"The complete range of jaw, cone, HSI and VSI crushers offered by the ASTEC Group (Telsmith and KPI-JCI) is available to TIL for exploring the markets in India," says R Nandagopal, Vice President - Equipment & Project Solutions, TIL. In an exclusive chat with Equipment India, Nandagopal speaks at length about the crushing industry and how it impacts the environment. Excerpts from the interview.There seems to be huge demand-supply gap for aggregates with a major impact on environment. What is your take on this? India, among the fastest growing economies in the world, is making large investments in infrastructure development aiming at a double-digit GDP growth and investment in infrastructure projects is expected to be close to $1 trillion by 2017. With this kind of a magnitude, there is bound to be a demand-supply gap. Hence, there is a need for better technology to improve efficiencies and it would be the responsibility of the manufacturers to bring to India the state-of-the-art technology to meet the growing demand while there is a balance between environment protection and the growth plans.The major concern in the immediate future is the availability of sand for construction and with natural sand not being made available, it is important for the construction companies to focus on the manufactured sand. The growing demand will also bring into focus the ability to reclaim and recycle the construction and demolition waste like concretes, reclaimed asphalt pavements etc. This undoubtedly will be an environment-friendly approach which will lead to a sustainable growth. It would not be out of place to mention that the developed countries are far ahead in the use of recycled materials and all we would need to do is adopt the best practices followed globally which would be a quick start for us.How has this growth in the demand for aggregates impacted buying patterns? One needs to understand that technology alone without support will not cut ice with the customers in India any more, as these customers have graduated from looking at a product to seeking a solution, product, support and other value-added services, all of it. The purchasing power of the customer has definitely gone up and with financial institutions coming forward to support a quality purchase decision, there is no looking back for a manufacturer who is able to add value to the customer.What is the market potential for crushers? The industry is poised for a growth and while conservative estimates may put it at 15-20 per cent YoY, the projects envisaged in the time frame will take this number much beyond that.What are the factors that have brought the shift in terms of capacity from 50 tph plants to 150-300 tph plants? The projects are time-bound and many of the projects are linked to performance bonus for early completion. Also, with the focus on BOT projects, the construction companies are looking at early completion of the projects as their revenue is linked to the same. Further, with the ultra mega power projects, mega expressways, dedicated freight and industry corridors coming up, it is only logical that the size of the plants go up to meet the demand. Urban development is adding to the demand of manufactured sand and aggregates.Skilled manpower is a scarcity and one of the reasons for the customer to go in for higher capacity automated plants. Also, there is a need to control the capital cost and operation cost. To keep the cost of the product down, it is the principle of economies of scale that is pushing the capacities up.What is the market for stationary and mobile/tracked plants? What are the factors that determine the selection of these plants? The majority of the customers prefers the static plants in India and this number could be as high as 50-60 per cent. Duration of the quarry lease, project duration, and capacity of the plant, availability of quality power, mine profile, environment norms and many more reasons could define the crushing option a customer chooses. Specific to the fully mobile plants, the fundamental of the business is reaching to material instead of the material reaching the crushing zone. This will undoubtedly save on a lot of handling costs.What are the features incorporated in terms of dust/noise suppression from the plant? Pollution control would be an important aspect of the crushing business and it is imperative that the industry makes note of the same and offers solution accordingly. In a few states it can be observed that the entire crushing plant is virtually enclosed in a building and in other places a good water sprinkling system on the conveyors is used. Globally, high-pressure sprays using mist to suppress dust and also save on water is used. On the mobile plants, it is important to incorporate the dust suppression systems as these are mobile and the dust suppression system has to be inbuilt in the equipment.What are the features inbuilt for energy efficiency? The effectiveness of crushing and the ability to reduce the re-circulation will be the key energy efficiency. Features like hydraulic locking provided on Telsmith cone improves the effectiveness of crushing and reduces the recirculation as it ensures uniform locking pressure and prevents loss of setting/bowl creep etc, even under the most severe crushing conditions.Tell us about the safety features inbuilt in the machines. Features like hydraulic relief allows quick chamber clearance, dynamic adjust for quick adjustment under load, easy bowl extraction for quick liner replacement etc, are the features that ensure restricted human interface while undertaking critical activities. The chamber clearances which were usually done manually are now done hydraulically.How is TIL geared to meet the fast-changing service parameters which clients looking to from an OEM? After-market support is no longer an option with the manufacturer, it is an essential business requirement. TIL's strength is the in-depth knowledge and requirements of the construction equipment industry and this gives an advantage to TIL in providing appropriate solutions which are customised to meet customer requirement. We are expanding our network in various states in order to be closer to our customers and with the objective of the parts and service being made available to the customer at his doorstep. Our aim is to enhance customer expectation which in turn would set the benchmark in the industry.Have you been incorporated any technological advancements in crushers/screens? The introduction of hydraulics in the crushers is to improve the efficiency of the crushers and make it an energy-efficient option as well. Adding to it, the operating cost of the equipment is lowered by options like anti-spin which will improve the liner life substantially. On the whole, the technology will help lower the cost of operations for the customer. The high-frequency screens from Astec helps separate the fines for the dust and helps in recovery of the coarser products. This screen technology is unique and completely eliminates the use of water while operating at very high frequency of 4,200 rpm.What is your take on training of technicians and operators? Training is very critical and important to reduce the operating cost and improve the availability to the customer. Site training to the mechanics/operators/technicians are being offered and a training centre is under construction at our new facility which will offer advanced training programmes with hands-on training to the customers as well.