Keyur Raval, Sales and Marketing Manager, Apollo Techno Industries Private Limited
According to Keyur Raval, Sales and Marketing Manager, Apollo Techno Industries Private Limited, given the growing need for infrastructure development and protecting the environment, trenchless technology is going to be the next big thing in the coming decade, which will drive demand for HDD machines.

With the Government’s focus on Smart Cites development, how do you see the demand trend of specialized equipment like Apollo Techno’s Horizontal Directional Drilling machines (HDD)?
Smart Cities need comprehensive development of physical, institutional, social, and economic infrastructure as all these are important for improving the quality of life, attracting people and investment, and setting into motion a virtuous cycle of growth and development.

The cities will require various kinds of specialized equipment for building the infrastructure for adequate water supply, electricity, sanitation, efficient urban mobility and public transport systems, robust IT connectivity and digitalization, sustainable environment, health and education facilities, along with safety and security of the citizens.

Apollo HDD machines are being used for developing the infrastructure required for laying gas pipelines such as the long-distance pipelines, cross-country pipelines, and distribution pipeline networks, as well as to homes for domestic supply of gas. These machines are also being used for setting up power cables, water and sewerage pipelines.

We are geared up to see higher demand in the coming months as construction of all the projects is pushing ahead for completion as per the scheduled timelines. We also anticipate demand for our MIDI-MAXI rigs for developing the main pipeline infrastructure, and the MINI rigs for developing the distribution network to houses.

Keyur Raval, Sales and Marketing Manager, Apollo Techno Industries Private Limited

What is the technology behind the HDD machine?
Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) is a method of installing underground pipelines, cables, and service conduits through trenchless methods. It involves use of a directional drilling machine and associated attachments, to accurately drill along the chosen bore path and back ream the required pipe.

Installing these underground utilities using HDD machines is a green and sustainable construction method. This is because the HDD trenchless technology does not require excavations of the earth, which minimizes damage to the environment and to any nearby structure.

What are the hurdles and challenges that the company has to deal with to create a market for HDD technology, and is there any support coming from the Government?
Use of HDD technology is no longer limited due to the technological upgradations that the construction industry is seeing. In the current scenario, the technology’s scope is set to increase as it will be used more and more to develop the pipeline infrastructure for OFC, power cables, water, sewerage, oil and gas – and very sustainably too. So, we are expecting some good incentives or subsidies for the manufacturers by the Government.

On the downside are challenges such as poor drilling rigs and rock tools, and in some cases there is a higher rate of structures collapsing due to poor quality of drilling fluids. In some places, it has been found to lead to interferences with digital tracking systems that are not accurate or due to depth constraints, while some find this technology costly.

Advanced and important tools like the Mud Motor, Mud Pump, Mud Recycling Systems, are either expensive or not readily available in India. But the bright spot is that as an OEM of HDD machines we can manufacture these special tools and equipment, and offer them as a complete package to projects.

Keyur Raval, Sales and Marketing Manager, Apollo Techno Industries Private Limited

What are the benefits of using HDD machines?
HDD is an Innovative technology used for pipe and utility installations; it allows greater accuracy and flexibility in placement, and without the need for costly digging, large crews, road closures, etc, as required in traditional digging and pipe installation methods. Some other benefits are:

Quicker Installation: Since directional drilling digs under the ground, there is less dirt to rebury and dispose off, simply because there is less dirt displaced. This means that the process does not take long to complete as compared to the traditional open-cut trench work for placing pipelines.

Installation is more durable: Directional drilling uses tough materials that will last longer and is also more accurate, there is less damage in the digging process. It eliminates the need to run pipes under bridges when running them across rivers. Less exposure to the elements means adding 50 to 75% more years to the lifespan of the pipe as burying utility lines increases their durability.

Useful in more situations: Directional drilling is suitable for different types of soil conditions and it easily crosses natural water barriers and artificial barriers such as highways and runways. It even works where pipes must curve. So, pipes can be laid in impossible or expensive-to-lay places.

Does not disrupt the landscape: Since horizontal boring does not open the ground down the length of the pipe or utility line, it does not damage the landscaping. While a hole is bored at the start site, everything else is performed beneath the surface of the site. Installation of utilities beneath the soil may appear to be costly but if you calculate the disruption, time factor, damages to the road and other infrastructure, the cost incurred will be less.

What does Apollo’s complete product range comprise of and what after-sales service is provided to customers?
Our main focus is on our HDD rigs of 5 ton to 150 tons for the OFC and the major oil and gas pipeline installations. We have developed various HDD models as per their application needs, and another series for the export market.

We are also working on supportive equipment like mud mixing systems (models MT20 & MT40) for the 2000- and 4000-liter capacity, and have developed piling and trencher machines. In fact, we plan to manufacture all other equipment and attachments that are used in drilling in the HDD industry.

Our sales and service teams are present at prime locations to be close to our customers. We have offices in Bhopal, Delhi, Raipur, Jaipur, Kolkata, and Hyderabad, a resident manager in Mumbai, and a warehouse and service centre in Chennai. Our office in UAE looks after the Middle East market, and a dealer in Russia caters to the overseas markets. We have good network for parts supply to sites across India. We conduct training programs for operators and trackers with the help of DCI and INDsTT.

How strong is Apollo’s export business?
We are exporting our R Series of HDD equipment to the Middle East, Africa and Russia. We are following all international standards in the machine’s specifications, procurement of the components, and in the quality. We are very optimistic of demand coming from the overseas markets as there is a lot of infrastructural development expected, especially in African countries, and even in Russia.
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