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Quality of Indian T&M equipment is slowly but surely improving

EM NEWS BUREAU ,  Monday, October 17, 2011, 14:56 Hrs  [IST]

S. Mahendra Bothra— S. Mahendra Bothra, Managing Director, Microtek Instruments Ltd

Based in Chennai, Microtek Instruments has been a leading supplier of T&M equipments since 1969. It represents renowned global manufacturers in the fields of testing & measuring, calibration, EMI/EMC and high voltage. Chauvin Arnoux of France, Rotek Instruments of USA and Germany-based Hi-Lo Test GmbH are few of the many brands represented. In an exclusive interaction, S. Mahendra Bothra observes that for the T&M equipment industry to grow, India needs to have a sharper focus on R&D activities.

Please tell us in brief about the various T&M equipment supplied by Microtek to the power sector.
We supply testing instruments like digital multimeter, insulation tester, power analyzer, micro ohm meters, differential oscilloscopes, process/multifunction calibrators, HV probes, electrical/electronic/pressure/pneumatic test benches for use in C&I and E&I labs etc.

As far as T&M equipment related to the power sector are concerned, who are your biggest clients?
Our biggest customers in the power sector include NTPC, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Department of Atomic Energy.

Untitled - 46We understand that low-value Chinese T&M equipment is flooding the Indian market. What is your view?
Yes, it is not a good phenomenon since quality suffers. However in the power sector, where we supply, customers are aware about Chinese goods and avoid purchasing them as far as possible. Having said that, some of the Chinese T&M instruments that are available are also of good quality, but one needs to be careful in buying only from genuine suppliers.

Please discuss the equipment and services offered by Microtek for high-voltage testing.
We offer HV insulation tester from Chauvin Arnoux of France, which can work in switchyard environment. In addition we also supply power analyzers, earth testers, micro ohm meters that are used in HV testing.

Given that India is moving to the EHV and UHVAC regime for power transmission, how do you see the demand for highvoltage testing equipment increasing?
Yes, as more power plants come up, the requirement of HV test equipment will increase. In India, we need a lot of power so I do think that this sector will keep growing.

We perceive that lack of R&D activities in the power sector has resulted in poor demand for T&M equipment in India. What is your view?
Some companies in India don't give much importance to R&D as well as maintenance and re-calibration of the T&M equipment. This has resulted in lower demand. Probably if companies give more focus on R&D and on regular maintenance of their plants, the demand will increase.

Untitled - 47When it comes to sophisticated T&M equipment, what is the competency level of Indian companies? How reliant is India on imported T&M equipment?
We are heavily reliant on foreign companies although there are companies who have started making T&M equipment locally. Although they are quite successful, their quality is still couple of notches below the foreign products. But I guess the world is becoming globalized and the quality of Indian products is slowly but surely improving.

Do you think that the new generation of engineering students is sufficiently interested in taking up power sector R&D as a profession?
I think the new generation is more tuned to the IT sector and there is a shortage of good engineers in R&D sector. I hope things will change as the IT industry shows signs of slow down.

Please summarize your growth plans for Microtek Instruments in the field of power-related T&M equipment, given that the Indian power sector will see Rs14 trillion worth of investment in the power sector during the XII Plan period.
We are hopeful that as this industry goes in the growth mode, we will try to add more product lines to cater to our customer needs. Going forward, we intend to provide customized solutions like industrial test benches etc.
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