In pursuit of evolving indigenous technologies and innovative engineering solutions
The Pune-based YashPrabha Group, founded by technocrat and visionary Yashavant G. Ghaisas way back in 1964, has grown into a conglomerate thriving in innovative and path-breaking home grown technologies. Over the years it has diversified into three major verticals namely Electronics, Surface Coating, and Materials Handling, establishing popular brands like Minilec, Statfield Equipments, and Intech Surface Coating. Smita Ghaisas joined the business in 1970 and strengthened the hands of the founder, by taking charge of Minilec which was acclaimed as a quality player in the industry. The reins of the Group have since been taken over by the new generation – Amit Ghaisas and Swati Amit Ghaisas. The Group has several firsts to its credit such as the first to introduce powder coating technology, the first to introduce electro-static painting, the first to introduce power & free conveyors, and the only company to provide end-to-end solutions for surface coating in India. P.K. Balasubbramaniian speaks to managing director Amit Ghaisas to sense the innovative spirit of the Group and to get a glimpse of its growth trajectory. Excerpts:
Q. Could you narrate the standing and activities of the Yashprabha Group? And which are the verticals you have diversified into?
The YashPrabha Group was founded with the philosophy of “Business for Pride and Pleasure” by our Founder Chairman Y G Ghaisas. The Group adheres to this principle and all the verticals that we operate in have products with ‘World’s First’ and of course ‘India’s First’ in its description (Pride) and innovative solutions delivering tomorrow’s needs (Pleasure).
The YashPrabha Group started in 1964 with ‘Miniature Electricals’ now a known brand ‘minilec’ in the field of Industrial Protection, Control and Fault Annunciation. We started with the first patented Voltage Sensing Preventer of India. The group followed this up with Statfield Equipments with the introduction of India’s first indigenous Electrostatic Liquid Painting Applicator in 1973 and the first Indian Powder Coating Equipment in 1975. This was followed by our entry into Material Handling and Automated Storages in the year 1987 with the introduction of India’s first Closed Track Overhead Conveyors and Automated Vertical Storage Carrousel. We entered the field of complete customised powder coating and painting plants under the brand ‘Intech’ denoting our focus and forte of indigenous technologies and innovative solutions.
Today the YashPrabha Group is known as the Pioneer and Market Leader in the field of Industrial Protection, Control, Fault Annunciation, Surface Coating Applicators, Customised Plants and Material Handling & Automated Storages.
Q. INTECH, your engineering flagship company stands for innovative technologies. What are the technological innovations you are popularly known for in your domain?
Intech, the engineering projects arm of the YashPrabha Group is the oldest continuously operating paint-shop manufacturer from India. This year we are celebrating the 30th year of our brand. Intech is into the business of design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of paintshops and we have been supporting our 30 year old customers with spares and service support.
Intech is the only company globally to have all aspects of a paintshop – Material handling conveyors and transporters, Painting / Powder Coating applicators and the Washers (Pre-treatment), Coating Chambers (Booths) and Curing/Drying ovens manufactured under one roof. This gives us absolute control over all aspects of the painting process and helps synergise the various processes to give optimum benefit to the customer.
We are also the only company globally to set up the complete ordered paintshop in our own shop and give trials to the customer on their articles in our shop. This helps the customer get the best coating results and we have a team of experts available to deliver better solutions for complex layouts and also critical needs. Unlike on-site where the site engineer or manager is the sole solutions provider with eminent online/telephonic support from the experts sitting in HO.
We have always kept the customer’s benefit as the guiding principle for our products and projects. Intech is known for the most efficient Paint Baking/Powder Curing Ovens where customers come back to us due to proven ROIs. The patented 98.5 % powder recovery of our multicyclone systems is another popular technological advancement giving valuable powder savings (upto almost full percentage of chargable powder) to the customer. The ‘Integra’ brand full cyclic powder coating booth giving continuous uninterrupted working hours is another popular product for small job coaters using manual applicators. The ductless design for small manual powder coating booths is also a favourite of the job coaters as it saves on expensive cleaning time. Intech’s boltless and weld-less leak proof pre-treatment tunnels have also gained favour with the customers.
Q. Surface coating is a very important aspect of product finishing and presentation. What are the aspects to be considered before recommending a customized plant, say for the machine tool industry?
The solution is offered with careful study of the product and final finish quality requirement. There are sev eral aspects of painting / powder coating. One is protection. This is achieved with the help of proper pre-treatment. We offer dip type pretreatment with the PLC-based transporter system. Thus the quality is achieved through process control and without human error.
Option of spray type pretreatment is also offered which ensures that there is no handling of components after the pretreatment is done, and online it is taken for powder coating / painting on conveyor line. Selection of pretreatment either Dip/ Spray depends upon the products geometry, production volume and salt spray requirement of finish powder product. For machine tool industry, Dip / spray product line is recommended based on the volume.
