18 October 2019

Interaction-Abhijit Lunkad,CEO,Birla Shakti Concrete

We are well positioned to cater to the construction sector’s evolving needs

 

 

Birla Shakti Concrete’s Ready Mix Concrete plant at Pune recently completed its 1000th day of successful operations.

 

ABHIJIT LUNKAD, CEO, BIRLA SHAKTI CONCRETE offered CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES an understanding of the business and the operational contours of the facility during a recent plant visit. 

 

 

Tell us about the genesis of the plant and the industry concerns which made you set it up?

 

I am in the contracting business. When we got a lot of project work in 2009 we thought of having captive plants on each site around Pune because transporting them to each site for mixing operations was very tedious and cumbersome. So we had six plants of 30 cubic meter per hour on each site. But as the numbers of sites were increasing it was difficult to maintain them so we decided to have one large central plant of 120 cubic meter per hour of international standards instead of 10 multi location plants from which we could service all the sites. That is how we arrived at the concept of having this RMC plant. Before starting planning I decided to first have a look at similar plants abroad where they cater to very large scale volumes. So then we imported this plant from Germany, from Liebherr which is one of the biggest companies in the world. After doing that we thought since this is one of the best plants in the country why not sell concrete to others also. That is how we launched this as commercial concrete. Pune is fast emerging as a real estate hub and having a production facility positioned near our demand centers is a critical component of our business strategy and leaves us well placed for future growth. This plant is three years old.  We recently crossed the landmark of 1000 days. I now am told that what we are doing here in RMC is far superior to what they are doing in Dubai or China. We are a technologically advanced world class plant

 

 

 

The importance of concreting is not well understood…? 

 

Exactly. If you look at the contractors or developers no one takes concreting seriously. What they pay attention to are the peripheral things – the land, the design, the air-conditioner to be fitted, the tap to be chosen. But if you ask them 10 questions on concrete, they will have no answers.  For them concrete is something workers do and they are not interested. But to me as a contractor, who executes projects for developers I feel concrete is a serious product because it gives strength to a building. When I got into business I realised that to procure good concrete itself in big volumes and on time was a very big task. We cannot develop the country without good concrete. That is the need this plant addresses completely. With a wide range of concrete solutions, state of the art technology, modern fleet of truck mixers and mobile pumps, strong R&D and testing facilities and commitment to safety and sustainability, we are well positioned to cater to the evolving construction needs of the Indian market.

 

 

 

This facility has been described as being the country’s biggest among many other things… Can you tell us of the remarkable features of this plant?  

 

In terms of commercial selling of concrete manufactured to other people this is India’s single largest, fully automated concrete manufacturing facility. It is also the most technically advanced state of the art digital plant. The global technology you have here is testament to our commitment to meet the country’s growing demand for high performance, cost-effective and environmental friendly building solutions.

 

 

 

Tell us about the plant’s manufacturing capacity and your product portfolio?

 

The plant produces the complete range of market-leading, high performance concrete mixes from M7.5 to M110 grades, including M10 pumpable concrete, designed to meet stringent IS Code specifications and new-age construction applications. The plant assures supply of concrete 24 x 7. The products span a wide range of concrete mixes including Self-Consolidating Concrete (SCC), Water Proof concrete, Aluform shuttering concrete etc to cater to a wide range of applications including residential and commercial projects. The company started operations in 2013 with an annual production capacity of 4.5 lac cubic meters and today has a total installed capacity of producing 6.5 lac cubic metres of ready-mixed concrete. The plant employs over 250 people.

 

 

 

Give us an understanding of the technology and machinery here and the total investments the plant has entailed?

 

Our investment on this plant is almost `35 crore. The factory is spread over an area of 25000 sq mt. This fully automated and computer-aided design manufacturing facility includes Putzmeister Truck mounted Moli Pumps, Putzmeister Boom Placer, a state of the art concrete testing lab, and Water Recycling plant. We have the single largest fleet of Liebherr Transit Mixers mounted on AMW vehicles, complete with GPS tracking systems which ensure prompt and timely delivery.

 

 

 

Tell us of your emphasis on R&D and Quality Control?

 

The plant operates under most stringent, self-imposed quality control regime in the industry. That is what leads us to be acknowledged as the market leader for on-time delivery and commitment to excellence, strength and durability. It has many firsts; it is the first plant in India to offer customers a mobile application for placing orders. Our onsite research and testing laboratory and demonstration facility not only develops concrete, meeting specific type of application and jobsite requirements, but also schedules regular training workshops to educate customers, contractors, distributors, and all other industry partners on the developments in the concrete production.

 

 

 

Since you are selling commercially now have you assessed the size of the market demand across India? 

 

Across India I am not very sure but the demand for readymix concrete around Pune is increasing day by day. Today having mixed concrete on site is a very difficult and a tedious process. You cannot dump sand or metal onsite because it gets very congested. So it is easier to get mixed concrete directly. So the demand is increasing now by 15- 20 percent every year.

 

 

 

Could you name some of your clients?

 

It is a spread. We have around 300 big ticket clients around Pune. They range from real estate conglomerates, design-build firms and construction professionals, road contractors and small bungalow people. We have names like Sobha Developers, Rahejas Kumar properties, Kolte Patil Real Estate, NCC Ltd., Goel Ganga, Karia Realty and Suyogdham Infrastructures LLP.

 

 

 

What are the areas serviced by your plant?  

 

Right now all our clients and their projects are within two hours travelling distance from Pune. With time we will look to expand to other areas where we could think in terms of putting up a new plant.

 

 

 

Tell us about Birla Shakti Concrete’s plans to contribute to the major projects going forward. What is your outlook for the business?

 

With so much happening in and around Pune in real estate and roads I foresee great opportunities for us to scale up our operations to meet project objectives. We want to be key participants in the nation’s developments. On my part I am very inclined to look at the positives that lie before us. I am very optimistic about the India Growth Story. 

 

 

 
TECHNOLOGY AND MACHINERY
  • Fully fledged PLC controlled Liebherr plant with twin shaft mixer imported from Germany.
  • Six Putzmeister truck mounted concrete Moli pumps used to service the site in quick time.
  • Putzmeister Boom Placer mounted on truck to deliver concrete at the height of 42 meters.
  • World class Liebherr Transit Mixers mounted on AMW vehicle – 45 numbers.
  • Liebherr Recycling Plant to recycle water resource
  • Moisture probes fixed in inline bins to control quantity of water intake.
  • Organised plant layout and raw material storage facilities.
  • World class enhanced digital Cube Testing Machine.
  • Weigh bridge for clients to witness net weight of concrete
  • Back up plant of 60 cubic meter per hr in case of heavy concrete and emergency.

 

 

 
QUALITY ASSURANCE ADVANTAGE
  • Hi-Tech laboratory for testing of raw material
  • SAP and other sophisticated software to prevent tampering by plant operators
  • Only Birla Shakti Cement 43 Grade is used in consistent quality and strength of concrete.
  • Mixed designs are thoroughly tested to yield optimum performance of the concrete.
  • Concrete achieves more strength than what IS Code prescribes.
  • Better finishing of construction due to pumpable mix.
  • Better quality concrete due to plant mix as compared to site mix.
  • Only processed fly ash used.
  • Well trained lab staff to monitor concrete mixes round the clock.



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