"India is going to be the main focus in Asia for the Wirtgen Group and we offer a complete range of equipment for road building and road rehabilitation. We are expanding our sales and service network and we would be introducing more product lines in the Indian market–like Wirtgen Hot and Cold Recycling, Crushing plants from Kleemann. Over the next five years, we are expecting our business to grow at over 30–40% annually," says Mr. P. Ramesh, CEO and Managing Director, Wirtgen India Private Limited, in an exclusive Interview with S.A.Faridi.
Please share with us information about Wirtgen GmbH’s worldwide operations. How over the years the company has transformed itself to its present stature starting from a traditional road contractor?
Wirtgen Group is headquartered in Germany with revenues of Euro 1040 million in 2006 and consists of two divisions, Road technologies & Mineral technologies with four companies, Wirtgen, Joseph Vogele, HAMM, and Kleemann.
Wirtgen Group has more than 55 own Sales & Service companies and 4,000 employees worldwide. Wirtgen started as a traditional road contractor and then got into manufacturing of machines in 1981. Today, the operations are steered by Mr. Jurgen Wirtgen and Mr. Stefan Wirtgen.
Wirtgen Group is basically into road construction equipment, road rehabilitation equipment, surface miners and crushing plants. Wirtgen manufactures Cold Milling Machines, Hot & Cold Recycling equipment for roads, Soil stabilizers, Concrete slipform pavers and Surface Miners.
Vogele produces asphalt pavers ranging from 1.1 m to 16 m paving widths, Hamm produces complete range of vibratory compactors; and Kleemann –the latest acquisition of the Wirtgen Group is into the manufacture of crushing plants.
Over the years, the Wirtgen Group has grown and expanded and is today the market leader both in terms of technology and market share for most of the product range in which we operate.
What are the products Wirtgen India is presently offering to the Indian construction sector? What are the technological advancements made over the years in the products line?
Wirtgen India Pvt. Ltd. – a 100% Subsidiary of Wirtgen Group currently offers the complete range of Wirtgen Group products – viz. Wirtgen Slipform Pavers, Wirtgen Cold Milling Machines, Wirtgen Hot Recyclers, Wirtgen Soil Stabilizers, Wirtgen Surface Miners, Vogele Asphalt Pavers; and, Hamm Vibratory Rollers.
There are several technical advancements which have been incorporated in the various products manufactured by Wirtgen Group – a few of which are mentioned here:
Flexible cutter system in the cold milling machines where we are clear world market leaders with the widest range of equipment; the use of electric vibrators and the New Dowel Bar Inserter system in the concrete slipform paving. Infra red heating system, Heating of the road surface, Scarifying, Remixing, Repaving, Paving with high compaction screed is done in one single operation in the hot recycling train, High Power Compaction using pressure bars in the Vogele asphalt pavers which also features the ergo plus, and Oscillation technology in the HAMM rollers, etc.
Please share with us a few technical features of Wirtgen Slipform Paver and the projects where the pavers are deployed.
Wirtgen Slipform Pavers are being extensively used in various NHAI and state roads and airport projects across the country. As of now, we have over 50 Wirtgen paving trains in operation in India. Seven out of eight Slipform Pavers used on the prestigious Mumbai – Pune Expressway are from Wirtgen. Almost 80% of the concreting in the Golden Quadrilateral project (which has been completed) and at the East-West Corridor are with Wirtgen Slipform Pavers. We also have our machines working in the Mumbai city projects like Jogeshwari-Vikroli link road, Bandra–Kurla complex, Bangalore and Hyderabad Airports, etc.
How is Company focusing on after-sales and supply of spare parts and strengthen the same in view of good response to company’s products and services and growing demand.
Wirtgen India is headquartered in Bangalore where we have a full–fledged spare parts depot, service center and training school. This year, we are decentralizing our operations and have opened branches at New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. With these branches, we are in a position to offer service and spare parts support very close to the project sites. Wirtgen’s strength over the period has been its products which offers latest in terms of technology and excellent support after the product is delivered.
Wirtgen places great store by training and development. What are the current initiatives of company’s Training Centre in Bangalore and at job sites for maintenance of equipment?
Yes, Training has been the main focus area of Wirtgen India and our Operator Training School would begin very shortly in Bangalore. We have a full year training calendar which offers various types and levels of training for Operators, Technicians, etc. We also conduct training at job sites where a sizeable fleet of our machines are in operation.
What vision the Company has set forth for itself for the next five–six years to develop its business operations in India? What business areas are set to grow faster for it and plan to gear up Indian operations?
India is going to be the main focus in Asia for the Wirtgen Group and we offer a complete range of equipment for road building and road rehabilitation. We are expanding our sales and service network and we would be introducing more product lines in the Indian market - like Wirtgen Hot and Cold Recycling, Crushing plants from Kleemann. Over the next five years, we are expecting our business to grow at over 30 – 40% annually.
What support your Company looks to Government in reforming tax, import regime to put construction equipment sector on fast track?
From the Wirtgen’s point of view, we would like to have the road rehabilitation equipment like Cold Milling Machine, Hot Recyclers, Soil Stabilizers and Cold Recyclers to be exempted from Customs Duty. These machines save precious natural resources like aggregates, bitumen, etc. and we would like to have these machines in the Duty exempted list as they are not manufactured in the country.
What are the issues Construction Equipment Industry needs to address today foreseeing booming infrastructure development.
I feel, the biggest problem facing the industry is availability of trained operators and we at Wirtgen India are focusing on this aspect.
What are the Wirtgen plans to participate in the forthcoming Excon 2007, its focus of presentation and new launches–in view?
At Excon 2007, we would be displaying a very small portion of our product range due to small space made available to us. However, we would be exhibiting our latest range of Wirtgen Milling Machine, Vogele Asphalt pavers and HAMM Vibratory Rollers.