The leading Japanese electronics device maker Rohm Electronics is targeting Indian ceiling fan market by offering ready-made reference design solutions for driving brushless DC motors in ceiling fans. India is a big market for ceiling fans and also one of the largest producer of ceiling fans in the world. Nearly hundred percent of ceiling fan demand is met locally where we can proclaim ceiling fan as 100% make-in-India product category.
In domestic electric power consumption, ceiling fan consume a major amount of power/energy. Most of the present ceiling fans are induction motor based, which consume higher power compared to brushless DC motors. Brush Less DC (BLDC) motors also generate lesser noise and easy to control the speed of the motor more efficiently compared to induction motors.
With these advantages, brushless DC motor ceiling fans have hardly made any significant presence. The reason is high cost of brushless DC motor ceiling fans, which are around Rupees 1000 expensive compared to induction motor based ceiling fans. Rohm Electronics’ executives and tech experts claim the extra cost of the ceiling fan can be regained through saving power over one or two years of usage based on the how many hours fan going to be used in a day. They also see the cost of the brushless DC fans coming down over a period due to growth in volumes. This analysis/trend can be compared to others successful power saving technologies such as using solar PV cells for power generation, using rooftop solar water heaters, CFT lamps, LED lamps, and also use of electronic regulators replacing clumsy rheostat to control the speed of fan itself. In all these above examples, customer were hesitant to invest in these products during the early stages of the product launch due to the cost but over time all these have become popular.
LED bulbs are now available at a very affordable price and are no doubt a lot better in all aspects of technology, environment, and also economics. Each bulb used to cost around Rs. 500 to 1000, but now they are at as less as Rs.150.
By seeing this trend and expecting the same for fans, Rohm try to leverage its strength in discrete semiconductor, microcontroller and also other electronic component manufacturing abilities, to design a module exclusively for Indian brushless DC motor powered fans. The Indian design team of Rohm has designed the BLDC motor driver module by considering all the Indian conditions such as high level of voltage fluctuations in the mains supply, and also made the module rugged enough to withstand extreme weather conditions. It’s a win-win solution for Indian ceiling fan makers and Rohm, where the electronics is easily available in India and is ready to use.
What is missing from Rohm is why not they offer IOT control capable modules to drive brushless DC fans, so that Indian fan makers can leapfrog to most advanced way of controlling fans through their phones. When the customer is paying Rupees thousand more for the brushless DC fan, another 200/300 Rs additional cost can provide him a IOT fan, which they may not mind to pay.
Rohm’s design is basically a made-in-India design, but the module is produced outside India. Rohm can offer IOT fans by leveraging India’s IOT product design capabilities.
A power saving initiative in India called “Bijli Bachao” lists some of the brushless DC motor fans sold in the Indian market and also a brief market analysis on its website bijlibachao.com. The research concludes saying “On the face of it, the price of the super efficient fans look high, but if we look at current and rising electricity costs, opting for super efficient fans makes a lot of sense especially to replace the high usage fans.”