"Enclosures house very critical electronics & power components"
2018-01-16. Ajay Bhargava, Managing Director of Rittal India Pvt Ltd, responded to a request from Industrial Automation (dec.17') for this email interview.
With over two decades of presence in the country, how do you see the performance of Rittal in India?
Rittal India has been a technology leader in enclosures globally. Rittal has been able to move markets to higher level of standardisation and providing global quality products at competitive pricing. It has helped Indian companies to increase and compete globally. Our growth has been robust and moving with a CAGR of approx 14% in spite of ups and downs of the Indian economy.
The humble enclosure is now sophisticated and vital equipment. What are the recent innovations?
Enclosures have always remained passive and low price equipment however enclosures house very critical electronics and power components that are very expensive. The innovations over the years have been done towards a manufacturing process that brings in much higher reliability and corrosion resistance properties. Additionally there are applications that require higher level of protection like EMI/EMC, seismic, anti-nuclear protection, etc., and Rittal has introduced many products to handle special applications, our gasketing and painting process has helped many customers who use these enclosures in outdoor applications and we have ln noticed that Rittal enclosures installed 10 years back have been running without any signs of corrosion in tough environmental conditions.
Though our core vertical has always remained manufacturing in past, we have dane fairly well in segments like renewables ITeS, Telecom, Food & Pharma, Automotive, etc.
There are new additions to the data centres portfolio. What are these?
Core for any data centre applications is cooling and Rittal has introduced many new products in mid-to high-clonsity cooling applications. For example, our Liquid Cooling Package (LCP) for 30 kW plus have been extremely successful in India. We have recently launched edge data centres for mid-size enterprises like manufacturing, banks, etc., and it comes with 2 to 6 racks standard solutions and cooling of 10 to 20 kW range. Rittal has almost executed 200 plus data centre installations in past 6 years .Our focus has been bringing energy efficient products in the market Rittal caters to almost all industry segments.
What are the most promising ones?
Though our core vertical has always remained manufacturing in past, we have done fairly well in segments like renewables, ITeS, Telecom, Food & Pharma, Automotive, etc., in addition to traditional process and electrical automation sectors.
What is the ratio of standard versus customised products for Rittal?
Our standard or catalogue products sales have been growing very well as customers understand the importance of standards as it makes us a global factory and reduces our engineering costs. On Sales front we believe we nave typically 50% business coming from sale of standard products.
What are the advantages Rittal brings in tandem with other group companies in terms of total solutions?
Rittal international has companies like EPALN, Cideon and Kiesling as part of its portfolio. We provide a complete digital solution through engineering tools from EPLAN, Rittal enclosures and manufacturing through Kiesling portfolio.
What is the Rittal approach to Industry 4.0 in terms of its products?
Rittal is one of the leading global players who have been at forefront of Industry 4.0 concept and we are approaching our customers with an integrated value chain through EPLAN, Rittal and Automation solutions to promote Industry 4.0 globally and in India.
The government is striving to make India a global manufacturing hub. What are the constraints here and what could be the important steps to achieve this?
I believe India has engineering capability to be a serious player for global manufacturing in India. However we will need many actions by the government like quick approvals for land and other statutory approvals in addition to reforms in labour laws. We need to be highly productive if we want to compete at global levels especially with China and Germany. Private players, particularly the SMEs, need to have appetite to invest in latest manufacturing technologies and focus on highest quality standards.
How automated is the Rittal manufacturing facility at Bangalore? Is it Industry 4.0 compliant?
Currently we are evaluating a 5-year strategic plan that clearly will be based on market demand.
Our factory in Bangalore is semi automated as compared to our German factories. With current volumes, we believe this is the best configuration we have in our factory. A few of our factories in Germany are working to become Industry 4.0 compliant. For India, due to huge customised solution requirements we find it difficult to implement all the concepts of Industry 4.0. However we are working to digitise the value chain and go close to Industry 4.0 in due course.
The Make in India campaign is attracting many global companies. Does Rittal have any additional plant or expansion on the anvil?
Currently we are evaluating a 5-year strategic plan that clearly will be based on market demand, Markets have yet not fully recovered and therefore we have decided to invest in current facility to expand our capacities that is likely to serve us for next 2 to 3 years. However if GDP bounces back at 7.5% plus and sustains along with capital investments growth, we will evaluate additional factory.
The company also exports products manufactured in India. What is the ratio? How significant are the imports?
Our exports are limited to South Asia and other Rittal companies including Germany. We also work with many MNCs which export for their projects abroad. Our direct and indirect exports will be in range of 15 to 20%. Most of our products t are localised; however few high technology items like IT cooling, etc., we are importing as volumes are still low for us. 15 to 20% of our materials are imported and the rest is sourced locally.