Our track plants operated with electric power rather than by hydraulic means is the latest trend and our customers are embracing it with open arms, says Mr. V. Senthilkumar in this exclusive interview with Equipment Times.
What is the present market outlook (size and value) for crushing and screening equipment? What do you think are the different growth drivers from roads, railways and mining sector?
In our country, the crushers and screens market consists of both organized and unorganized sectors. I would say it is close to Rs 30 billion per year, especially for aggregates, which is 100 TPH and above. Out of this, Rs 6 billion can be approximated for track mounted plant; Rs 10 billion for tyre mounted plant and Rs 14 billion for skid-mounted and unit equipment.
Undoubtedly the sector is growing multi-fold due to various factors.
The construction and infrastructure development project (in roads and railways) is definitely driving this sector. As activity in the mining sector increases, it will have a direct positive impact on the crushing and screening market. In spite of all these driving factors, the immediate path to recovery will be a tough one and Propel is geared up for that.
What are the latest technology trends in this vertical and what are your offering in this space in helping your clients optimize production?
Our main focus has always been to help our clients optimize production. Recently, we received a design patent for innovation in manufacturing dual sand apparatus for sand washing plants. Our dedicated R&D lab works round-the-clock for the benefit of the customers. The lab houses infrastructure needed to measure and analyse specific gravity, water absorption, bulk density, bulking, slit, flakiness, elongation, abrasion and impact, among others. The properties of the rocks and minerals thus tested act as a guiding tool for customers. This kind of testing helps the customer understand the feed gradation for the input material, determine the shape and size of the aggregate, analyse the properties of the sand and check if it is as per IS: 383/ IS: 1542 standards and also, understand the strength and durability.
We have leaned more towards technology for the benefit of our customers. Our track plants operated with electric power rather than by hydraulic means is the latest trend and our customers are embracing it with open arms.
What is the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on this sector and what are the measures taken by you to support your customers during this crisis?
Like everyone else, we were caught unawares and the pandemic has most certainly forced us to use technology to stay connected with our customers. We have now mastered the art of sorting out even complex issues through video calls. Our industry was also affected by the pandemic-induced economic and social problems. Thankfully, we are self-reliant and so, that has helped us move on slowly, but steadily. Remote monitoring and control, and Internet of Things (IoT) are complementing our determination and resolve. We are working towards formulating a system including finer aspects of Industry 4.0 so that physical distance is never a problem for us to support our customers.
What is your review on the latest trends in the electrification of crushing and screening equipment?
Propel is all for electrification of crushing and screening equipment. Our electric mobile crushing and screening plants are accepted by customers worldwide because of its unique features. The choice for a mobile plant is being led by rising cost of quarry operations, mining lease regulations and lack of qualified manpower to operate the plants. We offer multi configuration, high capacity (in the range of 200 TPH to 400 TPH) dual powered track plants which includes Jaw, Cone, VSI and screen. We have introduced 4 deck screen for the first time in the world and it is running successfully at multiple locations. The track plants can be commissioned in a day and hence the plant is available for immediate production.
What are the challenges, risks and possible new avenues for the crushing and screening market?
We have to ensure that everyone concerned follows COVID protocol. That remains the biggest challenge in operations. We are conducting vaccination camps at our head office in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and we aim to achieve 100% very soon. As of now, 89% of our staff are partially vaccinated. We have customer footfall in the office and so, we are doing all in our capacity to mitigate the risk. During multiple phases of lockdown, we were handholding our customers to ensure that the machines are well maintained. As regards the new avenues, there are good enough reasons to be hopeful for. The industry-focussed government policies, the massive drive for infrastructure development and large scale construction activities are creating newer avenues for the crushing and screening sector. Export markets are also opening up and this is good news.
In the Independence speech delivered, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that we have to work together for next generation infrastructure, world class manufacturing, cutting edge innovation and new age technology. The ‘Prime Minister Gati Shakti national master plan’ is sure to open up newer avenues. I am hopeful that the Rs100-lakh-crore worth infrastructure schemes of the Gati Shakti plan will act as a booster for the economy.
The interview was first published in the September 2021 issue of the Equipment Times.