is the centre of excellence for fuse gears and deploys lean automation for manufacturing MCBs, RCDs, ACBs and UPS system. Eaton provides ACBs with upto 65 kA fault clearing capacity while having a compact design at the same time. We are also making MV segment RMUs and VCB panels, which have cutting edge technical specifications. We are proud to say that our switchgears are also IoT enabled, which makes it the ideal solution in the era of virtualisation, remote control and predictive analytics.

Emerging trends in the switchgear industry
Recent trends in the switchgear industry witness focus on smart, connected devices and built in intelligence. Also, consumers look for hassle free solutions, with ease of maintenance, more reliability and higher design life. In the Medium Voltage segment, use of SF6 free Ring Mains Unit is gaining impetus as the design introduces several advantages. SF6 being greenhouse gas is potential risk to global warming and it has also been banned in many countries worldwide. The problem with gas leakage is completely avoided in the SF6 free design. Another major trend would be monitoring the health of devices, which can reduce unplanned outages and foster strength into the system. Introduction of mobile based applications and dashboards to monitor equipment status is being highly appreciated by the consumers.

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