Gujarat Apollo: Focus on Latest Technologies
"At Gujarat Apollo, we have maintained a tradition of focusing on research and development, keeping ourselves abreast with the latest technological trends in the world in our range of products with the help of our strong domain knowledge of Indian customer needs and situations. We identify the technological advancements that will really deliver the benefits to the Indian contractors and keep upgrading our products accordingly. We have expanded our dealer base in new and potential markets, have organized road shows, participated in exhibitions etc. Our prototypes for vibratory compactors are ready and being field tested. We will launch it at a large scale soon," says Mr. Asit. A. Patel, Managing Director, Gujarat Apollo Industries Ltd. in an interview with S. A. Faridi.

Complex project requirements are dictatingimportant value additions in CE products and services to enhance operational efficiency of equipment and cost benefits for the end users. What are value additions components of Gujarat Apolloproduct range meeting clients’ imperatives as well as national imperatives on energy and environment?
Our Asphalt batch mix plants are equipped with an energy efficient counter-flow drum drier, an efficient fully modulating burner and bag filter to ensure best in class energy efficiency and pollution control in the exhaust gases. However, besides the equipment with basic technology, the operational settings and care are also extremely important and we provide continuous hand holding and training through our experienced after sales support team that is the strongest in industry and closest to the customers through our network of and own branch offices across India.

We have adopted BS3 engines in our mobile equipment in line with national up-gradation of environmental standards.

In our pavers, we follow a philosophy of direct heating of the screed with separate small gas or diesel burners instead of electrical heating which requires the main engine to be of higher size to be able to drive the generator to produce the required electricity. Using higher engine just for initial small time preheating required reduces the engine efficiency for entire operational time and secondly we end up losing on efficiency at three stages – engine, generator, heating elements and heat transfer whereas in direct heating using small burners is more efficient.

What is industry’s response to your crushing and mining equipment productline with German technology inputs and a word about the current status of your offering compactors with Italian technology?
Gujarat Apollo: Focus on Latest Technologies
We have introduced the plant configuration with two stage crushing using Horizontal Shaft Impactor as secondary station. Our collaborators have very good and proven range of impactors which produce better flakiness index as compared to cone crusher thereby eliminating the need to run a VSI which increases the operational cost significantly. Hence, on medium hard stones which is the majority of the market this two stage crushing combination proves to be optimum.

We also have good designs of primary impactors which can take large stones and provide large size reduction ratio to achieve crushing in single stage for softer materials like Lime stone, Iron Ore etc. This makes the plant very compact and energy efficient with just one crushing station.

The general understanding of most of the people in industry is that the horizontal shaft impactors cannot take larger in feed stone sizes but that is the specialty of our German design primary impactors which can take in feed stone size as large as 700x1100mm.

Our prototypes for vibratory compactors are ready and being field tested. We will launch it at a large scale soon.

A brief about Gujarat Apollo R&D support to its ever growing product is development initiatives.
At Gujarat Apollo, we have maintained a tradition of continuously focusing on research and development, keeping ourselves abreast with the latest technological trends in the world in our range of products with the help of our strong domain knowledge of Indian customer needs and situations. We identify the technological advancements that will really deliver the benefits to the Indian contractors and keep upgrading our products accordingly.

Please apprise our readers about your equipment financing schemes. Are there more tie –ups in the offing to benefit your customers if they go for your products and services.
We have very good working relationship with all the equipment finance companies and all our equipment are approved by the leading banks in India. The customers, therefore, do not have any difficulty in getting our equipment financed.

What are company’s new initiatives in terms of delivering end-to-end technical services catalyzing latent demand in unexploredmarkets, expansion of dealership and channel networking and addressing new markets with focus on export markets?
We have expanded our dealers base in new and potential markets, have organized road shows, participated in exhibitions etc. We understand the technical requirements in products in different countries, align our products towards specific requirements and then promote the products that will meet those specific requirements at competitive prices and strong after sales support.

After the successful participation in Conexpo-Con/ Agg 2011 show in the US and show casing of your products and services; can you share your experiences and feedback response including identification of newbusiness options as a result of your participation in this international mega event?
Participation at Conexpo was a good experience. Though we had a very modest presentation, we could generate good interest amongst the customers and more importantly amongst potential strategic partners and channel partners in Latin American market.

Zero import of the second hand machinery has been a constant worry for the domestic OEMs. What could be the corrective measures to offset this disadvantage for home grown companies like yours? As it is significant, would you like to sensitizethis issue afresh in the forthcoming CEO’s meeting at Excon 2011?
Gujarat Apollo: Focus on Latest Technologies
Second hand equipment is not allowed under zero duty import scheme. However, it is a threat as well as an opportunity. The manufacturers have to now consider seriously a separate SBU for purchase/sale of used equipment somewhat on the lines of automobile manufactures.

At present, CE sector has many opportunities, following Government’s focus on infrastructure development as well as challenges—troika of rising input costs, higher wages and mounting interest rates – putting the sector as well as companies on the back foot. How can these macro and micro headwinds be managed effectively for the future growth of the sector as well as futurebusiness growth of the companies in this sector?
I would not like to offer suggestions for the industry as a whole on this point. The challenges are there. Value engineering and a lean organization are a must today to manage the situation. At Apollo, we have always followed a market driven pricing policy and our customers are fully aware of this. We are confident that our customers will understand the ground realities and help us in managing the situation.

What are Gujarat Apollo’s plans to participate in the forthcoming mega event—Excon 2011 to be held at Bangalore, November this year and your new products and services to be launched there?
Excon 2011 would have a positive impact on the CE market sentiments. We are taking a larger area this year and shall be exhibiting the following equipment at the show including, Track Mounted Mobile Screening Plant, Track Mounted Heavy Duty Mobile Screening Plant, Hydrostatic Sensor Paver of 9 mtr Width, Grader, Soil Compactor - 14 Ton & Tandom Roller - 9 Ton & 4 Ton.
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