Indian powerhouse

Print edition : December 19, 2008

The rotor assembly area at BHELs Haridwar plant.-PICTURES: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

BHEL has the competitive edge in power, industry, transportation, transmission, oil and gas, defence and renewable energy sectors.

BHARAT Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) was conceived with a vision to make India self-reliant in the manufacture of power-plant equipment. Established over 40 years ago, it is now the largest engineering enterprise of its kind in India and one of the premier firms in the countrys power arena. The company has been earning profits continuously since 1971-72 and paying dividends since 1976-77.

BHELs operations are organised around three business sectors: power, industry including transmission, transportation, telecommunication and renewable energy and overseas business. BHEL power sets generate over 73 per cent of the total electricity produced in the country. In other words, power generated by BHEL equipment lights up three out of four homes in India. The company contributes to an installed capacity of more than 1,00,000 MW, covering both domestic and export markets. The engineering major has also supplied the following: more than 25,000 electrical motors with drive control systems to power projects and various industries; over 3,00,000 MVA transformer capacity and other equipment operating in transmission and distribution networks up to 400 kV (AC and DC); 70,000 traction machines and AC/DC locos to power a railway network of more than 12,000 kilometres; and over one million valves to power plants and other industries.

BHEL offers over 180 state-of-the-art products. While its core competence remains in the power sector, it has established the technological infrastructure to cater to other sectors such as industry, transportation, transmission, oil and gas, defence and renewable energy. Its diverse manufacturing base, supported by contemporary and unique manufacturing facilities, gives it the competitive edge.

It is the only state-owned enterprise among Indian companies to figure in the Forbes Asia Fabulous 50 list for the second year in a row. Its workforce of 43,000 employees is spread in 14 manufacturing divisions, eight service centres and four power sector regional centres, besides over 100 project sites in India and abroad. It has a corporate R&D centre in Hyderabad and product-based R&D centres in all its manufacturing units.

BHEL undertakes the entire gamut of engineering, manufacturing, erection and commissioning even on a turnkey basis. This expertise is available only with a few power plant equipment manufacturers in the world. Its generating equipment has consistently been registering a higher plant load factor (PLF) and operating availability (OA) than the national average efficiency parameters. According to the companys estimates, power generation in the country received a major boost during fiscal the 2007-08 as a result of the excellent performance of BHEL-built thermal sets, which achieved the highest ever PLF of 80.4 per cent.

At BHEL, Tiruchi, a heat recovery system generator module welding station, which was inaugurated on November 17.-

Significantly, 11 of the 12 power stations awarded the Government of Indias Gold Shield for excellent performance have generating equipment manufactured and supplied by BHEL. As an important player in the Indian energy sector, the company is expected to shoulder a major responsibility to achieve the national agenda of providing Power to All by 2012. In line with the expected growth in demand, BHEL is expanding its manufacturing capacity.

It has also carved a niche for itself in the global market, having supplied products, services and projects to more than 70 countries, from the United States in the West to New Zealand in the Far East. BHELs vision is to become a world-class engineering enterprise, committed to enhancing stakeholder value.

During recent years, BHEL has taken several initiatives in order to face the future with optimism. In 2007-08, the company broke new ground by bagging its first order for supercritical boilers (2x660 MW) from NTPC for its Barh Stage-II project.

To meet the emerging competition in the subcritical range, BHEL has introduced new rating thermal sets of 270 MW, 525 MW and 600 MW. Against international bidding, it bagged orders for four advanced-class gas turbines (Fr.9FA).

Some of the initiatives in its industry-related business areas include coach building for the Indian Railways; manufacturing of electric locomotives; refurbishing and upgrading of onshore drilling rigs; and development of disc insulators for 800 kV HVDC applications.

BHEL is on its way to establishing a manufacturing capacity of 15,000 MW a year by December 2009. It has also decided to go in for capacity expansion of 20,000 MW by December 2011. Besides capacity augmentation of existing products in the area of thermal, gas, hydro and nuclear power, other areas of investment include facilities for higher rating nuclear sets, 765 kV transformers and other associated transmission equipment.

The company also hopes to rebuild and retrofit the existing facilities to enhance their life, accuracy and productivity through additional investment.

The company has been focussing on partnerships to execute its projects in time and extend its presence in the marketplace. In 2007-08, it entered into a pact with the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to form a joint venture to set up a 2x800 MW supercritical thermal power project in Tamil Nadu. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with the Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC) to export more power-plant equipment and projects by leveraging countertrade and bulk buying. An MoU was also signed with NTPC to form a joint venture to execute EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) projects and also manufacture power equipment.

The first-ever indigenously built 2,000 hp industrial motor manufactured at the BHEL factory in Bhopal.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

To improve project delivery, BHEL has placed emphasis on equipping its regions with the necessary higher capacity cranes, manpower and so on for faster project execution. A better project monitoring system using Primavera, a project, cost and resource management software, has been put in place.

Its employees have always been its strength and BHEL continues to invest in their training so as to enable them to develop new ways of providing innovative solutions to customers. During the year, each employee on an average was exposed to 14.86 man-days of training. For integrated management of human resources on a pan-BHEL basis, the company is in the process of implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) in HR; certain modules of this have already been implemented.

Industrial relations have remained cordial and harmonious during the year, contributing to better production and productivity. A number of HR policies were reviewed so as to attract and retain employees.

Manpower is being ramped up in a commensurate and timely manner. Nearly 3,800 employees, comprising engineer trainees, supervisors and artisans, joined the company in 2007-08.

Conscious of the need to improve constantly upon its competitiveness, BHEL has drawn up a number of sector-specific criteria covering areas of business excellence, human resource management, engineering and R&D, and corporate social responsibility. The equipment major is well on its way to attaining a sustainable profitable growth. The strategic plan of the company envisages a turnover of Rs.45,000 crore by 2011-12.

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