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Powering Progress, Brightening Lives By K. Ravi Kumar, CMD, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited

At the time of India’s independence, there was a lack of large industrial infrastructure. For a country with a population of 360 million in 1947, total installed power generating capacity was just 1363 MW. Led by Pt. Nehru’s vision, our policy planners realised that without an adequate base to manufacture equipment required for generation, transmission and distribution of electric power, the desired levels of industrialization and economic development could not be achieved for the growth of the country.

Thus, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) was conceived with a vision to make India self-reliant in the manufacture of power plant equipment and to change the face of industrial development in India. Today, BHEL is the largest engineering enterprise of its kind in India and one of the foremost companies in the international power arena.

BHEL sets generate 73% of the total power generated in the country. In real terms, that translates into three out of every four homes in India being lit up with power generated by BHEL equipment! The company’s contribution has crossed 1,00,000 MW in installed capacity, covering both domestic and export markets. Not only has BHEL lived up to its original mandate but far surpassed its expectations.

BHEL has also supplied over 25,000 Electrical Motors with Drive Control Systems to power projects & various industries; over 3,00,000 MVA Transformer capacity and other equipment operating in Transmission and Distribution networks up to 400 kV (AC & DC); 72,000 Traction Machines and AC/DC locos to power a Railway network of more than 12,000 kms and over one million Valves to power plants and other industries. Indeed, BHEL has not only lived up to its original mandate but surpassed its original expectations.

BHEL has become an icon of an incredible success story and is today a multi-product company offering over 180 state-of-the-art products under one umbrella. While the core competence of BHEL is in the power sector, it has established the technological infrastructure to cater to core sectors like; Industry, Transportation, Transmission, Oil & Gas, Defence and Renewable Energy. Its diverse manufacturing base supported by contemporary and unique manufacturing facilities gives it a competitive edge.

BHEL has a committed workforce of 45,000 employees spread at 14 manufacturing divisions, 8 service centres and 4 power sector regional centres, besides over 100 project sites spread all over India and abroad. It also has a Corporate R&D centre at Hyderabad and product-based R&D centres at all its manufacturing units. Accreditations like ISO-9000, ISO-14001 and OHSAS-18001 have given the company international recognition for its unwavering commitment towards quality and environmental management.

BHEL undertakes the entire gamut of engineering, manufacturing, erection and commissioning, even on turnkey basis - an expertise available only with a few power plant equipment manufacturers in the world. The company caters to the specialised needs of customers offering total solutions, efficiently and economically.
BHEL offers state-of-the-art power plant equipment and services conforming to international quality certification/accreditation standards. It has the capability to manufacture thermal sets of up to 1,000 MW unit rating, gas turbine-generator sets of up to 280 MW unit rating and custom-made hydro sets of Francis, Pelton and Kaplan types for different head-discharge combinations, besides auxiliaries and equipment for both primary and secondary islands of Nuclear power plants up to 700 MWe unit rating.

Having demonstrated its track record in successfully establishing new technologies to serve the country’s power sector, BHEL has upgraded its technology base from sub-critical sets to supercritical sets of 660/800 MW and above. The company has ongoing collaboration agreements with Alstom, France and Siemens, Germany, with a technology transfer arrangement. This will enable the country to be self-reliant in the field of supercritical thermal power plants.

BHEL has also joined hands with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to form a Joint Venture company to set up nuclear power projects on EPC basis in India and abroad. Through the JVC, the two companies will work jointly to complement their respective core strengths in the areas of nuclear power generation at a crucial juncture when the nation is looking at adding huge power generating capacities from nuclear energy to meet the growing energy needs of the country. BHEL has been a major partner in NPCIL’s vision to achieve self-reliance in nuclear energy and its capacity addition programme for nearly four decades, from the first indigenously-built 220 MWe Nuclear sets at MAPP, Kalpakkam to the commissioning of the first 540 MWe Nuclear sets at Tarapur. The design and technology for TG sets and Steam Generators were jointly developed along with BHEL’s collaborators resulting in faster absorption of technology and development of indigenous vendors. BHEL is also supplying TG and Secondary Cycle equipment including reactor vessels for the 500 MWe PFBR (Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor) being set-up at Kalpakkam. The company’s share in the country’s installed nuclear power generating capacity stands at around 80% i.e. 3,280 MWe out of a total of 4,120 MWe.

BHEL’s generating equipment has consistently been registering a higher Plant Load Factor (PLF) and Operating Availability (OA) than the national average efficiency parameters. In fact, power generation in the country received a major boost during fiscal 2008-09, as a result of excellent performance of BHEL-built thermal sets, which achieved the highest ever OA of 88.2% and PLF of 80% which was higher than the national average by 2.6%.

Significantly, all the 6 power stations awarded with Govt. of India’s Gold Shield for excellent performance, are equipped with generating equipment manufactured and supplied by BHEL, once again establishing the reliability and quality of BHEL’s equipment.

Forming the backbone of the Indian Energy Sector, BHEL is equipped to meet the national agenda of providing ‘Power to All by the year 2012’. The company has been committed to the nation’s power development programme and has reaffirmed its commitment to the Indian Power Sector by equipping itself for the future, by way of technology, facilities and trained manpower to meet the country’s power forecast for the 11th Plan and beyond. In line with the expected growth in demand, BHEL is expanding its manufacturing capacity to 15,000 MW per annum, which is proceeding apace, and to 20,000 per annum by December 2011 and is prepared to further enhance its manufacturing capacity as required by the country’s power sector. Manpower is also being ramped up in a commensurate and timely manner. Besides, the company has taken steps like shift in operational focus from Product to Project and implementation of effective Project Management Systems.

BHEL has also carved a niche for itself in the global market, having marked its presence in all the six continents of the world. BHEL is today one of the largest exporters of engineering products and services from India and its technical competence has earned worldwide acclaim. Significantly, for outstanding export performance, BHEL has won the Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC)’s Top Export Award for eighteen years in succession.
The company is truly India’s industrial ambassador to the world, having established its references in more than 70 countries, from the United States in the West to New Zealand in the Far East.

These encompass projects like thermal, hydro and gas-based power plants, substation projects and rehabilitation projects, besides a wide variety of products, like transformers, compressors, valves and oil field equipment, electrostatic precipitators, photovoltaic equipment, insulators, switchgear, heat exchangers, castings and forgings etc. In addition, the company has offers operations and maintenance (O&M) services for various technologies and specialised after-market services such as residual life assessment studies, etc.

Riding high on its dominant domestic position, BHEL is taking long strides to become a major global player by enhancing its presence in international markets. It has identified overseas business as one of its thrust areas as part of its ‘Strategic Plan 2012’. Further stimulation in the growth of BHEL’s international business will be achieved through consolidation in existing markets, widening the export base through expansion of its existing basket of products and services, and by entering new markets, with EPC business being the key driver of its exponential growth plans.

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   RNI No. WBENG/2008/27737
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