Shivaji Waghmare: Fuji Electric India aims to double its business in next 4-5 yr

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  • Mar 01,24
In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Shivaji Waghmare, CEO & CTO, Fuji Electric India, elaborates on the evolution manufacturing sector in the country and the company’s plans to tap new business opportunities
Shivaji Waghmare: Fuji Electric India aims to double its business in next 4-5 yr

With over 100 years of expertise in power electronics industry, we at Fuji Electric are committed to contribute towards creating a sustainable society. Our solutions are designed to answer the complex Power backup and Automation challenges and shaping the future of industries. As the company continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, it remains steadfast in its commitment to sustainability, innovation, and customer satisfaction. Fuji Electric stands as a testament to the power of technology to drive positive change and create a better world for generations to come.

FEI, the preferred energy and automation solution provider, is a part of the 100-year-old Fuji Electric Group. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Shivaji Waghmare, CEO & CTO, Fuji Electric India, elaborates on the evolution manufacturing sector in the country and the company’s plans to tap new business opportunities.

Kindly brief us about Fuji Electric India’s manufacturing operations.

Fuji Electric India, which employs about 1600 people, has two manufacturing facilities in the country at Chennai and Pune. Last year, we recorded a turnover of around Rs 1100 crore and we are targeting to reach Rs 1300 crore this year. In terms of product line, we have two divisions for energy and automation related products. Energy division primarily offers Online UPS and Servo Controlled Voltage Stabilizer (SCVS) while automation unit provides products like AC Drive, PLC, HMI, DCS, Instrumentation, ED&C and power semiconductors, etc. Automation products are manufactured in Chennai, while products related to energy division are produced in Pune and Pune. 

What kind of changes are you witnessing in the manufacturing sector because of the need to alleviate effects of climate change? 

Amidst growing concerns about climate change, manufacturing facilities worldwide are realizing how important it is to implement sustainable practices. Having admitted that they play a major part in environmental problems. We at FEI taking creative steps to cut back on their carbon footprint, preserve resources, and help create a more sustainable future.

For Example, in electrical equipment industry, a lot of power is wasted during testing processes (which are critical for the industry). So, we are opting for green testing methods to decrease wastage. This helps us in reducing energy consumption and saving energy. 

We are making more and more investments in energy-efficient technologies and procedures in an effort to reduce our overall energy usage. This includes integrating renewable energy sources like solar power, adopting cutting-edge Automation products, and creating efficient  production schedules. With such practices, we are able to reduce energy waste in addition to minimizing their environmental effect.

On the factory floor, we are using automation to improve the quality and speed of manufacturing. So, we are taking continuous steps to improve quality & performance, and reduce cost of production. 

Would you like to share with us some of the measures taken by your company to achieve the objective of sustainability? 

As highlighted earlier, sustainability is a must for survival and growth in the industry. Companies in India, which is a developing country, have to speed up their development cycle, upgrade their products for cost reduction, adding new feature, etc. For this, R&D and engineering play a big role. We are investing in the development of energy-efficient products and also putting in money to increase manufacturing capability to meet rising demand. These investments (in R&D and manufacturing) are helping us to be sustainable.

How is Fuji Electric helping its customers to achieve their net zero emission targets? 

Fuji Electric's diverse strategy for helping clients reach net-zero emissions is a reflection of their strong commitment to environmental stewardship. By means of a blend of energy-efficient technologies, Power Semiconductor, integration of renewable energy, and cooperative collaborations, Fuji Electric is significantly contributing to the development of a more sustainable industrial environment. Fuji Electric is a dependable partner that offers the knowledge and solutions required to promote change and help the world's industries reach their carbon-neutral goals as they work to reduce emissions.

For example: Earlier, customers used diesel generators (which cause environmental pollution) for their electricity requirement. By opting for UPS, companies can get rid of polluting diesel generators. While people also use gas generators to reduce the pollution, many UPS are not suitable for gas generators. So we have developed UPS products which are compatible with gas generators. This way the user is able to bring down energy cost, reduce pollution and take steps towards Net Zero emission. 

At the Renewable Energy India Expo 2023, we introduced the PV1500 series central inverters for large-scale solar plants, which also helps in energy saving and reducing pollution. We have a lot of other solar and solar-hybrid products, and energy storage systems. All these systems help customer to generate electricity through solar or use batteries instead of diesel generators. Besides, we offer Active Harmonic Filter (AHF) to mitigate harmonics, reduce process-related voltage fluctuations and improve equipment operating life and system capacity. It can be part of a power factor correction and harmonic filtering system. This way energy efficiency is increased; thus helping customers in their path of sustainability. 

How important is green manufacturing practices for India to gain a competitive edge in the global marketplace?

Green manufacturing practices help you reduce losses (product as well as operating losses), lower production cost and make you more competitive. Hence, it is important for Indian manufacturers to follow green manufacturing processes. For example, we are doing regenerative load testing as result energy is not burned into the resistors, but it is fed back to the grid; leading to big energy savings and cost reduction. This is an example of how green way of manufacturing can help the company to be more competitive in the market. 

Why is usage of modern technologies and automation critical for achieving sustainability goals? 

With automation, companies are able to reduce their cost of production by making processes more efficient and improve the product quality. By incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital tools, our products have become more intelligent and meet customer’s non-standard requirements. This enables in increasing productivity and customer’s satisfaction. So, all the modern technologies (AI, digitalisation, advanced automation, etc) definitely improve the performance and reduce the cost of production. 

How do you see the performance of the Indian manufacturing sector at present? 

As India is consumption based economy, the impact of external vagaries on the country is minimum. India is on the growth path now with many companies investing in the country. Government is also helping the manufacturing sector by promoting Make in India initiative and announcing policies that are conducive to local manufacturing. India’s domestic market itself is very huge and diverse, which offers effective cushion to protect against global slowdown. India's future is stable and really good.  

What kinds of growth opportunities you are looking to tap? 

There is a lot of scope in India itself to grow the business with a similar product portfolio. We are planning to invest in expanding our manufacturing and R&D capabilities in India, with the aim to double our business in the next 4-5 years. At present, we are focusing on growing our existing business by widening our product portfolio for solar and automation segments. We are also keeping a close watch on the electric vehicle charging sector.

Government is planning to add 25 GW per annum of solar capacity, offering huge potential to grow for Indian manufacturers. At present, equipment for solar energy sector is dominated by imports; but, now the government is promoting local manufacturing. We see this as a big opportunity to grow our business and, hence, we are developing new products (like solar inverters) for solar energy sector. We are also diversifying our product range and scaling up offerings for this sector. 

With India gaining global prominence, activities in the manufacturing sector is expected to gain momentum. To meet production speed and quality needs, companies will have to opt for automation in their manufacturing set up, which in turn will generate demand for Fuji Electric products. So, we are expanding our solutions for automation segment. 

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