With analysts forecasting an 8-10 per cent growth for India, especially in the infrastructure sector, it will be a key market among the Asian countries for our 4000 Series engine, which will be manufactured from our facility in Aurangabad, says Pankaj Jha, South Asia Marketing Manager, Perkins Engines Company Ltd, in an interaction with ELIZA WAGHMARE.
What drove the decision to start a manufacturing facility in India?
For more than 80 years, we have worked closely with our customers to provide them with a range of dependable power solutions to meet their needs; wherever they are based in the world. The demand we have seen from the electric power sector in India and the wider Asia Pacific region over the last few years has necessitated our manufacturing investment into Aurangabad.
In line with our strategy of manufacturing close to our customers, the new India facility will enable us to better meet the demand for the 4000 Series from the Indian and Asian markets by shortening lead times and helping us forge even closer ties with our valued customers.
The Aurangabad site will cover 120,000 sq m of which 40,000 sq m have been given over to manufacturing. The total investment in the new plant is $150 million, which includes an engine development facility on the site, housing two endurance test beds that will provide the capability for component validation and emissions compliance testing.
Why did Perkins shortlist Aurangabad as its manufacturing hub?
Perkins 4000 Series manufacturing facility is located in the Shendra Industrial Area in Aurangabad, one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
For a manufacturing business, transportation links are an important consideration and Aurangabad with its proximity to Mumbai, and of course, many of our customers, was an ideal location. In terms of our employment offering, the city also has 27 industrial and technical educational institutes and five international schools, who we are building relationships with.
Also, with many of our engine components being sourced from the Maharashtra region, proximity to a reliable and quality supplier base was another key consideration in our decision to manufacture in Aurangabad.
Construction work is now underway at the site and key appointments have also been made, as we continue to grow our employee base and establish a strong team in Aurangabad.
How much is the production capacity of this plant?
The Aurangabad manufacturing facility will be the powerhouse of the Perkins' brand in India as demand for our large engines in Asia continues to grow. Construction work is underway on the facility, which once open will deliver a proven range of powerful and dependable engines for our customers in India and the wider Asian markets.
How much do you spend on R&D and safety?
R&D is a key element of the Perkins' business. We have facilities in Peterborough in the UK and Wuxi in China, dedicated to the continued development of our industrial engines. Our facility in Stafford, UK, continues to focus on the development of future products specifically for the electric power sector between 250 2500 kVA.
The health and safety of all our employees and visitors to our facilities is taken very seriously at Perkins. Our Target Zero' safety programme is a relentless drive to achieve zero injuries, ensuring that no task is ever undertaken, unless it can be done so safely.
What are the challenges that Perkins has faced in India?
The establishment of our facility in Aurangabad creates opportunities rather than challenges. At Perkins we have the right products available for customers to meet their differing needs, ensuring that together, we can continue to grow our business. Our strategy for growth in India builds on the good work that we are already undertaking in partnership with our valued customers to provide a range of high quality engines, which deliver dependable and cost-effective power solutions, backed by our after-market network. We are working closely with our customers, who are leading companies in the Indian electric power sector, to tailor our solutions to meet their specific needs, while manufacturing quality products that exceed their expectations, help them grow their business and support their long-term export ambitions.
The company is one of the major suppliers of off-highway diesel and gas engines. What are your latest innovations into this segment?
For over 80 years, we have worked with generator set manufacturers with the core focus on innovation and customer satisfaction. We have manufactured diesel and gas engines that have a reputation for precision engineering, enhanced durability and fuel efficiency for the life cycle of the engine. As we prepare to manufacture our 4,000 Series engines in our Aurangabad facility in India, we continue to focus on innovation and excellence.
With more than 80 years of engineering experience to draw on; our team of dedicated engineers are focused on continually optimising the performance of our engines for standby and prime power applications.
Which sectors have more demand for these engines?
