e-Interview with Balasaheb Doiphode, CEO - T&M Business, SCOPE T&M Pvt. Ltd.
SCOPE T&M Pvt. Ltd., popularly known as SCOPE, was incorporated on 13th January, 1988 to become India’s first organisation to design and develop Test & Measurement products working in strong electromagnetic induction environment prevailing at EHV & UHV substations. In e-interview with Electrical India, Balasaheb Doiphode, CEO - T&M Business, speaks about his company’s business and future plans…
What kind of transformation has happened in the Indian Test & Measuring (T&M) instruments segment (say) since 1990?
After liberalisation and entry of foreign players, there have been technological advancements which, has helped power sector in achieving stabilised power supply. T & M instruments also has gone through a gradual makeover. Instruments which, were manually operated in good old days are now operated either through laptop or tablet. Weights of instruments have come down to more than 50%. User Interface where earlier you required an expert to operate is now replaced with user friendly interface which can be operated through a technician as well.
Instruments now have much advanced electronics, communication abilities which had helped getting test data at centralised places and Analysis & Trend Monitoring software are helping user do effective health assessment.
What kind of innovations have you done in your products as far as customers’ advantages are concerned?
In every new instrument we develop, with use latest, state of the art technology, so that it remains contemporary even after 10 years. Almost every instrument of ours now has very intuitive test set-up and easy user interface. It has in-built non-volatile memory, in-built thermal printer, graphical touch screen display, real-time clock, PC communication, self-check and debugging feature. This has greatly helped user to save testing time, have safe tests on site and also manage the test data more effectively.
More importantly they are designed to work in live substations up-to 765 kV / 1200 kV where harsh electromagnetic fields prevail. Following are some of the innovative technologies used in our instrument:
• Light weight Contact Resistance (Micro-ohm) Meters using ultra capacitor technology.
• Multi-channel Dynamic Contact Resistance Meters doing simultaneous 6 channel measurements on EHV CBs.
• On-line Surge Arrester Leakage Current Analysers using wireless communication technology between sensors and main instrument.
We had recently, done successful testing of some of our on-line and off-line instruments at 1200kV sub-station at Bina, Madhya Pradesh, making SCOPE probably only T&M Company in the world to do so.
Our innovations are customer centric; they have been included based on feedbacks received from customer.
What kind of after-sales service do you offer to your customers?
After-sales service is always a focus area for SCOPE, since its inception. Customer was facing the heat due to non-availability of the after-sales services from foreign manufacturer in earlier years. Also the cost of the after-sales/repair services offered by foreign manufacturer was too high for the customers. SCOPE changed this with quick, on-site and at the same time very cost-effective after-sales service. This was a welcome relief to the Utilities. SCOPE also offers comprehensive Annual Maintenance Contracts including annual calibration on-site at very attractive price. This is greatly appreciated by Utility customers as it ensures 3 visits of our engineer in a year where he not only maintains the instrument, but more importantly gives training / re-training to new users and also helps in interpretation of the results.
We also offer upgradation services for instruments of older generation to latest level, so that customer gets value for his initial investment, even after 10 years of its use. We have well established network of Service Centres spread at all metro cities to achieve this. But the focus in on providing on-site service.
Please tell me in brief about your venture into Test and Commissioning (T&C) Services in field of testing Sub-station from LV- HV- EHV & UHV and its contribution to your business?
Aggressive expansion of power sector in India over past couple of decades had also witnessed dearth of good T&C Companies which have technical competency of handling the niche T&C activity of EHV substations. Since we were manufacturers of T&M instruments, we were considered best people to do this activity. It was a friendly push from our Utility customers that made us enter this field 10 years ago and thus ‘Isosceles Sales and Service Pvt. Ltd.’ (ISSPL) was formed. It is headed by my counterpart Vivekanand Sindkar – CEO (ISSPL), and had earned very good reputation of being a T&C company with a difference. We had worked with all major EPC Contractors and had successfully completed testing and commissioning of more than 400 nos. of substations which includes 4 nos. 765 kV & 100 nos. 400 kV substations.
