‘We see reasonable growth in the HVAC industry’

The energy-efficient Voltas vapour absorption machine

Voltas is India’s largest air conditioning company, and one of the world’s premier engineering solutions providers and project specialists.

Anil Kumbhar

Anil Kumbhar

Anil D Kumbhar, Assistant General Manager – Engineering, Voltas Limited, Domestic Projects Group, tells Renu Rajaram that the expected CAGR for the HVAC industry over next few years will be around 7 – 10 per cent.




Excerpts from the interview:


What are the technological innovations introduced by Voltas in HVAC? Tell us about the technological advanced systems your company offers to help conserve energy?

Voltas’ concern with low energy consumption has been a recurring thread right through over five decades of existence. Several innovative technologies and capabilities have been introduced to contribute to ‘green’ construction in many ways, namely –
— through energy-efficient HVAC (or Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning);
— through treatment and management of water;
— through efficient Building Management and optimization of power usage etc.
For us, these represent not just sound business opportunities, but also ways to contribute meaningfully to society, in line with the Tata values that we share.
Some technological innovations introduced by Voltas in HVAC are:
— Room ACs with microprocessor controls, introduced by Voltas in 2002. By closely monitoring and regulating energy usage, room temperatures and humidities, they offered the customer optimum performance combined with quite a saving in operating costs.
— Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, first brought to India by Voltas. A single outdoor condensing unit is connected to several indoor fan-coil units, each of which can be controlled separately by the user. The amount of refrigerant being sent to each evaporator can also be regulated. By thus working only at the necessary settings, energy savings can be as high as 35 percent over conventional unitary air conditioning, without compromising performance.
— Vapour Absorption Machines (Co-generation, Solar-Driven, High COP), also first introduced in India by Voltas. VAM systems utilize waste heat (in steam, hot water and exhaust gas), significantly reducing the carbon footprint of HVAC&R.
— Inverter-driven ‘Green’ series Screw Chiller Packages
— Air-cooled Chiller Packages with micro-fin tubes

What are the company’s HVAC systems/products and their business potential in India?
Today, Voltas is India’s largest air conditioning company with projects and products in air conditioning and refrigeration. As pioneers and leaders in the air conditioning segment, Voltas has provided solutions for every conceivable market / application, deploying the widest range of technologies and tonnages. In every application, the company has executed the single largest order to date. Voltas’ solutions meet customers’ need for managing internal heat loads and freshening the air, which is essential for our environment. A wide range of temperatures is brought under the user’s control. These can be varied according to seasonal requirements.
Three broad segments of VOLTAS air-conditioning products include Package and Ductable Air conditioners, VRF Technology, and Chillers .
The total estimated market potential in India for the next few years is in the range of Rs 2500 – 3000 Cr. Of this, 50 per cent market accounts for Chillers, 33 per cent accounts for VRF Technology and 13 per cent accounts for Package and Ductable Air conditioners (PAC/DSU)
Voltas’ in-house manufactured product range includes: Package and Ductable Air conditioners: 5.5 TR (Ton of refrigeration) to 22 TR; Chillers range includes – Screw Chiller Packages: 80TR to 500TR; -Scroll Chillers: 12TR to 100TR; and Vapour Absorption Machines: 40TR to 1450 TR.

How do you see growth of HVAC systems in last few years?
Voltas sees reasonable growth in the HVAC industry. The segment has grown with a CAGR of 7 per cent in the last few years and the expected CAGR for the next few years is around 7 – 10 per cent.
A fine showcase for ‘green’ electro-mechanical technologies (especially HVAC) is Voltas’ benchmark work at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, which played an important role in the airport being awarded the Silver LEED Certification by the US Green Building Council. Voltas will also contribute energy-saving HVAC systems for the Paryawaran Bhavan in Delhi, which is projected to achieve net-zero energy consumption and zero-carbon-footprint for the very first time in India, and qualify for GRIHA 5-star ratings as well as LEED Platinum.

What are the demand drivers for these systems?
HVAC design follows other fundamental building steps that can collectively reduce the size of the heating and cooling system by 30-50 per cent. The Indian HVAC sector’s surge has also been accentuated by key technical innovations like upgrade in technologies and constant innovations in the HVAC market, which brings cutting-edge improvements to the consumers.
The demand drives are for these systems are: Energy efficiency, Eco-friendly (Green products having low GWP and zero ODP), and Cost.

Please tell us about some of the challenges facing the Indian HVAC market?
Some of the major challenges faced by the Indian HVAC market are the following: Almost all multinationals have entered the Indian market, and there isn’t much product differentiation; To manufacture units with ‘value addition’ we need to provide special features / customized solutions; Products are highly cost-competitive, with a thrust on value engineering

How do you see the competition in the industry evolving and your USP?
As multinationals have entered in the Indian market there is very high competition. Our USP is energy-efficiency and ‘green’ features in our products. The customer will enjoy the satisfaction of using environmentally-friendly products, while also benefiting from savings in operating costs.