“E-mobility, 5G And Li-ion Batteries Will Be The Buzz Words Of Tomorrow’s Technology”

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Ashok Kumar H.M.,
business head (India),
Quantel Technologies India Pvt Ltd (Chroma Group)

Chroma ATE Inc. is one of the leading suppliers of precision test and measurement instrumentation. The company’s products also integrate with automated  systems and manufacturing execution systems to offer a turnkey solution, thus helping its customers to save time and money. The company markets its products globally under the Chroma brand name. In an interview with Potshangbam July, Ashok Kumar H.M., business  head (India), Quantel Technologies India Pvt Ltd (Chroma Group), talks about the company’s vision to develop world-leading products through its R&D driven plans.

EB: How do you view the current T&M market in India?
Without test and measurement equipment, it is not possible to validate and deploy any technology. The overall T&M equipment market in India is expected to grow rapidly to around US$ 33 billion by 2024. The marketis growing due to India being a key destination for R&D  and the increasing demand for T&M equipment in end-use sectors such as automotive, transportation, aerospace and defence, IT, telecommunications, education, government, semiconductors, audio/video electronics, industrial and healthcare

EB: When did Chroma ATE make a foray into the Indian market? What types of  product offerings resonate well with the Indian market?
Chroma ATE entered the Indian market early in 2000 through distributors and dealers. Since 2016, we have been operating here directly, by way of our group company, Quantel Technologies India Pvt Ltd, to engage our customers and provide turnkey T&M solutions. The significant markets that Chroma serves include electric vehicles (EV) and electric vehicle  supply equipment (EVSE), LEDs, photovoltaics, green batteries, semiconductors,photonics, flat panel displays, 8K and 16K video, power electronics, passive components, electrical safety, thermo-electricals, automated optical inspection (AOI) systems, intelligent manufacturing systems that use AI for ICT, and clean technology and smart factory industries (Industry 4.0).

EB: How have Indian consumers responded to these products?
We take this opportunity to thank all our customers for helping us to grow, year on year.  Chroma’s products and solutions are widely accepted by our esteemed customers without a second thought, due to our innovative technology that meets the current industry’s requirements. We can proudly say that we have the right products at the right time to meet the current market’s demands. EB: What sort of distributors are you looking for in India?
Currently we are associated with our legacy distributors, who are sound enough technically  and financially, and are spread across India to promote our solutions to the target market segment. However, considering India’s vast geography and its remotely located industrial clusters, we are still looking for partners who can add value to our offerings. We want to collaborate with distributors that have strong technical teams and the financial backup to  deploy our solutions at our customer base more effectively.

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EB: Please tell us more about the business model of the company. Did you need to tweak it in the context of the Indian market?
Chroma’s vision is to develop globally leading products, as a world-class enterprise. To  achieve this, Chroma is highly R&D driven. Our average R&D expenditure is about 15 per cent of the company’s revenues, with R&D employees making up more than 40 per cent of the total headcount. This helps us produce exceptional products of precision, reliability and value – basically, deliver unique test solutions for the growing number of technology industries. We are open to the market challenges, and always try to tweak our business plan in accordance with the situation on the ground and based on the pace of the industry’s evolution.

EB: Tell us about your latest T&M solutions for electric vehicles and the 5G market.
Chroma has been providing innovative new test solutions that are known for their precision, reliability and uniqueness for the EV industry over many years, setting up long-term relationships with many well-known car manufacturers globally and with key EV component (including battery) providers. Chroma also has comprehensive test solutions for battery cells, battery modules, battery packs, battery management systems, on-board chargers, DC converters, AC/DC charging stations, wireless chargers, and for devices linked to electrical safety.

The Chroma Semiconductor Test Solutions division is constantly working to provide solutions for 5G communication technologies like eMBB (Enhanced Mobile Broadband), mMTC (Massive Machine type Communication), and URLLC (Ultra Reliable and Low Latency Communication), which will drive component manufacturing of mobile phones, 4K/8K/16K video, smart cities, smart medical devices, IoT, i4.0, auto-drive cars, drones, RF based systems, high-speed sensors, etc.

EB: Are there any other innovative solutions that Chroma is planning on?
Chroma has acquired many innovative companies that areworking with the latest technologies like nano particle monitoring, AI solutions, metrology and inspection, IC packaging materials, and RF T&M equipment, under the umbrella of the Chroma Group.

EB: What are the challenges that the company has encountered so far?
We look at challenges as an opportunity. The Indian market is highly price sensitive in nature and so is flooded with many easily available low-quality products that initially attracted our customers. But once they used such products without proper local support and understood that the quality of their end product was getting affected, these buyers came to us. The government of India has dream projects like Make in India, Digital India, Smart Cities and the Aerospace Manufacturing Tech Parks that have not taken off as expected. Also, the  incentives and subsidies from the Centre for capital investments in T&M are negligible.

EB: Do you have any market penetration strategies to ramp up the sales of your products in India?
Our go-to market strategy is to ensure the maximum coverage in terms of geography and industry clusters, through strategically located branch offices in major cities. This business  (both shortterm and long-term) strategy will help us to penetrate the market with our  focused products for our key customers. As a global company, we are committed to the
Indian market; all the necessary infrastructure has been set up and the investments are lined up to cater to this growing market, as and when required.

EB: Do you see any future trends that could change the dynamics of the Indian T&M sector?
It is certain that e-mobility, 5G and Li-ion batteries will be the buzz words of tomorrow’s technology. E-mobility is a major game changer in the automobile market, and is expected to grow 300 per cent by 2030, while 5G technology is expected to grow at 82 per cent CAGR from 2018 to 2028. The Li-ion battery market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent through 2018-2024. T&M products’ contribution to these growing markets is essential for testing, validating and ensuring the 100 per cent uptime of systems. These key technology market drivers will change the dynamics of the T&M sector across India in the near future.

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