K VijayKumar Gupta, CEO, Kwality Photonics P Ltd and LEDChip Indus P Ltd
Kwality Photonics has put India on the global LED map by setting up an ultra-modern fully-automatic LED plant with a capacity of a billion LEDs per annum. The company has high brand equity in the domestic market. The new company set up this year — LEDchip Indus Pvt Ltd — is a DIPP recognised start up enterprise and is financed by SIDBI at Hyderabad. K VijayKumar Gupta, CEO, Kwality Photonics P Ltd and LEDChip Indus P Ltd speaks to Lighting India about his company and the various issues.
How do you perceive the current LED market in India?
Current LED market is the brightest spot (pun intended) in the otherwise difficult economy. As per latest view of our Association ELCOMA, the proportion of LED Lamps in Sales has increased enormously.
Last year LED business contributed to 54% of total Lighting sales and projected to be more than 70% in 2017.
This is inspite of fact that the industry faced issues like Demonetization, GST, E-waste rules, MEITY CRO scheme etc which disrupted the sales last year
Can you tell us about your product portfolio and also talk about your best selling LED products?
LEDChip Indus is the sole Indian producer of LEDs - technically called as LED packages. We are in LED Semiconductor Components production since 1987 and even before that in LED R&D at IISC, BARC, TIFR & CEL since 1977.
Historically Indian market is highly fragmented characterised by low volumes across DIP LED, Segmented Displays & SMD LEDs. We are into all the product segments and of late specialised as mass producer in SMD LEDs for White Light.
We would like to know which segment of the market according to you is your best customer?
For Kwality-LEDchip Indus, the Lighting Segment is the major market now. Of recent multiplicity of LED packages have converged into one size called 2835 SMD and we have created high production capacity in this 2835 LED. We offer 2835 0.2Watt for tubelights, 2835 0.5Watt for bulbs & Downlights, and 2835/3030 1.0Watt. Though basic LED voltage is 3V, we readily developed 6V, 9V 18V options for innovative applications in lighting.
What is your company’s contribution towards the mission ‘Make in India’?
A late beginner India marched into LED Lighting in the giant strides of EESL, who played the role of Demand Consolidator and gave confidence to Indian Enterprises to invest in Huge capacities of LED assembly process & to supporting ancillary industries in Casting, Molding, MCPCBs, & EMS. It created huge manual employment beyond any other industry and allowed wider diffusion of the knowledge and offered huge opportunity to many small time supervisors with enterprising outlook.
The Lighting applications use entirely SMD LEDs which are difficult to solder manually. This ushered rapid adoption of mechanized soldering or SMT machines, which the industry was resisting since a decade due to fragmented volumes.
What was conspicuous by absence was local production of LED components. The entire Electronic Component Industry was wiped out when the import duties became zero under ITA1996 in agreement. Some one has to come out of comfort zone and take the lead. As the senior player the market for LEDs, the Kwality Group took decision to make investments in scale that would put India firmly on the Global LED MAP. We went for the most modern automation technology, poured our 40 years of study into the production process and succeeded in LED production at very competitive cost. Our vision is to reach 10 billion LEDs capacity rapidly and 100 billion capacity in short term. All our LEDs have LM80 compliance with 99% brightness retention after 9 month test at super high temperatures of 105°C.
We know how lighting makers in India feel when ‘imported’ ( read as Chinese) lights steal the market from under their nose. This same spirit will drive the patronage to pure India made LEDs from all the members of Indian lighting industry, since LED is lone non-Indian component in their otherwise fully Indian B.O.M. And why not, especially when the quality is proven and when prices are inviting. Kwality is already is a trusted brand name in the Indian Electronic Sector.
Can you tell us your views on GST?
GST will help automate the indirect taxation process, and ultimately mainstream the whole business cycle. This may eliminate the off-line transactions and push the market to compete on merit basis.
How do you cope up with the ever-changing technology in the LED space?
LED technology is rapidly developing and the packaging innovations are happening all around. We are keen students of this field, have access to developments from all corners of the world and have access to technology innovators. Our investments are selected in a way to support emerging process like Flipchip, CSP, COB, DOB, SOB etc. If opportunity arises, we will not hesitate to make India leapfrog to next generation Lighting Sources.
Can you tell us about your start-up ‘LEDchip Indus Pvt Ltd’? What can the customers look forward to from this expansion?
LEDchip Indus is spun off as a startup to harness benefits of the make-in-India incentives by GOI, to build tech-savvy culture in the work force, to adapt best Industry practices and to imbibe progressive customer oriented processes. The mix of 80 man-years of experience with young eager engineers has given us vigour & optimism to take on the world best and prove that India can do it better.
Who are your major clients? Can you name a few? What message do you have for the prospective clients?
We have over 2000 loyal customers spread across metros & towns of India, including large, medium and small makers.
What kind of innovations can we look forward to in the LED space?
Best LED sources are still confined to InGaN & other III-V elements. The recent micro LEDs & OLEDs are better suited for non lighting applications. The LED lights are howerever getting transformed to intelligent lighting and LiFi where they will play a dominating role in last mile communications..
What are your future plans?
We are firmly embarked on the path to become INDIA’s No1 Global Scale producer of LEDs. We are going for innvoative financing and scaling up to put India as a place to reckon as producer of professional grade LEDs.