Knowledge transfer is the focus area in Aquarius. The training courses conducted by Aquarius provide all the basic skills required for operation and maintenance of various equipment dealt by the company, says AV Dikshit, Technical Director, Aquarius Engineers. In an interview with Equipment India, Dikshit elaborates on the core competencies of the company. Excerpts from the interview.What is the demand-supply scenario for batching plants for various segments and how is Aquarius Engineers geared to meet the challenges?There are many suppliers for smaller capacity/standard design plants. However, there is a pressing demand for custom designed/automated plants for the bigger requirements in the market, with precise design and quality commitments. Aquarius manufactures plants from 21 cu m/hr up to 240 cu m/hr. There is good competition in the lower segment of the equipment range. However, there are only a couple of players other than Aquarius in the high technology and sophisticated product range for the RMC market.Aquarius Engineers has undergone major expansion at both their plants in Goa and Pune. This will more than double the present manufacturing capacity for batching plants and concrete pumps.Which segment gives Aquarius more business for batching plants?Batching plants of 1 cu m to 3 cu m batching capacity are mostly required in this segment. The requirement is observed in the contractor and RMC segment. The demand for stationary as well as mobile plants is on the rise. Aquarius plants are easy to install, dismantle and transport from site to site. Also, Aquarius provides plants with state-of-the-art PLC based control systems with real time SCADA for control and data management, useful to the RMC segment.Tell us about the value additions incorporated into the batching plants.Aquarius is an ISO 9001 certified company with a commitment towards better environment and society. The Goa plant is both ISO 14001 & OSHAS 18001 certified. The batching plants are having the prestigious CE certification. The design of the plants ensure low operation and maintenance cost.The small and medium segment, which ironically controls the major share of concreting job, still catered to by unorganised players. What is your take on this?There is some competition in the lower segment of the equipment range. However, there are only a couple of players other than Aquarius in the medium and high technology and sophisticated product range. The competition faced here is mostly from multinationals. However, we are able to stand apart with our efficient after sales and spares support, top-draw plant technology and low operation and maintenance cost of the plants.How do you address the issue of lack of skilled and trained operators for batching plants?Knowledge transfer is the focus area in Aquarius. The training courses conducted by Aquarius provide all the basic skills required for operation and maintenance of various equipment dealt by the company. Aquarius has carefully structured the programmes with classroom sessions as well as hands-on training through site visits. The training is suitable for those who are responsible for the equipment operation, routine maintenance and safety. Various customised courses have been introduced to meet customer requirements. These are conducted in-house as well as at the customer site.Brief us on the products and services offered by Aquarius in batching plants.We are proud to say that we use one of the best and most suitable combinations of plant design features in our batching plants. The point-wise details are as below: The important parts or systems of any batching plant are:• Type of mixer or the mixing technology used.• Batching and weighing system used.• Operating software system used.• The design of overall structure of the batching plant.• We use the latest technological combination of the above systems.The Mixer: There are many types of concrete mixers available as on date. To name a few, tilting drum mixer, reversible drum mixer, single shaft mixer, pan mixer, planetary or the sun mixer, and twin shaft mixer. The above types of mixers are put in the hierarchy of their performance and mixing quality achieved in the specified time duration. We use the latest technology in our batching plants. In smaller batching plants with the compacted concrete output of up to 0.75 cu m /batch, we use planetary or the sun mixer technology. In the bigger batching plants, we use twin shaft technology.Batching System: The product range uses the bin type design of batching system. We do not promote scraping boom design for the batching system even for smaller batching plants.Weighing System: We use conveyor belt suspended on load cells for weighing purpose. Skip bucket is used only for conveying the weighed aggregates up to the mixer. This give advantages such as accuracy in the weighing, enhanced life cycle of load cells as there is no impact load of the skip bucket on the load cells, etc.Software: Since years, we have developed our own software system for all the range of our batching plants. PLC- based control systems with real time SCADA for control and data management are used. The software is well proven and is in operation on various sites in India since many years.Structural Design: We use modular structure concept for all our batching plants. This can be dismantled and erected in the shortest time.What is the scenario of rentals of concrete equipment?Renting of batching plants is not very common, as compared to concrete pumps, etc. Customers do use batching plants to cater to their in-house requirement as well as part RMC operation.What has the performance of Aquarius been in the last two quarters and how do you look at ending this fiscal?There has been a spurt of plant orders since the start of this financial year. However, the last two months have shown consistent figures, without the earlier recorded increase. The movement in the market although indicates a good ending to this financial year.Give us a brief on expansion plans, if any, and on new products.The concrete batching plants launched like the mobile batching plant MP 21 and MP24 are of a unique compact design with high mobility. These plants have been designed keeping in mind the requirements of small sites that do not require high concrete production rate and need faster installation and shifting time.It is important to mention that Aquarius has launched these high technology products that are completely indigenous and proven to be competitive in price over other import options.