“ERDA is constantly upgrading & optimising its resources…”

Electrical Research and Development Association (ERDA), is a cooperative research institution created by the Indian Electrical Industry and Utilities with the support of Governments of India and Gujarat.

What are the items included in ERDA’s top priority list at present?

The critical facilities on ERDA’s business plan list for the near future include setting up of a Center of Excellence in field of Renewable Energy and Smart Grid, establishment of a Learning and Skill Development Centre, setting up of a Center of Excellence for R&D in Medium Voltage Switchgears and Transformers – as well as expansion of business in our regional laboratories in Northern & Southern regions. Considering the need felt at ground level by the power sector, ERDA is creating capability and capacity to provide expertise and diagnostic services at sites.

Tell me about your test facilities in brief.

Since its establishment in 1974 and as per objectives of ERDA, Test and Evaluation Laboratories have been set up as Independent Third Party Testing and Quality Assurance Organisation, catering to a wide range of Electrical Products.ERDA’s core values are: ‘Transparency, trustworthiness, fair and caring.’ Managing Committee, the apex managing and policy making body of ERDA meets four times during the year to transact important policy matters. ERDA has its own Memorandum as well as Rules and Regulations for its administration and control, which are approved under The Societies Registration Act,1860 as well The Bombay Public Trusts Act,1950. The managing committee consists of personnel from central, state government, PSUs, utilities and industries. ERDA has received the grant from The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (‘CSIR’), Government of India, Government of Gujarat, Gujarat Electricity Board. This is again reassuring the faith of State as well as Central Government in the Brand ‘ERDA.’

It is dedicated to serve Utilities, PSUs and industries for the last 41 years and providing service to more than 7000 customers every year.ERDA is equipped with many sophisticated and state-of-the-art facilities at its two major Vadodara based laboratories at Makarpura and Savli, many of them are best-in-class. ERDA is constantly looking at opportunities to expand its professional services to new areas within its charter. Its facilities and capabilities are accredited, approved and certified by many leading certification agencies across the country & world, such as NABL, Intertek (ASTA), TUV, BIS, BEE, DSIR and many others.

ERDA presently caters to customer requirements covering a variety of electrical products. More than 100 products are evaluated – under one roof at ERDA. It provides complete certification and evaluation of short circuit current capability up to 120kA, 575 V for low voltage products and systems. A new state-of-the-art 10 m anechoic chamber for evaluation of immunity and susceptibility of apparatus to electromagnetic interference has been commissioned by the EMI/EMC laboratory to cater to the needs of the industry. This laboratory has been extensively used by the defence establishments of the country for EMI/EMC compliance testing as per MIL standards. With many apparatus now controlled electronically or digitally, this evaluation facility will cater to reliability assessment of apparatus to emerging needs. Further, a unique portable EMI/EMC facility is also available for onsite evaluation of electrical and electronics products for EMI/EMC compliance. ERDA has Asia’s largest IP test facility with payload capacity of 40 tonnes. It is also a market leader for evaluation of ‘star rated distribution transformers’ and ‘200 A, 0.02 accuracy class energy meters.’ State-of-the-art laboratories are available for cables, and insulating and magnetic materials. ERDA also has unique facilities for calibration of impulse generators at site.

ERDA has set up regional laboratory facilities at various customer centres across India. With the facilities at ERDA (West) – Rabale, Navi Mumbai; ERDA (North) – Sonepat; and ERDA (South) – Rajahmundry, ERDA is catering to the customer base across India.

Further, ERDA has built and is operating laboratories at utility premises for evaluation of equipment and T&D hardware received at utility stores from manufacturers. These labs include Narol laboratory for UGVCL- Gujarat and MPPKVVCL, Jabalpur – Madhya Pradesh.

A mobile laboratory is also available for catering to customers anywhere in the country.

ERDA is constantly looking at avenues to expand its services to new customer base across India and internationally, which is one of its prime growth strategies.

How do your calibration services help the industry?

The comprehensive range of Testing and Calibration services provided by ERDA as independent third party agency in disciplines of Electro-technical, Optical, Thermal & Mechanical, enable industries to meet all their varied Testing and Calibration requirements as part of quality assurance as well as product development, under one roof at our laboratory complex. Apart from saving precious time and reducing logistics for customers, the value added calibration services provided by ERDA ensure sustainable quality levels and high reliability of business operations of industries and utilities. Further, the calibration services provided by ERDA enable the industries including the MSME sector to obtain ISO 9000 and ISO 17025 NABL certifications.

How are you planning to make the organisation more MSME friendly?

