Nidec Corporation, a global manufacturer of electric motors and related components, is one of the most dynamic and innovative companies in Japan’s technology space. The company classifies its operations into four major business groups—primarily on small precision motors, general motors, machinery, electronics and optical components. With more than four decades of experience in drive technology, the company recently expanded its business into India. Takeshi Marui, managing director, Nidec India Pvt Ltd, spoke to Richa Chakravarty of Electronics Bazaar on the Indian market, global trends, the strategies adopted by the company and its contributions to the industry.
EB: Nidec Corporation has been in the electronics industry for almost four decades now. How would you sum up your contributions to it?
Nidec is a company started by our current chairman, president and CEO, Shigenobu Nagamori, along with three of his colleagues. It has contributed significantly not just to the electronics industry but to society at large. ‘For everything that spins and moves,’ we are creating the next generation of driving technology, while protecting the environment. Computers and laptops have become so small and compact, and it would not have been possible without Nidec’s world class spindle hard disc drive motors. Nidec’s precision Brushless DC motors have been driving current technology Blue-ray discs, as efficiently as it did floppy discs a few decades ago.
EB: What are the R&D initiatives taken up by your company in this segment?
Currently, we have five R&D centres in Japan along with centres in USA, Singapore, Vietnam, China and Taiwan. At Nidec, we strongly believe that if you need to be in business in the long term, you need to lead the market and develop products ahead of your competition. As we are determined to become the world’s No 1 manufacturer of comprehensive drive technology, we are drawing a lot of confidence from our unparalleled R&D capabilities. The best part is that we are investing in R&D not just to develop new products and stay ahead of competition, but to provide the world environment friendly products, and thus contribute to society through business. Our investment in R&D of traction motors will also reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. One of our core products—Brushless DC motors—is extremely compact and energy efficient.
EB: What is the current global trend in the drive technology space? And what is the situation in India, in comparison?
Globally, in the developed world, there is a lot of awareness about energy efficiency and the environmental impact of products. So customers are increasingly demanding higher efficiency products. Large industries are willingly investing in the most efficient motors considering the attractive pay back period and long term savings. In India, we are encouraged to look at the Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s Standards and Labelling programme. But India still has a long distance to cover; for instance, quite a few countries have already adopted IE3 efficiency standards, whereas in India, even IE2 is not mandatory. So, with our IE3 compliant motors, we are way ahead of the competition here.
EB: What else differentiates Nidec from its competitors?
In the last four decades, Nidec has grown steadily and we have set a very ambitious target of exponential growth for the next few years. With over 30 acquisitions in the recent past, we are still scouting for mergers and acquisitions globally. We are investing in our manufacturing plants to beef up our production capacity. We are also consolidating manufacturing facilities, and are considering putting up manufacturing plants at new locations to meet the seemingly insatiable global appetite. With an enviable product portfolio like ours, from micro motors to 3.7 MW large industrial motors, I do not think any of our competitors are anywhere close.
EB: Nidec has been present in India for the last one year. How have you done so far?
Though one year is not a very long time, we have definitely made some commendable progress. We have explored the market and understood its expectations to some extent. We have established contacts and started business with many of our global customers. We have presented Nidec’s world class motor solutions to many top Indian companies and this engagement is in progress. Many of our product samples are being tested at various customers’ development labs. Still, looking at the opportunities at hand, I believe there’s a long way ahead of us.
EB: How important is the Indian market for Nidec?
With a population of 1.2 billion, making it the world’s second most populous country in the world, undoubtedly India is very attractive as a potential market. An economy that is growing at a fast pace, and a growing middle class with an increasing disposable income, are two important factors driving the demand for sophisticated and efficient products. The automotive industry in India is one of the largest in the world and one of the fastest growing globally. Top automobile companies have set up their manufacturing plants in India—not just to cater to the local demand but to export to other countries as well. Obviously, I cannot disclose numbers as of now, but India is definitely one of our key markets in the short, medium and long term. And we are extremely bullish about our presence in India.
EB: What is your marketing strategy in India?
We are a global company, but firmly believe in localisation. We have been a market leader globally in our field; so, obviously, we would like to retain that leadership in India through product and technology differentiation. As we have been the pioneers in precision motor technology, we plan to leverage more on that aspect. With our cutting-edge technology products, we plan to serve the Indian market with efficient and unmatched drive solutions, developed and manufactured locally.
EB: How do you intend to boost your manufacturing to get a strong foothold in the industry?
With rapid changes in technology, the ‘time to market’ becomes extremely vital, not just to beat our competition, but to enable our customers to stay ahead of their competitors. We are convinced that the proximity of our sales network and manufacturing plant to customers will be key to our long-term success. In view of this, we are seriously considering setting up a manufacturing plant in India not just to meet local demand but to meet the growing overseas demand. Considering the quality and availability of technical talent in India, this manufacturing set-up will also be coupled with an R&D centre to ensure products are developed locally, meeting or exceeding local market requirements. These significant investments will further emphasise Nidec’s long term commitment towards the emerging economy of India.
EB: Have there been any new products launched by Nidec with the Indian market in mind?
India’s current power sector scenario throws up many challenges and, simultaneously, many opportunities. Deficit in power availability is a significant impediment to the smooth development of the economy. A further 33 per cent loss through transmission and distribution does not help India’s cause at all. In view of this, Nidec is introducing ‘Small Wind Turbines’ from the 500W to 3000W range for the residential, small commercial, street lighting and rural electrification segments. With cut-in wind speeds of 2.8 m/s and cut-out speeds of 15 m/s, this product is extremely compact and suitable for residential and smaller commercial needs. We have developed a unique, permanent magnet generator with a core for the highest efficiency for this application, and have ensured the optimal matching of the blade, generator and controller to deliver a superior performance.
We are also in the process of launching five star rated ceiling fans, leveraging on our experience and expertise in Brushless DC motor technology. These will consume less than 65 per cent of the power consumed by conventional induction motor fans.
EB: What are your plans for India? Any tie-ups coming up?
Undoubtedly, we are in India for the long term. And as I said earlier, we are extremely bullish about our future in India and are looking at all possible growth options.