“We would urge our potential customers to work closely with us to support and develop their knowledge…”

Born out of the research division of GEC Alsthom, M&I Materials Limited combines the proven pedigree of long-standing products with the R&D expertise to bring new solutions to market. The company is dedicated to manufacturing specialist materials for industry and science, and is the driving force behind a portfolio of its successful brands ă including APIEZON, METROSIL, MIDEL and WOLFMET. In an exclusive interview with Electrical India, Barry Menzies, Commercial Director-MIDEL transformers fluids, is giving an account of their company’s business to P K Chatterjee. Excerpts…

What’s your observation on the growth trend of the Indian transformer fluids’ market?

We see the growth of the Indian market as being a key strategic area for the transformer fluids sector. There is a growing focus on fire safety and environmental issues for power transformers, and a clear need for ester-based fluids that deliver a high fire point and environmental protection in terms of non-toxicity.

What kind of potential are you finding here as far as M&I Materials’ business line is concerned?

The response from the Indian marketplace has been very positive. We are currently in very promising negotiations with a mix of end users, power companies and key influencers working towards broadening our footprint in the sub-continent.

What are the specific areas or segments of power sector where your products are the best fit?

MIDEL was initially recognised as a viable alternative to mineral oil in niche applications where fire safety or environmental impact was of primary importance.

Since then, we’ve built on this success to respond to end users’ changing needs, so now we are providing solutions from small distribution units, indoor and underground sites, through wind, traction and transmission applications to the latest 400 kV-range transformers. Installations include high altitude sites to deep sea and extremes of both cold and heat.

How does METROSIL protect equipment and electrical insulation from the effects of over voltages?

Metrosil non-linear resistors are high performance surge protection devices that provide excellent service in a wide range of applications around the globe.

Manufactured from a semi-conducting material, with the distinctive property that its electrical resistance depends on the applied voltage enabling it to act as an ‘electrical safety valve’ to protect equipment and insulation from the effects of over voltages. Millions of Metrosil varistors have been sold throughout the world with current ratings varying from microamps to kiloamps and capable of absorbing energies from 10 to 50,000 joules per disc.

Where lies the superiority of MIDEL over other transformer fluids?

Risk mitigation is a core element of MIDEL’s value; for example, an end user wanting to install a GSU transformer filled with mineral oil and equipped with fire suppression system in an area close to a power plant. In this scenario, a much lower risk factor was assessed (by an external risk assessor) for using an underground GSU transformer filled with MIDEL without any fire suppression system. The MIDEL transformer could then be placed close to the generator, with the additional benefit of significantly reducing losses in bus bars between the generator and the transformer. Over the years, MIDEL has delivered risk reduction where transformers are installed in high-density residential areas, inside or close to buildings, hospitals, schools, protected environments and other sensitive locations. This advantage is recognised by many insurance companies who regularly advise their clients to replace mineral oil with MIDEL.

How are you planning to expand your reach in the Indian market?

The MIDEL commercial team in India is very experienced and dynamic. Headed by Nitin Satija, our team is very active in the transformer sector, and will build the profile of MIDEL transformer fluids by acting as a source of accurate technical support and advise for OEMs and power utilities.

Have you taken any step to educate your potential customers in India?

The MIDEL technical team makes frequent presentations at industry conferences and events. We are often asked to present these technical papers because we are recognised as being straightforward, highly accurate and objective.

What would you like to communicate to your potential customers?

We are seeing growth in the uptake of MIDEL synthetic and natural ester fluids in the marketplace. We would urge our potential customers to work closely with us to support and develop their knowledge in specifying a cost effective, robust and proven alternative to traditional cast resin and mineral oil transformers.

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