Delta Electronics India has been a pioneer in providing energy management solutions across the telecom and IT domain. In an interview with tele.net, Rajesh Kaushal, BU head, Delta Communication and Information Solutions, Delta Electronics India, talks about the company’s journey in the Indian market, key focus areas and growth plans…
How has Delta’s journey been in the Indian telecom market? What are the current focus areas for the company in the telecom domain?
Delta’s journey in the telecom industry has been very exciting and rewarding as well. We have been industry leaders in telecom power management for almost two decades now and, over the years, we have supplied almost a million equipment solutions. Delta has successfully sustained its market leadership in the telecom power solution business during its two decade-long journey. With Eltek added to our portfolio, our market share will grow further in the SAARC region. The factors behind this sustained performance are our innovation, high quality products and solutions, manufacturing excellence, superior services and technological dominance. Another major factor that has ensured our sustainability is the fact that we have constantly enhanced our product portfolio and solution capability. It not only includes power conversion equipment but also associated products and solutions such as energy storage solutions, that is, li-ion batteries, solar solutions, remote communication gateways, outdoor cabinets, cooling solutions and energy management solutions for telecom sites.
How has the power management ecosystem for the telecom sector evolved in the recent years? How is Delta keeping pace with these changes?
The power management ecosystem has evolved exponentially in the last two decades in terms of efficiency, form factor, cooling technologies, operational efficiency and automation. I recall having supplied equipment with less than 90 per cent efficiency in 2001 or 2002. Today, we have products with efficiencies as high as 98 per cent. Over the years, the focus is on achieving site-level operational efficiency rather than looking at discrete individual product-level efficiency. Delta has been very successful in demonstrating and implementing these technologies and solutions to save energy management-related capex and opex for our customers.
Site automation plays a key role and this has been possible due to power system controllers becoming very intelligent, to deliver better site-level energy solution management rather than just managing power system electronics. With the controllers becoming intelligent, they can now prioritise the available power resources and optimise the utilisation of resources in the most efficient manner to lower energy costs. The powerful PLC engine of our smart controllers is extendable for artificial intelligence (AI) support and enabling internet of things (IoT) features.
The power management ecosystem has also graduated in terms of storage. Now, storage solutions have become quite intelligent, such as lithium-ion batteries, since they contain battery management systems. These battery management systems are superior than the conventional lead acid batteries and provide important data on the state of charge, cycles, available backup time, charging and discharging data, controlling battery functions in the event of cells misbehaving, lifecycle management of the battery, alarms, run hours, etc. Our smart power solutions have been able to efficiently manage this evolution in the ecosystem with respect to compatibility, software integration and service-related challenges posed by these newer technologies in the operational environment.
What opportunities is Delta looking at in the data centre space and networking segments at present?
Delta Communication and Information Solutions MCIS business unit (BU) provides state-of-the-art uninterrupted power supply (UPS) management and backup solutions for data centre applications. We are a leading supplier of MW-scale UPS solutions, backed by Delta Make high-performance lithium-ion battery (up to 6C discharge for low backup applications) in the data centre and IT industry. Some of the major opportunities that we are eyeing in this segment are leading customers in hyperscale data centres, and the colo and Edge data centre space.
MCIS BU offers a wide range of data centre solutions such as Smart Rack for micro DC applications, DCIM, cooling solutions, containerised data centre solutions, power skid and prefabricated power solutions. In the past three to four years, we have successfully executed many large projects in India, demonstrating our regional solution capability and sustainability in this growing segment. We have emerged as one of the major technology and solution providers in the data centre industry.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic impact your business and what trends do you think will shape the industry in the post Covid era?
Covid-19 impacted the entire industry in an unprecedented and unprepared manner. We were not an exception. Since we hold the major share in the market in terms of power equipment, which is critical for telecom operations, we were at the forefront in delivering these essential services to our customers. Given the severe lockdowns imposed, Covid-related health risks, travel restrictions and the sheer fear factor of stepping out of home, it was not easy to travel to visit remote sites across the country. However, with major precautions for our field engineers, with support from government authorities and support from our customers, we could attend an exceptionally high number of site visits to keep essential telecom services up and running. High digital automation and efficient processes in our service delivery were key differentiators. Our investment, efforts and management intent to deliver services were appreciated tremendously by our customers, resulting in higher customer confidence and more business to us in turn.
Apart from Covid-19 challenges, are there any other challenges that you encounter in the business? Do you have any regulatory wish list?
I think in these two years the business environment has changed a lot, especially in terms of the supply chain. The biggest challenge that industry is currently encountering is the scarcity of semiconductors, which is critical for power electronics equipment. To deal with this challenge, we are working closely with global semiconductor original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to fulfil the demand, providing them long-term commitments, qualifying alternative makes, and paying premium prices to our suppliers to keep our delivery commitments in the marketplace.
Another challenge that the telecom industry is experiencing is an increase in the commodity pricing. The prices of steel, copper, plastics, lead and various other commodities have gone up substantially in the last few years. While dealing with this increase, we must remain competitive in our overall business environment so that our customers can find sustainability in their relationship with us.
We are trying to take some actions to deal with these challenges. For instance, Delta has made a large investment in India for the localisation of its products. We are currently setting up a large factory in Krishnagiri. In the past two to three years, we have localised some of our imported equipment to isolate from the challenges of forex and the long supply chain, and also to fulfil our commitments towards the Make In India initiative. We believe that local manufacturing will enable us to provide better products and services to our customers in a faster, more sustainable and cost-efficient manner. We are continuously focusing on value engineering and cost optimisation of our products and solutions by investing in local manufacturing and in regional research and development (R&D) to further enhance our technological leadership and operational excellence.
Apart from the localisation initiative, are there any other growth plans that the company is looking at?
As mentioned, we are putting up a large plant, which will attract an investment of $500 million, and it is progressing very well. This is one of the major initiatives that we have already rolled out in India. We are also investing significantly in low/ medium power R&D and MW-scale R&D activities and related futuristic technologies. Besides telecom power solutions, data centre solutions and power backup solutions, we have a larger interest in industrial automation products, electric vehicle charging infrastructure solutions, energy storage solutions, display solutions, renewable solutions such as solar inverters and wind converters, and our upcoming portfolio for railway traction power and power quality control. Delta Electronics India is poised for fast growth in the coming few years by virtue of our technology, quality, process, operational excellence in manufacturing, and excellent service setup in the country.
The interview was published in Tele.net