Pepperl+Fuchs is a leading developer and manufacturer of explosion protection products for the global automation market. What’s your take on the recent business scenario in India?
Overall industrial business scenario in India could be rated as ‘below normal’. However, since Process Automation Division of Pepperl+Fuchs focus on hazardous area applications using explosion protection products and solutions, we have not felt the heat so far since most of the requirements are of mandatory type for various type of oil and gas or petrochemical customers. Of course, major projects and big investments are not seen this year and there has been bad cash – flow situations in recent months with SMEs due to delayed payments from customers and GST returns.
What are the new product segments you have added during the past couple of years?
Pepperl+Fuchs management has taken a strategic decision in 2015 to start global manufacturing centre in Chennai for specialised explosion protection junction boxes using aluminium, stainless steel besides cast iron and GRP for all types of applications in hazardous areas. Availability of raw materials and qualified and less expensive manpower in abundance has made Chennai the competence centre for electrical products and solutions by middle of 2019. More and more products are getting added to the portfolio of parts production assembly of Chennai facility besides electrical and automation solutions to customers in India and Middle East.
Pepperl+Fuchs also did strategic acquisition of German company “Ecom” pioneers in mobile phones and tablets for hazardous area working with Android or Windows for various mobility applications including push-to-talk, integration with DCS/SAP etc. This product range calls for wide application in maintenance of hazardous area plants besides directly adds to the latest Industry 4.0 perspective.
What’s your future plans in terms of business expansion?
Pepperl+Fuchs work with a vision to be the best global supplier of high-quality products and solutions in factory automation and process automation markets have so far achieved our mission with innovation of technology, highly cost-effective production and logistic centres besides market reach and customer support. We will always be ready with new technology products much before customers start embracing them. At the moment, we have both our divisions working towards developing full-fledged solutions for IIoT/Industry 4.0 applications as required by our customers.
What’s on the cards for India’s electrical equipment industry in 2020?
We already have achieved required infrastructure and knowhow for manufacturing products required for electrical industries. More and more new applications being targeted using our strong engineering background like developing complex solutions in start-up panels, power distribution panels, and skid panels with focus on hazardous area usage.
Where will the growth come from?
From all the above – from standard products and simple solutions to complex solutions. We are the only company with right products and right engineering background and technology, besides manufacturing and assembly plants for catering all hazardous area applications of industrial customers in India.
How are you gearing up for the future opportunities and challenges?
Opportunities are mostly created by regulations and technology changes – challenges to develop products and applications are our key strength and hence, we always look forward to such opportunities to increase our market share in India.