In view of the 8 to 10 per cent growth expected in the Indian power sector and the company’s 4000 Series engine, Richard Cotterell, MD, Perkins India, informs R Srinivasan.The company MD spoke to us about the potential of the Indian market for their engines, their new manufacturing facility in Aurangabad, which Asian markets it will serve and future plans, etc. Excerpts of the interview:What is the potential of the Indian market for your engines, your market share globally and in India?For 80 years we have been providing customers with a range of power solutions to meet their needs, whatever their sector or wherever they are operating in the world. We have been working with customers in India for more than 30 years and believe we have the right offering to suit their specific domestic requirements and their long-term global export aspirations.There is significant potential for infrastructure development in India, which will create a lot of opportunities for reliable power and an increased demand for industrial equipment. The industrial sector is predicted to grow considerably, increasing the market opportunity for our engines in the country.As one of the leading suppliers of off-highway diesel and gas engines in the 4- 2000 kW market, our engine solutions are trusted by more than 1,000 leading manufacturers in the industrial, construction, agricultural, materials handling and electrical power generation markets. We believe there are growth opportunities across all these segments. With an 8 to 10 per cent growth expected in the electric power sector, India will be a key focus for us in Asia, for our 4000 Series engine.As one of the leading suppliers of power solutions up to 2000 kW, we work with more than 1,000 leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the world, powering more than 5,000 different applications.Which of the following engine series (400, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1600, 2000 and 4000) are most relevant to the power sector?With 80 years of engineering expertise to draw on, all Perkins products are suitable for the power sector and are available in constant speed ratings for generator sets. Over the last few years we have already seen very strong growth in India and secured new business opportunities with the 4000 Series but we are keen to expand on this and be successful with the full range of engines in the Perkins portfolio.Since the 4000 Series is currently only manufactured at Stafford, UK, what factors have made ‘the India expansion a necessity’? Also, why was Aurangabad chosen as the site for the plant? As the company marks the start of its 80th year, will it involve a technology transfer?The 4000 Series is currently only manufactured at Stafford, UK, which is a large engine centre but unprecedented demand from the electric power sector, particularly in India and the wider Asia region, has meant that the India expansion is a necessity. In line with our strategy of manufacturing closer to our customers, the new India plant will serve the growing demand from the Asian markets while the Stafford facility will concentrate on supplying customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and South America.The new manufacturing facility in Aurangabad will allow us to better meet the demand for our engines from the Asian markets by shortening lead times, deliver 40 per cent of our global production for the 4000 Series and help us forge even closer ties with our valued customers. The Aurangabad site will cover 120,000 square metres with 40,000 square metres being given over to manufacturing. The total investment in the new plant will be $150 million and when the plant is established it will be capable of producing 3,000 engines annually with the footprint and expansion capability to build 5,000 units. In addition to manufacturing the 4000 Series, we are also investing in an engine development facility on the site, housing two endurance test beds that will provide the capability for component validation and emissions compliance testing.As a global business we design, develop and manufacture a wide range of power solutions for different markets and emissions requirements; meaning we always manufacture the most relevant product for the domestic market but have a range of products available to support our customers’ export ambitions.As we celebrate 80 years of innovation at Perkins, we are delighted to have announced our plans to manufacture our largest engine, the 4000 Series in Aurangabad, as well as create opportunities for employment for more than 450 people at the site.Which Asian markets will the new Indian plant serve? To what extent (as a time frame comparison) will it shorten lead times to Asian markets?Asia is a key market for us. In 2008 we opened our first manufacturing facility in China to produce our 400 Series compact engine and in 2010 we opened a second facility to produce our 1100 Series engine to serve the Asian market. In India we will be manufacturing the 4000 Series engine, which due to the demands for reliable power in this region, has a great potential for growth. By manufacturing closer to our customer base, we will be able to shorten lead times and be more responsive to the needs of our Asian customers, as we’ll no longer have to ship the 4000 Series from the UK. We anticipate that 40 per cent of our global production of the 4000 Series will be from the Aurangabad facility, which clearly demonstrates the importance of the Asian market to our business.What is the breakup of manufacturing from this plant for local and other Asian markets?At the Aurangabad facility we will initially have the capacity to produce 3,000 units with the footprint and capability to expand this to 5,000 units. We believe that half of our production volume will serve our Indian customers, with the remainder serving our customers in the wider Asia region.In view of the company’s reach (118 distributors in over 180 countries and some 3,500 service outlets globally) what are the differences in terms of manufacturing processes and policies? Also, is there any particular technology employed abroad that India could emulate?Over the past 80 years we have developed a global manufacturing footprint to support our global sales reach. We already have manufacturing facilities in the UK, US, Brazil and China manufacturing engines across our product range to meet local customer needs and recently announced our plans to establish a facility in Aurangabad, India, to manufacture our 4000 Series. Our core manufacturing capabilities are deployed worldwide but we do have regional differences when dealing with different emission standards around the world. This strategy will be replicated in India.Since diesel (non-renewable) and gas (expensive) generators keep the engines working day in and day out, are there any future plans to manufacture engines that could run on renewable energies like wind and solar?From a technological point of view the engine, which is the beating heart of any genset, has to overcome the challenges posed by its application, its location, its installation and its ongoing maintenance.Clearly reliability is a key requirement and that is why mechanical engines are predominant. These engines offer simplicity yet are extremely robust, capable of withstanding the challenging environment and conditions often imposed on them. However, that is not to say that they are not technologically advanced.If we take our own 4000 Series engines, a great deal of work has been done to improve many of its operating criteria with markets such as India’s in mind. The latest generation of these engines, the 4016 Series, delivers 10 per cent more power than its predecessor while the package size has remained the same, so effectively increasing the power density (kVA/litre). This has been achieved without having to increase the size of the cooling pack; instead we have moved to an air to water charge cooled system that in itself offers greater flexibility as it can be located remotely. This is ideal if the installation is in a compact environment such as a basement. In a bid to keep running costs as competitive as possible fuel economy for the 4016 Series has been improved by three per cent while service intervals have been extended from 250 to 500 hours. These are criteria which will appeal to genset packagers as they seek to sell their products to the end customer/user who is looking for maximum performance with minimum outlay.Symbolism of company logo of four circles and a squareThe company logo was proposed by Laurie Hancock, who was responsible for publicity and advertising at Perkins. The symbol designed by him signified the four men and a boy who formed the company namely Charles Chapman, George Perks, Francis Perkins and Captain Alan Richardson. The boy in question was Edward Marvill. The symbol as originally used had a thin outline with the stylised ‘P’ in the centre. It was used by itself and the company named appeared in a heavy Italic script for many years. The use of the simple symbol with thicker outline and always with the ‘Perkins’ in set script and to set rules and procedures came in the 1970s. Today, the Perkins logotype forms one of the most long-lived, well-known and respected identifications in engineering.
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