Aug 15 2014 | Q&A


Customers Today are definitely more aware of what the global market place has to offer and demand the same in India. This has ensured that the major Indian manufacturers have stepped up their game through product upgrades or international tie ups. Acceptance of lighter and more compact cranes is a shift that has happened within the past 4-5 years, factors that can give several advantages to clients. The industry has started becoming more and more customer oriented as compared to the past. By default, customers today expect a high-quality and well-timed customer service.

Tushar Mehendale, Managing Director, ElectroMech shares his views with Sandeep Sharma about his company, core competencies, gamut of products, technical superiority, client preferences, industry insight, emerging trends and technologies, market share, manufacturing base, clients, verticals, projects, customization offered, importance of training industry personnel and what needs to be done to revive the Indian economy.

Could you tell us about your company and core competencies?
Established in 1979, today ElectroMech is the largest industrial cranes manufacturer in India by volumes. The company offers solutions for wide-ranging applications in manufacturing plants and infrastructure projects through a complete range of hoists and cranes. The company is an exclusive India partner of ABUS Crane Systems, Germany – one of the world’s leading crane manufacturers. Apart from this, ElectroMech has also partnered with Stahl for their explosion protected range of products used in hazardous industries like refineries, chemical, etc. The manufacturing plant in Pune is one of the largest crane manufacturing facilities in India confirming to international standards of manufacturing and quality assurance. With an equipment base in more than 17 countries and a subsidiary company in Dubai, the company is steadily marching towards becoming a global brand of repute.

You have got the whole gamut of cranes in your product portfolio. Could you talk about your range of cranes, technical superiority, design, features and hot selling models and client preferences?
ElectroMech offers a wide gamut of material handling equipments ranging from Electric Wire Rope Hoists, Single Girder and Double Girder EOT cranes, Jib Cranes, Wall Travelling Cranes, Goliath Cranes, Underslung Cranes, along with special purpose cranes such as Stacker Cranes and Tunnel Mucking Systems.

Besides this, we are the exclusive India partners for ABUS Crane Systems, Germany for their entire range of standardized hoists and cranes. We also have sole representation for Stahl’s range of Explosion protected hoists and cranes in India

In addition to the entire array of products that we offer to our customers, ElectroMech believes in providing ‘wellengineered’ hoisting solutions. We understand the exact requirements of the customer and using our company experience of more than 35 years, we help zero in on the perfect equipment that will do the intended work. We also sit with our customers and help them in optimizing their building designs in such a way that they can derive maximum benefits of our compact cranes that also have low wheel loads. This enables the customer to get a very reliable and optimized hoisting solution as well as also helps them in reducing their building costs. Our company’s cranes & hoists can be found in varied industry verticals such as automobiles, construction, general & heavy engineering, oil & gas, power, railways, shipbuilding and metals.

Could you provide us an insight about the material handling industry in India?
In the Indian MHE industry the industrial cranes segment is highly fragmented. According to our estimates, the industrial cranes market in India is approximately to the tune of Rs 1500 – Rs 1800 crore per annum. This market size has slightly shrunk in the past couple of years due to the slowdown in the Indian economy. Approximately 30 per cent of the cranes are required by government-owned companies and the remaining 70 percent comprises the requirement from private sector. Regionwise distribution in terms of quantities shows that Western India contributes 50-55 per cent of the total requirement, while Southern India follows with 20-25 per cent, Northern India with 15-20 per cent, and Eastern India with 5-10 per cent.

Roughly 40% of the total crane industry in India is dominated by the top 10 manufacturers in the organized sector. The remaining market shares comprises of more than 300 small crane companies.

What are the emerging trends and technologies in the material handling industry?
Customers today are definitely more aware of what the global marketplace has to offer and demand the same in India. This has ensured that the major Indian manufacturers have stepped up their game through product upgrades or international tie ups. Acceptance of lighter and more compact cranes is a shift that has happened within the past 4-5 years, factors that can give several advantages to clients.

