The entry of many global players has helped to raise the bar for performance and Gates is well positioned in this market with its global product lines and continual investment in manufacturing and engineering capabilities, says Rajesh C Bhandari, Managing Director, Gates India. Excerpts from the interview...
What are the product offerings and solutions from Gates?
We offer a wide range of hoses, couplings and assemblies covering various hydraulic applications and a range of industrial transfer hoses to convey a variety of media, concrete and chemicals. We have also commissioned a tube assembly facility last year to offer best-in-class tube assemblies to OEMs for fluid conveyance requirements. All the hose and tube assemblies supplied by us are custom-made products for individual OEMs. To cater to the growth in this segment and ensure high service levels we have recently expanded and commissioned a new assembly facility at Pune, augmenting our existing capacity at Faridabad and Lalru (near Chandigarh). All this is backed by our team of application and technical engineers who work closely with the customers to provide the most optimal solution for the installation.
Do you see a shift towards safer/sturdy hoses to prevent leakages?
Safety and leak-free performance are key considerations in any hydraulic system considering the high pressures these systems operate. Going beyond the usual metrics of quality, there is an increasing emphasis on reliability of the hydraulic systems and good performance beyond the warranty period.
How important is the monitoring and maintenance of hoses and fittings on a regular basis?
Many hydraulic systems work in critical areas like mining, oil and gas exploration and primary metals processing where the cost of down time is very high. Hence, periodic inspection of the hoses and maintenance and planned replacement is necessary to ensure up-time. Earlier, this was possible only by periodic physical inspection and historical performance data and difficult to implement in large installations. Now technology is available for condition monitoring and continually acquire data on the performance of critical hose assemblies.
Gates offers a real time diagnostic tool called Sentry Services which continually measures the operating pressures, temperature and pressure cycling of critical hose installations and use this data on our proprietary algorithm to predict the useful life of a hose which will help an operator to fully utilize the life of a hose and plan its replacement when required.
What are the major challenges you face in the current market? What are the opportunities you look forward to in the coming years?
The construction equipment market is the largest segment for hoses and fittings and the domestic market is relatively small compared to Europe, China or the US. However, all global major players are present in India leading to a very wide variety in standards and specifications and managing such a variety in smaller volumes has its own challenges. As the market grows, we see export of equipment from India also growing and this along with growth in different end market segments like process industries will be important growth opportunities.
How do you look at the entry of new players into the sector (hose and fittings)? The entry of many global players has helped to raise the bar for performance and Gates is well positioned in this market with its global product lines and continual investment in manufacturing and engineering capabilities.
How are you geared up to the market expectations?
Since Gates established its operations in India in the late nineties, there has been a rising expectation from the customer on safety, high performance and reliability. Gates has well met the customer requirements by continuous innovation and offering products and services through its national network resulting in the industry leading position and is now well positioned for further strong growth as the country´s new growth era is unfolding.