Vishal Surelia
Unipave Engineering Products: Mr. Vishal Surelia, Managing Director, Unipave Engineering Products, gives details of the company's product range, new developments, and future growth prospects in view of the Budget allocation by the finance ministry for the roads and highways sector.

How do you analyze the growth prospect for the CE market in the coming years?
Growth in the CE industry is going very fast following the announced outlay of Rs.97,000 crore for the roads sector in the Budget for the current fiscal (2016-17). As per the finance minister, allocation of Rs.55,000 crore in the Budget for roads and highways, would be further topped up by an additional Rs.15,000 crore to be raised by NHAI through bonds. Thus, the total investment in the roads sector, including Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) allocation, would be Rs.97,000 crore during 2016-17. The CE industry's revenues had reached $6.5 billion by FY14, growing at a CAGR of 8.38% during FY 2007-14, and is further estimated to rise at a CAGR of 13.1% on rapid infrastructure development undertaken by the Government. On the other hand, the global CE industry grew at a CAGR of 7.7% during 2012-16. So, the future potential is good for the Indian CE Industry.

Seeing the government's intent to boost roads and highways construction, what growth prospect do you envisage for 2017 onwards?
Unipave Engineering Products is one of the oldest brands in the Asphalt Paver industry. My grandfather Mr. Hansraj Surelia manufactured the first asphalt paver (mechanical paver) in 1979, and my father Mr. Praful Surelia manufactured the first sensor paver in 1995. Today, Unipave Paver has touched more than 1200 units. We have two manufacturing facilities in Ahmedabad; each unit is manufacturing minimum 5 machines per month. In some states, the government has declared sensor pavers as necessary for contractors if the road projects revenue is more than Rs.10 crore. There is increasing demand for sensor pavers as compared to the last two years. Our total production of sensor paver and mechanical paver ratio is 6:4 and we are expecting this ratio to be 7:3 by 2017.

Please elaborate on the features of Unipave paver machines. What is your most recent launch?
We believe in giving more options to the customers so that they can choose products that are technically superior and economical too. Unipave is only Indian company to offer a wide range in asphalt pavers. Our two main segments are mechanical paver and sensor paver. In mechanical paver we have four models that are defined by capacity and facility, such as the basic model UAP-045 with 100 TPH, HAP-045 dual seater mechanical conveyor with 100 TPH. The same products are available in Hydraulic Conveyor, which is called HAP-045 HC 150 TPH. Another mechanical model is the UWM-05 150 TPH which has double axel and paving width up to 5 meters, and can be made suitable for working with MOBA sensor for slop and grade control. This is the only model available in the market now.

Our sensor paver machine range starts from 4.5 meters. The ESP-045 machine can be used in road projects in metro cities and towns where sensor paving is mandatory. Since this machine is a compact paver, one can take it into congested areas.

Our latest development is the sensor paver finisher model ESP-07, which is a wheel mounted paver finisher, and it comes with hydrostatic transmission, hydraulic drive for conveyor, 4 rear wheels on equalizer beam, sliding type control panel, dual operator seats, hydraulically extendable screed with tamping, vibration and heating facility, MOBA (Germany) make sensor device for automatic slope and grade control, and Sonic Sensor system for automatic material flow control. The most interesting feature of ESP-07 is that it can pave roads from 3.0 meters of width to up to 7.5 meters of width with automatic material flow control. Also, the machine is for dual purpose, that is, it can be used for asphalt paving as well as for WMM, DLC and GSB materials. The new ESP-07 also fulfills the norms of ARAI.

Unipave Asphalt Paver

How do you see the competition from global players?
There is a large number of road contractors in India who prefer to purchase Made in India paver finishers due to their low acquisition and maintenance cost as compared to imported machines. Despite the low cost, our machines can work in tough situations. We have identified the needs of road contractors and have developed a wide range of paver finishers for the Indian market. These include mechanical pavers, sensor/hydrostatic pavers in-wheel mounted as well as crawler mounted. Unipave has been a road construction equipment manufacturer in India since 1979, and we are committed to providing quality and sales service for our products. The competition from foreign manufacturers of paver finishers is less in the 5.5 meter and 7.5 meter paver range, while in the above 9.0 meter paver range, they have a strong hold in the Indian market.

What are Unipave's customer support services including training, spare parts availability and maintenance?
Our well-experienced, dedicated and enthusiastic workforce is a valuable asset of our organization. Our focus is on helping the users of our machines to be safer, more comfortable, and more productive. Our service department with skilled engineers is managed directly from our head office in Ahmedabad. We have also appointed a dealer in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar, for sales and service support. For spare parts of our machines, the customer has to contact our service department or our dealer and the required parts are dispatched through courier. Our service engineer provides training to paver operator at the time of commissioning of the paver finisher, with instructions for maintenance of the machine. Customers can reach our service department through mobile, landline, whatsapp and e-mail.

Apart from expanding your sales through first-time buyers, what is your strategy to retain your existing customers?
We are one of the well-recognized brands for paver finishers in India. We are thankful to our loyal customers who share their experiences and suggestions with us. We believe in "satisfy the customer to retain the customer". So, we are committed to manufacturing the best quality pavers and assure higher uptime with qualitative and quantitative output. Secondly, we provide service on time. That is why 55% – 60% of our orders are coming from our existing customers.

NBM&CW December 2016