Indian UPS market holds promising business opportunities

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The Rs 25 billion UPS market in India comprise national, regional and local players, both in the branded and unbranded segments. According to a Frost & Sullivan report, the top brands hold a 60 per cent share of the market, while the local brands have a 40 per cent share.

By Srabani Sen

Tuesday, June 14, 2011: Growth of India’s UPS market

In 2010, revenue wise, the industry grew by 11 per cent—a raise of over 5 per cent over the last fiscal of 2008-2009. Volume wise, the industry grew by 20 per cent over the previous year. Of the total revenue, online UPS accounted for 89 per cent while offline/line interactive UPS accounted for nearly 11 per cent.

Predicted growth in the next 5 years

The future of the UPS market seems quite promising, as it finds application in varied industries, compelling the trend to remain postive in the next five years, opines Sree Kumar, director, sales and marketing, Convergence Power Systems Pvt Ltd.

The Indian UPS market is expected to witness a CAGR of 13.4 per cent up to 2014, driven by steady demand from various sectors. As this sector is crucial for business continuity of the corporate, it indicates the tremendous opportunity, the market offers for UPS manufacturers to expand, particularly those who address the commercial and industrial segments.

B Venkat Rao, country manager, medium and large UPS systems, Emerson Network Power in India, believes that in the next five years, customers’ focus will rapidly shift to end-to-end solutions encompassing power backup solutions, and gradual stability in demand from non-core sectors will determine the growth.

Players’ growth in the last 5 years

With the promising and substantial growth of the UPS market in India, all major companies have reaped benefits. While Emerson’s power business consistently recorded double digit growth over the years, Microtek grew five times in the last five years, and Convergence grew about three times. While PCI’s business grew by 19.4 per cent, over the last five years, Luminous grew from Rs 1.8 billion (Rs 180 crore) to Rs 10 billion (Rs 1000 crore) by 2009-10. Su-kam has grown by 30-40 per cent. Data centres being one of the major growth sectors Delta caters to, its growth has also doubled.

Business potential

The substantial growth of the players in this sector clearly indicates the tremendous business potential this sector holds. The ever increasing population, worsening power scenario and untapped semi-urban and rural markets along with the new, customised as well as niche industrial applications will make sure that this sector remains lucrative for a very long time.

It also seems that with a huge growth expected in the ITeS and industrial sectors, the UPS industry will continue to grow at a steady pace. Also, rural India is yet to grow into its full potential which will add on to the expected growth positively. Another area where India will stand to grow is hospitality industry as well as educational institutions. This also will give a positive signal to the UPS industry development.

This scenario, therefore, extends promising business potential for many more players to enter the domain. All can reap benefits from this sector for many more years.

Verticals that are driving growth

UPS systems are in great demand in government departments (e-governance, infrastructure, education), power and gas and oil verticals as these are investing in mission critical physical infrastructure. UPS systems are also in demand in IT/ITeS, BPO, industrial, BFSI (ATM) and telecom sectors. Currently, the SOHO segment has also being a vertical which holds immense business potential.

As manufacturers are mushrooming in tier II and III cities, UPS penetration is now taking place in cities and town outside the top 20 cities. With many avenues opening up in bio-medics, process automation and in almost every sphere of life, this also indicates that the future is very bright for the power backup industry.

While the industry circle acknowledges the growth of this sector, no specific data exist to understand this market better. But the growth of the power backup market in the past year, and the promising potential it holds, are clear indications of expansion for the existing players and an opportunity for the new players to enter the Indian power electronics segment, which offers a host of opportunities.

How to choose a UPS brand

Although buyers have a large number of domestic and international UPS brands to choose from, the options are so many that buyers often get confused and misled into buying a UPS based on price alone. Instead, customers should base their choice on reliability, scalability of the product and credibility of the brand.

Today, mission critical applications and demanding business processes not only require UPS for clean and continuous power but also for low TCO (total cost of ownership), high system availability in terms of process uptime, and extreme flexibility for growth and local/remote manageability. Customers should look for the following features in the product before making a buying decision:

• The UPS should have low THDi, so that your mains are not polluted

• UPS with a low footprint will help in saving space

• Low initial investments (high efficiency even for the lowest load demands, smallest footprint, lowest input THDi, high input PF almost equal to 1, compatibility with DG)

• Highly scalable to meet current and future power demands and reliability (the highest MTBF)

• Designs with at least N+1 UPS configuration for high availability of the system

• Load of equipment and servers should be rightly calculated to arrive at the optimum UPS rating

• It is important that a UPS with a lower rating than required is not chosen

• It should be able to handle all kinds of power problems

• The technology of the UPS should not be obsolete. In fact, choose a model that is of an advanced and superior technology

• A model with transformer free technology saves space, is energy efficient and has a reduced heat output

• Look for UPS that result in lowering operating costs. There is a big difference in costs when operating high technology, transformer free UPS, compared to other models

• Battery charging technologies should ensure maximisation of battery life with no maintenance

• Galvanic isolation is required as per application requirement

• Look for the aesthetic quality of the product

• The UPS should have the possibility of future upgradation

• Easy maintenance

Choosing the right brand also depends on factors like:

• The UPS should be of a proven brand which adheres to all quality standards

• Look for the vendor’s credentials and strong after sales record/service capabilities

• Look for company background and credibility

TYPES OF UPS REQUIRED IN INDUSTRIES

Most industrial UPS manufacturers offer single phase output systems ranging from 40 kVA to 250 kVA. Since industrial control systems constitute 230/110 VAC single phase load control, instrumentation, computer loads, etc, it makes sense to offer single phase UPS that can accommodate even the largest systems operating in various industries.

