Phoenix Lamps banks on halogens, to introduce new products
Phoenix Lamps Division, a unit of Suprajit Engineering Ltd (formerly Phoenix Lamps Ltd), which manufactures and supplies halogen lamps for the automotive sector, is introducing new variants in H4 and H7 halogen bulbs with extra life. Phoenix Lamps has its fully integrated state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in Noida. with a collective annual capacity of around 87 million lamps.
“Phoenix Lamps, which has been working with its concept, RGL (Robustness, Geometry and Life), to bring in new variants, since last year, added `P’ for power efficiency to make it RGLP. With RGLP, the focus is on reducing power consumption. We produce multiple products using RGLP and supply them in the global and Indian markets. It has started giving us dividend,” N S Mohan, Director and CEO of Phoenix Lamps Division, told AutoComponentsIndia.
He continued saying that, “RGLP cannot come as a package. If a customer chooses less power consumption he needs to sacrifice on something else. Our focus is to have a bunch of products available in the market and allow the customer to choose. With the available technology, there is no scope for their coexistence in the halogen segment. In LEDs, it is a different story. Its life is more dependent on the thermal management and how the heat is taken out. For light and luminosity, there is no restriction on LEDs. The challenge there is to get the beam pattern and to integrate with the beam box,” he said.
Mohan stated that Phoenix continued to hold pole position both with the OEMs and in the aftermarket. Major portion of the total revenue is from the aftermarket. Last year, aided by GST, the company had record sales in India. “We streamlined the business and allowed organised players to capitalise. This got us to the pole position. The quality issues that we had earlier were resolved and we regained the trust of the OEMs. Moving forward, we have to clearly assess the impact of LEDs on our business,” he said. For the world market, Phoenix has UN certification and recently got the DOP certificates for the US market.
“Our new H7 line is installed and is working at a good level of capacity utilisation. We have certain bottlenecks in a few areas. This year we will try to rectify them. For 2018-19, our focus is to be there in the global aftermarket and to work with big brands. We will work closely with both the domestic and export markets,” Mohan said. “We can see an increase in the sales of H7. We were not able to give quality H7 bulbs earlier, but now we have a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for H7, may be the best H7 facility in India. The capacity remains the same. What we did was, we retired the old line and replaced it with a new one,” he said.
About the OE markets in India and abroad, the official said, “Earlier,
we were looked upon as a low-cost manufacturer. Now, it has changed, and they look at us as a potential company bringing technological solutions. On the global market, we are concentrating only on the aftermarket. In the global aftermarket, LED has not come yet. It is more stringent there in Europe. We see that being in halogen is our strength. The big players like Phillips are moving away from it. It is a shrinking business for them and they are not in it. This allows us to grab that business and sustain it as long as we have the quality. Lots of markets are leaving halogens and if we choose them, we can modify and bring them in. We do not supply to OEM in Europe. We are certified, and we can always supply if we have an opportunity.”
On the aftermarket of LED, he said that it all depends on pricing. The LED prices are very high, and he feels that over the time they will come down. “LEDs are more of an accessory than a replacement item. There are no regulations in India like those in Europe. LEDs give very bright light and the temperature level is high. It blinds the oncoming traffic posing a safety hazard. Vehicles with such LEDs do not have any controlled beam pattern and throw light haphazardly. Having said that, we are seeing LEDs as a small portion of our business now,” Mohan said.
In commercial vehicles and cars, the chances of failure and replacement of bulbs are high. Phoenix has done a test marketing by introducing LED bulb solution. There is some market that will take it. So, from a brand perspective, it is very important for the company. It has seeded the market and are also in discussion with few players to work together and supply. But it is not looking at manufacturing LEDs now.
With the new norms coming in, the manufacturers will be forced to move to LEDs. This will reduce the engine load and will help with vehicle performance. Mohan thinks it will take time for the whole transition and there is headroom for the halogens in the aftermarket.
“Everything is related to the price point. There are 2 types of business, niche and mass or volume. In volume business, 2 things are very critical, the initial cost of ownership and cost of running. In a volume segment when you bring in LED, cost of ownership goes up, but the cost of running comes down, because of the weight reduction and better mileage. Therefore, it makes sense to go for LEDs. However, the commuter level is an entry segment, which is extremely price sensitive. This is not easy for OEMs to say that they are replacing Halogen with LEDs and passing on the cost to the customers who are price sensitive. If the OEMs come with the same total price, then it will be a different story. When you go to the niche segment, the upper level, then you have a different game and you can offer whatever you want. We are still in the volume game, we feel it will take time,” Mohan staid.
On the Chinese products that are in the market, Mohan feels that, at the end of the day price is not everything. It is a question of how you are going to gain market share and hold them, he signed off.
Phoenix Lamps Noida plant
N S Mohan, Director and CEO of Phoenix Lamps Division