K-Lite: Vision of Growth through Quality and Continuous Innovation
Company’s recent phenomenal success has been due to Ms. Sharmila Kumbhat’s vision of growth through quality and continuous innovation. She is an interior designer by profession but a proven and dynamic entrepreneur by choice and commitment. Having started her career at a very young age at Metal Craft, Chennai, she learned about various dynamics of manufacturing processes at national and international levels. Amongst various acknowledgements bestowed, Ms. Kumbhat received award for best young entrepreneur in 1996 by the Government of Tamil Nadu and also stood state first in Fashion Designing. After completing her Interior designing in New York, she headed K-Lite’s in USA operations. Inspired by her father Mr. Dilip Kumbhat, her constant focus is on energy conservation and continuous innovation for the greater good of the environment. Her zest to achieve perfection in terms of design and quality has enabled the company to place itself as one of the best in premier lighting brands at a global level.
An exclusive interview with Ms. Sharmila Kumbhat’s, Director, K-Lite Industries with Space Products Finder (SPF).
Ans: K-Lite Industries, an ISO company, are manufacturers of indoor and outdoor luminaires. Light creates infinite possibilities for our imagination and for our lives … In 1977 K-LITE began a long journey of innovation in lighting products, chasing the dream of light. Light allows us to realize the possibilities of our imagination. The quality of light influences the quality of life and it is clear that light must combine technique and emotions contemporaneously, defining new values, meanings, feelings, culture, comfort etc., overcoming the simple light – dark dichotomy. Furthermore, it must achieve this in compliance with the environment and available resources. Light has a communicative and social value in its ability to optimise urban spaces, giving the possibility of reclaiming the culture of a place, encourage aggregation, stimulating business and tourism, making events and architecture spectacular.
K-Lite, through their innovative outlook, have showcased a whole range of new products under various portfoilos. The range is all the more very special because of the light source viz., energy saving, environment friendly “green” lighting with LED. The application includes facade lighting, pathway lighting, in-ground luminaire, tree-uplighter, up-down lighting, billboard lighting, vertical light bars, wall washers, area lighting poles and above all, the sleek polar lighting solutions, an instant hit.
The luminaires are RoHS compliant. The luminaire efficacy (lumens/ per watt) is in the range of 100. The range of outdoor luminaires are very popular and extensively used in many prestigious locations throughout the country. K-LITE has the expertise to manufacture ‘custom built’ luminaires. Almost since inception, we are closely associated with the Indian Railways, catering to their wide range of Luminaire requirements. Proximity of Indian Railway’s most prestigious Passenger Coach Building Unit, Integral Coach Factory, and our capability to manufacture and test the custom-built luminaires enabled K-Lite to be in the forefront of their developmental activities and cater to the specially designed luminaire requirements of prestigious Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, “Palace on Wheel” EMUs, Kolkata-Metro and above all the latest Delhi Metro (DMRC) and Bengaluru Metro coaches.
SPF: LEDs are revolutionizing the market; shed some light on your LED portfolio? Going forward what trends are likely to shape the future ?
Ans: The current trend is in line with the awareness created already for a sustainable development with energy saving green lights. Even in villages, people have started asking for LED lights for their home needs. Even statutory regulations are in the offing to force the major consumers to install solar power generation to meet a certain percentage of their demand and also optimize their lighting consumption with high lumen output lighting sources with LED which are environment friendly. We have almost converted all our range of luminaires into LED version and that is the major step for a clean lighting for a greener world. Our concentration is now towards introduction of energy saving measures in designing and implementation of optimal control gears with lesser power consumption, avoidance of non recyclable materials in production, packing, consumables etc., which in turn has its own contribution for a Greener World .Except for a limited series with MH lamp in outdoor fixtures and CFL lamps in indoor fixtures, the entire luminaires are now demanded under LED portfolio only. In line with the above, more than 80 % of the demand and our production during the current year will be under this LED portfolio category
The future of lighting is LED and that will make a drastic change in the dynamics and equations of the national and international lighting fixture and lamp manufacturers. With a declining trend in the imports from China, expected price reduction due to the scaling up of LED consumption, we foresee stabilization of demand for locally manufactured luminaires at a highly competitive pricing
SPF: With the central and various state governments focusing on efficient lighting, what opportunities are you looking at?
