"Putzmeister brings the latest technology being used worldwide to India. The company’s products offer an attractive blend of high technology and low operating & maintenance costs. The core competencies of PM India lie in its Products, Quality and Services," says Mr. Michael Schmid – Lindenmayer, Managing Director, Putzmeister Concrete Machines Pvt Ltd., in an interview with S. K Khanna.
Putzmeister pumps have been deployed at various prestigious projects and are the first choice of real estate and infrastructure companies all across India. Putzmeister machines are working for the construction of various prestigious projects like Delhi Metro, expansion and modernization of International Airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore, construction of various power plants, Hydro-electric projects, LNG tanks, refineries, ports, roads and bridges and various highrise building projects. Recently, Putzmeister four boom pumps including the BSF 36.09 and 42.09 were working at the Buddh International Circuit which hosted Formula One Indian Grand Prix in October 2011.
What is PM’s focus on R&D, particularly indigenous development of sophisticated technology and its successful localization intothe industrial stream as suitable to Indian conditions?
We spend approx. 5 percent of our sales revenue p.a. in R&D. In markets like India, where you have to reinforce your products to the difficult working environment and meet the road regulations at the same time, it is definitely more.
The core competencies of PM India lie in its Products, Quality & Services.
Putzmeister brings the latest technology being used worldwide to India such as Free flow Hydraulics, S-valve, Cross outriggers, highly wear resistant steel components and many other advanced features. All features like the diagonal support system, the S-valve technology, the Z or RZ-folding system of booms or free flow hydraulics has set the standard in this industry because they added value to the business of customers.
Over the years, PM has been able to establish its credentials very well in introducing new technology in the manufacture of new products. What are the latest innovations in Stationary Pumps, highrise pressure pumps, boom systems and boom placers and advanced hydraulic solutions?
Putzmeister Concrete pumps are the most competitive construction machines as far as value for money is concerned. Putzmeister has specially developed machines for the Indian market, which can withstand the toughest conditions at the job site and contains the latest technology at the same time. Since all Putzmeister pumps have lower operating and maintenance costs, PM is known for “better value for money.”
The outstanding diagonal support system can compensate the weak structure of the Indian truck Chassis. The separate deck engines are delivering the required power to drive the boom and to pump the concrete but only consume 50% of the fuel which a truck engine will use if deck engine is not available. The Free Flow hydraulics circuit consumes less oil and so the customer saves money at every oil change.
Today, customers are looking for latest technology, and low maintenance products.
Putzmeister products offer an attractive blend of high technology and low operating and maintenance costs. All our pumps, stationary or boom, are equipped with the latest S-valve technology, which is much superior to other contemporary technologies. It prevents frequent breakdowns and ensures uninterrupted flow of work, unlike pumps using any other technology.”
S-valve technology - the Gate valve technology which still represents the majority of the pump population in India has too high wear and tear and therefore has been outdated in Europe already in the 70’s.
Customers in India who have tested S-valve technology are very pleased with the long service life of the main wear parts and by the low diesel and hydraulic oil consumption. Due to the closed circuit, S-valve pumps can develop higher pressure which allows pumping to greater heights. Additional advantages are the cleaning of the pumps. Due to the closed circuit, water can be pumped by the S-valves to clean the entire system. Another advantage of S-valve pumps is the reverse pumping. Using reverse pumping smaller choking can be solved without disassembling and cleaning of the pipeline.
A word about PM exports market and its positioning in overseas markets.
The Indian arm of Putzmeister is also exporting its products to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South East Asia. Customers worldwide are already aware of our technology and innovations.
What is PM’s broad product mix—share of products manufactured at its facility in Goa and imported products put into Indian and overseas markets?
We manufacture machines at our Goa facility. Only some critical parts are imported from Germany.
Our localization process is in full swing.
Do you think that increasing competition among products imported from low cost countries is a challenge which needs to be addressed more proactively to ward off market distortions?
There are many small and medium sized unorganized construction equipment companies. But they have certain limitations like technical, capital, information, skilled manpower, etc. So they find it difficult to compete with big players in the market, mostly from MNC construction equipment companies. But the size of construction equipment market is increasing and there is enough scope for everyone to co–exist. These small players can bridge certain gaps like supply of spare parts, simple technology machines, customized machines, etc. The only thing is that the quality must be assured by these players. We see that in many Tier II and Tier III cities, these players are doing well as sometimes big companies do not have their presence in these interior areas.
In the beginning of 2011, there was a clear indication of good demand for CE and the CE sector was very optimistic to clock over 20% growth. But now concerns are there about the second spell of recession emerging in. Do you think it would seriously affect Indian CE growth story. If so, what could be the solution to minimize the impact of strong national and international economic headwinds looming large? At the company level, how would PM like to deal withthis situation?
The construction equipment industry in India has performed very well as predicted so far. In our segment, concrete pumps, the overall growth was approx. 24% YOY. The 3 quarter was slightly below our expectations but we hope that Excon 2011 would pep up the market once again.
We are doing localisation of the parts and are now importing from our parent company in Germany. We have identified some vendors who can provide same level of International quality at a competitive price. We are closely working with these Vendors and suppliers and guiding them to produce components according to our standards and requirements. We are also identifying the areas in which we can reduce the costs, so that we can make the products available to customer at a competitive price. But as you know quality comes for a price and so we will never compromise with this; we have won our customers' faith and trust just because of quality products.
The focus of our company is to offer latest technology and innovations to the Indian customers. We have been developing technolgy and features that suit the conditions of the Indian market.
Putzmeister is growing on a much faster pace. We assume that we will grow approx. 70% this year. This is due to the still low percentage of pumped concrete in India and the trend that more customers understand the benefit of automation of job sides. All our products have much lower operation cost and this is what counts for the customer. I’m sure that this is the reason why we grow much faster than the market.
What are PM’s plans to participate in the forthcoming mega event of Excon2011 and expected new products and services to be showcased?
Excon is a well-established trade show and an important platform for Putzmeister to present its innovative products and services. We expect a lot of customers at Excon 2011, especially from South India and also anticipate lot more customers from abroad as well.
This year, we will present our full product range of over 2,000 sqm exhibition space.
We will showcase majority of our products range including concrete pumps, trailer pumps, high-tec boom placers and also spare parts and accessories.
In addition, we will exhibit the first truck mounted telescopic belt conveyer in India. Also on display will be our most economical shotcrete machines for tunnel application for the first time.