We offer a wide range of services like mapping of mechanisation needs, advice on equipment selection, financial assistance jointly with financial institutions, training to technicians and operators, annual maintenance contracts, buy back arrangement to replace with latest technology, says Rajesh Kawoor, Vice President (Concrete Business), Universal Construction Machinery & Equipment. Excerpts from the interview.
How do you assess the evolution of concrete batching / mixing technology in India?
The concrete batching and mixing technology in India has gone through a vast change in the last 10-15 years. Before, the concrete mixing was mainly done by the small reversible mixers and batching was mainly done manually. This process today is mainly done by electronically controlled batching plants and advance mixing system by using more advanced mixers to attain the best quality of concrete. Tell us about the role played by Universal, especially in the small and medium segments.
At Universal, we have implemented electronic technology for reversible mixers in which segment we are the market leaders today. To gear up to the market demands, later on we came out with more products to attain the quality of concrete required by the end users. We have introduced electronically controlled batching plants with reversible type mixers. Further, we have already supplying electronically controlled batching plants with pan mixers. Currently we also offer batching plants with advance computer controls. We also offer batching plants with planetary as well as twin shaft mixers. Also, we have adopted robotic welding technology for fabrication in our plant and are geared up to supply batching and mixing plants to the small and medium sectors. We are also ready to supply most advanced batching and mixing segments for ready mix plants and big infrastructure projects.
To what extent is the latest generation batching plants / mixers environment friendly?
Our latest generation batching and mixing plants are environment friendly because we offer the plants with electric drives which do not emit any gases which pollute the environment. The electric drive also ensures low noise. The latest batching plants are also equipped with dust filters and dust collectors which limit the dust pollution to a great extent. As the latest batching plants are operated with advance control systems, they ensure optimisation of energy which increases the operating efficiency.
How do you address the issue of lack of skilled and trained plant operators?
We have already addressed this issue and have set up a knowledge centre which is approved by CIDC which is a training centre for operators and technicians. Our knowledge centre imparts practical as well as classroom training to the technicians and operators on a regular basis. At our knowledge centre, we also impart training to the customers' site staff with basic as well as advanced syllabus.
Brief us on the machine control technologies incorporated in Universal's product range.
At Universal, we adopt PLC controls as well as computerised systems as desired by our customers. We have adopted the most advanced systems available in the market and the components from the market leaders in their field.
What is the overall demand-supply scenario for batching plants?
The demand for batching and mixing plants is on the rise. Currently, the major demand comes for smaller batching and mixing plants. We have also seen change in demand for bigger batching plants. In India, the RMC sector in growing very well. Hence the demand for bigger batching and mixing plants will definitely increase in the near future. Currently it is very difficult to estimate the size of market for small plants but the market size for bigger plants above 30 cu m/hr capacity should be more that 1000 units.
Has the RMC sector been able to give a push to the sale of batching plants?
The RMC sector is the major sector which can promote the sale of batching and mixing plants. Compared to the international trends, there is a wide scope of development in the RMC sector. Currently the smaller batching and mixing plants are used by mostly the construction companies. The bigger batching and mixing plants are predominantly used by RMCs. We see a good growth in the RMC sector in near future which will enhance the sale higher capacity plants.
What is your assessment on the growth potential for batching plants various verticals?
In the future, we expect a good growth for batching plants in the real estate and precast industry. As there is a lot of development in real estate coming up in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, definitely the demand for batching and mixing plants will be on the rise. As far as precast industry is concerned, the demand is likely to go up in the next two to three years. Due to modern construction methods being adopted in India, the demand will increase in the precast segment. The growth potential for concrete batching and mixing plants in the infrastructure and road sector will majorly depend on the type of projects coming up. We have to wait and watch the future projects coming up in this sector.
What was Universal's sales performance in batching plants / mixers?
The sales performance of Universal in batching and mixing plants has been quite satisfactory in the last two years. We have sold more than 500 plants in the last two years. We have a working population of concrete batching and mixing plants of more than 1,500 units. We expect to achieve more than 300 units batching and mixing plants to be sold in this fiscal.
What are the market trends in the small and medium segments?
The importance of mechanisation in concrete production and quality concrete is being realised in the small and medium segments. For the last couple of years, we have seen that the requirement of batching and mixing plants is increasing in the small and medium sectors. Universal offers a complete range of batching and mixing plants with a capacity starting from15 cu m/hr. We have a complete range to satisfy the requirement of small, medium and bigger segment. The major advantages of our concrete batching and mixing plants are that they are most energy- efficient and easy to operate.
How do you assess the role of pre-and periodical maintenance in achieving optimal use of machinery?
For operating the batching and mixing plants at the highest efficiency level, preventive measures and periodic maintenance is very essential. In a batching plant, if a small defect is not rectified on time, there will be a big repercussion on the allied operating systems which may hamper the concrete production.
Brief us on the services provided to the clients.
At Universal, we offer a wide range of services like mapping of mechanisation needs, advice on equipment selection, financial assistance jointly with financial institutions, training to technicians and operators, annual maintenance contracts, buy- back arrangement to replace with latest technology. We are also open to implement any other services required by our clients.
Why should a client come to Universal?
At Universal, we provide economical solutions without compromising on quality. Technically our products are comparable with the products offered by any leading manufacturer. As we are manufacturing more of the components in-house and buying the components which are easily available from top component manufacturers, this makes our equipment easily serviceable. Also due to our wide national network, we are reachable anywhere in India.
Is there any more Capex planned or any new product launch for this year?
Currently, we have planned some Capex for our plants to bring in latest manufacturing techniques. Also, if there is a need for new products to be launched, we are ready with our Capex. We have planned some new product launches in the next few months. Mostly the new product launches will be in the higher product segments.