Even though the overall energy and peak deficits in India have declined considerably, backup power systems such as diesel engines remain an important source of power to address issues such as load shedding and sudden power failures. Therefore, Perkins Engines, a global player in the diesel engine market, sees significant opportunities in the Indian market.
The company recently expanded its manufacturing operations to India by setting up its first manufacturing facility in Maharashtra. “The demand from the power sector in India and the Asia-Pacific region over the past few years necessitated manufacturing investments in Aurangabad,” says Abhinav Gupta, regional marketing manager, South Asia, Perkins.
Perkins is a global supplier of diesel and gas engines in the 4-2,000 kW market. Further, it is a part of US-based heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. Globally, the company has a capacity to produce up to 800,000 units per year catering to various sectors including agriculture, construction, industrial, power generation and material handling. It has manufacturing facilities in the UK, China, Brazil, Japan and the US.
In India, Perkins has been working with original equipment manufacturers for over 30 years and two distribution partners support its operations.
Current operations and manufacturing capacity
In India, Perkins provides solutions in the 5-2,500 kVA power bands, which are switchable from 50 Hz to 60 Hz. The power solutions are used to deliver both standby and prime power, and designed as per global emission standards.
Perkins has supplied a wide range of engines suitable for power generation to various customers. These engines have been used by several real estate developers for prime applications. Recently, the Indian Navy also installed the company’s engine-based generator sets to support some of its critical applications.
The company’s distribution partners are Gmmco Power, a division of Gmmco Limited, a CK Birla group company, in south, central and western India; and Powerparts Private Limited in north and eastern India. The two companies are responsible for marketing and maintaining the company’s engines in their respective regions.
The manufacturing facility in Aurangabad is spread across an area of 40,000 square metres and became fully operational in August 2015. It involved a total investment of over $150 million. The plant includes an engine development facility as well as two endurance test beds, which provide the capability for component validation and emissions compliance testing. The Aurangabad facility is one of the company’s two plants that manufacture large engines. The other large engine manufacturing centre of the company is in Stafford, UK.
The new facility is capable of producing around 3,000 engines per year with an expansion capability to make around 5,000 units. Engines manufactured in Aurangabad are being used in India, China, Indonesia and the rest of Asia. Gupta says, “The facility is enabling the company to cater to the demand from Indian and other Asian markets in a better way by shortening the lead time and building closer ties with the customers.”
Market outlook and future plans
“India is one of the largest and most important markets in the world for diesel generator sets,” says Gupta. He adds that the electric power market in the country has different requirements as compared to other regions in terms of its engine usage, life cycle requirements, fuel efficiency, power density and other product needs. In addition, external factors such as market dynamics and the evolving power scenario are key considerations in the market.
With the Aurangabad facility being operational for a year now, the company continues to focus on the Indian market. Further, as the grid power situation continues to improve in many states, the company sees the Indian power generation market moving from prime applications to standby power applications. Therefore, the company aims to meet this growing demand from the standby power market, along with the existing prime power market.
The company’s growth strategy in the country builds on existing partnerships with customers to provide a range of high quality engines, cost-effective power solutions and wide after-market network. Gupta says, “We are working closely with our customers to meet their specific requirements, while manufacturing quality products.” With the growing demand for diesel engines, added capacity as well as a strong existing customer base, the company is expected to successfully expand its footprint in India.