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Mr. Sanjay Seth , Managing Director , Hitachi Metals (India) Pvt Ltd

17 Dec 2015

One MW electricity saved in technical losses is same as saving 1.4 MW of generation capacity.

Hitachi group’s association with India dates back to 1933 when it was exporting electric fans & then steam locomotives & hydro power turbines in 1950s. In today’s scenario when plugging transmission losses in power sector remains a challenge for Indian power utilities, Hitachi Metals (India) Private Ltd, a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of Hitachi Metals, Ltd. has much to offer. Mr. Sanjay Seth Managing Director of Hitachi Metals (India) Pvt Ltd speaks to InfralinePlus about the challenges in power sector and how can India achieve efficiency in power distribution.

Kindly share the journey of Hitachi Metals (India) Pvt Ltd’s journey and the sector’s in which the company is present?

Hitachi Metals (India) Private Limited is a 100% subsidiary of Hitachi Metals Ltd. Japan. We are a group of around 36 thousand employees worldwide having total revenue consolidated ¥1,004 billion (US $ 8.4Bn). Hitachi Metals Ltd Japan is majority owned by Hitachi Ltd Japan which is ¥9,762 billion (US $ 81Bn) group in annual turnover.

Hitachi Metals first entered in to India by acquiring Metglas® business from Honeywell International in August 2003. Hitachi Metglas India is involved in Manufacturing of Soft Magnetic Cores for specialized power electronics applications. Later in May 2006 Hitachi Metals India was established as a sales and marketing center for the Indian market. In April 2015 this year we merged Hitachi Metglas India with Hitachi Metals India combining manufacturing with Sales & Marketing as one unit for future growth aspirations in India.

Globally we have four diversified business segments to operate – 1: High Grade Metals Products and Materials, 2: Magnetic Materials & Applications, 3: High Grade Functional Components & Equipment, 4: Wire, Cable & Related products. We are basically Materials Company operating in Power, Electrical & Power Electronics, Automotive, Infrastructural, and Steel & allied Industries.

How are you contributing to the Power Sector in India in terms of technology?

Hitachi Metals is world’s first inventor & leading producer of Amorphous Metal which is known by the brand name of Metglas®. This material is unique in terms of significantly low magnetic core losses which can be harnessed for making energy efficient electrical apparatus like transformers. We work very closely with all the stakeholders in the power distribution sector and share our technology which helps in reducing the carbon footprints in the globe. Our technology helps reduce the No Load losses (NLL) in a Distribution Transformer by a whopping 60-75 per cent as compared to the conventional Silicon Steel and under harmonic conditions the savings can rise to the level of 200 per cent. This is a huge saving for all the Utilities in India, given the investments required to generate energy. Today the transmission and distribution losses (also AT & C Losses) are of prime concern for any Utility and there is a growing awareness in the country to save energy. There is no point in investing money to generate additional power and feed these losses.

Each MW saved at the distribution end in terms of technical losses would be equivalent to saving about 1.3 to 1.4 MW in terms of generation capacity. We need to use more and more efficient equipment’s in the system to reduce losses as this will save us additional time, money and efforts required for generating energy. Distribution transformers are a major source contributing to losses in the system and our products reduce the losses substantially.

What are the major challenges for you in Indian Power Sector?

Specifications across the utilities are not the same. Every utility has its own specifications and purchase practice. When we brought this technology into India way back in 1995 there was issue of acceptance of such an advanced product and also apprehensions about availability of material, price, life expectancy and reparability. Over these two decades our technology of AMDT’s (Amorphous Metal Distribution Transformers) has thrived, prospered and matured in India. Today we are proud to say that there are more than forty reputed AMDT makers in India and several repair facilities are established across various states to give comfort to the Utilities. Raw material is available in abundance and price has been consistent over these years to support the industry.

We have also established independent Core Makers in India who can supply cores to prospective and capable manufacturers who desire to make low loss and efficient distribution transformers here. This technology is now available for the entire industry to use and make the system more and more energy efficient. The pricing of amorphous raw material is almost the same as that of the silicon steel, with the added benefit of tremendous loss savings throughout the life of the equipment besides saving the environment.

