The power sector is an important application area for a wide range of 3M products, according to Dr Kris Sridhar, Executive Director – R&D, 3M India. Dr Sridhar was addressing a select media briefing at the company’s Bengaluru R&D Centre recently. “Power is a big sector for 3M in India. We are focused on power and infrastructure in general,” said Dr Sridhar. The press briefing was held on the eve of the two-day “Tech Connect 2017” event organized by 3M India to showcase its various products and solutions. 3M has over 65,000 products in various fields like adhesives, coatings, heat & light management, health & safety, pollution control, etc.
Dr Kris Sridhar also observed that a significant proportion of the global portfolio of 3M is sold in India. “The number of products is increasing and there is also more local content,” he said adding that 3M was building its capability in the Indian market. Bengaluru houses the main R&D centre of 3M India and is supported by a smaller technology centre at Gurugram in Haryana. “We have opportunities to build more capabilities in India,” said Dr Sridhar.
Discussing the energy sector in some detail, Dr Sridhar noted that in the power and energy (oil & gas) sectors, the coatings business of 3M India was doing very well. “We have a very good market share and things are progressing.”
All the same, 3M is aiming at improving its penetration in the high-voltage power transmission side and also in the grid modernization space. “We are trying to work with both public and private utilities to see what more we can offer to them,” said Dr Sridhar explaining the company’s approach. Maintaining optimism on the power sector, the top R&D official said that 3M could capitalize on its successful experience of such products in the large markets of China, US and Europe. “Things will have to catch up in India because power and infrastructure is a big area,” he observed.
Among the latest products launched by 3M for the power transmission & distribution (T&D) sector is a sensor power cable terminator. Explaining the product, a senior manager of 3M India said that the product was launched in around 2013 in European market, for specific voltages. Based on RFID technology, the sensor (in picture) senses the conditions of underground high voltage cables. The device is installed underground and has a terminator (communicating device) that continuously monitors the health of the power cable. This device is placed with the power utility. The innovative sensor terminator acts like a “stethoscope” and continuously keeps recording the health of the power cable. It is very useful in as a preventive maintenance device, explained the official, adding that the device was now being adapted for Indian conditions (voltages) and that commercial deployment was expected soon.
The new sensor power cable terminator adds to a long list of products that 3M offers to the power T&D sector. It may be recalled that 3M is the pioneer in the field of cold-shrink technology that is used in jointing of power as well as telecom cables. In usage worldwide for over 60 years now, cold shrink technology is a revolutionary alternative to the conventional heat-shrink technology, offering advantages like safety and much lower processing time.
3M is also known for its ACCR (aluminium conductor composite reinforced) conductor that is a superior alternative to the standard ACSR (aluminium conductor steel reinforced) conductor used in overhead power transmission lines. ACCR resists thermal sag and also enhances current-carrying capacity by over two and a half times, the official said. India has seen several deployments of ACCR. Tata Power, for instance, installed ACCR conductors in its Mumbai distribution area with a view to enhancing power transmission capacity without the need for securing additional right of way.