Voltas Limited has made a recent foray in manufacturing wheel mounted crushers in India. Despite making a nascent entry, the company is bullish on carving out a niche for itself in the country’s wheel mounted crushing and screening market. The company is expecting sizeable recognition of its products based on its competitive technical attributes matching Voltas’ standards. In an interview to P. P. Basistha, Mr. Somen Chatterjee, Head-marketing & Field Operation, Crushing and Screening gave a market overview of India’s Track & Wheel mounted Crushing Plants, company’s strategy to expand, consolidate its market position for wheel & tracked crushers, also on strengthening its alliance with Terex Powerscreen.
What are your observations about demand projections for wheel mounted and tracked crushing plants in India?
With large scale projected growth in infrastructure projects, the demand is well expected to go up for wheel mounted and tracked plants. However, the demand of tracked mounted plants is expected to come mostly from increasing iron ore mining activities as demand from primary and secondary steel plants will go up according to expansion plans. Presently, there is a lull in demand in the present scenario for wheel plants from the construction sector for aggregates as there has been delay in project announcements. It has curtailed the final purchasing from contractors and project developers. Ban on iron mining by certain states along with regulations by the higher court of law has also cut down on demand for tracked plants. The demand for both tracked and wheel mounted plants have gone down considerably in two years due to economic downturn. Despite the downturn, Voltas has retained its market share of 65-70% for tracked Powerscreen Products amidst stiff competition.
According to the present demand and our observation, the total demand for tracked plant would be 15-20% of the total market for Crushing & Screening Plant. However, bulk of the demand would continue to be for wheel mounted plants as demand fundamentals from core infrastructure projects would continue to remain stable. Nonetheless, the demand for wheel mounted plants being higher is expected to grow further due to the price sensitive Indian market. This is owing to the inherent mechanism of running the wheel plants with electrical power and lower maintenance cost that make running and operating wheel plants cost competitive. Besides, the capability of the wheel plants to deliver various sizes of aggregate in least cost per Tonne would continue to make them more attractive. With forecasted demand from wheel plants higher, we are in the process of strengthening our sales channel to promote the same.
Is the demand trend graduating above 250tph-350tph and above segment?
There is a definite shift in demand above 100 TPH categories as project schedules are increasingly becoming compressed. This is much precisely for road and hydro power projects. Demand trend is towards 125-150 TPH and 225-250 TPH two stages and three stage plants. This comprises jaw-cone-vertical shaft impactors. There is a demand being created for Mobile crushers of higher capacity belonging to the range of 300-350 TPH. However, perceive wheel crushers at the capacity of 300-350TPH is not viable from the technical point of view. This is so because being machines rotating at high RPM, there are high dynamic loads at play during operation of the machine leading to vibrations that increases the cost per tone due to wear & tear. There are also issues of maintenance of the entire structure pertaing to the Mobile Plants.
When did Voltas make its foray into the wheeled plants market, how many units have been sold so far and what is the tonnage segment of plants being manufactured by the company?
We made an entry into the market for manufacturing wheel plants in 2007. Followed by our entry, we sold 20 plants in 2009 and 35 plants in 2010. During 2011-12, we have made a target to sell 60 plants and will manufacture 125-150 TPH and 225-250 TPH composing two stage and three stage plants. The composition consists of jaw crushers, trailer mounted dump hopper, vibrating grizzly feeders and belt conveyors for our VJX series wheel crushers. The VCX series crusher comprises VCX cone crushers, circular motion vibrating screen. Whereas our VVX series consists of VVX vertical shaft impactors, circular motion vibrating screens, and conveyors.
The units are manufactured at our state-of-the-art Thane plant. Presently, we are in the process of developing higher capacity 300-350 TPH Static plants and its viability. The units are likely to be launched during 2011.
What are the competitive and technical attributes of your wheel plants across the tonnage class leading to higher equipment availability?
Our dedicated team of design engineers took three years to develop Voltas wheel mounted crushers and the products are much customized to cater to the requirements of the Indian aggregates industry to provide multifarious nature of aggregates as compared to contemporary manufacturers. The products are being manufactured by standards set by Voltas itself. The basic competitive feature of our wheel plants that make us stand apart from contemporaries is the quantum of output our equipments can deliver. Voltas wheel plants deliver throughput as per its specified capacity. This is not the case with our competitors where output reported have been much lower than that of the specified capacity set by while selling the plants.
On the features front, our jaw crushes are simple in structure and the reliable in operation. The main shaft bearings are grease lubricated, above all having robust construction. The cone crushers come with a reliable hydraulic system providing safe and overload protection, types of crushing chamber are of wide range of product requirement. While our VSI have higher capacity, higher quantity medium hard material such as limestone, sand stone sand rate can attain 25-45%.
What about pricing and the necessary value engineering done to make the products price competitive?
Having advanced features, the products are 20-30% cost competitive than European contemporaries. However, they are dearer by 10-15% than Indian products. As to provide value engineering for making the products price competitive, we have a sizeable vendor base with strong engineering skills. The company has put in place a strong matrix for vendor selection by evaluating their manufacturing capabilities. Added to this, we have been implementing critical elements of lean manufacturing at our plant to make the cost of products competitive.
What about customer support for higher equipment availability?
This is one of the major areas where Voltas scores are higher than its competitors. Our dedicated sales and service personnel provide better value for money for our Track & Wheel units sold to Customers through requisite operators training and equipment maintenance. Voltas has a strong brand image for last 50 years as a service driven company with strong engineering support in promoting major construction equipment brands and giving engineering solutions. Prime has been Voltas recognition for marketing Terex Powerscreen products for which it has sold more than 950 units. Our excellent customer services have ensured us customer loyalty. Voltas possesses comprehensive market knowledge on crushing equipments and understands customer requirements better than others to provide increase equipment uptime.
For the plants sold, we ensure above 90% equipment availability. The competitive support in this case is high equipment availability that Voltas ensures by providing various innovative after sales support. Operating & maintaining the machines with its highly skilled operators along with feeding equipments like loaders & excavators to feed the plants assuring sustained throughput, better availability. We get paid in this by the Customer on per tone basis. With this competitive support, the Customer can concentrate on his core function like mining, construction etc. A nature of this customer support is provided by no other equipment supplier.
For maintenance, we believe in having 1 engineer per eight nos of track machines whereas for four wheel plants, we have rational number of engineers to cater 3 Wheel plants. Beside this, Voltas believes living nearer to machines and provide solution in contrary to competitors. There are plans to strengthen this portfolio. On Spares availability, our main warehouse is located in Mumbai which at any given point of time has an inventory of Rs.15 crores, whereas our feeder warehouses are in Goa, Orissa and Karnataka placed with Rs.5 crore inventory each at a given point of time.
What are your future plans on your alliance with Terex Pegson and Powerscreen?
Our alliance with Terex would continue to remain stable. As a distribution partner, we would continue to provide value to the products in the form of better customer service and support. To provide enhanced customer support, we are in the process of evaluating our sales point and strengthening them further, as per customers’ requirement to add value to Voltas and Terex Powerscreen range of products.