We cover around 65-70 per cent of the equipment requirement and we will be left behind if we don't look at the remaining share of the market. We are looking at that unexplored segment; our R&D team is working to bring out variants in the near future, says GVR Murthy, Head Construction Equipment Division, Escorts. Excerpts from the interview.
Is the market for soil compactors, asphalt compactors and PTRs looking good? I I The market for these products has definitely taken a hit. It is estimated by the Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturer's Association (ICEMA) that the market has fallen by more than 40 per cent. Figures for the current year can only be shared after October because normally during the monsoon season, people place orders but prefer to take deliveries only during August-September. Though things are looking up; last year, this quarter fared worse than the current quarter, but it is still early to predict anything.
Could you tell us about the technological features of the Escorts range of soil and asphalt rollers? I can only say that our products and their features are contemporary. The gap is very narrow and incomparable between the various players present in the industry today.
What is the market for mini-tandem vibratory rollers? People are now buying the mini-tandem vibratory rollers while earlier, they used to question the need for them. With the pavements getting as much focus as the roads, I don't see their demand falling neither do I see a migration from them. As much as we need the 18- tonners, we need these mini-tandem vibratory rollers, too.
How can segregation be minimised to get more homogeneity of air void distributions within the compacted layer? Compaction will help in one way technically, as it involves everything to do with aggregate. Water and bitumen don't go well together, they are enemies of the highest order. But it is still put on top of the road, simply because as long as water does not penetrate into the layers, the bitumen is good. That is where the quality of the aggregate comes into the picture. So, standards are being set and more attention is being paid towards the quality of aggregates being used. And every aspect, starting from aggregate to the compactor being used currently is looked at because ultimately the maintenance of the roads falls on the construction agency.
What are your views on the existing codes and specs? The specifications are good and are tough enough and I don't see any problem with the existing ones. India took those specifications in the right way and that is where technology has come in. We devised the compaction way which is of global quality.
How do you look at future growth prospects? We are definitely looking at filling in the gaps in the products that we have. If I am covering 65-70 per cent of the business today, I am looking at covering 80-85 per cent of the business in the near future. Bringing in newer technologies in our areas of business is definitely a priority. We may not do it all by ourselves but through sharing technology, and other ways and means. We have marked the gaps and where we need to be, and that will be our core focus in the times to come.