Powering a smarter world since 1958, APAR Industries has transformed into a billion dollar conglomerate leading the innovation and sustainability curve globally in its core businesses. Geared up to tackle the biggest challenges of the 21st century, APAR believes that with an innovation-first mindset, solutions that make anything possible can be found. Over 60 years APAR has expanded to over 140 countries as a highly trusted manufacturer and supplier of conductors, a wide variety of cables, speciality oils, polymers and lubricants. Mr. Shashi Amin, CEO, APAR Cable Solutions provided Wire & Cable India valuable insights about his company, recently launched APAR Anushakti wires, JV with Clean Max Rudra Private Limited, and its future plans.
Wire & Cable India: Kindly share the business journey of APAR Industries’ cables division, outlining the major milestones and achievements.
Mr. Shashi Amin: APAR Industries Limited is gearing up to tackle the biggest challenges of the 21st century, catering to the needs of the global energy sector through sustainable means. The company believes that with an innovation-first mind-set, solutions that make anything possible can be found. APAR’s mission is to design & manufacture building blocks for energy infrastructure, transportation & telecommunication sectors that contribute meaningfully to make this world more energy efficient, environmentally sustainable and a safer place.
In 2008, APAR Industries Limited entered the cables business to expand its portfolio and forward integration by the acquisition of UNIFLEX Cables. In 2012, APAR introduced a new gen-tech to build the largest e-beam facility in India. In 2021, APAR was the 1st Indian player to create guidance OFC for torpedoes. Keeping exports business in mind APAR had already 12 UL approvals which includes 50+ cable types being highest in India. Currently, we are the leading manufacturer in the domestic segment for renewable sector cables and number 1 exporter of cables from India.
WCI: Could you walk us through the company’s manufacturing facilities, infrastructure and machinery setup along with production capacity, with regard to APAR’s cables division?
SA: APAR has a vast manufacturing infrastructure of nearly 300,000 SQM at Umbergaon and Khatalwada, Gujarat. In addition, our manufacturing plants are strategically located within 150 km of Mumbai Port.
APAR has a manufacturing facility for elastomeric cables up to 72.5 KV, 1 core up to 1000 sqmm and multi-core up to 630 sqmm copper, aluminum and copper clad aluminum. For XLPE cables, we can manufacture up to 66 KV single core up to 1000 Al, 630 sqmm Cu multi core up to 630 sqmm Al and 630 sqmm Cu. We have 4 e-Beam facilities ranging from 1.5 MeV to 3 MeV for electron beam irradiated cables. All plants are Quality Management System (QMS) – ISO 9001, Environmental Management System (EMS) – 14001 and Occupational Health & Safety (OHSAS) – 45001 certified. Apart from this, sector specific specification is available, which includes TL9000 for OFC, IAEF 16949 for automotive, ISO/TS 22163 for IRIS. We have 2 NABL labs at the Umbergaon HT division & Khatalwada OFC division. We have taken more than 800+ tests as per various national & international specifications.
WCI: Tell us about APAR’s recent revolutionary product, “APAR Anushakti”, highlighting the product’s features, applications and USPs.
SA: APAR ANUSHAKTI is our flagship and groundbreaking product. Keeping in mind “Tomorrow’s Solution Today”, this house wire meets international standards for the Indian market by exceeding the IS: 694 basic requirements with the help of e-beam technology.
APAR ANUSHAKTI wires can withstand temperatures up to 105 degree celsius, carry 50% more current than conventional wires and last for longer than 50 years. Now high-rise buildings, residential buildings, hospitals, malls, airports and railway stations can enjoy the safest and most reliable FR-PVC insulated wires.
Some major characteristics are as follow:
- Non-softening, infusible & non-dripping under overload and short-circuit conditions to prevent short-circuit, thus ensuring fire safety.
- Does not melt easily in contact with hot objects.
- High oxygen & temperature index for improved fire retardancy.
- Self-extinguishing and does not spread fire.
- High insulation resistance avoids any electric shock.
- Rugged mechanical properties–superior abrasion, cut through & crush resistance.
- Better ageing property thus longer life of wires.
The tagline “Iss Taar Ki Shakti APAR” beautifully sums up the brand promise.
WCI: Please elaborate on the cable product range of APAR Industries, emphasizing on their features, applications and advantages.
SA: Since our inception, every year we have been exploring all the strides to deliver innovative products that solve our customers’ real problems. Over the past two years our cable solutions business has developed and introduced specialized OFC cables, tether cables, tactical cables, submarine pressure tight cables, torpedo cables etc. for defence and shipyards.
Some of our major products are:
- XLPE power & control cables – Manufacturing cables up to 66 kV on two high precision CCV lines.
Screened & instrumentation cables – used in data acquisition systems, connections to instruments, computer networking, PA systems, digital/analog control/measuring & communication systems.
- Medium Voltage Covered Conductors (MVCC) – Ideal and safer solution for installations for river/lake/railway/road crossings and populated areas.
- Aerial bunched cables – used for temporary power distribution or for rural power distribution and/or for street lighting and secondary pole-to-pole service cables.
