Fifth edition of Cable & Wire Fair (CWF) was held from 6th to 8th October 2023 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The event featured participation of over 300 exhibitors. Multiple conferences were organised at the fair, marked by the presence of cable & wire industry veterans.
Inaugural Ceremony of Cable & Wire Fair 2023
Cable & Wire Fair 2023 was inaugurated by Mr Anil Gupta – Chairman and MD of KEI Industries, Mr. Kamal Babu – Member of Cable & Wire Machinery Manufacturers Association of India (CMMAI) and MD of Microtek Machines Ltd., Mr. Shreegopal Kabra – MD of RR Kabel Ltd., Mr. Priyank Jain – CEO of Tulip 3P Media Ltd., Mr. Vijay Karia – Chairman and MD of Ravin Group and Mr. Sidharth Agrawal – Chairman of Steel Wire Manufacturers Association of India (SWMAI) and MD of Systematic Group.
Major themes such as the current opportunities for Indian cable & wire manufacturers, industry driving forces, current challenges, and projections for the future were discussed at these conferences.
Major Themes Discussed at Cable & Wire Fair’s 5th Edition
Growth Potential & Demand Driving Factors for Indian Wire and Cable Industry
Speaking about demand-driving areas, Mr. Naveen Sawhney, Chairman and MD of Cords Cable Industries said that rural electrification projects and Transmission and Distribution (T&D) sector projects in the country have been responsible to a great extent in generating demand for wires and cables.
Mr. Sawhney reminisced that during the 1960s, the industry was characterised by manual labor, lack of technology and minimal automation. This, he said, changed over time, and in the 1990s, economic liberalisation led to foreign investments in the industry, which resulted in increased capital infusion in various industrial sectors. Mr. Sawhney stated that this change spurred CapEx and new technological advancements in the industry.
Mr. Anil Gupta of KEI said that the Indian cable and wire industry is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14-15% over the next 5 years. He expressed that at this rate of growth, the Indian wire and cable industry is likely to grow to two times its current size by 2027-28. Mr. Gupta attributed this to the growing infrastructure sector projects, both in the public sector as well the private sector. Renewable Energy (RE) projects too, are driving demands in the wire and cable industry, he added.
Mr. Anurag Agarwal, Executive President of Polycab India Ltd., said that Renewable Energy (RE), Oil & Gas, Transmission and Distribution (T&D) sectors are some of the demand-driving areas in the cable industry. He added that data centers will also boost demand in wire and cable industry. Demand for Electric Vehicle (EV) cables is expected to peak by 2030, he added.
Referring to the Government’s target of taking India’s RE generation portfolio to 500 GW by 2030, Mr. Manish Srivastava, Director and Business Head of Power Cables, Sterlite Power said that this would spur cable and wire demand. He further added that data centers, smart cities, T&D sector, Railway and Metro projects will also generate demand in wire and cable industry. Mr. Srivastava also expressed that High Voltage AC Transmission and High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) projects will propel demand for Extra High Voltage (EHV) cables.
Mr. R. Sridharan, CEO of Birla Cable Limited credited the Government’s BharatNet program for increasing demand for Optical Fibre Cables (OFCs). Mr. Sridharan also spoke about technology advancement and product development in OFCs, such as small-diameter cables for small-diameter ducts, extra thin micro cables, and micro-module cables.
Foreign Investments in Indian Wire & Cable Industry
In the inaugural session of Cable & Wire Fair 2023, Mr. Anil Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of KEI Industries Ltd. said that there is a huge influx of foreign investment in India. Mr. Gupta clarified that as of now the foreign investment in the Indian cable & wire industry remains low, but it is expected to increase. Considering it a positive change in the near future, he said that Indian wire and cable companies would benefit by forming Joint Ventures (JVs) with foreign investors to enhance the quality of their products.
Mr. Kamal Babu, Member of CMMAI and MD of Microtek Machines Ltd., highlighted the need to invite visitors in Indian trade shows and expos from abroad. He stated that this would increase collaboration opportunities between Indian wire and cable companies and foreign players.
