Mr. Pritesh Shah, Chairman Prima Equipment
Vadodara-based Prima Equipment was recently honoured with the National Industrial Excellence Award and the Quality Brand India Award 2019-23 while it has been chosen to receive another two awards, namely, the Skoch Achiever Award 2019 and the Quality Leadership Award. For the company’s Group Chairman Pritesh M. Shah, it has indeed been an exciting journey as an entrepreneur so far. In this interview with Huned Contractor, he shares details about the company, its products and future plans
Prima Equipment is a noted manufacturer, exporter and supplier of a wide range of products that includes online and portable fuel efficiency monitor, air sampler, continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS), portable digital dew point meter, portable gas monitor, gas detection system, gas analyzer, combustible gas detector and ambient air quality monitoring system. Excerpts from the interview:
After completing graduation in the year 1990, I moved ahead towards achieving my childhood dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Being familiar and involved in the family business of instrumentation since childhood, I was eager to start my own enterprise. However, prior to that I worked with Lawrence and Mayo, Mumbai, selling metrological instruments, safety gas detectors, and weather monitoring and vacuum systems. Thus, I got to know how the demand for pollution and environment monitoring equipment in India would shape up. Later, with a meagre cash amount of Rs 140, I took on the challenge of setting up my own business and that is how Prima Equipment was established on October 11, 1992 with a dealership of ultrasonic technology products and gas detectors and analyzers related to safety and pollution measurement applications.The first decade was a period of intense struggle since I had to first create awareness among industries about the benefits of gas detectors for safety, pollution and environment monitoring equipment for reducing pollution and thereby saving and conserving our environment. In 1998, we got an opportunity to develop continuous stack gas emission monitoring equipment and that sparked off a new journey in terms of design, development and innovation. We could now provide solutions as per customers’ needs. Since then our goal has been to provide customised solutions in the sector of pollution and environment monitoring applications to various industries.
Having lived in Gujarat for so many years, I was already familiar with chemical industrial zones and the tough environment that they operated in. Therefore, when we started designing products, our first priority was ruggedness and sustainability of our equipment so as to cope up with the harsh environment. The electronic PCBs, controllers, panels, enclosures, sensors and other such parts used in our equipment are able to withstand the toughest industrial environment. This has made us different from the other players. At that time, gas detectors and analyzers were imported and only used by large-sized industries. The small and medium-sized industries could not afford them. Therefore, our affordable equipment came as a boon for them. Now we find that some of the foreign manufacturers are using our concepts to make their products. Further, our USP was that we started providing solutions and not just equipment.
In the early stage of our business, there was very little awareness about environment amongst the industries and most of them did not pay attention to the importance of using environment monitoring and pollution detection systems. Therefore, we had to first work hard to create awareness. Prima Equipment contributed towards controlling air pollution by studying the data provided by the manufacturing industries. It was also a big challenge to compete with international suppliers who sold their products to the bigger industries. However, our research and development along with innovation paid off in the long run.
There is now a growing demand for all such monitoring equipment because of the stringent emission rules that have come into place. Monitoring is now necessary to ensure the safety and health of the workers as well as the pollution levels in the environment. Now that there is complete awareness, the focus has shifted to equipment that is technically sound and reliable and is cost-effective. That is where we have scored a huge hit.
We supply our products to a wide range of industries that includes petrochemical plants, refineries, pharmaceuticals, sugar and distilleries, fertiliser, food and beverage, bio-medical and hazardous waste, power plants, cement, textile, aluminium, chemical, iron and steel, dyes and intermediates, pulp and paper, laboratories, pollution control boards and environmental agencies.
Not always though we do provide indigenously developed and customised products taking into consideration specific applications that should match the Indian environmental conditions.
We have a built-up manufacturing facility of 14,000 sq. feet in 38,000 sq. feet land. This includes a dedicated research and development department for continual innovation, a technical department for application support, a production and assembly area and a product gallery area, showcasing our full range of products. We also have a customer service support and in-house service department, a design department, marketing and sales team, administration unit to manage finance, logistics, accounts and human resource activities, purchase and stores department, an environmental monitoring and analytical laboratory, conference room and training room with 25-person seating capacity, canteen and security area. We have an environment-friendly atmosphere. We have the capacity to produce more than 300 systems and 1,000+ portable equipment.
Prima Equipment is an ISO 9001-certified company since 2006, which includes design and development. This has helped in developing a sense of perfection and quality output. We rigorously follow the quality management system of 5S and provide training to all our team members. Our approach towards making rugged, smooth-operating and user-friendly equipment has won us many testimonials. We use only genuine components and raw material, thus ensuring quality output. Our electronic assembly area is an ‘electrostatic discharge’ facility, thus ensuring error-free and quality output of electronic cards with sophisticated microelectronic components.
Yes, we export our products to our KSA, Oman, Thailand, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Our aim is to generate export revenue of USD 1 million by 2020.
We have not entered into any technology collaboration so far and wish to continue to develop self-sufficient technology that meets international standards. We are proud to be a ‘Made in India’ company.
We have initiated the expansion of our factory building of 10,500 sq. feet with separate manufacturing facilities for export. We want to a FAT unit to be established overseas by 2020. We are also awaiting NABL accreditation of our in-house environmental monitoring and analytical laboratory by October 2019 while we hope to get the Integrated Management System (IMS) certification for ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 by May 2019. Meanwhile, we are converting our existing factory building into a green building through self-sustaining solar power generation of 20 KWp by April 2019.
I visualize Prima Equipment as a proud Indian manufacturer supplying equipment internationally. We would like to serve an increasing number of industries with the most affordable solutions while creating more awareness for environment conservation. My mantra is ‘if you can visualize it, you can actualize it.’
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Engineering Review – August 2019
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