- UNIDAC – ANTI-THEFT cables
- Light Duty Cables (LDC) & Wires – APAR ANUSHAKTI, APAR SHAKTI.
- APAR FIRE PROTEKT – Flexible wires – flame retardant low smoke zero halogen wires (HFFR / LSZH/ LSOH) ideally suited for places where high fire performance, reliability and safety is at a premium.
- ELASTOMER & E-BEAM Cables – Cables up to 72 kV with thermoset elastomeric insulation and sheaths vulcanized by chemical curing, hot air curing and electron beam curing for various compounds viz. EPR, CSP, CPE, PCP, EVA etc.
- SOLAR Cables – Solar cables for emerging PV based renewable energy installations backed by its 30 years of experience in manufacturing elastomeric insulated cables.
- RAILWAY Cables / WINDMILL Cables/ NUCLEAR PLANT Cables
- Optical Fibre Cables
- Innovative cable solutions – Heavy Tow Cables, Mareech Cable / Torpedo Cable, Umbilical Cable, ROV Cable, Tactical Cable for Army, Tether Cable Air Surveillance Balloon system, Pressure Tight and Non-Pressure Tight cables up to 60 BAR for Ship Building, Airport Lightening Cable, EV Cables.
WCI: APAR recently signed a JV with Clean Max Rudra Private Limited to establish and develop wind and solar hybrid power generation facilities in the state of Gujarat. Kindly elaborate on how APAR is going to contribute towards this project.
SA: JV with Clean Max Rudra Private Limited is to establish and develop wind and solar hybrid power generation facilities in Gujarat, having wind turbine generators of 3.3 MVA capacity and a solar capacity of 2.805 MWp (DC). The power generated from the project will be supplied exclusively to APAR and SPV (APAR – 26% in the SPV Company, Clean Max Enviro Energy Solutions Private Limited – 74% in the SPV Company) will be the operator of the entire project as generator. This will help to operate our cable manufacturing plant entirely through renewable energy. This project is under execution and will share further details subsequently.
WCI: Since its inception every year, APAR has been exploring all the strides to deliver innovative products. Could you share any recent developments in terms of capacity expansion, product developments or technological innovations in the cables division at APAR Industries?
SA: At APAR, we continuously work on improving our product through technological innovations to solve unique customer problems. Currently, our R&D team has developed high ampacity cables with high-temperature withstanding capability, improving the anti-rodent properties of cables and developing other specialized cables for specific applications in defence, telecom, renewable energy and other industrial applications segments.
APAR is the largest manufacturer of electron beam cables in India, with 4 e-beam accelerators (1.5 MeV, 2.5 MeV, 3 MeV and recently commissioned another 2.5 MeV e-beam line) at our Khatalwada plant in Gujarat.
Along with wires, cables & harnesses for automotive, we are manufacturing and supplying a complete range of integrated harness for electric buses, 2 & 3 wheeler electric vehicles(EV), EV chargers, solar jumpers and molded harness with an inline fuse. With increasing requirements for cable quick-to-install products and quality that outlast, we are developing a complete range of cable harness for locomotives & railway coaches, earthing kits for rolling stock, PA system cable harness and many more. APAR is one of the major suppliers of railway harness for “Vande Bharat” train.
APAR has been associated with Indian Defence and Naval Department DRDO/NPOL for over 20 years for development of specialised import substitution cable products.
Over the past few years our cable vertical has developed and introduced specialised OFC cables, tether cables, tactical cables, submarine pressure tight cables, and torpedo cables, for defence and shipyards. Also, our e-beam powered APAR ANUSHAKTI house wire is a unique product that creates new insight on the consumers buying mentality and captures the market quickly. APAR ANUSHAKTI is melt-resistant, fire-retardant and offers 50 years of life. We are also continuously working towards expanding our manufacturing capacity as well as our product range.
WCI: Kindly emphasize on the Indian and international presence, vast clientele and market share of APAR Industries.
SA: The adoption of latest technology, growing economy, population, industrialization and urbanization has led to a steep increase in energy demand in India. This was witnessed in January 2023, as India recorded a double-digit year-on-year growth of nearly 13% to 126.16 billion units kWh (as per government data). The government is successfully working on delivering this ever-growing electricity need with a massive expansion in renewable energy sources, led by solar power, to provide quality of life to every Indian, leading to a huge growth of the cables and wires market.
APAR is the largest Indian manufacturer of renewable sector cables and also the no. 1 exporter for cables from India. Our domestic market is not only restricted to regular routine cables but also our dedicated R&D team has developed cables for very special usage and end to end solutions for the renewable sector. APAR harness is an innovative product that will be the future of cabling in the renewable sector. Demand for our APAR ANUSHAKTI cables is increasing day by day due to its higher current carrying capacity and temperature resistance. With the mantra of never compromising quality, we expect to be one of the top 5 domestic players in the segment.
For export business, with 50+ UL cable types approval, DCA/ECA (CPR), IEC 62930, , IEC 60502 – 1 & 2, TuV & EN 50618 approvals we are eligible to sell our products in almost every country. For Indian manufacturers, we capture more than 25% of the cable exports market. Our prime focus has been the US, Europe, Australia and Latin America. Also keeping in mind the recent developments in infrastructure and lifestyle in African countries, we are keen to capture significant market capture there.
