SSIPL Focusing on New Products and Services

Mr. Anand Sundaresan
"As one of the first players in the Indian construction equipment sector, SSIPL has always introduced products and features that offer optimal results to its clients. As part of the SCHWING Group, globally, it has access to cutting-edge technology, which is complimented with detailed research, to understand customers needs. SSIPL products are generally rugged and have very long service life. Apart from this, SCHWING products are also widely known for their low operational costs, low fuel consumption, safety and operator comfort. We believe that we need today to work towards the growth and development of the construction equipment sector as a whole. Towards this, we would focus on introducing new products and services which may result in more value to our customers. That has and will continue to remain our focus at SSIPL," says Mr. Anand Sundaresan, Managing Director, SCHWING Stetter India Pvt. Ltd. in an interview with S.K.Khanna.

How have deployments of Schwing Stetter India Pvt. Ltd, (SSIPL) products and services have contributed to the complex concrete pumping requirement in different projects in India like Parbati Hydroelectric, Bandra-Worli Sea projects ensuring the projects are completed efficiently in most difficult working conditions?
The construction equipment sector has seen significant growth and development over the last few years, primarily due to the evolving needs of the customers. Our products have been deployed in some key infrastructure projects, key ones being the Bandra-Worli Sealink Project and the Parbati Hydroelectirc project. Given the scope of the projects, the use of our high-capacity equipment proved helpful to the clients to complete these projects, effectively.

SCHWING products

The Bandra Worli Sealink Project: The Bandra Worli Sealink Project was successfully executed by HCC. However, they faced a major challenge in pumping the concrete for this project. When HCC started the project, they had the responsibility of pumping 95,000 cubic metre concrete out of a total concrete of 2,25,000, which is of highest grade (M60). SCHWING arranged for Mr. Karl Ernst V. Eckardstein, the author of the internationally renowned book, Pumping Concrete, to visit the project site. He was accompanied by Mr. Andreas Godowski, the practical pumping engineer. Together, Mr. Eckardstein and Mr. Godowski interacted with the customer on-site during various trials and shared their experience for finalization of the design Mix and selection of appropriate concrete pump for the job. All trials were conducted with SCHWING’s BP 1800 Concrete Pump Model (Sl. No. 71006018). On successful completion of the trials, in May 2003, a BP 1800 concrete pump (sl No. 71006018), with a pipeline of 175 metres was laid and concrete pumping began immediately. The resulting smooth pumping proved the adequacy of the SCHWING’s Concrete pumps. The next challenge that was faced came up when the customer initiated a vertical pumping operation on Pier 19, which had a horizontal distance of more than 300 metres and a height of 132 metres.

Parbati Hydroelectric project: We have been recognized internationally for the world record set by us in pumping concrete vertically up to a record height to 715 meters for the Parbati Hydro-electric project in Suind village, Himachal Pradesh. The project was being implemented by the National Hydro-electric Corporation. The Parbati Hydroelectric Project Stage-II is a run-of-the-river scheme, proposed to harness hydro potential of the lower reaches of the river Parbati. SCHWING Stetter India supplied BP 4000 stationary medium-size super concrete pumps to Gammon India, which is executing the project for pumping concrete from the bottom of the tunnel to the top of the tunnel, which had a total length of 1500 meters and an inclination of 30o.

What are SSIPL’s milestone technological contributions through its R&D wing, including new product launches in recent years?
SCHWING products
As one of the first players in the Indian construction equipment sector, we have always introduced products and features that will offer optimal results for the investments made by our clients. As part of the SCHWING Group, globally, we also have access to cutting-edge technology, which we compliment with detailed research, to understand if our customers are ready to embrace it. SCHWING products are generally rugged and have very long service life. Apart from this, SCHWING products are also widely known for their low operational costs, low fuel consumption, safety and operator comfort.

