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Interaction | December 2015

Monsoon, crude prices hit our industry the most

Bharat B Patel, President, Indian Pump Manufacturers´ Association (IPMA)

What has been the growth in different segments of manufacturing over the last two years and how do you see this panning out in the next two years from the present stand point, and why?
The industry is in a bad shape at present. The demand for agriculture pumps has fallen by about 30 per cent this year. This is mainly due to monsoon playing truant and even as some places have experienced rains, mostly they were unseasonal, inflicting heavy losses on farmers. We expect some recovery in demand next year, if rainfall across the country is normal and happens in season.

What is the scenario for industrial pumps?
That is even worse when compared to agricultural pumpsets, mainly due to continued slowdown in the industrial growth and economic recovery. Demand recovery in a big way is not yet visible. The industry is expecting the economy to recover before seeing revival in sustainable demand.

What are the segments in which Indian manufacturers are adopting global benchmarks in technologies and in which sectors we are lagging? What are the activities the industry is undertaking in this sphere?
To ensure that there would be continuous improvement in the agricultural pumping, particularly in energy-efficiency, lPMA extends a comprehensive participation in the national level standardisation effort, especially in evolving and upgrading the norms for minimum efficiency of agricultural pumps and pumping systems.

Indian Standards on agricultural pumps are unique as minimum efficiency norms are incorporated therein, while no such norms are specified in any International standard. The pump-industry is substantially market-driven. This has motivated pump manufacturers to adapt energy-efficient designs for production.

Is there any impact of oil prices coming down and slowdown in the world economy on demand for products of Indian manufacturers and pumps in general?
Even demand from oil and gas sector is expected to be subdued as long as crude prices remain at the ebb. Replacement market will get delayed in the absence of encouraging signs in world economy, except in the US.

The sagging world economy also does not bode well for the Indian pumps industry, though Indian is only a small player.

What are the pump segments that Indian manufacturers are present in and which are the products in which the country is dominating the market?
(Please refer the in-box on Sector-wise Pump Applications)

How the Indian Pump industry is faring in exports? What are the measures we have to take to increase exports, considering the present level of adoption of global standards?
Indian pump industry has as such been a very small partner in this global market game. There have been many buy-back contracts operating with Indian manufacturers, in some cases, for periods so long as more than 20 years uninterrupted. This underscores the technological and qualitative competence and cost-competitiveness well-ingrained in the corporate philosophy of some of the leading manufacturers. Importers in the developed countries have often found it a competitive proposition to get pumps made by Indian manufacturers for their projects in other countries, especially in the Asian and African continents. Foreign buyers seem to be evincing good interest also in procuring CKDs and components from Indian manufacturers.

Indian manufacturers have also to their credit a very good performance in respect of the deemed exports, by virtue of the execution of contracts for domestic requirements, but against global tenders, hence won in situations of global competition.

What are the emerging trends in pump manufacturing technologies?
India has some of the world´s best technically well-qualified entrepreneurial and management cadre and highly skilled cadre of technical personnel. The capabilities are becoming more and more sophisticated with computer-aided design, manufacturing and management practices increasingly becoming the order of the day. Electronics and computerisation have crept across the Indian pump industry, substantially. Many major manufacturers are well adept with CNC machines, have been working with Computer-aided designs, gradually adopting also the Computer-aided manufacturing. There are exampless of noteworthy developments of computerised pump-selection softwares, marketing activities and also fully computerised pump test beds.

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