Contrastingly, Mr. Vijay Karia, Chairman and MD of Ravin Group, stated that the low foreign investment in the Indian cable and wire industry is not necessarily undesirable since India’s cable and wire companies are very different from their foreign counterparts. Mr. Karia said that Indian cable manufacturers have “Broken the mould” by diversifying their portfolio into Fast Moving Electrical Goods (FMEG), EPC, and other products and services. He said that this feature is unique to Indian cable and wire companies and that they do not need to be judged by foreign standards of growth. Further, he lauded the fact that multiple manufacturers in India are successful in making High Voltage (HV) and Extra High Voltage Cables (EHV) without the assistance of any foreign company.
Importance of Safety and Quality Standards in Wire & Cable Industry
Mr. Shreegopal Kabra, Managing Director of RR Kabel Ltd. and Group President of RR Kabel stressed on the need to maintain product quality in the Indian cable and wire industry. He stated that most wire and cable offerings in the market are sub-standard, which needs to change. Mr. Kabra cited the example of Ireland, which has recently banned PVC wires, and said that India should follow suit, preferring cross-linked polymers for insulation.
Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal, Managing Director of Paramount Communications Ltd., mentioned that meeting the standards of affordability without compromising quality of the product is a hard challenge in wire and cable industry. He further said that Indian wire and cable manufacturers have to work as an industry, not as different companies for meeting the quality standards in wire and cable industry.
Stressing the importance of acquiring quality certifications for cable products, Mr. Anil Gupta of KEI said that with the overseas demand for cable on the rise, manufacturers which produce quality-certified products are set to gain wider acceptance in the global markets, and thus benefit. While speaking about the export targets of his company, Mr. Gupta said that KEI will increase its exports to 25% to 30% of the total sales over the next 2-3 years.
Environmental Sustainability a Key Theme at the Cable & Wire Fair 2023
Mr. Rohit Pathak, CEO of Birla Copper highlighted three elements in his speech, namely, quality, sustainability, and innovation. Citing the importance of sustainability, Mr. Pathak said that we have to design recyclable and reusable products.
Following this, Mr. VK Bajaj, Senior President of Apar, said that there should be a label on products depicting the carbon footprint of their manufacturing process. Europe will start putting labels on the products by January 2026, he added.
Mr. Nikhil Bhagchandani from Vedanta Ltd., said electrical sector will drive the demand of aluminium in India and it is expected to grow to 4.9 Million Tonne Per Annum in FY24. This reflects the need to reduce carbon emissions by aluminium companies. Mr. Bhagchandani mentioned that Vedanta already has two low carbon aluminium brands in India, namely, Restora and Restora Ultra. Restora has a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission of less than 4 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of aluminium produced whereas Restora Ultra has a GHG emission less than one tonne of CO2 per tonne of aluminium produced.
Potential Areas of Opportunity in the Indian Wire & Cable Industry
Mr. Naveen Sawhney from Cords Cable Industries stated that Renewable Energy, Green Ammonia, and Green Hydrogen will provide various business opportunities to the wire and cable industry in the near future. He stressed the importance of Industry 4.0 in wire and cable sector. He said Industry 4.0 ensures that high-quality wires and cables are manufactured and shipped to customers. He added that Industry 4.0 will be extremely helpful for the wire and cable industry.
Mr. Sawhney further said, “Electrification of transportation, EVs and e-mobility infrastructure, is another upcoming sector. There has been a thrust on electrification of transportation resulting in the rise of electric vehicles and development of e-mobility infrastructure. Charging stations, coupled with wires and cables, are going to become the new face of our fuel stations”. He added that addition of charging stations at existing fuel stations is expected to be evident soon, in the coming 6 months or 1 year.
Mr. Sridharan of Birla Cable mentioned upcoming technological trends, such as, 5G, Wifi 6, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), robotic processing automation, cloud computing, and cyber security are driving the change in telecom industry.
Mr. Anurag Agarwal stated promising sectors such as real estate markets, aerospace and defence, locomotive and transportation coaches can bring new opportunities for wire and cable industry. Push from government infrastructure and railways can also drive the opportunities in wire and cable industry, he added. He also talked about probable future trends in wire and cable industry such as hybrid cables and superconducting cables.
Cable & Wire Fair 2023 witnessed a healthy number of visitors. Prominent names in the Indian cable and wire industry participated in the event and held comprehensive discussions with their audience on a range of topics. The 3-day CWF 2023 served its purpose of providing a platform for one-to-one interaction between potential customers and exhibitors.