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Interaction | February 2016

We executed first-of-their-kind projects in India

Talking about the unique projects the company handles in precision engineering, Kaustubh Shukla, Chief Operating Officer, Industrial Products Group, Godrej & Boyce, discusses with POWER TODAY how they will introduce advanced processes in RE and nuclear power systems in India.

Kindly elaborate on the project that Godrej & Boyce has competed for IPR. Are there any other such projects that you are working on that you can tell us about?
Godrej Precision Engineering (GPE), a business unit of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. executed and delivered a Torus-shaped Vacuum Vessel for the Institute of Plasma Research (IPR). This unique vessel has been supplied for Aditya, the first indigenously designed and built tokomak of the country. IPR, a part of the Department of Atomic Energy, plays a major scientific and technical role as an Indian partner in the International Thermo-nuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) - an initiative to develop fusion reactions similar to that of the sun.

This vacuum vessel is a thin walled torus shape shell of SS 304L material of 10 mm thickness consisting of total 112 ports which are a combination of rectangular, triangular and circular shapes. Through meticulous planning and a process driven approach, GPE has completed this bespoke project meeting the exacting customer requirements for dimensions, tolerances, surface finish and performance. During the final testing at IPR after a week-long baking cycle at 1,500 C, the vessel finally achieved a vacuum of 1.4 x 10-10 Torr, far surpassing the expectations. Godrej Precision Engineering builds Mission Critical Systems for a wide variety of demanding environment. Many of the projects we have executed in the past decade and a half have been first-of-their-kind in the country.

Currently we are executing some very complex and sophisticated systems. One of them is the Automatic Pellet Handling System - A remotely operable and remotely maintainable automatic inspection, sorting and packing system for pellets. This is a pilot project for establishing and proving advanced technology and once proven, it will be scaled up for industrial level operations. The system synthesizes mechanical, optical, robotic, electro-mechanical systems and controllers.

Another such bespoke system under development is High Temperature Electro Refining setup - a complete prototype that will be an automatic, remotely operable, remotely maintainable system for electro refining of spent fuel. Here again we are interfacing machining, handling (materials and fluids), heating etc.

Kindly tell us about some of the innovations that your company is leading, especially in the fields of wind, gas-based and nuclear energy. What sets your equipments apart from the competitors?
Godrej Precision Engineering has successfully executed numerous projects that were first-of-their-kind in the country. We continue to do so, deploying advanced technology and harnessing innovations incubated by us.

Innovation is in the DNA of Godrej and it manifests itself in Products and Processes. We are fortunate to have been trusted with challenging projects and it is to the credit of the very fine team of competent and committed engineers and technicians at Godrej Precision Engineering that we have had a brilliant success rate.

We have an autonomous organisation completely focused to execute such projects, and as a result of this unique approach we enjoy a 100 per cent success rate in sophisticated, precision engineered systems.

On the process side, we have developed and honed a multitude of technologies for automation, welding of exotic metallurgies, interfacing precision engineered mechanical systems with hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics. The projects mentioned earlier involve advanced robotics, master slave manipulators, and optical and LASER sensing.

What are your plans over the next two years? Will you be expanding in terms of production capacity or technology or R&D?
India is fast approaching an inflection point, and we can sense it. On the strength of an outstanding track record for on-time delivery of advanced and sophisticated systems, we can clearly foresee a large opportunity and growth trajectory. To prepare ourselves to fully exploit the opportunity, we are investing in people, technologies, innovations and in building production capacities.

The nature of our business calls for staying ahead of the curve. We are constantly pursuing newer technologies and evolving and perfecting solutions to create a unique competitive advantage.

How important is R&D for the sector and the company? What is your outlook toward it? How much does the company invest in it?
Frankly, the technology we have access to is the same that would be available to all. How we improve and deploy it- interfacing systems across various domains- is something that is unique to us. So exploring and adapting newer technologies is only one part of it. Applying those to develop customised solutions to meet varying customer requirements is the focus of our research and development (R&D) efforts. Godrej Precision Engineering is proud to have been chosen as a partner by several government research labs and organizations to help realise our vision of ´Building a Self Reliant India´.

Our customers deeply value the solutions our teams have created and built for them and that is the biggest source of satisfaction and motivation for us to pursue this very challenging terrain.

Green energy has been a focus area of the new policies, what part would your company play in this growth? At what position do you envision yourself in the renewable market?
Godrej & Boyce is one of the earliest champions of ´Sustainable Development´ and this thought has guided our actions and decisions for several decades now. From establishing an industrial garden township, to being at the forefront of sustainable development comes naturally to us. Godrej, in association with CII, has incubated the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre that advises organisations to adopt sustainable technologies and processes.

So it is natural that Godrej champions the Green cause in every way it can. Several of our businesses have received Silver, Gold and Platinum ratings under the GreenCo rating system of CII-SGGBC. Green Building Consultancy Services (GBCS) is one of our initiatives in this direction.

We also serve the renewable energy sector by supplying precision fabricated and machined parts for generators of wind turbines for leading manufacturers for a decade now.

Government policies are encouraging the renewable energy sector. The generation based incentives is a good example to encourage the IPPs. And we see excellent growth opportunities for this sector.

We also serve the Nuclear Power sector, which is also environmentally friendly compared to thermal power generation plants.

The power sector is in need of heavy investments and reinvention, if we are to make 24x7 electricity for all a reality. Do you see an impetus post the new government?
Electricity demand in the country has increased rapidly and is expected to rise further in the years to come. In order to meet the increasing demand for electricity, massive addition to the installed generating capacity is required.

The Government of India´s focus on attaining ´Power for all´ has definitely accelerated capacity addition. The power sector of the country is set for an estimated investment of $250 billion as recently announced by the government. Because of the initiatives taken by the government there is a lot of excitement in the investors and a hope in people to see 24x7 electricity become a reality for all.

India has the technology for 700 MW plants and with availability of fuel, it can embark on an ambitious plan to set up such plants. Our agreements with countries like US, France and Russia will pave the way for establishment of light water reactors. The indigenous fast breeder reactor (FBR) is at an advanced stage of completion, and work is underway for the Advanced Heavy Water (Thorium) Reactors. Once in place, India can boast of the most advanced and efficient Nuclear Energy ecosystem. Albeit delayed, these technological achievements are truly stupendous. Having been closely associated with the country´s Nuclear Power Generation Programme, Godrej is proud to have partnered in numerous technological advancements and would do so for the FBRs and AHWRs too.

Jocelyn Fernandes

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