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Indian Cable Industry Loses Veteran Technologist, Dr. V.K Tikku

Dr. Varinder Kumar Tikku, an ardent proponent for the adoption of e-beam technology in the Indian cable industry, breathed his last on Friday, 1st March 2024. Dr. Tikku succumbed to liver-related ailments, and is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Life and Career

Early Life and Education

Dr VK Tikku with Wife
Dr. Tikku with his wife

Dr. V.K Tikku was born in Lahore in 1946 to a Punjab government official in pre-partition India. Post partition, his family moved across the border to Ludhiana in the Indian part of Punjab.

Dr. Tikku pursued his education and went on to earn a doctorate in Nuclear Physics from the University of Calcutta in 1975. Thereafter, he visited the US and Canada, living there for about 7-8 years and worked as a nuclear scientist, pursuing his research using electron accelerators.

Dr. Tikku’s Return to India and Time at Nicco Cables

Upon his return to India, Dr. Tikku joined Nicco Cables in 1983 as ‘Manager – R&D’, thus ushering his illustrious career in the Indian cable sector, which spanned over 4 decades. Dr. Tikku worked with Nicco Cables till 2006, at which point he retired as ‘President – Technology & Total Quality’.

Dr. Tikku’s Career as an Expert Advisor to Indian Cable Companies

Dr VK Tikku Technical Consultant Electron Beam Processing
Dr. Tikku worked as an expert technological advisor to many Indian cable companies after retiring from Nicco

Dr. Tikku’s retirement from Nicco Cables was not the end of his professional journey. He continued to serve the industry as a registered Lead Assessor in ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, and audited over 100 organisations for quality and environment management systems.

From 2007 to 2009, Dr. Tikku worked with Delhi-based Cords Cable Industries as President (Operations), overseeing the technological upgradation and operations of the company’s plant at Bhiwadi. The plant was subsequently certified as per ISO 14001 and OSHAS 18001 during his tenure at Cords.

Thereafter in 2010, he worked as a Technical Advisor to Apar Industries. During his 5-year association with Apar, he worked to provide e-beam solutions to the company for the manufacturing of cross-linked polymer cables.

Dr. Tikku had recounted his career as an advisor during an interaction with CableCommunity.com in March 2023, “I advised Siechem Cables, Pondicherry, Havells India Limited, Cords Cables Industries Limited, Apar Industries Limited, Quadrant Cables Private Limited, Svarn Infratel Pvt. Limited, RR Kabel, Tirupati Plastomatics Pvt. Limited, International Switchgears Pvt. Ltd. and Lapp Cables.

Apart from this, Dr. Tikku was a visiting faculty of the prestigious IIT Kharagpur, and had over 100 publications in prominent journals of national and international repute.

Dr. Tikku’s Role in Adoption of E-beam Technology in India

Dr VK Tikku at International-Switchgears Mohali
Dr. Tikku with Mr. A.S Randhawa, MD of International Switchgears Pvt. Ltd., Mohali, at the installation of 10 MeV Linear electron accelerator

Dr. Tikku can undoubtedly be credited with the Promethean task of pioneering and popularising e-beam technology in the Indian cable industry.

During his time at Nicco Cables, Dr. Tikku worked with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre’s (BARC) electron accelerator for R&D purposes. “Initially, Nicco was not ready to invest that much money at that time despite the advantages, also our Indian market was not ready for this technology in the ‘80s”, Dr. Tikku had told CableCommunity.com. He added that finally, in 1999, Nicco Cables decided to invest in e-beam technology, which was subsequently commissioned in 2002, chiefly for cables to be used in Railways.

Subsequently, Dr. Tikku went on to install e-beam solutions for several major Indian cable manufacturers. In 2013, he commissioned two e-beam machines for Apar Industries’ subsidiary, Uniflex Cables at Khatalwada, Gujarat. Post this, he installed another electron accelerator for Quadrant Cables. All these e-beam machines were rated at about 3 MeV, which is suitable for usage in wire and cable manufacturing process. However, Dr. Tikku also installed India’s first 10 MeV electron accelerator at International Switchgears, Mohali for various extended applications such as food processing, medical sterilisation, colouration of semi-precious gemstones, and more.

During his impressive career, Dr. Tikku was involved in installation of at least 60% of the total deployed e-beam machines in India. He was driven by an undying passion for technological advancement of the industry. He was obsessed with total quality management and the creation of systems at plant level. Dr. Tikku had the courage to act on his enterprising and innovative ideas, and his actions were driven by an unwavering commitment to his ideals and beliefs.

Dr. V.K Tikku would be dearly missed not only by his family and friends, but also by the Indian manufacturing sector in general for his immense contribution and zeal for technological advancement of the country.