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Interaction | December 2015

India not yet ready to imbibe latest technologies

Yagnesh Buch, DGM-Marketing, KSB Pumps Limited

What are the emerging trends in pump technologies and to address which industry´s needs these are being explored?
Indigenous supplies by Multinationals/ local players in India cater to 90 per cent of the pumps and valves requirement of Indian customers. Multinational companies keep bringing in newer technologies/ designs for local manufacture and take care of the advanced needs of the customers. As India is evolving fast, newer technologies are bound to find way into the country.

We have contemporary technologies and products. We have access to a host of products and systems from our principals, for which India is yet not ready to imbibe them. Remote monitoring of pumping systems is one such example! We expect more and more evolutions to take place - more efficient; integrated and automated solutions to be used in the Indian industry, for which KSB is completely ready!

What has been the growth in the segments you are present over the last two years and how do you see this panning out in the next two years, and why?
As you know, expectations were very high when this Government came to power with great majority. But ground realities are still different. The activities in the core sectors that would propel the economy and Industrial activity, viz. those in power, oil and gas sectors are still at low ebb. Barring some projects materializing in each of these segments in the period gone by; nothing dramatic has excited the capital goods industry at large. This has led to poor liquidity and capex expansion/ implementing of new projects has been lacklustre in general in the industry.

In the agriculture sector, poor/ unseasonal monsoon has had a telling effect on its fortunes. Loss of crops leading to poor financial resources of farmers saw this market for pumps plummeting. In fact, most of the manufacturers addressing this segment reported a loss of 20-û25 per cent business in the same period over the previous year. KSB was, however, able to sustain its numbers due to strategic measures through product innovations and availability. This effort was ably supported by the sharp focus of the very loyal and strong dealer network.

In infrastructure and building services, the supply continues to be more than the demand, mainly due to resource crunch.

However, the stage is being set for an economic growth, which should be visible towards the end of 2016. Opportunities for growth are ample. There is a need to speed up the process. Rural India has yet to reap the full benefits of technology. Modernization and accelerated development in the power sector is imminent.

Developments in infrastructure - in building roads and dams will be on faster track. Water is becoming scarce; and the advent of desalination of sea water will need to be looked at seriously in the coming years. India is gearing up to be a super power in the nearest future. We have the required resources (including talent and knowledge) in the country, however, we must retain these resources here to seize this leadership position, worldwide. The Pump and Valve Industry has a major part to play in this activity - as it is the heart of these activities.

What are the pump segments you are present in and which are the products in which you are dominating the market? What are the advantages/benefits these products offer?
KSB Pumps Limited (KSBPL) has a broad portfolio of centrifugal power driven pumps and industrial valves, which cover almost every conceivable application that such products could serve.

Pumps range from small domestic pumps for household and building applications to pumps used in the water supply, irrigation and sewage applications and catering to industrial sectors including all process industries; refineries and petrochemicals. Our portfolio also addresses the needs of power plants, covering a spectrum of conventional, supercritical and even nuclear power plants.

The cast and forged Gate, Globe, Check and Ball valves manufactured by us at Coimbatore cater, predominantly, to the energy and industrial sectors. The diverse array of products that KSBPL, India offers is the result of, not only the over five decades of expansion in India, but also the backing of our over 145 years of experience and expertise of our parent company KSB Ag., Germany. We are known for our technology leadership.

Briefly mention how to read performance of pumps, and what is the frequency at which they have to be replaced to ensure optimum efficiency and why?
In general, the performance of a pump can be read/ judged through many parameters like lower or higher flow, lower or higher pressure at discharge, higher vibration, abnormal noise, higher current drawn by the motor etc. The operator has to monitor these parameters regularly, either manually or if customers have done all instrumentation set up then the same can be monitored from a control room. The performance can be guarded by providing alarms and trip signals on key parameters. Since every rotating equipment results in some wear and tear and this leads to deterioration of performance as well as occupational hazards, it´s a prudent practice that the pump is replaced after it has served its design life, it can be 10 year to 25 years.

The life of the pump depends on the standards which are being used to design the pumps. It also depends on low/medium/high tech requirement from the application side. For example, there are several boiler feed/ condensate extraction pumps which are running for decades; while there could be some submersible pumps which are run only for 4-5 years. On other hand, some domestic pumps of very small capacity for household use may run below 2 years. If the pump is giving desired performance, then it is not necessary to change it. But regular maintenance of pumps is a must which keeps them running for longer period and avoid downtime.

What is the share of unorganized sector in pumps manufacturing? How does it affect adoption of global quality standards/benchmarks?
Unorganized sector is a nuisance and a big obstacle to the development of the industry as well as the nation. These types of players still have strong presence, mainly in the agriculture and other domestic markets for several reasons
a)They are generally local players and not national players
b)They use inferior designs and materials, do not adhere to consistent and acceptable quality and do not bother about energy efficiency, thereby, are very aggressive on price
c)Power is not metered/ charged to farmers and hence the need of energy efficient pumps manufactured by the organized players becomes secondary to the price-conscious customers.
Till such time power is not metered and charged to the farmers/ or the power is metered and free power is only offered to the extent of the load sanctioned; unorganized players will still be a strong deterrent to the progress of our industry. Today, the organized sector corners only 30 to 35 per cent of market share of these segments.

- BS Srinivasalu Reddy

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