The industry has started becoming more and more customer oriented as compared to the past. By default, customers today expect a high-quality and well-timed customer service. As practice manufacturers have to place enabling structures in place ensuring zero customer complaints and prompt responses to service calls.

The crane industry has not seen too many revolutionary changes in technology over the past few years; however evolutionary changes have certainly happened. One of the technology trends that ElectroMech is establishing is the standardization of radio Remote controls across all of our cranes. Radio Remote controls offer a substantial increase in flexibility for the crane operator as well as allow safer operations as the operator needn’t remain under the crane. In addition, the need for the festooning system along the crane girder is negated, allowing the cranes to remain lighter as well as neater.

We are also providing sophisticated anti-sway systems in our cranes that ensure that cranes can work at high travel speeds without worrying about load swinging dangerously. This in turn helps the customers in significantly ramping up their productivity.

How was the year 2013 in terms of business generated? What’s your market share in the crane segment?
Overall the Indian economy continued limping in 2013. As a result, the capacity utilizations at several factories were at record low levels. This in turn did not lead to any substantial generation of demand in cranes, as cranes are required only during capacity expansions in the industry. Furthermore, the scenario on the infrastructure projects front was also not promising as a lot of projects continued to be stuck in regulatory imbroglio. As a result of this the market size shrunk quite dramatically in 2013 and this had a direct implication on the business generation possibilities. In the sector where we operate, we continue to hold onto approximately 18% to 20% market share.

Do you have any hopes for market revival in 2014?
Over the past couple of months, we are seeing some movement in the demand for material handling equipment coming from the market. Some of the projects which were stalled seem to be getting back on track. Customers have started discussions on expansion plans which had been shelved for a long time. As a result, there is a definite buildup of action in the industry. Whether to discount this as a last quarter scenario - where typically fast decisions happen before the financial years ends in March – is something that cannot be said with certainty. However, our reading of the market is that the economy is slowly turning around. With the possible advent of a stable growth oriented government at the centre, we are also looking forward to this stream of recovery turn into a raging torrent of high octane growth. Hence we are pretty much bullish about 2014 and the subsequent years.

Could you share with us details about your manufacturing base, capacity and production process?
Our plant at Pirangut, near Pune is spread over 20 acre of land and has a covered manufacturing area of 23,000 sq. m. We have implemented a piece flow process within our plant that enables us to have a capacity to manufacture easily in excess of 1500 cranes. This year we will be manufacturing in excess of 700 cranes and thus can claim to be the largest manufacturer of cranes in terms of volumes. Our semi-automated stacker crane system in the stores enables us to store all components in a systematic palletized manner and enables quick retrieval. The plant is equipped with state of the art CNC Plasma cutting machines with an innovative vertical plate storage and retrieval system that enables fast and precise cutting of steel required in fabrication of the cranes. We have semi automated welding systems that ensure a consistent and top class welding quality. We can also boast of one of the largest paint booths in the industry having a length of 50m and a width of 8m. This is a down draft type paint booth that allows us to paint multiple crane components at the same time. Our dispatch area is also unique and is serviced by a giant 42m span single girder gantry crane with a SWL of 20t that speeds up the dispatch process.

Which industry segments do you cater to? How is the response so far from these segments?
Our product portfolio caters to almost all industry segments. The major names in heavy engineering, general engineering, automobiles, shipbuilding, infrastructure, power, oil &gas and FMCG feature are in our client list. Infrastructure has always been a major driver for demand and the coming year will be no different. Growth in infrastructure drives associated industries such as cement, construction equipment manufacturing, power, etc. and the response from all these segments indicate that several projects should become live in the coming year.

Which of your products would you recommend for ports, mining and power sector?
The power sector requires cranes for a variety of applications, such as windmill manufacturing, transformer manufacturing, TG Hall cranes, coal mill handling cranes, etc. Typically, Single Girder and Double Girder cranes are required with capacities up to 250 MT. Special purpose customized cranes have also been supplied by us, for example cranes with rotating trolleys used for galvanizing transmission tower components or single failure proof cranes in atomic power plants. ElectroMech has supplied cranes to the entire value chain from power generation to substations, transmission tower manufacturers and transformer manufacturers. In the mining industry, the demand for our cranes is driven by manufacturers of mining equipment. Cranes that are typically required are Single Girder EOT cranes, Double Girder EOT cranes and Gantry Cranes. We have supplied to several mining equipment manufacturers such as CAT, Sandvik, Atlas Copco, Volvo, JCB, Telcon & AMW.

