Material handling system design is a critical engineering domain while setting up a plant. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most overlooked aspects. Policy decisions too, impact the bulk material handling equipment (BMH) business. Pabak Mukhopadhyay, General Manager-Bulk Material Handling (BMH-BU) at Larsen & Toubro, discusses the current state of the market in India with ICR.
How well do we appreciate the importance of BMH equipment? Bulk material handling equipment is the main feeding line of any industry. However, it is one of the most neglected parts of engineering in India.
How big is the bulk material handling equipment market in India? Currently the market will be worth roughly around Rs 20 thousand crore. This is the total market size which includes different type of equipments and machineries used for bulk material handling across all sectors and industries.
What is the growth rate of the industry? I would say that it is growing at a pace of around 10 to 15 per cent a year.
What are the challenges faced by industry? The bulk material handling equipment industry is facing a couple of challenges as it grows with the demands from the consumer industry. The BMH industry must gear up to meet the new RDSO guidelines, which requires equipments to be designed to handle increased capacity. Besides this, we must also put more stress on developing sustainable technologies for handling material in bulk. Besides this, there is a lot of competition from foreign players that are entering the Indian market.
Tell us about sustainable equipment for handling bulk material. The main focus of an engineer in setting up a bulk material movement facility is to ensure that the technology is eco-friendly and that it is also energy efficient. The main challenge here is to be cost competitive while having an innovative design. Special enclosed conveyors and high speed conveyors are part of this sustainable technology. L&T is a pioneer in bringing such new technologies to the country.
What is your take-home message? As engineers, we must engage with the government and help them see the possibilities of new technologies available in the market. One of the pain points of the industry is the delay in clearance for several projects. Often, these projects are held up simply because the government feels that the material transferred and the allied BMH equipment will pose a threat to the environment. As engineers, we must educate the government about the new eco-friendly technologies. Once we communicate the possibilities, things can move faster.
We must put more stress on developing sustainable technologies for handling material in bulk.