“We are taking a lot of local control which will lower TATs for our customers and give them better, competitive price,” says Sandeep Das, Director – Strategy and BD, South Asia, Intertek
With presence in 1,000 locations in over 100 countries, Intertek provides performance, quality and safety certifications to almost every industry. Intertek’s ASTA services team delivers leading services for the electrical industry and a world-class supplier for type testing and supplier of type test certificates. Its services include schemes recognised internationally such as plug and fuse approvals and low/medium/high voltage certification. In an exclusive interview with EPR, Sandeep Das talks about ASTA services and his company’s business plans.
Intertek is one of the leading providers of quality and safety certifications to a range of industries. What are your commitments to the electrical and power sector?Intertek’s commitment to the electronic and electrical sector has a very strong legacy because the company started with the lab of Thomas Alva Edison, the father of the electric bulb. A wide range of activities including testing, inspection, and certification services for companies across the electrical sector are performed in our labs and they are accredited by about 35 bodies including OHSAS.
We own the Warnock Hersey Mark (WH) and ETL mark in North America; the CE, ASTA and BEAB marks in Europe; and we test for the CCC mark in China. In India, Intertek started electrical testing activities with a successful public-private partnership with Bureau of Energy Efficiency in mid-2000 to formulate the energy star programme for electrical products. Today, the company undertakes a range of activities including the HVAC&R in the country. More importantly, Intertek is aggressively endorsing the ASTA mark in India which is very relevant for transformers, switchgears, busbars and a host of other equipment. ASTA is the premier mark that saves the manufacturers a lot of hassle in terms of establishing creditability for their products and thus, it could be helpful for manufacturers who want to export their products to the Middle-East and Europe.
How do you find the acceptance of such certifications in India?We started the ASTA type certification in India about two years ago and received a great response. The future of electrical testing, inspection and certification business in India is profitable because the government is working diligently in terms of regulation, performance, safety and quality in this sector. This is a start of tightening of regulation framework in India where the government runs performance testing, safety testing, energy efficiency certification programmes across various sectors with private sector labs to build a certain benchmark in terms of quality, performance and safety. It will be an advantage to the market and it is anticipated that we will see more cumulative activities in this sector in the next 10 years.
How significant is the ASTA mark for the electrical and power sector?The ASTA mark has already proved to be a strong force and a differentiator for manufacturers who want to export equipment to the Middle-East, UK and Europe. It is unique because the testing takes place independently. It is supervised by an ASTA observer who does not report to the testing laboratory, but reports directly to the ASTA. That’s why the authenticity and credibility of this mark are praiseworthy. The ASTA is recognised in almost every country and today large companies demand for the ASTA mark for every equipment they procure. It’s safe to say that it’s a quality mark in itself.
Do you feel ASTA will be a norm for the industries?ASTA is a sophisticated mark. Given the regulatory framework and the positive attitude of the government, there is definitely going to be some sort of norm which will encourage performance and safety.
How do you wish to popularise ASTA in India?Planning aggressive business development, we are already in talks with customers with a very unique ASTA focus. Internally, we are changing the business model of ASTA to perform a lot of observation work and project control work from India. Additionally, Intertek is taking local control which will lower TATs for our customers and give them better, competitive prices. Though the mark is still going to come from the UK, the local control will enable customers to do business with us easily on the ASTA domain.
We have a wide presence in the Indian market with electrical laboratories in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Needless to say, we try to make ourselves available to everyone, everywhere. Even though our labs are based in large cities, our sales executives travel to smaller towns to reach a wider audience. Moreover, participation in trade shows keeps in touch with both key customers and trade bodies. Above all, we try to engage with our customers and understand their needs because it’s an evolving market and staying connected helps us do our best.
What are the advantages of using ASTA?The ASTA mark makes the product immediately acceptable in the market. It stands for quality, performance and safety, as the products are tested rigorously through all the procedures. ASTA certificates are the only certificates that are signed by an ASTA Observer who is technically responsible to ASTA for the performance and reporting of the tests and not to the testing station.
Benefits of ASTA
ASTA certificates and reports have international recognition, including a very high-profile in Asia and the Middle East, often ‘specified’ by major end-users
The ASTA marks and/or type test certificates clearly indicate that the product has been independently tested to comply with the relevant clauses of the applicable standards
Helps to differentiate quality brands to the supply chain
Protects the manufacturer against the risk of legal action
Eases vendor approval, potentially reducing the number of individual customer or supplier audits
ASTA is an expert partner in regulatory requirements