Normet India: Bullish on opportunities in tunneling construction

Robin Lindahl, President & CEO, Normet Group
Finnish underground mining and tunneling construction equipment manufacturer Normet has set up a new manufacturing and service facility at Jaipur, on the back of which the company will be targeting 15-20 percent growth. Robin Lindahl, President & CEO, Normet Group, Puneet Narula, GM - Equipment Business, and Amit Kaul Marketing Manager- GCCT, Normet India, share their business plans with P.P. Basistha on the sidelines of the facility’s inauguration.

What business prospects do you foresee for Normet in India’s growing number of tunneling projects?

We are quite excited about the rising tunneling projects in India. As per our observation, almost 6,000 kms of tunneling work is currently at various stages of planning and construction. India is poised to become the second largest tunneling construction market in the world, and Normet India will be looking to take advantage of the ensuing demand.

Have you made a blueprint of your business plans and strategies?

We have been able to create a fair amount of branding through our underground mining solutions for Hindustan Zinc. We are confident of expanding our footprint in tunneling construction in any part of the country, with support from our Jaipur facility. This facility is not only for production purposes, it is an extended arm of Normet’s global R&D Center for chemical solutions. The facility will provides a state of the art training center with a special area designated for spray concrete simulator and understanding of concrete in advanced concrete laboratory. This facility will undertake machine refurbishment, and, most importantly, machine assembly. Our strategy with this plant is also to align ourselves with the Make-In-India initiative of the Government of India.

What tunneling construction solutions will the Jaipur facility produce?

We will begin with the assembling of our new Alfa 1430 series shotcrete machines, which will have about 40% localized content. These will be mounted on Tata/ Mahindra chassis. We will provide customers the option of a unit mounted at our facility or at their jobsite. Currently, we are offering solutions for tunneling projects with diameters of 8-14 meters. Subsequently, we will introduce more shotcrete solutions.

Lack of accurate geological data often leads to unexpected problems in the course of tunneling, with possible stalling of machines. Under-utilization of machines due to shortage of trained operators is another challenge in India. How would you address these issues?

We have the expertise of operating in 28 countries working in varied geological conditions. We have the right products, chemicals and bolting solutions, backed by our support services including training of operators. To ensure higher levels of products utilization, globally Normet has been carrying out continuous levels of improvisations in the shotcrete booms and character of pulsations. This has been resulting towards lesser levels of concrete rebound while spraying than competition products. High concrete rebound is a major issue that tunneling contractors encounter. With the facility in Jaipur, we are also having a training center, where we are aiming to work on improving the skills.

Normet Group

How will you address the issue of price sensitivity in Indian buyers and ensure that they get their value for money?

Our high-quality machines deliver total lifecycle costs with lesser cost of operations per hour. They have an extended life of 5-7 years even after five refurbishments, making the one-time capital investment justified for the contractor. The tunneling construction market is at a nascent stage in India, where one-time capital investment may not make business sense for the contractors. So, we will also offer rental and leasing of our equipment along with product support, and we will be open to buybacks from our customers.

What kind of product support will Normet India put in place for its equipment?

Presently, Normet India has an active fleet of 300 machines, for which we are rendering 24x7 active support across their lifecycle. Parts support will be ensured from our mother warehouse in Holland and our regional warehouse in Jaipur and Udaipur through an efficient logistics system. We will be making our equipment more digitally enabled with telematics, which will also ensure preventive and predictive maintenance, and thereby ensure higher availability of our machines.

Normet's Multimec and Spraymec, versatile underground vehicles providing sprayed concrete for safe tunnels

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