Apart from regular T&C of substations, ISSPL has handled special projects like commissioning of Controlled Switching Devices (CSDs), RTUs, PMUs; PLA study of 54 nos. substations of NDPL, Delhi (now TPDDL); RMU/DSS commissioning contract with Tata Power Mumbai for past 6 years etc.
Its contribution in SCOPE Group is continuously increasing. The ready availability of pool of 80 trained engineers is great asset for SCOPE as well for executing commissioning activity of some of the special T&M and Protection Solutions offered by SCOPE.
Please tell me in brief about your Research & Development (R&D) laboratory and its contribution to your business?
Actually our R&D activities started one year before establishing the company. So, SCOPE is always a R&D oriented company. Our R&D lab has great role in establishing the brand SCOPE, as it’s our R&D which converted the problems / requirements of our customers into usable products. It created trust in mind our customers enabling them to come to us with their demands.
We believe that indigenously developed products and technologies will greatly help our Utility / Industry customers and overall our country as it will see significant cost saving, technical control remaining in our hands, greater adaptability to local problems, sustained availability and job creation.
The quality of our R&D team can be judged from the fact that till now SCOPE has won 4 Best Product Awards at ELECRAMA exhibitions, latest being in the last edition of ELECRAMA in Feb, 2016 at Bangalore, where our Wireless Surge Arrester Leakage Current Analyser won the Award for ‘Best Overall Product’ in entire ELECRAMA.
Our major revenue and contribution comes from these indigenously developed products which are not only sold in India, but are now exported to almost 40 countries.
What would you like to suggest to the current and potential T&M instrument buyers?
Customer in India is quite learned. However, as there are various utilities and there are no standards available for most of the T&M products, following points may be noted by instrument buyers:
• Testing instruments being a relatively niche area, thorough understanding of each technical parameter and its significance is essential. Do not get carried away by selective positioning by sellers of one parameter / range and ignore the other.
• Select the product which have functions as per your need / requirement and don’t get carried away by features you may never use.
• Actual field demo in environment where product is going to be used is the best way to assess the capability of instrument.
• Don’t be under impression that Foreign / Western products are better than Indian products or for that matter products for some specific countries are bad.
• Don’t always look for cheaper products, they may not be proven in EHV Switchyards
• Ensure that you had considered all required Accessories, Test Cables of adequate rating & length, all required software modules, carrying cases, transport trolleys etc. as per your requirement, in scope of supply and in cost.
• Look at the life cycle cost of product, not only initial cost. Look at commissioning, after sales service, periodic calibration, consumable costs to arrive at this cost.
• Always ensure the seller has complete after-sales service / calibration facility in India. On-site service should be preferred as it avoids unnecessary transportation of instruments. Also look at time taken for services.
• Do evaluate the past credentials of the seller and its product.
Who are your major customers in India as well as abroad?
All major Power Generation, Transmission & Distribution Companies, Various Industries having their own substations, OEMs, Railways, Test Labs, T&C Companies are our major customers in India. Similarly we have similar customers in 40 other countries.
Just to name few of them…. Power Grid Corporation of India ltd (PGCIL), NTPC, NHPC, NPCIL, Tata Power, Reliance Energy, ADANI, State TRANSCOs & GENCOs like MSETCL, MSPGCL; Industries like SAIL, ONGC, IOCL, Indian Railways, Test Labs like CPRI, ERDA; OEMs / EPCs like ABB, BHEL, CGL, SIEMENS, GE, ALSTOM, SCHENIDER, KEC, Techno-Electric etc.
Some of the major foreign customers include Tenaga Nasional Berhard (TNB) Malaysia, PLN- Indonesia, EVN – Vietnam, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) UAE, Tri-Delta Germany etc.
What are your new plans in 2017?
We are investing aggressively in R&D. We are looking at bringing out more products to enable the customer do effective Asset Management of its substation equipment. We are working in the area of on-line monitoring solutions and will be also expanding our activities in Protection Solutions. We are planning to offer T&C services to export market.
You can expect some new interesting T&M solutions from SCOPE. Above all ensuring continual customer satisfaction will be a permanent part of our any plan.