The crushing sector is already showing signs of a strong recovery and the future outlook is very positive, says Mr V Senthilkumar in response to questions posed by the Equipment Times team.
How do you assess the impact of the pandemic on the mining sector, especially on the mineral sector?
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global economy, including the mining sector. The pandemic is throwing up new set of challenges. While some industry players are managing to wade through the crisis, others are affected. At Propel, we have continued to support our customers in every possible way during the lockdown and also during the unlock phases. Our round-the-clock service support and well-placed
spares stores is being well appreciated by the customers. The crushing sector is already showing signs of a strong recovery and the future outlook is very positive.
To what extent this has impacted the demand-supply scenario of crushers and screens?
I am optimistic and see a bright road ahead for the crushing sector, both in the domestic and international markets. The demand is steadily rising due to the construction and infrastructure development projects
which have been lined up. The recent policies of the Indian government have also been structured in a way to benefit the sector.
In today’s context what are the major challenges and how do you address those?
We are doing our best to break the chain and stop the spread of the virus. This was the first big challenge. Ensuring the safety of the staff members is priority. There are restrictions in the day-to-day operations. We had to work around the industry, safety and health norms as prescribed by the authorities, for the benefit of all. Only critical operations are being carried out. The team members are trying their best to reach out to customers through technological means. Office travel happens only when it is absolutely necessary.
We have a detailed plan of action in place so that return to ‘business as usual’ happens faster. We have visualised the ‘new normal’ and our team is working towards it.
Brief us on the latest technology trends in this space and what is your contribution in this area helping your clients optimize production?
The incorporation of technology in the features of crushing and screening plants and its increased usage is fuelling the market growth in this sector. Automation in the mining and construction industry is also a key factor in propelling the industry growth. Track plants operated with electric power rather than by hydraulic means is the latest trend. They provide considerable savings in operation cost. Customers have a wide range of crusher types to choose from. The capacity of demand, technology used in the crusher, financial back-up of the customer, relevant government policies and quality of the finished product are the factors that decide the selection. Cone crusher is more sought after because of its capital expenditure, owning and operating cost and quality of the product.
To what extent IoT and digital technologies are changing the sector? How appreciative are clients on such technologies?
Many companies in the mining industry are implementing digitalization to efficiently manage their operations. IoT and digital technologies are changing the dynamics of the industry. Incorporating IoT helps in cost optimization and improves productivity. It reduces the overall operational downtime. The safety of the human resource and the material resource is protected. We are able to move from preventive to predictive maintenance. The use of IoT is slowly leading to the use of Artificial Intelligence which is beneficial. Our clients are highly appreciative of the efforts taken to stay updated. The use of latest technologies helps their plant’s productivity and so they are more than willing to walk the path with us.
Brief us on the solutions offered by your company? Are clients willing to offer IOT and digital technology in mining crushers?
In our organisation, we use IOT to get information about an impending failure so that predictive maintenance can be done. A system of Auto-SMS warns the client of an approaching problem. It also helps us determine the life of the wear apart from helping us improve productivity.
Yes, our clients are all game for the new technologies.
How do you foresee the future trends?
Huge investment is happening in the Indian aggregates industry and it is one of the biggest in the world. India is one of the largest global consumers of aggregates and it is being projected as a prospective epicentre of the world construction industry market. The mining sector has made significant strides to steer through odds, but there are a whole lot of challenges like geopolitical landscape, technological disruption and increased demands from communities and investors. Diversity strategies, revisiting the talents and creating value-based business options can keep the sector up and running with full vigour.
This interview first appeared in September-October 2020 issue of Equipment Times.