For example, Schwing Stetter designed S36X, a medium-sized truck-mounted concrete pump, with a focus on quality and practical application. The S36X truck mounted concrete pump is ideal for the 3–axle truck variety, which is popular in India. Compared to the existing fleet of truck-mounted concrete pumps, S-36 occupies minimal space and can pump concrete up to 10 floors. The pump allows for placement of concrete at distances of more than 100 feet vertically and 90 feet horizontally. The S36X can be equipped with a hinged fender hose on the left side, offering a huge advantage to contractors who can store 35 metres of pipeline in drawers and carry them along.

Similarly, we have introduced SP1400 trailer pumps which were specially designed for the Indian companies after thoroughly studying various Indian sites and customer needs. These pumps are designed with specially designed RL rock, which offers low operational cost, low fuel consumption, safety and operator comfort.

We spend lot of time and resources in conceptualizing innovative solutions in our products. SCHWING products are generally rugged and have very long service life and are also widely known for their low operational costs, low fuel consumption, safety, and operator comfort.

A word about SSIPL manufacturing facilities, their locations, technological and engineering assets and product range available in the country to serve all major segments in concrete equipment space?
SCHWING Stetter India is a 100% subsidiary of SCHWING GmbH, Germany, a 75-year old, 850 million-Euro concrete equipment manufacturer, with its headquarters in Herne, Germany. The SCHWING Group has 12 manufacturing units worldwide and has a global presence in more than 145 countries. SCHWING Stetter India was registered as an Indian company in June 1998 and started its operations in the second half of 1999 in leased premises. In 2001, SCHWING Stetter India set up its own manufacturing facility at Sriperumbudur in Chennai, followed by the second one in 2004, exclusively to manufacture truck mixers. In December 2006, the company also inaugurated its third facility to exclusively manufacture Concrete Batching Plants.

Some of our salient products in the market are:

Stetter Batching Plants, ranging from 18 to 240 M3/hr capacity, including M2 mobile batching plants of various capacities like 56 cbm, 94 cbm, 110 cbm and 180 cbm. Stetter Transit Mixers with 4M3, 6M3, 8M3, & 10M3 capacities for concrete transportation, Schwing Concrete Pumps (Trailer, Line and Truck Mounted) ranging from 30M3 to 120M3 for placing the concrete. We also have the SP 1400, the fourth category of pumps to join SCHWING Stetter’s range of concrete pumps in India, Specialized equipment like shotcreting machines which are used for spraying concrete in hydropower and tunnel projects, concrete recycling plants (which work to recycle waste concrete from project sites) and the F12 belt conveyor (a useful addition to a truck mixer, which can be attached to any Schwing Stetter truck mixer).

How does SSIPL help its clients in selecting right type of concreting equipment from concrete mixers to pumps, batching plants, RMC plants and machinery?
SCHWING products
SSIPL places strong emphasis on helping its clients to select the right type of equipment given the technological complexity of large infrastructural projects and the critical roles played by our products in them.

Earlier we have given the example of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link Project to outline our involvement in this respect.

By recommending the right product to the client for the project, correct placement of the product and providing accurate information to the customer about the boundaries and possibilities of pumpability of the concrete, SCHWING established the knowledge, technical competence and expertise, which set us apart from other players in the concrete equipment industry. Professionals were at the site throughout the project to demonstrate various possibilities with the equipment, ensuring that they supported the client till the last cubic metre was poured into the landmark project.

A word about your marketing network, dealership and related activities to promote your products and services in different parts of the country.

After-sales service is a very critical component in the construction equipment business, given the scale of operations of the equipment and the need to ensure that the machines are used optimally. As our machines are deployed at various project sites across the country, we have set up a network that will address needs that may arise from various possible locations, namely at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Cochin, Pune and Ahmedabad. After-sales services are also provided through our service points at Surat, Vizag, Subansiri, Indore, Kullu and Kathmandu, by well-trained service personnel. The service centre located in our factory also offers services like overhauling of equipments, periodic mainte- nance, repainting of equipments etc.

