Clear Days Ahead

The Rs 500-crore industrial filter market is buoyant as the growth is definitely on an upward curve.

With the country growing at approximately 9 per cent, and the government targeting double- digit growth, the present market scenario is upbeat as far as industrial filters are concerned; the sector is expected to grow by 15-20 per cent.

The industrial filter market has a very wide spectrum: it has heavy-duty engine filters, hydraulic filters (power packs, wind turbines, steel plants, earthmoving equipment), air compressor filters, machine tool filters, oily water separators for marine applications, genset filters, agriculture equipment, railway filters, aviation filters, process filters, dust filters, nuclear power plant and NBC filters, and lifescience application filters. According to Manjit Prabhakar, Managing Director, Filtration Effects, ?Since no single manufacturer covers the complete industrial filter range, market size estimation varies a lot. Since I have covered the complete spectrum in my 32 years of experience, my estimation for the industrial filter market size is around Rs 500 crore.?

About the trends in the industry, Manjit says, ?New emission norms are certain to bring in changes in filtration requirements as tolerance levels are becoming finer, hence better contamination control is required for the protection of engine components, especially in air and fuel filtration. These changes are forcing quality manufacturers to shift to costly, high-performance imported filter media as the Indian filter media manufacturers are neither addressing this issue nor are the resin manufacturers making any effort to develop new-generation, environment- friendly, high-performance resins.?

Says Ajith Raj Nair, Joint Managing Director, Mann + Hummel, ?Better filtration means better combustion, better combustion means less emission and less consumption of fuel.? He adds, ?We at Mann +Hummel are constantly researching towards using and introducing environment-friendly products, we use lot of raw materials which are environmentally friendly. We have also introduced high quality diesel particulate filters which will bring down emission to a negligible level. We simulate various climatic conditions at our test labs to study the efficiency of filters, along with field trials at various locations and based on our continued R&D, we are constantly upgrading our products for optimum performance.?

Elaborating on the prevailing technology trends, Raj Nair says, ?Replacement of various metal components with high quality plastic, integration of various functions of filtration into a single module with compact design, are some of the advancements we have incorporated.?

?The automotive filter market is certainly very competitive but the same is not true for industrial filters where customers consider technical competence over price. This is especially true of the hydraulic filters and air compressor filters market, which is our focus area, and is dominated by imported filters which not only adds to equipment cost but also pinches the customer?s pocket when it comes to replacement. Competition in construction machinery and high-end equipment is forcing customers to look for good indigenisation options,? Manjit Prabhakar says in conclusion.