East meets west to deliver power excellence

Indian Pai Kane Group acquired British Sheaf Power in March 2018 to combine innovation with manufacturing excellence

Read this article to learn:

  • Why Pai Kane Group acquired Sheaf Power and how they plan to integrate
  • The footprint and product range offered by Pai Kane Group
  • The benefits of DC generators over AC
  • How diesel gensets can be optimised to increase efficiency
  • Key learnings on reducing fuel theft

With over 30 years of experience and a wealth of expertise in cost management and innovation, Pai Kane Group added British manufacturing standards and project expertise to their toolkit with the acquisition of Sheaf Power earlier this year. TowerXchange spoke to Chairman Atul Pai Kane about their offering, how they are evolving with the market and what can be done to cut down fuel theft

TowerXchange: Please can you introduce TowerXchange readers to Sheaf Power and the Pai Kane Group, what was the rationale between the two companies coming together and what products do you now supply?

Atul Pai Kane, Chairman, Pai Kane Group:

The Pai Kane Group is an India-based group engaged in providing diesel and gas generators and allied products. In business for 30 years, it is an established brand within and outside India. It exports generators to 66 countries in the world. It manufactures a wide range of gensets and specialises in meeting telecom sector requirements. The Pai Kane group has an in-house state of the art canopy and switchboard manufacturing facility enabling it to design and offer specialised solutions specific to the industry requirements.

Sheaf Power is a company based in the United Kingdom, engaged in providing bespoke solutions to meet backup power requirements of a very specialised nature. With a rich and long heritage, the company has engaged in projects in and outside of the United Kingdom. It specialises in undertaking complex projects involving manufacture and supply of generators and on-site implementation of projects. 

Pai Kane group acquired Sheaf Power in March 2018 with a view to combine the strengths of the two companies – Sheaf brings in its British manufacturing standards and project expertise to combine with the strengths of Pai Kane being innovation and cost control, market reach and mass manufacturing expertise.

TowerXchange: Can you introduce some of the clients that you have worked with in the telecom space?

Atul Pai Kane, Chairman, Pai Kane Group:

We have worked with almost all major players in the Indian telecom and tower market. We have also worked with some key players in the international telecom industry, primarily in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

TowerXchange: What generator sets do you supply and how does their efficiency, robustness and ease of servicing compare to others in the market?

Atul Pai Kane, Chairman, Pai Kane Group:

In the telecom sector, we primarily deal with generators powered by Yanmar engines. Yanmar engines provide best-in-class durability, sturdiness and fuel efficiency. This, combined with our generator design and manufacturing expertise allows us to offer generators that are long lasting, economical on fuel, meeting stringent sound and emission norms, and aesthetically pleasant. The price point at which we offer these gensets makes it a complete value for money proposition beating everyone else. 

TowerXchange: We hear a lot of debate about the merits of AC versus DC generators; what is your view on the subject?

Atul Pai Kane, Chairman, Pai Kane Group:

Recently many telecom companies are focussing on operational cost reduction while using diesel generator sets as well as a hybrid system of solar or wind energy. Diesel generators are a reliable product with running capabilities on any weather conditions, the focus is on fuel consumption hence DC generators are designed to optimise the operational cost, being a variable speed they have an efficiency above 93% and are designed to reduce the electrical ripples, maintaining efficiency throughout the RPM range and eliminating AC rectifiers which are being used in AC generator. With improvement globally on storage energy through technologically advanced batteries we see a good growth in DC generators in the coming future.

TowerXchange: Major focus has been put into generator efficiency projects by tower owners, what do you think are some of the most important steps that need to be made to optimise power systems?

Atul Pai Kane, Chairman, Pai Kane Group:

Generator engine manufacturers globally are spending on R&D to improve the efficiency of engines and meet lower environmental emission levels. With telecom towers being used in high density populated areas it is important to adhere to local emission norms and ensure the generator sets are meeting the criteria of high efficiency in output power and the fuel consumption.

TowerXchange: Diesel theft remains a major problem across the African continent, can you share some of the learnings from your clients across multiple sectors on how to mitigate this?

Atul Pai Kane, Chairman, Pai Kane Group:

Basically two types of theft occur at remote tower off-grid type sites a) administrative theft and b) on site theft. In some African countries as many as 80 % of towers are off-grid, these sites are powered by diesel generators and batteries and sometimes hybrid which includes solar. The off-grid sites being remotely located creates a soaring OPEX cost of up to 60 % due to fuel expenditure and another factor increasing the cost is fuel theft. Between 20 to 35 % of fuel intended for the tower site is stolen because: 

a) Administrative theft occurs before the fuel reaches the destination either at fuel filling station, during transportation wherein adulteration happens and accounts to 50 % of total fuel stolen – solutions to this can be outsourcing the delivery process to a fuel supplier and installing a remote management solution in the fuel tank at site. Also having a RMS fitted on the fuel supplier truck will maintain visibility throughout the transportation process.

b) On site theft – due to the remote location of the towers, theft is usually perpetrated by the staff members or outsourced third parties engaged in upkeep of the generator, in this case not only fuel but batteries too are at high risk of theft. Solutions to counter this type of theft could include the deployment of key access electronic including person- and role-based access control, by using pin pads, electronic keys, and other devices using RFID and biometric features. The installation of surveillance cameras with access and motion control can help, also high accuracy fuel level and fuel consumption sensors to inform through GPS about any untoward level drop and consumption, high fences and underground fuel tank storage, and lastly, most important is to maintain good relationship with local community.

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