Current Issues and Growth Prospects Discussed at Cable & Wire Fair 2022
The 4th International Edition of Cable and Wire Fair was held from 18th to 20th May 2022 at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. The fair was attended by major names from the cable and wire industry.
The three day fair saw multiple conference sessions with distinguished personages from the industry presenting their views on various themes.
Significance of Quality and Safety Standards in the Indian Cable and Wire Industry
The Indian wire and cable industry faces an emerging problem of sub-standard products entering the mainstream. Some buyers prefer lower cost over better quality as long as noticeable issues are not faced in the installation.
Compromise in the build quality isn’t only confined to the conductor, but also to polymers used in the design. Fire hazards due to the use of low-quality cable and wire insulation are inevitable.
Mr. Shreegopal Kabra, MD and Group President, RR Global stressed on the importance of quality in cable and wire manufacturing. He expressed disappointment in the general trend of dealing in sub-standard and safety-compromised cables, and urged manufacturers to produce more efficient and less-loss wires.
Ms. Sonal Gariba, Executive Director, Ravin Group, and Chairperson, Cable Division, IEEMA stressed upon sustainable development in the Industry. Ms. Gariba further mentioned that meeting affordability without compromising on quality is one of the major challenges in the wire and cable industry. She emphasised on the importance of cable companies investing in R&D to meet quality standards affordably.
Mr. Sameer Agarwal, Managing Director, GK Winding Wires Ltd. noted that the Indian market has been cost-driven instead of being quality driven. Therefore, it is not unusual to see inferior quality copper being used to make winding wires. This practice may cut product cost, but it is a costlier deal in the long run due to wasteful power consumption and maintenance.
Mr. Varun Sawhney, Member (Core Management), Cords Cable Industries Ltd., added that this trend of sub-par products in the market was earlier limited to the B2C (Business to Customer) segment, but now it has started affecting B2B (Business to Business) / industrial segment as well. He urged that the Industry body – IEEMA should get involved in dealing with this critical issue.
Mr. VK Bajaj, Sr. President – Business Strategy and Innovation, Apar Industries Ltd., stressed on the use of low-smoke zero-halogen and cross-linked polymers for enhanced safety.
Supply-chain and Raw Material Uncertainty
Markets and industries have faced the brunt of uncertainty in geopolitics, especially after the Russia-Ukraine war broke out in February; the cable and wire industry hasn’t been insulated from its affects either. Volatile metal prices and supply-chain uncertainties have troubled the industry.
Mr. Ashish Chaturvedy, Head of Marketing and Communications, DUCAB stated that CoVID lockdowns across the globe in addition to the situation in Ukraine have contributed to the volatility in commodities markets.
Mr. Parth Aggarwal, Director, Paramount Cables also talked about the geopolitical scenario and how it has adversely impacted the availability, supply of raw materials. He also talked about volatility in prices. Quick turnaround time for Government (and DISCOM) payments is essential for sustaining business, especially in the current uncertain scenario, Mr. Parth mentioned.
Indian Cable Industry’s Growth Prospects
Despite citing quality and supply-chain challenges, the speakers were hopeful about the Indian cable and wire industry’s growth prospects owing to a healthy pipeline of projects.
Healthy Project Pipeline Despite the Odds
Mr. Chaturvedy from DUCAB said that many power generation and T&D projects are under development across the country.
Mr. Anil Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, KEI Industries Ltd. expressed strong optimism for the future despite severe challenges witnessed by the Industry due to lockdowns and sharp rise in the cost of various raw materials. Mr. Gupta mentioned that a healthy pipeline of projects from government as well as from private clients is sure to drive demand.
Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability in Operations
Citing the importance of the shift to Renewables, Mr. Benoit Lecuyer, CEO, Prysmian India, said that India has a vast potential to develop renewable energy options. He mentioned that India receives about 300 sunny days, and is, therefore, ideal for solar power generation. Mr. Lecuyer also talked about the importance of environmental sustainability and decarbonisation with respect to industrial processes.
Electric Vehicles and Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Mr. Varun Sawhney from Cords Cable Industries Ltd. highlighted that currently, there are about 9.1 lakh EVs on-road in India, which is a small number for a country of this size. He also pointed out that EV charging infrastructure in the country at present also falls short with about 8,000 public charging points and 7,000 private charging points currently installed. The Government has set a target of having 10.2 crore EVs on Indian roads by 2030, and this would require about 29 lakh public charging points.
Mr. Sawhney elaborated that with an estimated requirement of 5 metres of cable per charging point, this would translate to a requirement of about 1.5 lakh metres of cable only for the public charging points, excluding mass fleet charging infrastructure and charging points at homes and offices.
5G, Optical Fibre Connectivity and Data Centres
India’s transition to 5G networks has been the focus of telecom industry. In order to support the 5G architecture, adequate data centre capacity is required. Mr. Abhishek Gupta, Joint Managing Director, Gupta Power Infrastructure Ltd., stated that this leap to 5G holds generous prospects for the Indian wire and cable industry.
Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal, Mentor-Telecom Committee, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, mentioned that the telecom industry will soon see a CAPEX to the tune of Rs 2.5 to 3 lakh crore. He also mentioned the BharatNet project and stressed on the importance of connecting every village and town to the Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) network.
Indian Wire Exports and Meeting Global Standards
In the previous fiscal, India crossed its target of $400 billion worth of exports. Mr. Anurag Pandey from Global Wires – Tata Steel lauded this achievement and further said that increase in exports should become an important goal of the Indian industry. He reiterated the importance of quality, saying that the Indian Wire Industry needs to meet international standards in manufacturing in order to achieve greater acceptability internationally – shifting to more sustainable methods of operation, and encouraging social diversity in the workforce would also go a long way.
Challenges and Future Vision for India’s Cable & Wire Industry
Mr. Varun Sawhney from Cords Cable stated that one of the major challenges in the evolving digital environment is for traditional cable companies to adapt the e-commerce model of doing business. He stressed the importance of investment in this area by OEMs to make most of the digital market space for industrial products.
He also expressed the need to move from C to C++ (Cables to Cables++), which implies the need for cable companies to evolve from selling cables to bulk electrical packages, EPC packages and FMEG so that margins can be improved.
Ms. Sonal Gariba, Executive Director, Ravin Group pointed out the paradigm shift in the cable market towards specialised cables designed for specific industries / applications. She also talked about the scope for cable industry in EV charging infrastructure and possibilities of hybrid cables and super conducting cables in the future.
The Indian wire and cable industry has shown steady growth post pandemic, most of the cable companies have posted healthy FY-22 results. According to a report by Technavio Research published in April 2021, the electric wire and cable market in India is expected to grow by USD 1.65 billion, at a CAGR of almost 4% during 2021-2025. This growth outlook seems attainable seeing heavy investment from the Government in infrastructure, expansion in renewable sector and electric vehicles adoption rate.