The other concern is the import of Non-Prime Grade of Silicon Steel, Used / Seconds in India which doesn’t give level playing field to the Distribution Transformer manufacturers. This needs to be stopped completely and we are happy to see a notification from the government for total ban on imports of Used/Seconds/Non-Prime Silicon steel into India. There are still cases of such imports coming into India which needs to be stopped completely as the life of the Distribution Transformer reduces by usage of these materials. In case of Amorphous Core there is no Second/Used Material which can be generated hence malpractice stops completely and you get the best performance in terms of losses.

We are also members of ITMA (Indian Transformer Manufacturer’s Association) and are happy to say that ITMA with all its members have fully supported the cause in the interest of the Country. We are very much enthusiastic after Power Minister’s address where he asked to use standardized specifications of at least level Star 4 & Star 5 in all Central Government funded Projects like DDUGVY & IPDS. This will encourage manufacturers to use high grade energy efficient core materials like Prime Silicon Steel or Amorphous Metal.

You also have manufacturing operations in India. What are the products made at your factory in India?

We in our factory manufacture very advanced Soft Magnetic Material Cores with specific cut geometry made from Amorphous Metglas® material used in Power Electronic Applications like Solar Inverters, UPS, Inverters / Power Supplies / Drives in Industrial, Rail-Road transportation, Medical etc. for the specific applications of Inductors / Chokes working at Power & High Frequencies.

How is your India factory products contributing to Renewable Energy Sector & what are their unique features?

Majority of our products from our India factory are specifically going for Solar (specifically Photo Voltaic – PV) sector as they are used in Solar Inverters globally. Most of the balance products go in highly Efficient Power Supply Systems which are basically Inverters used in UPS, Rail-Road transportation, Industrial Drives like Fuel Cells etc.

It is a lesser known fact that our material is even more efficient in higher frequency magnetic applications of Inverters. The Inverters used in Power conversion associated with Renewable Energy Segments like PV, Fuel Cell etc. demand very high efficiency of power conversion & they operate internally at very high switching frequencies to generate high quality pure sine wave output. Compared to a conventional inverter we use in our home for power back-up which is in the range of 80 to 90 per cent efficiency, PV Inverters have 97 - 98.5 per cent efficiency due to special topologies & components. Even a fraction of improvement of efficiency in PV Inverter has a very high weightage. This is where our Amorphous Metglas material based cores used in Inductors / Chokes contributes. We have experience wherein replacing conventional Silicon Steel based Inductors / Chokes with Amorphous Metglas material based cut cores, Inverter total efficiencies have increased in the range of 0.2 to 0.5 per cent at big power levels like 500kW system. In addition, nowadays industry is also moving towards Transformer-less UPS architecture from conventional Transformer based for improving efficiency. Also in these systems there is significant requirement of Inductors / Chokes which we cater using Amorphous Metglas material. Our factory is Export Oriented Unit serving globally such energy efficient systems both in Renewable Energy & Industrial Power Conversion sector.

What is your focus related to India market, although your factory is Export Oriented Unit. What are your challenges related to India market & how do you visualize the future?

Although we are export oriented unit, we have a small share of sales in Indian markets for our factory products. More than 10 years back when we established Indian factory our local Indian sales were zero. In past few years our share of sales within India has gone up to double digit in percentage due to various activities happening in Indian PV sector. Investors already see the social and economic appeal of PV and are moving out from conventional sources. The new National Renewable Energy Act under consideration by our government & push on solar projects is making the demand bigger in India. Also the energy efficient approach in different sectors helps our endeavors to grow local sales.

As far as challenges are concerned, I would like to point facts like for example recent bids in PV sector have touched as low as around 5.2INR per unit kWh which is encouragement for expansion but also caution on cost. Lower price demand leads manufacturers cutting down on BOM costs using cheaper & less efficient substitutes. Our challenge is to educate our customers on Total Ownership Cost on the account of efficient materials. With programs like Make in India we are seeing more global manufacturers arriving in India with whole new range of highly energy efficient products which should increase our contribution in the domestic sector & will invariably benefit our power sector & provide healthy growth.

I would also like to add that at Hitachi Metals India we are committed to Hitachi Social Infrastructure Strategy by selling high efficiency products that will save energy & decrease global warming in the future.