Ans: It is always a major impact when the Government opens up the opportunities and introduces regulatory measures in any new areas. Concept of energy savings has come to stay with the all out efforts of the Governments. The special drives through the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity) and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has brought in mass replacement of LED bulbs and has brought down the prices by more than 50 % due to scaling up of demand. The opportunities are wide open with LED luminaires and solar street lights
SPF: Tell us about K-Lite’s product offering in India?
Ans: The best advantage for K-Lite lies in its range of products. We have a lighting fixture for every application as below :
The poles and luminaires cater the following areas:
- Retail Lighting ,Commercial Lighting
- Industrial Lighting , Street Lighting
- City Beautification Lighting
- Yard Lighting, Landscape Lighting
- Environmental Lighting
- Hospitality industries including Star Hotels and Resorts
- Ports and ship building yards ,Railways / Metro / Airport Lighting
- Architectural Lighting, Memorials and monuments
- High Mast Lighting , Wind Solar Hybrid Lighting.
SPF: Please elaborate on the technical and R&D policy of K-Lite?
Ans: K-Lite has a very strong design and technical services wing. We are considered to be the trend setters in Indian Lighting Industry. In fact, our outdoor range of luminaires along with their name as coined by us have all been copied by many and we are actually proud about it. Our research and development are focused to consumer needs and architectural requirements. We have a fully equipped photometric laboratory for all optic and illumination measurements
SPF: What according to you is the biggest strength of your company in the industry?
Ans: Being an India’s Lighting Company with a wide range of luminaire for all applications and the capability for manufacturing custom-built luminaires are our strength
SPF: Kindly enlighten us one of the projects executed where lighting played a key role?
Ans: Lighting using the antique model heritage poles and luminaires for the Amir Valley Road in Southern Bye Pass under Jaipur Development works is a typical example where lighting was a key determinant with our design
SPF: Brief in details infra structure facility equipped with modern technologies?
Ans: We are basically a Chennai based company . Being located at the southern part, and the demand of our outdoor luminaires and poles are very high in the northern and western sectors, the lead time for transport and the overall cost mattered heavily. Hence we have established a manufacturing plant in Bhopal and planned another in Jaipur . We plan to introduce automation in the production process for scaling up the production with the least manpower to achieve the price target and delivery on call
SPF: Brief us about your new launch?
Ans: K-Lite have launched a new series of decorative poles with the state of art lighting systems for outdoor applications under their Architectural – Ornamental Lighting Series. In the backdrop of the customer’s insistence for developing a series of poles and luminaires to blend with the olden days European Architecture. The new series has assumed great importance and a has become the most preferred and sought after items for monuments and heritage buildings. In particular, such of those decorative poles with the pointed arch, which is the defining characteristic of the style now known as Gothic style has been an instant hit.
Salient features are :
- Integration of ancient architectural designs in the pole
- Ornamental brackets to match the architectural pole design
- Cast iron bottom. Swaged / tapered and ornamentally contoured top bracket to hold the luminaire. Ornamental collets of varying designs for enhanced aesthetics
- The decorative poles are offered in a wide range and height to suit the aesthetics and application.
- To ensure protection against corrosion, K-Lite have made it a point to use corrosive resistant materials. The colour finish in antique brown / copper / gold is done to the choice of customer or normal olive green / black
- A variety of luminaires to blend with the pole design is offered. The range includes the green luminaires with LED
- The complete lighting system costs from around Rs 20000 and goes upto Rs 90000
- The dealers of K-Lite, spread across the country and globally in UK and USA, make the product available to its customers of various locations.
SPF: What is your vision for your company?
Ans: Our vision is to achieve the level one position at the national level under the luminaire and poles manufacturer category within this decade and establish ourselves as India’s Lighting Company.