Mr TM Nagarajan is Vice President and Head of Wipro Water. He is responsible for leading the business strategy and aligning focus towards defining innovative solutions, creating market niches and operational strategy. Having over 34 years of experience in the Water Industry, Nagarajan has worked with various water and wastewater treatment organisations prior to Wipro Water. He has rich experience in Application Engineering, Business Development, Sales and Export. He has also contributed in defining business strategies, establishing operations including transfer of technology, localizing supply chain and creating business models. Mr Nagarajan is a Chemical Engineer from BITS Pilani. Read on to know more about his views on Industry 4.0, the way forward for the water and wastewater sector.
Can you share with us about your journey in the water/wastewater treatment sector?
I started with Thermax Limited in Pune in 1986 and was a design engineer, later moved to sales of water and wastewater treatment plants. I was involved in standard and medium plant and Project businesses. I had an opportunity to work for the international business as well.
Thereafter I worked with Siemens Water Technologies, Mumbai in 2008. The role involved establishing the water technologies business in India – strategy formulation- establishing supply chain and localisation of technologies. I now head the water business at Wipro Enterprises Private Limited, since 2018. Wipro Water is a solution provider in water, wastewater and recycle with focus on the industry sector. We also give post warranty services like O&M, spare parts supply and revamp/retro fit solutions. We serve the Indian as well as overseas markets in South East Asia.
You have certainly seen many changes in the industry over the years, how do you compare it with the present time and the way of doing business?
There is an increasing awareness and weightage being given to the life cycle costs while taking the decision. Automation of water and wastewater treatment plants has become normal. Using on line platforms for bidding and negotiations have gained traction. Customers are becoming more discerning in selection of vendors – project execution capability is a good differentiator.
What do you think are the pressing water problems in India currently?
Depleting quality and quantity of water. Meeting the disposal norms or recycling the wastewater has also become imperative to the industry.
In your opinion how has the government’s approach been towards the wastewater treatment sector?
The government has encouraged common effluent treatment plant for specific industry cluster/ geographies. Operations and maintenance of such effluent treatment plants continue to remain a challenge, due to the varying inputs in wastewater treatment quality. Government has also come up with online monitoring measures to ensure compliance.
What are the industrial applications that are likely to drive the Indian water sector towards sustainability and why?
Use of recycle water, for example: - Tertiary treated sewage will help in reducing intake of fresh water. Industries that have access to sea water can explore the use of sea water as input to industry.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, emphasis is being given on remote monitoring of water and quality surveillance. How do you think it can be achieved in urban and rural areas?
Remote monitoring will help in control of water leakage and predictive maintenance of the assets. This can be achieved by influencing technologies in treatment and distribution networks.
According to you what is the awareness level in India for digital water management?
There is an increasing awareness for digital water management with automation and close monitoring digital way of managing the assets will help in productive utilization of resources.
With IoT/Industry 4.0 making major inroads in the manufacturing sector, are Indian water treatment companies aligned with Industry 4.0?
Artificial intelligence has made inroads into the water treatment business, similar to industrial industries, and Indian companies like Wipro Water are well suited in this area. In reality, in our project business, we are already utilizing cutting-edge technology such as cloud computing, automation, and so on. Our service team makes extensive use of artificial intelligence, including predictive modelling to analyse and optimize operational efficiencies. This is also useful for remote operations and troubleshooting of water and wastewater treatment plants.
Role of AI & IoT in the manufacturing sector is increasing manifold with the emerging industry 4.0 being actively pursued in the 21st century. AI & IoT deals with design and development of systems that are able to do tasks that require human intelligence.
IoT monitors quantity of chemicals and impurities that have been discharged out of the plant and parameters are monitored in real time so that they will stay within the permissible limits.
Hence, many leading companies are actively working on AI/IoT
Please share your views about the areas where the Indian water treatment companies lack and how can they overcome it and improve the scenario for this sector.
Infusion of new technologies represent a good potential in the water treatment sector, localization and developing a robust supply chain will help in improving the performance of the sector.
How do you perceive the Indian water treatment sector 20 years from now?
Decentralised water and sewage treatment will become normal and remote monitoring of all the facilities.
What are your future plans and roadmap for the growth of Wipro Water?
Wipro Water aims to be a top EPC player in the water industry in India and Asia in coming years. Adept at providing complex water and wastewater treatment solutions for segments like Power, Oil and Gas, Chemicals, Food and Beverages, Textile, Paper, Automobile etc.
Wipro Water would be scaling up by organic and inorganic growth to be the industry leader in years to come.