Perkins manufactures a wide range of engines for the industrial sector up to 225 kW, and up to 2,500 KVA for its electric power customers. As one of the world's leading providers of diesel engines into the construction, agriculture, industrial, material handling and electric power generation markets, we look to grow our business across all these sectors.
With analysts forecasting an 8-10 per cent growth for India, especially in the infrastructure sector, it will be a key market among the Asian countries for our 4000 Series engine, which will be manufactured from our facility in Aurangabad.
How is Perkins responding to the latest market trends (in terms of demand, customer's requirement, regulation, etc.)?
In the electric power market, India has different requirements from many other territories in terms of its engine usage, lifecycle requirements and cost of ownership factors, as well as product needs. External factors such as market dynamics and the evolving power situation in India are also important considerations within the market and for our customers, who manufacture the generator sets.
There have been many changes in technological trends in the field of power over the last 10 years. At Perkins, we treat them as an opportunity to continually improve on what we already offer. Over the last decade, we have continued to develop our range of small, medium and large diesel and gas engines, which provide clean and efficient power from 5-2,500 kVA, to meet our customers' requirements, ensuring that our solutions bring light, warmth, protection and peace of mind to thousands of people.
Of course, fuel efficiency and power density are among the important considerations for end users in India. It is our intent to build world-class products providing the very best operating costs to those that use them while at the same time meeting the emission standards.
Are there any plans to initiate rental plans (for engines) in India?
Perkins itself does not undertake rental plans for its engines in any of the markets or sectors in which it operates. We do however have many customers who are key players in the rental market and who use the Perkins brand due to its dependability, flexibility, lifetime of low cost and our global product support network.
Every year or another, the government is coming out with new policies for energy efficiency and emissions. How is Perkins coping up with the standards laid down by the government?
As a global business with immense expertise operating in different markets, we offer a broad range of engines for the global electric power sector, from Tier 0 to Tier 4 Interim, to support our customers wherever they are operating in the world, to meet the local emissions standards.
From April 1, 2014, the Indian diesel generator market will see the introduction of stricter emission standards for engines below 800 kW, after the Central Pollution Control Board defined a new set of limits for these engines. We have already taken progressive steps to meet the future emission standards for our engine platforms below 800 kW.
We continue to focus on product development across our range, with our latest engines delivering improved power density and load acceptance, meaning the customer can often downsize while still achieving outputs normally associated with much bigger displacement engines. This leads to reduced operating costs while offering a space saving opportunity during installation.
With most of the projects being either stalled or delayed, the need for equipment has also declined. In this case, where does your business stand?
At Perkins, our main focus is the electric power sector in India, specifically the less than 750 kVA market, which is supported by our range of electric power engines from the 400 Series up to the most powerful 4000 Series offering. In this power range, the market for generator sets has remained stable, with the industry predicting future growth below 750 kVA in the coming years.
We have spent a considerable amount of time developing relationships with key influencers and end customers in the market and continue to do so. This methodology is important to Perkins, as we are a business which focuses on the customer.
How much is your total market share in India?
At Perkins, our large engines offer customers a product range from 9 to 64 litres. We have a very strong presence in the global electric power market, and the same can be said for India. For more than 30 years, we have worked with large and reputable generator set manufacturers in India who are keen to install a world recognised brand of engines in their products, which are also dependable and durable power solutions, offering a low cost of ownership. Our customers in India and in all our global markets want to work with an experienced engine supplier who has a broad range of products available to support all their power requirements.
India is one of the largest and most important markets around the world for diesel generator sets, providing both prime and standby power solutions. We are committed to the Indian market and to growing both our business and that of our customers by providing a broad range of tailored solutions to meet the power requirements of Indian end-users, both now and in the future.
How do you envisage the company in the next five years?
Perkins has developed a comprehensive range of tailored power solutions to meet the demands of the world's industrial and electric power sectors. With powers up to 225 kW for industrial customers and 2,500 kVA for the electric power market, Perkins has established manufacturing facilities around the world in the UK, USA, Brazil, China and now India, in order to serve customers' local needs in terms of lead times and support.
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