At TIL, our constant endeavour is to be customer-centric, keeping the customer and his needs at the centre while working on our strategy or product plan. This approach has made all our products most competitive in offering total cost of ownership, which eventually makes the customer's business more competitive and profitable, says Somnath Bhattacharjee, President-Material Handling Solutions & Equipment and Project Solutions Business, TIL. Excerpts from the interview.
How have the sale of crushers and screens in the mining segment been, especially for the tracked/mobile/stationary plants?
Before the mining restrictions and ban in Karnataka, Goa and Orissa, demand for track-mounted plants were strong in the iron ore mining sector. However, after the apex court has recently directed resumption of operations in select mines, the demand pattern is expected to undergo a change from track-mounted plants to stationary plants as the apex court has given strict guidelines to comply with the mining lease boundary conditions of each mine. This changed scenario would motivate mine operators to install fixed plants over track-mounted plants.
Has the high cost of finance impacted the business?
At TIL, we focus more on delivery of competitive total cost of ownership and we offer high quality and robust design equipment from the Astec stable which eventually improves the asset quality for the customer besides mitigating the asset risk for the financial institution.
What has TIL's performance been in 2012, and how do you expect 2013 to be?
In 2012, we completed the construction of our state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Kharagpur, West Bengal. Alongside, we focused on prototyping of prioritised models for securing a commercial launch. We have launched a track-mounted crushing and screening plant solution which was received well in the market for its robust design, superior features and productivity. We also launched a high frequency screen for manufactured sand from ultrafine. These high frequency screens provide an aggressive screen vibration directly applied to the screen media that allow for the highest screen capacity in the market for fines removal, chip sizing, dry manufactured sand, and more.
This product is extremely competitive in total cost of ownership as it produces manufactured sand with most competitive cost/tonne, besides producing Zone II category sand which is most preferred for construction activity or mass concrete. TIL-Astec high frequency screen has occupied a niche position in this segment.
In 2013, we plan to launch a bigger range of crushing and screening products besides expanding our coverage in wider geographical areas. Though we expect the market demand of crushing and screening equipment to remain tepid, we plan to increase our deliveries in 2013 compared to 2012 due to our technological superiority, customised aftermarket model, competitive total cost of ownership and wider range on offer.
Brief us on the fuel/energy efficient technologies used in the range of crushers and screens offered by TIL.
All our track-mounted machines are fitted with Cat« engine regarded as best-in-class for high rotating equipment like crushing and screening. These engines are with ACERTÖ technology that meets today's demanding emission standard. ACERT technology is also known for its superior fuel efficiency:
The fuel system allows for multiple injections each combustion cycle. Small amounts of fuel are injected at precise times to achieve the combined goals of fuel economy and lower emissions.
An advanced air system provides more cool air in the combustion chamber.
Also, the TIL-Astec range of crushing and screening equipment is highly fuel- efficient and delivers best-in-class fuel efficiency.
Do you have any features inbuilt to reduce vibration and noise, especially in the crushers?
All our track-mounted crushers have a box-type mainframe which is more stable, heavy-duty than I-beam mainframe, and superior. Box-type main frame reduces induced vibration from high rotating equipment like cone crusher. Anti-vibration mounting is used to mount the crushers on the mainframe, particularly in cone crusher. Cone crushers used in track plants have internally balanced counterweights which are protected from material flow and balance the cone for life without replacement. Because it is stable, it produces less vibration as compared to competition.
All our track screens are manufactured with Rosta element instead of conventional springs. Rosta elements are the best technology for producing dampening effect. All our crushers are designed with sound emission of 65 db which is much below the industry specified norms.
What are the steps initiated to bring better systems? Have you taken any steps to train the operators and technicians?
Crushing and screening equipment are located in project sites and mostly in remote locations. Pressure on production through this equipment always remains very high. Getting trained operator and maintenance staff is always a challenge in the Indian construction and mining industry. Therefore, on many occasions the preventive maintenance recommendations are not complied with, causing higher downtime. At TIL, we are constantly focusing on training and competence development of operator and maintenance staff of our customers to enable them to maximise machine uptime.
How do you assess the role of pre- and periodical maintenance in achieving optimal use of machinery?
Adhering to preventive and periodic maintenance schedules is sacrosanct for achieving higher uptime, desired performance and better productivity. Trained operators would certainly be able to achieve better operating costs, including fuel economy due to the adherence to recommended operating recommendations.
How do you view the consolidation in this segment?
This segment is poised for immense growth in India in the years to come, with the proposed construction of road network, railway network, infrastructure development influencing higher demand of aggregates, besides growth in the mineral mining operations.
However, with the growth in these sectors, duration of contracts will continue to get compressed as the project completion schedules will face tough demands. This phenomenon is likely to trigger demand and usage of higher capacity crushing and screening equipment to be able to do more with less number of equipment.
What is your take on increasing competition? What makes TIL different?
The TIL-Astec range of crushing and screening equipment is highly focused on delivering the most competitive total cost of ownership, besides its superior technology, features and robust design. This equipment is supported by TIL's pan- Indian aftermarket network delivering highly customised support for maximising uptime and optimising repair and maintenance cost.