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Home » Power Talk » Intensified R&D efforts essential for switchgear manufacturers

Intensified R&D efforts essential for switchgear manufacturers

November 2, 2023 4:12 pm

Intensified R&D efforts essential for switchgear manufacturers
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At the same time, innovations for efficiency, IoT integration, renewables support, compliance, and skilled workforce enhance the industry’s role.

Due to India’s growing energy demands, switchgear manufacturers are pivotal in advancing energy efficiency, durability, and compatibility with emerging technologies. Piyush Garg, Director- Balaji Switchgears, shares insights into the industry with EPR Magazine.  

How can switchgear manufacturers address the growing energy demands by developing more energy-efficient and durable products?

India has been facing a strong post-pandemic recovery with intense heat waves, which has led to increased power energy demand since 2021. This recovery phase is significant to the reboot of the economy. It is expected to grow as energy demand continues to rise in household appliances, in the usage of electrical machinery, electrical vehicles, further ongoing expansion in the cooling systems industry, etc.. Switchgear manufacturers should work intensely in their R&D procedure and bring equipment developed from advanced materials that work towards better durability and efficiency. It should have intelligent control systems compatible with EMS integrations, complying with necessary standards and certifications while providing an improved life cycle.

What strategies should switchgear manufacturers employ to ensure their products are compatible with evolving smart grid and IoT technologies?

As Smart Grid is becoming a part of the government agendas, manufacturers must ensure their equipment is enabled to stay relevant in a volatile and competitive market. Modular components should be used for easy integration to stay adaptable with evolution in smart grids. Incorporating digital connectivity protocols in switchgear can ensure a seamless data exchange experience. Sensor-integrated equipment can help in the real-time monitoring of critical parameters and support users in predictive maintenance to avoid downtime.

How can switchgear manufacturers contribute to the integration of renewable energy sources?

Switchgear manufacturers are crucial in integrating renewable energy sources into the electrical grids. For most of the RE installations, the specifications required are different when compared to the regular specifications used in other installations. Hence, there shall be a need for a range of switchgear with the manufacturers, which are universal in specifications and can be used in various applications about renewable energy. Also, as of now, the supply chain is a big issue when deliveries of such components are concerned, which has to be streamlined so that more focus can be emphasised on using the same without any time delays.

In the face of changing regulations and environmental concerns, how can switchgear manufacturers ensure the safety, sustainability, and competitiveness of their products?

Manufacturers must ensure the products are compliant with regulations and standards related to safety and environmental performance, and they should undergo comprehensive testing. Attempts should be made to manufacture the product with a carbon neutrality motive to reduce the environmental impact from the usage cycle to disposal. They are using alternative insulating gases that have lower global warming potential (GWP) to reduce SF6 usage. Measures should be taken to develop energy-efficient switchgear solutions that reduce power losses during transmission and distribution. They must promote digital solutions in their products for efficiency and to stay competitive. As business owners, it is their responsibility to ensure their product is disposed of in the right form after it reaches the end of the cycle. E-waste recycling will play a vital role in this, and the industry should be educated about this process and how can the entire lifecycle of the components be restored. 

How do the increasing investments in the power sector align with the need for a skilled workforce in the switchgear industry to enhance service efficiency?

With the expanding and modernising power infrastructure, the need for skilled workers is more significant than ever. With such huge investments and advancements being made, it can no longer rely on ‘jugaads’ that used to be done by unskilled electricians. To keep such robust grids efficient, we need skilled workers as the reliability and resilience are even greater. A skilled worker can ensure that switchgear systems operate effectively to prevent and address grid disturbances and outages promptly.

Skilled workers can adapt to advanced technologies, such as smart grids and digital switchgear. They support seamless operations, monitoring, and maintaining these technologies effectively. Skilled professionals can align with the broader goals of energy efficiency and sustainability in the power sector. However, in the entire process, it is crucial to train and mentor the next generation of switchgear professionals effectively. This knowledge transfer will help us ensure that the industry continues to evolve and improve. Suppose relevant bodies further take the initiative by encouraging traineeships and mentorship programs, working in collaboration with universities, colleges, and technical schools, and establishing industry standards and certification programs. In that case, it can help set a quality competency standard.

Spokesperson: Piyush Garg, Director- Balaji Switchgears

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