Grundfos to launch new pumps for automotive industry
Grundfos Pumps India Pvt Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of Danish pump manufacturing major Grundfos Holdings, will be launching new products for the Indian market. Started in 1945 by Poul Due Jensen, the company manufactures circulator pumps (UP), submersible pumps (SP), centrifugal pumps (CR) etc. Grundfos also produces electric motors for the pumps and develops and sells electronic controls for pumps and other systems.
Saravanan Panneer Selvam, Chief Operating Officer, Sales, Grundfos Pumps India Pvt., Ltd, told Auto Components India, “We have a few other products in-line that will be launched very soon here in India. The first one, the high-pressure pump, will be launched in the upcoming months. It can be used for various purposes and will be cost-efficient. For the Indian market, this will bring in a major change in space and efficiency. The other product that we are bringing to the market is the e-pump, which is a ‘testimony to Grundfos’ commitment to sustainability and energy-efficient solutions. We will be bringing it for the automotive industry and it will hugely contribute for preventive maintenance.”
Selvam said that there is a lot of awareness about e-pumps and people are asking for them. The company feared that it would be difficult for them to push the product to the market. But, now they see a lot of demand. The e-pumps have a huge response from the automotive industry because of their size, ease of handling and integration with the existing automation.
With the prices of raw materials going up, Grundfos feels that the cost of the end-product also will increase. But being a global manufacturer and the quality of the products are superior, Grundfos is very much optimistic. “The price of copper has gone up by 26-27% in 5 months. The steel price also has gone up, and it is hitting us. On one side, the cost is getting really squeezed and on the other, we cannot increase the price. The moment we increase the price, we will lose the top line sales. When we try to negotiate for bigger orders, we try to be a little more careful in terms of pricing. We need to be really careful about utilisation of manpower m and the other resourceresources,” he said.
Adding more on the price change, SelvamSe said, “We have alwaalways been importing. We are nnot sourcing motors here exceexcept for 1 specific motor. EvEven for that, we are sourcisourcing from Gujarat. Shutting dodown a copper factory here has affected the whole mmarket. But, our dependency on that is very low. We are completely hit by the dollar rate. So, we needn to stock and the stock level has gone up. It is an importantimporta criterion and we need to be reallyr careful here. When we do notno handle the stocks well, we will getge into trouble.”
The company has 76 major distributors today and 12 master distributors in the domestic market. They also have 250 points of sale dealers and have plans to increase them every year by about 60-70. On the professional side, the company plans to have 3-4 distributors covering different segments.
Grundfos India assembles most of its products at its 2 manufacturing facilities each in Chennai and in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Most of their plants are automatic and the assembly units are semi-automatic. They use robots in the production line of which some of them are made by the company itself. The Ahmedabad plant, that was opened last November, carters to the needs of the Northern and Western regions, while the Chennai plant supplies to the Southern and the Eastern regions. Both the facilities now have a capacity utilisation of 70%. The company also localises a few components. “We are increasing our local components. But, we are very careful about the quality as the company has a tight quality control. All the pumps that we make across the globe has the same standard,” he said.
The Chennai facility of Grudfos was the first green building and has a platinum rating. Built in 2005, Grudfos puts in a lot of effort to improve the quality of the building. “We have 2 machines to bring down our water consumption by 50% by 2020. We have also committed not to emit more CO2 than we did in 2008, despite growing globally. We also have solar panels and it is grid-connected. After witnessing the success of the green building here, the company decided to make all its new plants, green. The new offices in Singapore and Serbia are green,” he said.
Speaking on the auto industry, Selvam said that the Grundfos brand is well recognised by many in the sector. This is mainly because of the reliability of the product. “Automotive industry is not just the car and bike manufacturers. There are also many important ancillary equipment that are required. We have special pumps for some equipment like tyre moulding machines. They use high-temperature water which is about 150 degree centigrade. The old pumps were without the mechanical seats and water used to spill over, which made it difficult to use. We have brought in a pump that is safe and compact with the mechanical seats, so the water does not spill out. Today, any tyre moulding industry will have our pumps. With the new pumps they make about 50% savings.”
Grundfos achieves this by 2 things. One, the materials they use and second, the manufacturing process. Most of the stainless steel process that the firm use is of laser-welded and laser-cut. As this gives a smooth surface to the internals, the friction loss is very low and there is an efficiency gain. The motor they have is a fully automatic winding machine and with this, the loss in the motor winding is very limited. Almost 98.3% of the components of the product they use are recyclable and recycled materials.
The other major advantage is the R&D that the company has. Grundfos invests around 5% of its turnover on this. “This makes us the leaders and stay ahead of competitions. The goal of the team is simple. Either, they have to increase the efficiency of the existing product by a minimum of 2% or come out with a new product. A minimum of 3 products would be out every year. Around 800 people are working in Denmark for the department and we have people in China and India. In India, we have a combination of both hardware and predominantly software. They report directly to Denmark,” he said.
Speaking about the threats from coolant-less machining, the COO said, it may be a threat and may not. “When technologies develop there will be a threat to some kind of industries. But, it will survive. There will be different applications and the specs of the requirement will change. It will not be completely eradicated.” On the hybrids and EVs, he said, ”when the change happens, the 4000 components may become 50-60. The complication in handling the components will get bigger and probably the equipment that is needed will grow big. The numbers may go down but capacity will come up,” Selvam said.
Saravanan Panneer Selvam, Chief Operating Officer, Sales, Grundfos Pumps India