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Inverterized appliances paving the way for a greener world

The appliances industry is poised for a major growth in the next three years with an expected CAGR of 12–15 percent. The Indian government through Budget 2019 has introduced efforts to drive use of clean energy and push for energy efficiency across all power applications. Energy-efficient appliances are growing fast in the Indian market and smart appliances are the future in the Indian households.

Many developed countries have already achieved 60–90 percent penetration level for energy-efficient appliances, while India has just started on this path. Appliances like fans, air conditioners, refrigerators, and the like, are all major contributors to energy consumption. India is rightly accelerating efforts to move toward energy efficiency or what is also called inverterized appliances. As an example, a ceiling fan that consumes 70W power, when using brushless DC (BLDC) motor approach, consumes 35W or less. Energy Efficient Services Ltd. (EESL), Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), and others are enabling faster adoption of energy-efficient appliances. Multinational players are already aggressively selling inverterized appliances in the Indian market, and local players are accelerating these efforts. We already see a quantum jump in the market share of inverterized air conditioners – share growing to more than 50 percent already, and expecting to grow to over 80 percent in the next two to three years.

Despite the push from the government for wider adoption of inverterized appliances in India, at present, a major portion of inverter boards are simply imported even as the industry has the capability to easily design and manufacture these solutions locally. Hence, there is a need for a parallel drive for adoption of locally designed and manufactured products in this segment. Since there is no clear policy in this regard so far, there needs to be a push toward inverterization, which can also feature in the government’s popular Make in India program, for the local ecosystem to evolve and benefit in totality.

What are inverterized appliances and how do they help in increasing energy efficiency?
Motors are a key part of appliances. So far, the traditional approach has been based on only two operating controls (on/off) with no speed-control techniques. This leads to much higher power consumption. On the other hand, inverterization is the technique commonly used these days – also known as variable speed drive (VSD) – wherein an inverter converts power from DC to AC and the power is then converted back to DC. In addition to benefits of its quieter and smoother operation, the inverterized mode also helps to reduce average power consumption in comparison to the traditional on/off mode.

One of the key growth drivers is the extensive growth in demand for electrical appliances riding on the back of an exploding urban population. While this is a great scenario for businesses, it does place an intensive strain on electricity supply, if left unchecked. So, the need for energy efficiency in appliances is obviously quite high. We will see an increasing rate of adoption for inverterized appliances, with increasing local design and manufacturing capability (electronics portion) and higher consumer understanding on long-term cost (adding inverter design portion) versus benefit (long-term energy bill saving). Educating the end consumer on the benefits of energy-efficient appliances can be one of the ways to help hasten this pace of adoption, and in turn help propel growth of this industry.

Infineon aims to make this world an easier and greener place by delivering energy-efficient and reliable semiconductor solutions at the best performance per unit cost for power electronics systems. We majorly focus on developing complete designs to help customers reduce time to market, and also work closely with ecosystem partners to develop localized solutions. Infineon offers a range of products that feature dedicated motor controllers (iMOTION chipset), intelligent power modules (IPMs), and discrete IGBT products for this market. We cover complete solutions including applications for BLDC fans, inverterized air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, desert coolers, solar pumps, among others.

On the other hand, future appliances will be smart appliances. Controlled remotely on smart phones or other applications, deploying sensors, and using data and communication as tools, these appliances will expand presence in the Indian households. Infineon has array of solutions in this domain and we are one of the world leaders in this area with our offerings. We cover entire electronics solutions for inverters, smart technologies, and power supply; appliances industry is a big focus for us in India. With a wide network of ecosystem partners, and our local and worldwide technical support team, we continue to work with the local industry to locally develop products and achieve faster growth.

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