Who are your major clientele and which are the prestigious projects you have been associated with?
As mentioned above, almost all major companies across verticals are ElectroMech clients. Our cranes have played pivotal roles in several prestigious projects, such as the construction of the 8km long tunnel for the Mumbai water supply project, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd’s Kakarapar Atomic Power Plant and several more projects around the country. Metro projects in almost every city have ElectroMech cranes contributing to the rapid construction required. In Bhutan we have supplied cranes for construction of several Hydro-electric power projects through HCC and Gammon. We recently also supplied our award winning tunnel mucking system to Impreglio for the STEP project in Abu Dhabi. Our cranes are also used in shipyards like Mazgaon Docks Limited, L&T Shipbuilding, Pipavav Shipyard, Bharti Shipyard, Chowgule Shipyards, etc

Do you offer customization to your clients in terms of design and features?
ElectroMech prides itself on selling solutions to clients, not just cranes. Customized solutions are one of our strengths and several customized cranes have been supplied by us to a large number of clients. Transfer trolleys, stacker cranes, cranes with rotating crabs are just some examples of the customized solutions we have delivered to our customers. Our award winning high speed, high lift tunnel mucking systems are testament to ElectroMech’s ability to consistently meet challenges posed by projects. We were the only company that was able to rise to the challenge of achieving a 325 m height of lift for two hydro electric power projects; HCC’s Punatsanchhu projects in Bhutan and Gammon’s Parbati project in Himachal Pradesh. This was achieved through detailed engineering as well as the inclusion of an anti sway system that ensures the load can be handled safely.

An anti sway system works on the principle of a pendulum, a load being handled by a crane acts like a pendulum, as the crane begins to move, the load begins to sway. The extent of this swaying depends on the length of the pendulum, or in the case of a crane, the length of the wire rope. Without corrective action, only friction will limit the extent of this and deaden this swaying. With no specific device to do this, controlling this swaying depends solely on the skill of the driver of the machine who manually applies a counter reaction to the movements of the load. The anti sway system offers several advantages, namely protection of the load and the machinery and less maintenance, lower risk of accidents, lower operator fatigue, lower cycle times and indirectly, lower energy costs.

What’s your take on the need to train manpower using material handling equipment in India?
Having a trained operator for one’s cranes or other material handling equipment is extremely important. Improper operations of the crane or neglecting safe practices can cause mishaps, resulting in as stoppage of production or worse, injuries and deaths. Imparting proper training to the crane operator also ensures that basic maintenance and visual checks are performed regularly, allowing for timely preventive maintenance resulting in a more reliable piece of equipment. Training can also help in enhancing productivity with best practices in terms of slinging while handling goods. We offer operator training programs through our service subsidiary, Cranedge and encourage all our clients to ensure that all their operators are trained.

What needs to be done by the Government of India to boost economic growth?
The government of India needs to push ahead relentlessly with large scale infrastructure projects that will change the face of the country. Commerce will be easier and much more efficient. Efficient and simple taxation systems like GST need to be implemented on top most priority. Incentives should be given in terms of easy land availability and clearances for projects above a certain size. This will boost foreign investment in the country and Indian industry can emerge as major industrial force on the global stage.

About Tushar Mehendale

Tushar Mehendale brings to ElectroMech not only engineering penchant and drive but also the vision of customer focus and service.He is a qualified Mechanical Engineer with a MS degree from US in Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Engineering Management. Mr. Mehendale overlooks the entire activity of the company at the top management level. In addition to this he is also involved directly in the overall marketing and business development activities of ElectroMech. He also heads the R&D cell of the company which is continuously engaged in developing newer products and components that enable ElectroMech in maximizing the value of its product and service offerings.

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