Engineering growth

Print edition : March 24, 2006

Wind turbines set up at Andhiyur village in Coimbatore district. - M. BALAJI

Once on the path of recovery, the units are doing brisk business.

COIMBATORE today accounts for 48 per cent of the pumpsets manufactured in India. What turned the region to this business was its geography. Much of the land in the district is arid and is fit only for cotton cultivation, the water table being several hundreds of feet below the ground. Foundries came up for manufacturing pump components. Next came units manufacturing automobile components. Now Coimbatore produces wind turbines too.

Aquasub Engineering at Tudiyalur manufactures agricultural as well as domestic pumps. These include borewell submersibles, open-well submersibles, domestic pumps, jet pumps, agricultural monoblocks and electric motors.

R. Kumaravelu, managing partner, Aquasub Engineering, said: "About 200 units of various sizes manufacturing pumpsets are in the Coimbatore region. The competition is fierce." Coimbatore's market share in pumpsets in the country has dropped from 70 to 50 per cent over the years owing to competition from centres in Punjab and Gujarat. "The share has been taken mainly by the unorganised sector, which consists of small units that buy and assemble parts. In the manufacture of submersibles, the unorganised sector's share is 70 per cent," Kumaravelu said. Aquasub Engineering manufactured pumps under the brand names Texmo, atx and Aquatex. The Texmo brand was founded by Kumaravelu's father, R. Ramaswamy, in 1956. It later diversified into Aquasub Engineering and Aquapump Industries. Atx is the export brand. The group, which has five units in three locations around Tudiyalur, sells 2.5 lakh pumps a year.

According to V. Krishna Kumar, general manager, marketing, the units of Aquasub Engineering and Aquapump Industries manufacture 900 pumps a day. The submersibles exported to the Gulf countries were installed at a depth of 1,200 feet (360 metres), added Krishna Kumar.

CPC (P) Limited, Coimbatore, which started in 1946 with the production of agricultural pumpsets, stopped their manufacture in 1992 and took up the manufacture of castings for Massey Ferguson tractor. Later it received orders from Maruti Udyog Limited for the supply of flywheels. "At one point of time, 16 per cent of Maruti's flywheel requirements was met by us. This led to Hyundai, Ashok Leyland and Eicher giving us orders," said D. Balasundaram, managing director. The company's export turnover has gone up from 5 per cent in 1990 to 60 per cent now.

Its customers, in the high-technology area, are all over Europe. It manufactures valves, castings, valve bodies and pump parts for automobiles, and also brakedrums for after-market Benz vehicles.

Coimbatore Capital (P) Limited, of which Balasundaram is chairman, is into shares and stockbroking. Industries are installing windmills for captive power generation in the hilly areas. Chiranjjevi Wind Energy Limited, Coimbatore, is one company that caters to the growing market for windmills.

Its factory in Pondicherry manufactures wind electric generators (WEGs) in the 250 KW segment. The WEGs at its wind farms harness wind energy for power generation.

The company has reached an MoU with Emergya Wind Technologies B.V of the Netherlands to manufacture and install gearless 750 KW WEGs in India.

The company, which has qualified engineering personnel for the manufacturing, installation and servicing of WEGs, obtained the ISO 9001:2000 certification for its quality management system this year.

According to its director R. Sundarakalimuthu, Chiranjjeevi Wind Energy Limited is one of the manufacturers approved by the Centre for Wind Energy Technology for installing wind turbines in the country.

He said the manufacture of wind turbines was growing at "a phenomenal pace". While the global wind energy market was growing at the rate of 32 per cent a year in terms of additional installation, the growth in India was 40 per cent a year.

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