We plan to go ahead with our expansion plans to satisfy market demand

We plan to go ahead with our expansion plans to satisfy market demand

Rajesh Kawoor, Vice- President (Concrete Business), Universal Construction, Machinery & Equipment.

To enhance the growth in RMC industry, the awareness about its advantages has to spread among concrete users. The stakeholders of RMC industry, especially the cement manufacturers, have to take initiative to educate the concrete consumers about the advantages about RMC, especially in Tier- II and Tier- III cities, says Rajesh Kawoor, Vice- President (Concrete Business), Universal Construction, Machinery & Equipment. Excerpts from the interview.

Could you brief us on the range of equipment for the RMC segment?
We have a complete range of concreting equipment which includes the smaller concrete mixing machines to bigger concrete batching and mixing plants. We also manufacture and supply truck mixers of 4 cu m and 6 cu m capacity, and concrete pumps including the placer booms. Our core product range consists of RMC equipment which includes concrete batching and mixing plants up to capacity of 60 cu m/hr. We will also be launching the bigger capacity batching and mixing plants of 90 cu m/hr. and above shortly. Currently more that 1,500 batching and mixing plants are in operation in India. We offer the Zoomlion range of concrete pumps up to a output capacity of 140 cu m/hr and pumps that can pump upto a height of 450 m. We also offer boom pumps with vertical reach up to 43 m. We also offer higher capacity boom pumps which can vertically reach 101 m.

Tell us the USP of this range of products.
The RMC products offered by Universal are of highest quality standard and reliability. Due to the longstanding experience in concrete industry, we are able to maintain the highest quality in our concrete batching and mixing plants and truck mixers. All the concrete pumps and truck- mounted boom pumps offered by Universal are equipped with automatic centralised lubrication system which ensures proper and timely lubrication. Also, all the models offered are equipped with hydraulic accumulator which avoids overloading on the hydraulic systems. The concrete pumps offered by us are of highest quality and fuel efficient, easy to maintain.

Do you have any capacity expansion plans?
Looking at today's scenario in the construction industry, we definitely plan to go ahead with our expansion plans to satisfy market demand. As far as capacity expansion plans are concerned, we already have three manufacturing facilities in place. Two plants are located near Pune and one in Uttarakhand. We have already developed these plants considering the long- term demand of the market. Our focus for the next five years will be on exports. Currently we are exporting to African countries and shortly we will be initiating business in other countries globally. Also, we are ready to provide end- to- end solutions with equipment for the concrete industry domestically as well as internationally.

What is your current capacity utilisation?
With the current market situation, we are not able to achieve hundred per cent capacity, but however the built- up capacity is sufficient to cater to the current market demand for the next couple of years. We have considered all the factors affecting the growth in construction industry and the market trends for deciding on our manufacturing capacities and we are confident that the built- up capacity utilisation will be maximum.

What are the most important growth drivers for this industry?
Due to the global players coming to the Indian market, the manufacturers have to invest heavily in R&D to match the standards maintained by the global leaders. The advantage of low cost manufacturing and availability of easy credit will support the growth of the industry. Considering the current market situation the most important factor affecting the growth is that the investments in the infrastructure is not as much as required by the industry.

What make Universal stand out in an intensely competitive space?
Universal has developed a wide sales and service network at more than 75 locations across India, which is one of the biggest networks for a construction equipment manufacturer in India. With a vast experience of more than three decades, Universal manufactures the equipment with maximum customisation of products considering the requirements of the market.

Universal is the only company offering the most comprehensive product range from small concrete mixers to bigger equipment like high- capacity batching and mixing plants and boom placers. With a strong R&D team working on new product development as well as enhancing the current product range, Universal is able to satisfy the Indian market's requirements. Universal's advance manufacturing facility includes robotic welding which is unique in construction equipment industry. The above aspects makes Universal stand out in comparison to the competition.

What are the major challenges faced by the RMC equipment industry?
Looking back, we have seen a substantial growth in the RMC industry for last 5-6 years but compared with the global trend of RMC usage, we are far behind. The biggest difference we see is that the cement consumption in terms of percentage is still in single digits, whereas in the advanced countries the cement consumption in RMC is about 70-75 per cent.

To enhance the growth in RMC industry, the awareness about the advantages of RMC has to spread among the concrete users. The stakeholders of RMC industry especially cement manufacturers; have to take initiative to educate the concrete consumers about the advantages about RMC, especially in Tier- II and Tier- III cities.

What is your take on the availability of skilled and trained manpower especially for the RMC segment?
The industry association is in discussion with the government agencies to develop skilled manpower for the construction equipment industry. We will have to wait and watch to see how this initiative takes shape.

What steps do you think the government should take to boost growth of this industry?
There is a big challenge for the government to boost the RMC industry. As the market is not looking positive, we feel that the government should initiate the funding for the infrastructure industry at the earliest. This will provide some relief to the industry which will also support the concrete equipment segment.

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