The synergy of COGNIZANCE & EXCELLENCE – ELECTROTHERM

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Mukesh Bhandari, Chairman, Electrotherm (India) Ltd
Mukesh Bhandari, Chairman, Electrotherm (India) Ltd

Electrotherm LogoQ. Please brief us about company’s Indian & global reach?

Established in year 1983, Electrotherm is an ISO 9001:2008 certified, public limited business conglomerate with interest in Engineering, Steel, Ductile Iron Pipe, Electric Vehicle, Renewable Energy, Education, etc. Our Engineering & Projects (E&P) division caters to the needs of iron and steel making plant, foundries and heat treatment industry and is particularly renowned for providing end-to-end total solutions for mini steel plants, supplying sturdy and highly efficient plant and machinery supplemented by best in the industry after-sales-services to its customers around the world. It has installed its equipment spread over four continents with specific focus on Middle East Asia, African Continent and Indian Sub-continent.

More than 3000 equipment have been installed in domestic and 54 countries globally by this strategic business unit. We are the leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of plant and machinery to steel producers through Induction Furnace route. As a matter of fact we have over 65% market share by number of Induction Furnaces installed for steelmaking and over 74% market share by production capacity of steelmaking through Induction Furnace route.

We have successfully executed 42 turnkey projects for iron and / or steel making in 12 countries for capacities up to 500,000 TPA. We have also executed several gas-based direct reduced iron (DRI) making, coal-based sponge iron making and waste heat recovery boiler based captive power plant projects overseas. In the current year, about 65% of E&P division’s turnover is coming from export.

Q. Please also highlight the latest initiatives in your industry domain?

The journey of Electrotherm that began over three decades ago was based on openness for ideas, eagerness to innovate, supplemented by in-house research & development and focus on customer-centric technology, product and process development. All through these years we have kept designing and manufacturing larger capacity induction furnaces to scale up steelmaking through induction furnace route.

Outside-in approach of Electrotherm for product improvement and new product development has resulted into development of various efficient products like high speed caster, metallurgical equipment like de-carborizing converter and ERF-ELdFOS® technology, productivity improvement equipment, special transformer and modular electrical-substation, and special air pollution control system. All these products have changes efficiency, productivity, quality and overall competitiveness of the steelmaking segment through Induction furnace route. When we developed high speed modular caster in 2011 and Bullet Caster® in 2013, it facilitated industry to directly roll the hot billets coming from the caster without cooling and re-heating, saving energy, money and environment as well. When the industry was struggling to meet the quality norms, we designed and developed a refining equipment ERF® with ELdFOS® process which dephosphorizes and desulphurizes steel melted in induction furnaces enabling this fraternity of steel producers to be at par with primary producers as far as quality of steel produced is concerned.

Very recently again, we have launched a transformed induction furnace with embedded digital control technology which will change the economics of steel making through this route.

We have also made some significant contribution to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Trivandrum of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in indigenous development of their Plasma Wind Tunnels facilities for simulating specific thermal environments used for testing requirements for ISRO’s reentry missions.

Q. What are the market opportunities for your company’s products in India? What is future prospect for your industry?

India’s current per capita steel consumption of around 70 Kg is far below other fast developing economies, well behind world’s average of around 210 Kg, and almost incomparable with China’s consumption of over 500 Kg. Any fast developing nation typically records per capital steel consumption of the order of 300 to 500 Kg during its peak development phase before it subsides.

India is now getting into such growth phase. Construction and infrastructure sectors in India consume large portion of total steel and are poised to grow rapidly over next one decade and more.

Besides, the various Initiatives taken by the central government recently, viz. Make in India focused on 25 sectors including construction, automobile, auto components, railways, roads & highways, port, defense manufacturing, mining, oil & gas, renewable energy, thermal power; deregulation of defense products; initiation of various industrial corridors; rural development; urban infrastructure; smart cities; 1 Crore houses for poor by 2019 and housing for all by 2022 will create enormous demand for steel in India in next 10 – 15 years’ time.

The draft National Steel Policy has envisaged that India’s steel production capacity will move from current 124 million ton (MT) to 300 MT while actual production will increase from about 95 MT to 255 MT by year 2030.

Steelmaking through induction furnace route is here to stay and prosper for several advantages it offers, viz.
These plants come under MSME category, require much lower CAPEX compared to Blast Furnace – Basic Oxygen Furnace (BF-BOF) or Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) based plants,has no dependency on coking coal which has to be largely imported for primary producers, has substantially short project gestation period, causes reduced air and water pollution,
can work on weak electricity grid or even captive power plant, and with introduction of ERF-ELdFOS® technology has no limitation for meeting quality norms.

These producers can now participate in infrastructure projects as Government of India through a recent gazette has already abolished classification of primary and secondary steelmaking.

Therefore, going forward a good portion of steel demand will have to be met by induction furnace based steel plants, and our products for this segment will have multi-times demand over next one decade and more. We are fully geared up for quantum leap in short as well as long term business prospect of our E&P division.

Q. Is there any plans for expansion & new investment in terms of product development or new technology adoption to cater the demand of the industry?

Electrotherm has always been developing superior technologies, products and process for this segment of industry. This is never-ending journey and as the requirements of the industry will change, our design & development team will continue to deliver as per the changing needs of the industry.

Q. What is the top line product range & Is there any plans to launch new products?

A steelmaking plant has three basic processes – melting, refining and casting. Our product range, all made in-house, includes all these three elements Melting: Induction melting furnace and electric arc furnace, Refining: Metal refining converter and ERF® – ELdFOS® Casting: Continuous casting machine

Besides, the other major equipment required by such plants are transformer, air pollution system, host of productivity improvement equipment and scrap processing equipment. Our E&P division makes all these equipment. For overseas markets, we also make coal-based direct reduced iron (DRI) / sponge iron making plant, captive power plant utilizing flue gas through waste heat recovery boiler and we execute stand-alone and integrated projects on turnkey basis as well.

Q. What is your vision for your company?

The simple vision of our company is to deliver best in the class products, best in the industry services and total solutions to our customers to improve their profitability. In order make it sustainable, we continuously strive to build an enterprise of competent, committed and engaged employees focused on growth, productivity and customer success.

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