As a matter of practice, we also meet all our clients on a regular basis to get their feedback on the products that we offer and evaluate whether all their requirements are met.

How do you envisage the pace of growth of SSIPL in the next two-three years capitalizing massive infrastructure development necessitating advanced quality concreting equipment?
The Indian construction equipment industry is expected to grow to a size of $ 12-13 billion by 2015. The industry has seen a significant turn-around in the last few months, driven by increased infrastructure activity and finance availability. This growth is likely to be consistent over the next 2-3 years. However, the needs of the customers will constantly evolve, encouraging manufacturers to adopt innovative measures to suit those needs. We, at SSIPL, always planned our expansion and introduced new products, drawing our cues from the market scenario and the needs of our customers.

We intend to be an active participant in the growth and development of our economy. Our focus areas would be expanding our after sales service network, spare parts availability closer to the project site and also setting up training centers at different locations to maximize availability of trained operators and service technicians to get the best out of the equipment supplied by us.

Closely allied is the need to create and maintain a sustainable environment. This year, all activities undertaken by our parent company will revolve around the theme Go Green. In keeping with this, we are also working to ensure that none of our products have any adverse effects on the environment.

SSIPL has a dedicated training centre to impart primary and advanced training. How has this facility provided the best services not only to the company but also to the customers?
The challenge of skilled manpower is something that the entire sector is facing, as a whole. As in other sectors, it is imperative for us to identify the right talent and also retain them. Having realized this earlier, we set up an exclusive training centre in 2004 with lecture halls that have the capacity to train up to 125 persons at a time. The facility can also provide computer-based training programs with audio visual aids, and is equipped with a full-fledged technical library, a cut model display area, a cafeteria and locker facilities for the trainees. The training centre imparts primary and advanced courses on Operation and Maintenance, courses on safety and machine-owner courses on SSI products. These help the owners derive the best benefits from our equipment, from the operators, maintenance personnel, supervisors and managers of the customers.

We conduct regular short-term training courses for customer’s operators and also for our own service engineers by inviting faculties from our major component suppliers. SSI, along with CII, also offers operator training courses for operation of Batching Plants and Concrete Pumps. Most of the candidates enrolling for these courses get employment offers even before completion of the courses.

How does SSIPL look to new policy measures introducing infrastructure reforms, rationaliza- tion of tax regime and related reforms in the financial sector? Are these measures compatible with new domestic business realities and emerging global business environment?
The target of building at least 20 kms of roads per day, which has been announced by the Government, will provide a huge fillip to the OEMs in the construction equipment sector. The Indian construction sector has seen significant recovery since the beginning of this year, especially where the Government-related projects are concerned.

However, towards the continued growth of the sector, we seek the Government’s support in ensuring the use of RMC for all projects, which will scale up the industry as a whole and also help source quality concrete for construction. Uniform taxation throughout India is another aspect; introduction of VAT and further refinement of VAT may bring this change. Entry tax, road permit, way bill are some other issues, which need to be abolished for the growth of RMC industry. Further, towards the growth of the industry, government bodies, private builders, architects/engineers, contractors, and individuals are required to be made fully aware about the advantages of using ready mix concrete.

We also seek the Government’s support in encouraging the implementation of public-private partnership (PPP), which would aid rapid infrastructure growth in the country. This approach is best suited for the infrastructure sector, as it supplements scarce public resources, creates a more competitive environment and helps to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Removing tax anomalies and lowering tax burdens and instituting key policy measures which will encourage players to invest in the development of new equipment will also help to grow the sector as a whole. The Government should also encourage quality manufacturing in India to bring parity in the concession duties available for similar products imported from other countries.

The Government should also call for fresh thinking on improving the quality and capacity of vocational education and training, like strengthening private sector participation in managing the institutions and in designing the course itself. To give an impetus to the skill-training programs in the country, the government should take measures to empower and encourage the private sector managed industrial training centres, through the proposed National Skill Development Corporation.
NBMCW February 2011
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