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EM NEWS BUREAU ,  Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 11:15 Hrs  [IST]

Suneel Kapoor— Suneel Kapoor, General Manager, Industrial Group India, Fluke

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Danaher Corporation, Fluke is a multinational corporation headquartered in Everett, Washington, USA. Founded in 1948, Fluke has been empowering industries with testing and troubleshooting capabilities to manufacturing and service industries. In an exclusive interaction with Electrical Monitor, Suneel Kapoor discusses Fluke's growth in India. With massive investment outlays in the power sector, Fluke is very upbeat of its prospects in the subcontinent. Kapoor is also optimistic about greater deployment of T&M equipment thanks to growing private participation in the power sector.

At the outset, please tell us in brief on how Fluke has grown since its inception in the late 1940s.
Since its founding in 1948, Fluke has helped define and grow a unique technology market, providing testing and troubleshooting capabilities that have grown to mission critical status in manufacturing and service industries. Every new manufacturing plant, office, hospital, or facility built today represents another potential customer for Fluke products.

From industrial electronic installation, maintenance and service, to precision measurement and quality control, Fluke tools help keep business and industry around the globe up and running. Typical customers and users include technicians, engineers, metrologists, medical-device manufacturers, and computer network professionals—people who stake their reputations on their tools, and use tools to help extend their personal power and abilities.

Fluke has achieved the number one or number two position in every market in which it competes. The Fluke brand has a reputation for portability, ruggedness, safety, ease of use and rigid standards of quality.

Tell us about your range of equipment.
Traditionally Fluke was known as the best quality multimeter manufacturer company but we have a wide range of electrical, mechanical, process testing and calibration tools. We started with portable test instruments and now we manufacture high quality bench instruments which are used by various calibration labs across the globe.

Untitled - 43Fluke has a wide range of portable and handheld digital multimeters, high precision reference bench instruments, high precision power analyzers, cable testers, signal sources like function generators, RCL meters, TV generators, calibration equipments like multifunction calibrator, temperature calibrators, pressurements dead-weight testers, RUSKA pressure calibrators, electrical test tools, clamp meters, data acquisition instruments, earth ground testers, HVAC/IAQ tools, insulation testers, laser distance meters, process quality tools, process calibration tools, scope meters, thermometers and IR windows.

Fluke has a wide range of thermal cameras which are rugged, accurate and fit for industrial use. Recently Fluke also ventured into portable vibration monitoring field and introduced a state-ofart vibration tester with auto diagnostic and advisory capability.

What are your key products for the power sector?
The power utility industry is a demanding and often dangerous environment. As a professional, one needs to know his test tools provide accurate and consistent information.

Fluke tools are built to the highest safety and reliability standards. Whether you are working in power generation, transmission, distribution, calibration or installation, Fluke has solutions center for you.

Key products for the power sector include Fluke 381 Remote Display True- RMS AC/DC Clamp Meter with iFlex; Fluke 37x Clamp Meter Series; Fluke Ti55 IR FlexCam Thermal Imager; Fluke 1625 Earth Ground Tester; Fluke 1555/1550C Insulation Resistance Testers; Fluke 1740 Series 3-Phase Power Quality Loggers; Fluke 576 IR Thermometer

Tools from Fluke cover cater to entire team ranging from the utility lineman, meter man, substation technician, calibration technician, power generation technician to customer service personnel.

We understand that Fluke currently distributes its products through channel partners in India. Does Fluke have plans to start manufacturing in the subcontinent?
Well, Fluke's current focus in India is the commitment to Fluke users by overdriving investment in making the product available, developing teams to work with customers to understand unique needs and behavior in particular priority attributes and deliver; and bringing global best practices of maintenance.

What do you perceive as major demand drivers for Fluke in India with respect to the power sector?
Fluke looks at the power sector in four primary ways—generation, transmission, distribution and electrical equipment manufacturing.

Generation and electrical equipment manufacturing have been traditional investors around best maintenance practices and thus remain to be our major customer and learning ground. Transmission & distribution being built up phenomenally are bringing needs of maintaining these networks and also need for quality power and for decreasing transmission losses. All these bring needs of efficient measuring devices where we assist our customers.

Untitled - 44India is growing at the rate of nearly 8 per cent and we envisage the growth at around 8-10 per cent in coming years. To sustain such a high growth rate we need huge amount of power. In current five year plan till 2012 the power generation target has been around 62,000 mw. If we achieve this still the peak power deficit would be around 6.5 per cent. The rise in power generation will require investment in power evacuation sector also. Apart from CTU, STU, this segment has been opened for private investment also. Like power generation, private participation will increase in the T&D segment too.