Depending upon the applications, line interactive and online UPS systems are usually used in industries. While, for low budget applications and non-critical areas, offline UPS are suitable. For critical load and industrial applications, online UPS are advisable.

For IT and ITeS setups such as data centres, network centres and servers, what is recommended are high density rack mounted or tower design online and double conversion topology based UPS systems. For manufacturing, SMEs, large data centres, healthcare centres, financial applications and mission critical systems, double conversion topology UPS systems with scalable battery runtime are required.

The typical applications range from distributed PLC based controls to complete distributed control systems (DCS) with power requirements ranging from smaller single phase input/single phase output with the capacity of 2-10 kVA to 3 phase input/3 phase output capacity of 60 kVA or more. The current trend is towards more compact systems.

WHAT’S THE LATEST?

New types of UPS systems in the market

• Hybrid topology

• Standby

• Standby ferro

• Double conversion online

• Conventional Indian isolated model with IGBT based technology

• Parallel redundant

• Hot standby

• Modular

• IGBT rectifier with solar charger

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS

Today, energy efficient UPS systems have become the new industrial mantra. Energy efficiency can be considerably maximised by using modular and scalable UPS systems. As a result, UPS manufacturers are constantly doing R&D work to make the design, software, components and energy storage solutions compatible in such a way as to minimise energy losses.

Technology in this field has evolved drastically over the last few years with the focus not only on energy efficiency, but also on reducing harmonic pollution of the mains and improving PFC. Advanced technologies also allow easily expandable and scalable power solutions, systems that are fault tolerant with high reliability, that is, extremely high MTBF (mean time between failures) and those that are repairable without downtime of the equipment.

In recent years, the trend has also been to use much smaller modules (10 kVA to 50 kVA) to make up larger UPS systems. Users can scale up capacity as needed and it also reduces maintenance costs. Small modules are hot swappable and can be easily returned to the factory by the user for exchange or repair. Modular systems are also designed to accept one more module when required, for their rated capacity, making them inherently N+1 capable at much lower cost. Modular UPS systems can also be configured and readily re-configured.

Another trend is the use of digital signal processors (DSPs) for optimised real time processing, contributing to total harmonic management. A DSP controller provides an improved and cost effective solution for UPS design, with high performance. It replaces bulky transformers, relays and mechanical bypass switches with smaller, more intelligent functional equivalents. It gives increased power efficiency and power density.

TYPES OF UPS REQUIRED FOR OFFICES

There are three standard technologies available in static UPS—offline, line interactive and online.

Offline UPS systems—are the least expensive of the three—switches from utility to battery power only when the utility fails. Its usage has been reduced in offices but it is suitable for users looking for simple protection such as domestic use, in the range of sub 3 kVA.

Line interactive systems are similar to offline systems, the only differentiator is that they provide constant monitoring of the integrity of utility power and correct voltage when input voltage fluctuates within certain band. This technology is available in sub 20 kVA range and gives slightly better protection than offline system. It is more suitable for the SOHO segment.

The main advantage of line interactive UPS is that the inverter/converter unit is always connected to the output, powering the equipment.The design allows for a faster response to a power failure than a standby UPS.

Online UPS, also known as double conversion system, are expensive owing to their complex design and functionalities. These units are available in 3 kVA range. In this system, all power components are continuously online, hence the name. As incoming power is converted twice, during rectification stage input disturbances get eliminated, and load experiences clean and regulate voltage generated by the inverter. These are used for all mission critical business applications in all verticals.

Innovation is the trend

Most innovations that are happening are focused on increasing efficiency. This helps in saving power and the environment as well. Conventionally, UPS in small offices offer efficiency up to 85 per cent. But today, UPS are more sophisticated with LCD display, and clean sine wave output. These systems offer efficiency as high as 94 per cent in sub 10 kVA range.

The trend is moving more and more towards compact systems and rack based solutions to minimise the space required. As networks are becoming more complex, far flung and being managed from remote control sites, UPS needs to be equipped with multiple network management protocols and flexible enough to incorporate diagnostics and predictive failure analysis.

UPS are now coming with higher capacity chargers, add-on chargers and accessories that provide the user the capability to manage, diagnose and optimise medium to large battery bank installations. The challenges of flexible capacity enhancements and lowest MTTR (mean time to recovery) demands are best addressed by modular and scalable UPS.

Other latest trends are UPS with LCD panels for user friendly information, IGBT with digital signal processing (DSP), modular UPS and UPS with solar charger, etc.

New applications like IP telephone require POE switches that power them to be switched on constantly. These switches cannot afford even the slightest power fluctuations as the whole data may get damaged. The need of these devices to be constantly connected means using high powered routers that continuously connect servers and users. Hence, we can say that with the technological advancement of office applications, power backup systems are also getting modified.

The current trend is the usage of centralised UPS rather than distributed configurations. Customers expect customised solutions rather than standard UPS. Vendors are expected to integrate UPS with batteries, alternate source like DG sets and static/automatic transfer switch, to provide for complete power protection.

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

 

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