Elgi Equipments manufactures a complete range of compressed air solutions that include oil flooded and oil-free electric powered screw compressors, diesel powered portable screw compressors, oil flooded and oil-free reciprocating compressors, and centrifugal compressors and dryers.

ACP Drone Shot

managing director Jairam Varadaraj
Coimbatore-based air compressor manufacturing behemoth, ELGi Equipments, holds top slot amongst compressor producers in India, after Atlas Copco. But far from being complacent with its high ranking, the company is leaving no stones unturned to enhance its brand value with better products and services, and advanced manufacturing processes. P.P.Basistha spoke to managing director Jairam Varadaraj, during his recent visit to the company’s manufacturing facility in Coimbatore, to know about the company’s game-plan in retaining its high position.

Jairam Varadaraj has been at the helm of the family-owned company since 1992. His initiatives in driving the business by adopting the best business practices are behind the phenomenal growth of the company. Using advanced manufacturing processes, the company today, manufactures a complete range of compressed air solutions that include oil flooded and oil-free electric powered screw compressors, diesel powered portable screw compressors, oil flooded and oil free reciprocating compressors, and centrifugal compressors and dryers.

Its fully backward integrated facility is spread across 4-lakh sqft with 1 lakh built up space, producing high-precision grey and SG iron castings, with a yearly capacity of 9,000 metric tons. The average weight of the castings range between 30-3200 kilograms. The factory has the best-in-class machine tools to produce 03 to 250 kilograms and 38,000 parts per year with high accuracy levels of less than 2 microns.

“We strongly believe in introspecting the strength of our competitors. We would rather leverage our brand value and consolidate our strong positioning in the marketplace by building on our own strengths,” asserts Jairam Varadaraj, and adds, “We have been able to build our position through our total focus on customers’ application requirements. We have steadily adopted the latest technologies in our manufacturing processes, widened our product portfolio, and enhanced our products with features that enable higher efficiency and reliability.”

Elgi Equipments

Elevated Production Systems

This is visibly evident in the company’s state-of-the-art foundry and air end plant in Coimbatore, undertaking the final assembly of the compressors to product support, and overall the brand positioning. All these, despite the origin of the company being fully family-based, has been built up through adaption of advanced professional business standards. To have higher focus on quality, price competitiveness and production monitoring, ELGi custom designs its own rotor milling machines to produce quality rotors at lower manufacturing costs. Low vibration, higher rigidity and self monitoring aspects of the machines results in tightly milled rotors produced quickly without defects.

The broader strategy towards adaption of advanced manufacturing process and end products has enabled ELGi to gain six percent market share in Italy through Rotair SPA, its Italian business entity and nearly one percent market share in US through Patton’s INC, US, its local business and manufacturing entity, in a short timeframe.

Product quality is ensured through audits and tests for performance and reliability at the atmosphere-controlled test rooms in the factory, which is equipped with a conveyor assembly line with automated monitoring, testing stations, and a production capacity of 15,000 screw compressors and 25,000 piston compressors per year.

With compliance to multiple international standards, ELGi’s exporting its products to 70 countries. And has a presence in 18. It has 1500 employees and 200 distributors worldwide.

Elgi Equipments

Product Advancements & Customer Support

The company offers a lifetime warranty on its products. It engages closely with its customers for feedback and application requirements. “Application support is very strong for our customers in construction, mining, and quarrying as we have found that 80% of running costs is incurred by energy consumption. So, we are constantly looking at ways to improve engine performance to lower diesel consumption, and we have done some reconfiguration of the engine block fitted in the compressors,” informs Jairam.

Nonetheless, there have been challenges, as he says, “Efficiency in engines can be brought through some imports, which is costly. Also, we have found that most of the engine manufacturers are focused on - on & off highway mobile equipment, which are in large volumes. The compressor industry being more modest, has restrictions to make improvements in the engines for the application requirements of compressors.”

However, ELGi Equipments, to fair extent, has been able to overcome the issues through co-engineering with engine manufacturers, following which design improvisations have been made in the engine frames and the associate peripherals. Says Jairam, “Faster response for product support, and inculcation of IoT for remote monitoring for preventive and predictive failures have been emphasized in a major way. This has been preceded by seven stages of product development and validation. All such initiatives have helped us gain a stronger foothold in the market, and we will continue to build on our brand value with quality products and reliable customer support.”
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