Fan makers switching to inverter technology to meet rising demand

Published June 20, 2024
Gujrat: Manufacturing of inverter fans is under way at a local unit.—Dawn
Gujrat: Manufacturing of inverter fans is under way at a local unit.—Dawn

GUJRAT: Amidst soaring power rates and relentless loadshedding, the demand for energy-saving inverter fans has surged across the country and most manufacturers have switched over to this technology to meet the rising demand.

But manufacturers have not discontinued making old technology fans as demand for them persists, especially in Azad Kashmir and the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to a local manufacturer.

The federal government has proposed an investment of Rs20 billion in the budget for 2024-25 for the replacement of old technology fans with ones using low-power-consuming inverter technology. The government itself will spend Rs2bn for the purpose while the remaining amount will come in the shape of bank loans.

The facility may be given to poor families registered with the Benazir Income Support Programme to help them reduce their electricity bills as well as to bring down the nation’s energy consumption.

The production of inverter fans was initiated by two manufacturing units — Khursheed Fan and Taimoor Fan — in 2013 when the country was in the grip of an energy crisis, enduring 12 to 18 hours of power outages.

Moreover, when the government decided in 2014 to stop power supply to areas reporting high line losses due to power theft, the demand for inverter fans started picking up with every passing year.

The inverter fan technology is also known as brushless direct current (BLDC) motor technology. Local manufacturers have not taken up the production of motor kits at home. Instead, they rely on kits, as well as other parts, imported from China.

Indigenous production

In a welcome development, some Pakistani firms have decided recently to start production of the kits at home.

Almost all manufacturing units have now switched over to the BLDC (inverter fan) technology and 80 per cent of fans being made these days run on the inverter method.

Inverter fans are of two types: AC (alternate current) and both AC/DC (direct current). The AC inverter fans consume 30 to 40 watts per hour while the AC/DC ones consume up to 55 watts per hour.

An old technology fan consumes 80 to 100 watts per hour.

An inverter fan usually requires 50 to 60 watts of electricity per hour to function at full speed and it can run on both the AC and DC current, according to a teacher at the University of Gujrat.

“The performance of these fans has been tremendous and the industry has rapidly taken up this energy-saving technology as it brings relief to consumers fed up with inflated bills,” he said.

He added, however, that the price of an inverter fan is higher than fans using older technology, but that’s offset by lower power consumption.

The other side

But there is a downside to the story, too.

According to the manufacturers, switching over to the new technology has brought its own problems as now they are dependent on imported material. This has raised the cost of doing business, they complain.

Some of the leading brands offer a five-year warranty on inverter fans, but most manufacturers give only a one-year warranty.

The price of a three-blade ceiling fan varies from Rs6,500 to Rs10,000. But fans using heavy motors or five blades cost as much as Rs14,000 to Rs24,000.

Some units have come up with a scheme offering a discount or at least Rs2,000 on the purchase of inverter fans if a customer sells them an old fan. Initially, inverter fans made in Pakistan were slow to find an export market, but now these gadgets have made inroads in countries like Yemen and Afghanistan.

The country currently exports fans worth $30 million annually. Fan exporters have criticised the federal government for increasing the withholding tax on exports from 1pc to 1.5pc.

They expressed fears that the move would open “new avenues of corruption”, as officials from the Federal Board of Revenue would get powers to conduct audits of the export data.

They urged the government to review its decision.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2024

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