Grund­fos to launch new pumps for au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try

Auto components India - - SPECIAL REPORT - Story by: Sricha­ran R & Bhar­gav TS

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

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