The prime objective behind the establishment of ERDA is to serve the industries and utilities for their products development and certification. Over the last 40 years, ERDA is constantly serving the MSME segment for their testing requirements at competitive prices. Being a ‘not for profit’ organisation, the services of ERDA are available at affordable costs. ERDA is providing discount to its member companies along with the special discount provided to the SSI units.
One of the main objectives of ERDA is to develop and disseminate new technologies as well as to enable industrial units to optimise their product designs to meet requirements of various IS/IEC standards. ERDA has developed more than 50 technologies, out which 25 technologies have been commercialised in the country as well as abroad (including the USA). Some of these technologies have won international, national, state & electrical industries association (IEEMA) instituted awards.

ERDA has patented a number of technologies both in the country as well as abroad. For the purpose of supporting product development cycles of MSMEs, it has set-up a sophisticated analytical centre, which is equipped with state-of-the-art simulation, modeling, and design packages that enable MSMEs and other industries to design their products in a virtual environment. Apart from saving time, the costs associated with design in a virtual environment are significantly lower than a pure prototyping-based design approach. Packages available include ANSYS & NISA FEM packages (electromagnetics, thermal, structural, & fluid) with CFX & FLUENT for CFD, RMxprt, Pexpert, Simplorer, cfturbo, and Pumplinx.

A Centre of Excellence (COE) for Rotating Machines has been set up for enabling MSMEs to carry out the entire design cycle of rotating machines under one roof i.e., simulation, virtual design, prototyping, evaluation followed by tuning of design using the valuation results.

What kinds of training do you offer?

ERDA offers specialised training in various areas related to certification evaluation of electrical products and materials, diagnostic techniques for power plant equipment, energy auditing techniques as well as specialised topics – such as uncertainty of measurements etc. ERDA also designs and undertakes customised training programmes as per specific requirements of clients. Training programmes are conducted at ERDA’s main laboratory complex at Vadodara as well as at clients’ premises – depending on the requirement. To date, ERDA has conducted more than 300 training programmes, in which more than 7,000 engineers and scientists have participated.

How do that help the aspiring organizations?

Training programmes conducted by ERDA enable participants and participating organisations to significantly enhance their competencies in various areas of certification, testing & evaluation, condition assessment, and laboratory quality systems including uncertainty measurements. Training programmes conducted by ERDA have also enabled clients to develop new capabilities and laboratory facilities in various technical areas related to evaluation & diagnostics of power products and equipment.

Specialised energy management related seminars conducted by ERDA – at various utilities like power plants as well as at industries – have enabled the clients to optimise the operational energy efficiency of their plants. Similarly, workshops on diagnostics & RLA have enabled plants to plan for reliability centered asset management programmes for refurbishment and life extension of their critical equipment.

Tell me about your certifications and their validity in and outside the country.

ERDA is accredited and recognised by NABL (Govt. of India), Intertek (ASTA) – UK, TUV – Germany, DSIR (as SIRO), BIS, BEE and many others. It is an approved nodal laboratory of BEE for the Government’s standards and labeling programme for energy efficiency star rating of various equipment and appliances. The certifications of ERDA are recognised through all Intertek (ASTA), the utilities across India and in the South East Asian part of the world. The validity of the certifications is based on changes in design, materials, manufacturing process as well as government policies and requirement of utilities and customers.

What are the important technologies that you have developed within the last (say) five years?

ERDA has been carrying out R&D in five technology mission areas viz Advanced Materials, Renewables, Diagnostics, Power Systems, Smart Grid & New Products. In the last five years, ERDA has developed technologies through various Research Projects. These include Online Fault Sensor for Transformers, Silver Nano Contacts, Fault Current Limiter, Zero Halogen Flame Retardant Compound for Cables, Manual Rechargeable LED Lamp, Manual Battery Charger, Customized Health Index Tool for Transformer Asset Management, and IE4 Class Induction Motor.

What is your technology dissemination practice?

ERDA being a not for profit organisation is following the competitive bidding route for technology dissemination. The Expression of Interest is invited from potential group of technology users and competitive bids are invited for each technology.

ERDA offers the technology mainly on two types viz royalty basis and (another) on one time technology transfer fee basis. The one time technology transfer is again offered either on proprietary basis or on non-proprietary basis.

What would you like to communicate to the electrical community in the country?

I would like the electrical community to know that ERDA is constantly upgrading and optimising its resources as per the demands and requirements of our valued customers from industries, PSUs and utilities. For the last four decades, we have partnered our electrical industries and utilities to meet their requirements and needs for certification, evaluation, product development and optimisation, asset management through diagnostics & RLA, energy efficiency improvement, R&D and training.

All these services provided by ERDA are enablers of the aspirational ‘Make in India’ programme of the Government of India initiated by our Honourable Prime Minister. We reiterate our commitment and support to our country, in general, and the electrical industry, in particular for the success of the ‘Make in India’ programme through our value enhanced services of certification, evaluation, product development, R&D and training.