Monday, June 21, 2021

Interaction- VG Sakthikumar, MD, Schwing Stetter India


It has been our endeavor to always listen to customer feedback and launch products and services which fulfill their requirements




Schwing Stetter  is a pioneer in manufacturing equipment for concrete production, placement, transportation, recycling and is capable of meeting the demand arising in infrastructure development where ever concrete is involved. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES,V.G. SAKTHIKUMAR, MD, SCHWING STETTER INDIA, CHAIRMAN, BAI MECHANIZATION COMMITTEE, MEMBER OF THE BOARD, ICEMA spoke about the latest trends in the RMC industry, impact of Covid-19, R&D, innovation and a lot more.






Give us an over view on the RMC Equipment market, latest technology trends and market dynamics. What are the RMC equipment currently in demand?


The Ready-Mix Concrete (RMC) business in India is around the 23 years old. The cement consumption through ready mix plants, which was at 2% in the beginning of this century, has moved close to 20%, but this is still very low compared to developed countries where it is at the level of 60% to 85%. So, in other words, the potential for RMC to grow, continues to be very promising.


In the recent years, precast products have added further specialisation in the type of machines required. Besides, digitalization is driving a wave of change and this is reflecting in providing the control system for the machines. For example, IoT has made all the equipment connected now. Since customers want the sum costs to be less, foundation less plants and mobile plants are becoming more popular. The impact of pandemic also changes the composition of models selected for ready mix operations.




What has been the impact of Covid-19 on your business and what are your strategies to overcome these sluggish market conditions and expand market share.


The lockdown didn’t allow us to work in our factory between April and June and during the same period all the project sites were closed  and the movements were also restricted. Since the unlock started, we experienced a month on month increase in the business and the customers started planning for post monsoon requirements and our other bookings became very encouraging since August on the business front. We took various measures inside factory to keep our employees motivated and various expenditure control measures along with automation.




Tell us about your product portfolio of RMC equipment. Game changing technology/products developed by your company.


The RMC equipment vertical includes, horizontal, compact, mobile, and vertical concrete batching plants, stationary and truck mounted boom pumps, separate placing booms, truck mixers and recycling plants. Our project division also offers a solution like cement blowers, silos, weighbridges, chiller plants, gensets etc. So, practically we are a one stop solution for ready mix customers.


For example, the biggest advantage with Schwing Stetter is that we have multiple configurations. For concrete mixing alone we have pan mixer, planetary mixer and twin shaft mixer. Total lifecycle cost for our products which include operating costs are the lowest in the industry. As far as hydraulic equipment is concerned, we do not have our system getting heated up. We have the maximum conversion of engine horsepower into work done. This is completely different from others where a lot of heat is generated in other competitor machines.



Cutting edge technology featured in your machine’s vis – a-vis competition.


Technology featured on our products be it based on advanced IoT devices, patented concrete valves on concrete pumps, rigid and strong batching plant structure or the wear resistant materials used in truck mixers, all of these add value to the customers.



Give us an understanding of their key features in terms of safety, ease of operating your machines, operator comfort, cost efficiency etc. their specific advantages.


For example, IoT devices, developed in-house, provide the flexibility to host customer machine data either on their server or on our cloud platform. The patented Rock Valve in our concrete pump offers least pressure loss and highest levels of leak proof performance. The structural rigidity of our concrete batching plant ensures, the plant stays grounded even in level – 4 cyclones. The wear resistant steel used in our truck mixers ensure that the time between drum replacement is 3 times longer than our competitors.


No wonder SCHWING Stetter India products command a healthy resale value compared to our competitors.



Aftermarket services as a strategic differentiator.


From the very start of the company in 1998, we believed in ensuring that we provide the best of after sales support to our customers. Our 300+ service engineers spread across the country cater to all our customers 24/7. Any service request  received by us are attended to within 24 hours of receiving the request. Apart from service and spares, we also have a world class customer training setup in our H.O & Works, which churns out hundreds of trained operators every year. Customer employees also undergo training as well as regular refresher programs are conducted at the facility.




Please provide details on your emphasis on technology, research, design and innovation?  What are the advancements your have introduced or plan to introduce?


Before Schwing Stetter entered the Indian market, the concreting methodologies used were very traditional and labor intensive. We introduced automated batching plants, concrete pumps, placing booms and truck mixers for the first time in India. This revolution fueled the switch to more technology intensive concreting in construction sites, which improved the scale and speed to completion of the projects. The latest trend that we helped introduce is in the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. This will enhance the ability of the customer in keeping a tab on his machines, no matter where they are working. The technology also gives timely alerts about the condition of the various parts of the machine as well as when it is time to replace any critical component well in advance.



Have you launched or planning to launch any new products? Please provide details.


It has been our endeavor to always listen to customer feedback and launch products and services which fulfill their requirements. Be it the 10 and 12 Cubic Meter Truck Mixers for high volume concrete transport or 3 Cubic Meter Truck mixers for the tunneling applications, or batching plants that do not require a foundation to be constructed, bigger capacity recycling plants like RA 20, etc. have all been developed keeping customer feedback in mind.



What are the trends driving purchase or hire of ready-mix concrete equipment market in India? To what extent is consumer behavior influenced by cost?


Mostly Batching plants are bought by our customers as capital investment, whereas they outsource their requirement of concrete pumps and truck mixers to rental companies. This is primarily due to fluctuating demand of concrete in the market. We are in turn witnessing a higher demand in concrete pumps and truck mixers from rental equipment players. This situation is infact a win-win situation for all.



Tell us about the indigenization efforts undertaken by the company to meet the market requirements? What is the company’s approach to implementing the ‘Make in India’ drive?


Since our inception, we have taken particular care in indigenization of our products. If most of our products were imported as CKD’s in 1998, today we have achieved a very high degree of indigenization in some of our frontline products like batching plants and truck mixers. With the new factory coming up in Cheyyar, we are looking forward to indigenize in the manufacture of Excavators, Wheel Loaders and Motor Graders too.



How is the rentals segment in RMC Equipment sector? Do you offer lease/rentals of your equipment?


The rentals segment in RMC is a thriving eco system led by the stalwarts of the RMC segment. We sell our equipment to the rental players, who in turn offer their equipment on rent or lease to the RMC players. We do not directly offer lease or rent of our equipment.



What kind of government policy will foster growth of the RMC equipment sector?


Government sops given since August 2019 and during the Covid 19 pandemic period is helping us and the market to revive. Due to this, we are seeing the new inquiries coming in various segments including real estate segment. The government should allow for higher depreciation like commercial vehicles in ready mix equipment also.



Future outlook for the industry and from a company perspective.


The future of industry depends more on the investments into infrastructure, real estate and general construction activity in the country. We see a horizon of 20 to 30 years more of sustained development activities across the country driving the demand of construction equipment into the future.


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