India, the third largest economy in Asia, is planning to invest $1.5 trillion in its infrastructure till 2017. A major chunk of this investment is in power sector. New power generation plants and T&D utilities will require state-of-art diagnostic, calibration, test & measurement instruments. Moreover the increased emphasis on efficiency, safety and performance will result into a lot of investment in the T&M market segment.

Fluke is known for supplying highly specialized T&M equipment. What have been recent offerings for the Indian power market?
Fluke has been completing its offerings around high quality accurate, rugged and reliable equipment on one side, and calibration equipment on the other side. As our customer, we have been moving from reactive to predictive maintenance. Our general purpose maintenance offerings are being added with condition monitoring product lines.

Untitled - 45Further, as discussed earlier, along with high quality portable hand held instruments we are having a wide variety of bench top instruments which are not only used in routine maintenance but also at calibration labs where greater amount of accuracy and reliability is required. Recently we have launched state of art multifunction calibrators with high accuracy and option to calibrate various process and electrical parameters. New advanced power quality analyzer with data logging facility has been launched to address the power quality needs of the customers. We are constantly investing in R&D and have launched rugged accurate thermal imagers which are 2-metre drop-tested. One of our pioneering launches has been the advanced vibration tester which has auto diagnostic and auto advisory capability. One need not to be expert in the field, the instrument itself will give the recommendations on the condition of the machines. Our electrical analysis, mechanical analysis and thermal image instruments are in complete harmony and provide a one-stop condition monitoring solution to the customer.

Customer feedback has been a hallmark of our organization. We continuously implement the customer feedback and replicate same in our products. One of our innovations is detachable display for instruments to address the safety and ease in measurement to the customers. We believe in continuous innovations and this is the main reason for Fluke's leadership position in the market.

India is set to install EHV and UHVAC power infrastructure in the coming years. Does this call for even more sophisticated T&M equipment? How does Fluke plan to tap this demand?
Fluke has been primarily into maintenance and calibration devices catering to low voltage electrical measurements and for process parameters. We will continue to strengthen our offerings around maintenance techniques that our customers are adapting.

Tools for high voltage application have not been our focus area but who knows a large India market can change this!

Further, due to increased power evacuation demands and the focus to reduce the T&D losses, CTU & STU are installing 765kV transmission systems. The emphasis is on efficiency, safety & reliability. The Fluke solution has been always addressing these needs & we strive in future also to give top priority to this. The increased customer awareness will lead the customers to the quality manufacturers who can guarantee accuracy, safety and reliability.

We expect in future with increased awareness, the market size for us will increase. We are committed to be a part of India's growth story and are increasing our direct presence to cater customer need and offer them quality support. We have recruited highly technical and growth oriented people recently and expect to increase the team in coming years. We also plan to open a local support center in coming future.

India's power sector is believed to have a low penetration of T&M equipment. What is your view?
Many of our national utilities have been front runners and early adopters of state of the art test & measurement equipment. We foresee a day to continue strengthening their investment around same to be more productive and efficient. Going forward, we see a lot of regional utilities sharing the best practices with them and will invest more in quality products than quantity.

We agree that power sector has given a little bit less emphasis on having quality T&M equipment. But the scenario is changing fast with new regulations regarding efficiency, safety and reliability coming in. This has increased the accountability of people in business. We expect to have greater penetration of T&M equipment in the power sector in future.

What is your reading of the local manufacturing base for T&M equipment in India?
Test & measurement is a very large scope of devices which may include online, offline, handheld bench top equipment measuring electrical and/or non-electrical parameters. This being such a wide scope we would restrict our response with respect to test & measurement equipment used for maintenance and calibration measurements.

Local manufacturers are few but manufacturing is all about scale. Take for example our own T&M niche. A global presence is the only way for us to get to a scale so that more and more high-end technologies can be commercialized for the use of productivity enhancement of our customer.

Thus, the Indian market is more about adoption and sharing of global best practices around maintenance techniques which can be achieved only by multiple manufacturers in the global or local market.

The power sector is witnessing increased private sector participation. Does this point towards increased deployment of T&M equipment in India in future?
Like power generation, T&D sector is going to have greater private sector participation. The public private partnership (PPP) model is also emerging to fulfill the power evacuation demand. In private as well as public sector, young engineers with bright ideas are joining. They will certainly bring change in attitude towards importance of the test & measurement part. We believe that this will certainly boost the deployment of T&M equipments in power generation, transmission and distribution.

Please summarize Fluke's growth plans in India, for the medium term.
Going forward for us it is all about reaching to a large user base, given all types of users and the experience of Fluke's accuracy, reliability and ruggedness. Our philosophy is to be close to the customer, listen well to understand unique needs and preferences of the Indian customer, and build products which will deliver to these expectations. The vision is to build products listing to Indian customers and then take our learning to the global market.
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