We will be launching the DX 25 SL dumper at Excon
We commissioned our new plant which has tripled the installed capacity of our Argo series of self-loading machines, and we are also investing on the latest ERP systems to take us along our ambitious growth plans, says Debasis Bhattacharya, Head - Sales & Marketing, Ajax Fiori, in a chat with Equipment India. Excerpts from the interview.

What is the present status of the construction equipment industry, with special focus on the concrete equipment industry?
The construction equipment industry in India has witnessed consistent double- digit CAGR growth over the past few years and certainly looks promising for the next five to eight years, thanks to government- backed infrastructure projects in roads and bridges, power and telecom sectors. Apart from the basic infrastructure projects, the concrete equipment industry augments its growth also from urban infrastructure and housing sector, which has substantial private participation. This has enabled this industry to grow at around 20-25 per cent year-on-year over the past few years; it looks destined to maintain this growth rate over the next few years as well.

What was the performance of Ajax Fiori in the last two quarters and how do you expect to end this fiscal?  
Our performance in the first half of this fiscal has been very promising, since we have registered around 40 per cent growth in revenues over the same period last fiscal. This has been primarily possible thanks to our increased capacities and market network expansion. By the end of this fiscal, we shall be consolidating our pan India presence through our own office network and anticipate to close the year with similar growth rates.

Over the last five years, what is the investment that has been made by Ajax Fiori either for capacity addition or new manufacturing facility? Early in this fiscal, we commissioned our new plant, which was set up as a dedicated manufacturing unit for our self-loading mobile concrete mixers. This new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has tripled the installed capacity of our Argo series of self-loading machines, which shall in a large way facilitate us in meeting the burgeoning demand for these machines across India. We have now focused on our existing unit for manufacture of our entire range of radius lift arm type, dragline type, compact bin type and in-line bin type batching plants to cater to the demand for this product line. We are also investing in the latest ERP systems to take us along our ambitious growth plan.

What are the new products launched in 2010 - 2011?
During 2010-11, we launched the dragline type batching plant model DLP 30. The USP of the DLP 30 is that the plant comes standard with planetary pan mixers that are manufactured in-house under technical collaboration with Eurostar Concrete Technology, Italy. The planetary mixer has a highly efficient mixing action, reduced mixing times and produces a homogenous concrete mix with low power consumption. This facilitates use of this plant across general construction, RMC and precast industries.

What do you expect from Excon? Are there any new launches planned?
Right from our company's inception in 1993, Ajax Fiori's growth story has centered on product and market differentiation. Excon being a bi-annual event serves as perfect launch pad for our innovative product line and a forum for interaction with our customers. Over the years, our entry into new product - market segments and the subsequent success in it have been cemented by valuable feedback received from customers from such events. Thanks to our participation in Excon 2011, we shall be showcasing our new product line and latest developments on our existing product lines, but more importantly gather valuable feedback from the market, to enable reinforce our commitment and set the direction for our future.

We shall be launching the self-loading articulated site dumper model DX 25 SL during Excon 2011. This will be a new product concept, hitherto not seen in the Indian market. Having seen the usefulness and the universal applicability of our self-loading concrete mixers, we felt the necessity of self-loading site dumpers, which we hope shall revolutionise the working methods in the building industry in the days to come. The machine will come standard with four wheel drive, automotive hydrostatic transmission, articulated chassis, loading bucket and shall have a payload capacity of 2.5 tonne.

We shall also be showcasing the next generation Argo series of self-loading mobile concrete mixers in the Argo 1000, Argo 2000 and Argo 4000 versions, equipped with improved concrete batch controller, to enable meet the demands and requirements of future projects.

What are the challenges you face as an OEM?
The major challenges faced by us of late have been the appreciation of the Euro, whereby our import costs have gone up substantially. Apart from the above, owing to high inflation rates and high interest rates our costs have increased considerably over the past six months. We have tried our best to shield our customers from these cost increases.

Tell us about the initiatives taken to widen the sales and service network, and training for operators.
From the last fiscal, we have been consciously consolidating our pan-India sales and service network. Today, we have already established our own regional offices at Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad and shall shortly be opening our regional office at Kolkata by the end of 2011. We have also spread our presence through our team of resident engineers, currently located in prominent locations in all major states of India. Apart from our centralised wareh?ouse in Bangalore, our regional warehouses at Hyderabad and Mumbai have also commenced operation. All such initiatives shall enable us to reiterate our commitment towards customer satisfaction.

We strongly feel that training is very important to ensure proper and trouble-free functioning of any equipment. Every month, we have scheduled operator's training program at our factory and also at customer sites.

  • Self-loading mobile concrete mixers up to 14 cu.m/hr capacity.
  • Radius lift arm batching plants of 20 & 30 cu.m/hr capacity.
  • Dragline type and compact bin batching plants of 30 cu.m/hr capacity.
  • Bin type batching plants, with planetary / twin shaft mixers from 30 to 120 cu.m/hr capacity.
  • Transit mixers of 4 cu.m capacity.
  • Tunnel dumpers up to 16 tonnes payload capacity.
  • Articulated site dumpers of 2 tonnes capacity.