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Ajay Bhargava, Managing Director, Rittal India

Image: Rittal India

IMTEX 2017 “Energy efficiency as a business model”

Apr 3, 2017

Ajay Bhargava, Managing Director, Rittal India, discusses his company’s innovation of bringing value to its customers in this interaction with Maria Jerin, while highlighting Rittal’s journey towards Industry 4.0 transformation. Interview excerpts…

How has been the performance of Rittal so far in India? How do you see the challenges and opportunities in the industry?

Rittal started its operations in India in 1997 with a factory in Bengaluru. We started with the manufacturing of enclosures, and later entered into power distribution, IT infrastructure and software & services. We have multiple business segments and we supply products across different verticals, such as energy, pulp & paper, petrochemical, infrastructure, etc.

Over the last five years, our growth rate is around 12-15% in the Indian market. Though we are facing challenges from the local manufacturers in India, we want the best quality product to be available in the market. Our innovation lies in bringing value to our customers—providing energy efficient solution is one such example. As such, our business model includes continuously educating our customers and end users to understand the benefits of our products in the long-term and from an environmental perspective.

Tell us about your participation at IMTEX 2017? What were the new launches demonstrated by Rittal?

At IMTEX, we focussed on our industrial cooling solutions. The machines that are used in the shop floor are inbuilt with high-end electronics, which generates a lot of heat during its functioning. So, these machines need cooling systems to run at an optimum temperature. For this, we displayed our latest innovative cooling solution called ‘Blue e+’ that provides 70% to 80% energy efficiency, compared to other products that are available in India and globally.

As the global industry is moving towards the next wave of industrial revolution, what are the initiatives from Rittal towards Industry 4.0 transformation?

We see Industry 4.0 as a digital transformation of manufacturing industry. Within our group, we have another company called EPLAN that is specialised in engineering and software solutions. We have also acquired Kiesling (Now called as Rittal Automation) that provides seamless integration and automation solutions. So, Rittal together with these companies provides an edge to customers with the complete solution of Industry 4.0.

In India, Industry 4.0 is in its early stage of adoption, mainly because the volume of production is not big enough in India, and the labour cost is cheap as compared to the European countries. Taking the case of our factory, we are witnessing the evolution of automation and connectivity from engineering to manufacturing; however, the final assembly is done with the help of manual labour. Therefore, we are continuously evaluating the Indian market, and once the market is ready, we will be launching Industry 4.0 services for our customers.

What are the major challenges faced in the shop floor and how are your cooling systems helping them to overcome those challenges?

In the shop floor environment, if you take the example of conventional cooling unit, the condensation happens that results in the leakage of water from the cooling system. We have an in-built evaporator mechanism within our cooling units that makes the system completely condensation free. We also give 3 to 5 years warranty for the compressors used in the cooling system, thus, offering zero-maintenance with highly energy-efficient solution.

Also, we are launching new cooling units that are integrated with the cloud, thereby, monitoring it remotely from PC or mobile. Thus, we are making digital transformation in our cooling solutions, which provides huge benefits to customers.

Going forward, what are your future plans for the Indian market in short, medium and long term?

For us, investment is not a one-time phenomenon. Almost 80% of our investment happens in the machine itself for expansion, productivity improvement and upgrading the machines. We have to change the machines, which are 15 years old. We have to renew the machines with energy efficiency and more productivity. The strategy is that we are continuously expanding our output to serve our customers. In the long-term, we are evaluating a second plant when the market becomes stable and growth in consistent.

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