WCI: How important is brand building for APAR Industries and what branding strategies do you adopt for staying ahead of the market curve?
SA: Brand building is essential for APAR Industries as it helps to differentiate the company’s products and services from its competitors which creates brand awareness and establishes brand loyalty among customers. Building a strong brand can also help to increase the perceived value of the company’s offerings, leading to higher customer acquisition and retention rates.
To stay ahead of the market curve, APAR Industries adopts various branding strategies, such as:
- Consistency: Maintaining consistency in brand messaging, visual identity, and customer experience can help to establish a strong brand presence and build trust among customers.
- Innovation: Introducing new products or services, using innovative marketing techniques, or leveraging new technologies can help to differentiate the brand and create a competitive advantage.
- Thought Leadership: Establishing the company as a thought leader in the industry by sharing insights, participating in industry events, and publishing research which helps to enhance the brand’s reputation and increase its influence.
- Social Responsibility: Incorporating social and environmental responsibility into the brand’s values and operations helps to create a positive image and appeal to socially conscious customers.
- Personalization: Using data and technology to personalize the customer experience which helps to increase customer engagement and loyalty.
Overall, a combination of these strategies has helped APAR Industries to build a strong brand and stay ahead of the market curve.
WCI: APAR Industries’ shares have reportedly grown over 800 percent in the past 3 years. What according to you are the major USPs of the company and its products in contributing to this exponential growth?
SA: We are very happy to see the growth in our share price which clearly indicates that the trust our investors have placed in APAR. However we remain grounded and are committed to improve our various business metrics going forward irrespective of the share price movement. For the first 9 months of FY23, we have seen strong growth in the cables business with increasing share of exports business leading to substantial improvement in operating profits. In this competitive environment, APAR has demonstrated its ability to implement strategies and initiatives which has differentiated us from our competitors. We have responded to technological changes as well as sociopolitical, economic and regulatory conditions in India. Not only the investors and promoters but APAR is slowly being recognised as a brand in the retail market which is committed to quality, innovative solution, customer centric approach. Our retail business of wires is growing exponentially and we are very much focused to keep this momentum going.
APAR is IATF accredited and ARAI approved, manufactures all cabin and engine compartment wires, battery cable, ignition wire, customized wires and complete harnesses for all automotive including Electric Vehicle (EV). In 2022, we had appointed Mr. Sonu Sood as our brand ambassador for increasing brand awareness for the retail market.
For the year FY 23, APAR has been the largest exporter of cables from India, contributing more than 50% of our production. This is happening mainly due to the trust of the overseas customers on capability to produce month-on-month quality products.
WCI: Kindly provide your insights on the current scenario, ongoing challenges and upcoming opportunities in the Indian and global cables markets.
SA: As announced by the Finance Minister, this Union Budget will be the foundation and blueprint of the economy for ‘Amrit Kaal’, the next 25 years – from India at 75 to 100. With a major focus on R&D for sunrise sectors, sustainable solutions, and technological advancements in this Budget, we are also looking forward to a growth-driven economy in the future.
The Gati Shakti platform itself is a significant example. The Budget will also focus on laying the foundation for rolling out 5G spectrums, laying out optical fibre, and enabling easy availability of broadband services in rural areas. This will be an added boost for the wire and cable industries.
As India’s economic growth is estimated to be 6.4% in the upcoming financial year, we can expect a push towards more investments and a renewed focus on Atmanirbhar Bharat. The focus on infrastructure is very evident, with an increase in capex by 35 percent. Further, to reduce AT&C losses, GoI has approved Rs 3 lacs crores over a 5 years period to help DISCOMs improve their operational efficiencies and financial sustainability, which will significantly open up opportunities for the domestic cable industry.
With an increasing global trend for the usage of renewable energy especially in the US and Europe, and with ongoing recession, China+1 policy and higher manpower cost, the export market is opening significantly for Indian cable manufacturers. Not only in the US & Europe, Africa is also seeing a lot of infra developments. Especially post strong funding from ADB and World Bank, the African market is going to see developments in every aspect never seen before.
WCI: What are the company’s long term and short term plans for growth in the future?
SA: The wire and cable industry was about INR 58,000 crore in FY22 and we expect it to grow at a CAGR of above 10% for next few years. In the domestic market, APAR has been working diligently to create awareness of its innovative light-duty cable range (powered by e-beam technology) among all the stakeholders through BTL, ATL and digital routes. Going forward, we aim to establish APAR as a renowned brand in the retail business, which will happen with an increasing share of APAR in the wires business. India remains our home market, where we deliver products of global standards. With the highest number of uL approvals, we are well accepted in the US market and will continue to further strengthen our market share as opportunities are abundant with the revival of the capex cycle in the US. We will expand our export business to other parts of the world to reduce any country-specific risk. In 2023 we will continue to lead the innovation curve globally by working diligently towards achieving our core values of Innovation, Accountability, Entrepreneurial drive and Leadership.