Please take us through milestones of journey of the company.
Established in 1986, Werner Finley (WF) is founded by my father, J R Gundu Rao, who is a mechanical engineer and had more than three decades of experience in the field of maintenance of machine tools and cooling systems in large public sector like BEML. WF was conceived in a very small workshop that was 100 square feet in space with 4 employees in an old Industrial area in Bangalore. The first product that was manufactured was the Panel Air conditioner, which was used to cool control panels of various machine tool. In 1994, the company was incorporated as a private limited company and during this year a new product line was introduced, which was the oil or coolant chiller that again was useful to cool and re-circulate coolant in machine tools. During this year Gundu Rao’s nephew, Sharath Kumar, joined the business and started assisting in managing and growing the organisation. Today Sharath Kumar heads Finance and corporate business.
During 1998, after completing mechanical engineering from RV College of Engineering, I joined my fathers venture and got trained in various faculties like production, design and sales until 2007. Post 2007, I was given the opportunity to lead the business as the CEO. My approach was to first build a strong team, then fill up the gaps in the product range, reach out to multiple applications in various industrial sectors, spread geographically within and outside of India. From 2007 until now, we have grown from 35 people to 160 people Strong. We have two manufacturing units in Peenya, Bangalore. We have the widest range of fluid and air cooling systems in the country. We cater to a wide array of industries, ranging from automotive, machine tool, food processing, healthcare, data centre, plastics, renewable energy, pharma, chemical, printing, etc. Our supplies have reach not only all over India, but to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives and also to the continents of Europe and US.
Today Werner Finley is one among the top players in India in the space of process cooling, owing to its strong design capabilities and deep understanding of various applications and its nittygritties. We also have a very strong sales and service team, across the country, headed by our Sales and Marketing Director, Prashanth A N, who is a BE, MBA … with 2 decades of experiences in sales of related solutions.
What are the cooling solutions offered by the company?
We offer water chillers, starting from as low as 0.3 TR to 200 TR, oil and coolant chillers for machine tool application, panel air conditioners for control panel cooling, heat exchanger systems for solar inverter cooling application, data centre cooling systems for low and medium density rack cooling ranging from 3.5 kW to 35 kW and cold rooms for storage of perishables, like fruits, vegetables, meat, ice cream, dairy, etc.
What is process cooling? What are the applications of process cooling?
There are two major verticals in cooling. One is comfort cooling and the other is process cooling. As the word suggests, comfort cooling is nothing but air conditioning for cooling spaces in which humans operate.
Process cooling is applied to manufacturing processes that produce heat and where this heat is undesired and needs to be removed. By removing this heat continuously and efficiently, the process will achieve higher safety, productivity, quality and reliability. Like for example in a server, where data is being processed, lots of heat is produced. If this heat is not removed continuously and efficiently, the servers will malfunction and eventually stop working. Therefore, use of suitable cooling systems will allow the servers to operate in a conditioned environment, where it can operate efficiently and continuously, so that the user gets an uninterrupted experience at an optimum cost.
Applications of process cooling are in metal working, heat treatment, painting, laboratory, plastic processing, packaging, laser, food processing, brewery, winery, distillery, MRI, CT and Lineac, data centre, power electronics, printing, concrete batching, reactor jacket cooling, vacuum coating and furnaces, sugar refineries and soaps and detergents.
What are the technical innovations that would you like to incorporate in products to make them more energy efficient?
The cooling system is one of the major power guzzlers in the process industry. So, being energy efficient is a must and a major differentiator. Werner Finley has been one of the leaders in offering highly energy efficient cooling systems in the market. For example, a water chilling system was designed and installed in an IT major at Bangalore, for data centre application. It is the most energy efficient air-cooled chiller in the market, with a 0.6 IKW/TR. WF has many options like digital scroll compressors, VFD based scroll and screw compressors, EC fans, VFD pumps, Adiabatic cooling pads for air cooled condensers, electronic expansion valves. These can be plugged during the selection of the cooling system variant, which will make it highly energy efficient.
What’s your take on the recent performance of cold chain and refrigeration industry?
To put it simply, we cannot expect the cold chain or refrigeration industry to reflect what happened in countries like US, China, Europe, etc. These markets are different from Indian markets on many counts.
We need to work around a model which is India centric and caters to the specific demands and conditions of the Indian markets. Production in our country is highly fragmented and we have huge infrastructure issues, which need to be kept in mind while conceptualising the cold chain for India.
For example, the milk collection and distribution model in India, started by Amul, is so different from the western models. And that is why dairy is so successful in India as an industry. So, design thinking needs to be applied in cold chain, to be able to see scale in shorter periods. Otherwise, we will have to wait till things get organised, which can be too long a wait for many of us.
How technology is defining Indian cold chain industry’s future?
More energy efficient systems make storage less expensive. May be natural cooling and solar powered systems can be the answer. We have witnessed change in refrigerants from F gas to natural refrigerants. IoT has made the operations of cold storage more connected, efficient and sustainable. How do you see the future of the industry beyond 2019? Markets are volatile and unpredictable. Information is available on real time basis. Competition is fierce and global. Are you planning to launch any new product in near future? We have recently launched the data centre cooling systems range, which can be adopted for cooling low and medium density server racks. These systems are highly energy efficient, compact and IoT enabled.