Q. What are the different types of coating booths you provide?
In Liquid coating we offer various types of booths like: Water wash liquid booth, Dry type liquid booth, Metallic filter liquid booth, and Conveyorised liquid booth. For powder coating, we offer: Powder booth with multicyclone, and Powder booth with filter cartridges. The various types of MS powder coated and mirror finished stainless steel booths are offered. Stainless steel booths are offered with ease of cleaning.
Q. You are also into materials handling. What‘s your specialisation and what are your offerings under this portfolio?
Material handling systems are provided under the Statfield brand and have long been known to give service-free operations for years together. We specialize in Closed Track Overhead Chain conveyors. The four-wheel design gives better stability and smooth chain movement. The long life plastic wheel conveyor is a boon for material handling in sensitive fields of operations like food, fruit processing, etc. due to its lubrication-free nature avoiding oil leaks. Our special small turning radius conveyor WD410 is a popular choice for light load complex layouts. Our Power & Free conveyors for long members and automated loading/unloading stations have been a staple of the Aluminium sections industry.
We have been the leaders in field of automated storages with 400+ customers and 1000+ installations. Our vertical storage carousel with its flexibility of storage racks and software integration with various ERP systems has been the mainstay of this division where we also have products like the retriever as well as completely customised ASRS.
In the material handling we offer various types of systems like conveyor, transporter, free track and trolley, I-beam conveyor, etc. In the conveyors, we offer the overhead chain conveyors which are fully enclosed. Our power & free conveyors need special mention. These consist of twin tracks arranged one above the other. Upper track carries a continuously moving chain; while the lower track consists of free moving push-pull trolleys for engaging and disengaging.
We offer transporter system for pretreatment with PLC. It is mainly aimed at improving productivity and quality in pretreatment of multi tank dipping process where dipping and transfer of items is either done manually or by hoist.
We offer conveyors for numerous material handling applications including movement of finished components from paint shop to assembly section. Specialized conveyors like Nylon wheel do not require lubrication. We have also installed conveyors for Tea garden CTC plants.
Q. Could you say something about your design capabilities and engineering prowess?
INTECH has a wealth of experience in design and engineering spanning over three decades. We started with the basic design system with German technology partnership in the plant and kept on improving it with our own R & D. With a large number of installations across the world from Middle East to Europe, Africa and other countries, INTECH is poised to offer solutions to any complex requirement. At the root of our innovations is our eminent R & D team who make complex layouts for plants even in confined spaces.
Q. Please enlighten us on your infrastructure and manufacturing facilities.
The Group has its modern manufacturing facilities admeasuring 3000 sq. metres in a sprawling complex at Pirangoot near Pune. It houses large manufacturing sheds for various activities like in-house fabrication, equipment manufacturing, installation of painting plants, in-house testing, application, etc. The infrastructure includes necessary production machines with overhead cranes and handling equipment. We have our own state-of-the-art paintshop to undertake painting / powder coating of the components and production.
Q. Which are the industry segments you cater to and who are your major customers?
INTECH is providing solutions to various industry segments like engineering, automotive, auto components, two-wheeler components, lighting, construction, white goods such as refrigerators, air-conditioners, microwave ovens, furniture, etc. We have an ever-growing list of customers who include Ashok Leyland, SAME Tractor, Royal Enfield, Sandhar (for JCB), etc. from the automotive industry; Rajashriya Automotive, Endurance, Rucha, Harita Seating, Alward Sogeti, Cooper, Som Auto, Omax Auto, etc. from auto components; Sigma Electric, Automotive lighting Malaysia- Sogofi Group, Global Jaya – Malaysia, Medha Servo Drive, Schneider Electric, Toshiba, etc. from the electrical industry; Tower Extrusion Africa, Bangla Thai Aluminum, Alumax & Lanka Aluminum Srilanka, Aliminco Athens and Sakaralis Thesaloniki Greece from aluminium extrusion; Nilkamal,Godrej and VIP Industries from furniture & white goods; Avon Cycles and Hero Cycles from the cycles industry; Powerica, and Sudhir Genset from the gensets segment; and ACIT Joint Stock Company Ltd., NHAT Nam Hung Company Limited, Long Van Group, Hoa Phat Group and Phu My Khang Company Ltd. from Vietnam, just to mention a few.
Q. What are the growth opportunities & prospects for the coating plants?
As long as there is a need for aesthetic appeal as well as protection against environment, the coating industry is going to be in demand. There have of course been changes in the expectations of the customers. High efficiency has always been a requirement. And cost of manpower and space breaking new records daily, it has become pertinent to add effective utilization of these resources to the efficiency equation. Automation has become the buzzword across industry segments, which hitherto was a preserve of large MNC and corporate companies only.
Now in addition to the same, the expectations of the quality of the coating is also getting higher and higher. Efficient resource management has now been given a new dimension of environmental conscience. So water and fuel consumption optimization has become important from multiple angles. Having said that, keeping a tab on these changed or enhanced expectations, there is an immense potential for the surface coating industry and the surface coating plants.
The changing dynamics of world manufacturing opens up a lot of manufacturing opportunities for Indian companies. Our changed image as a quality manufacturing hub, the financial muscle due to the huge market, gives us a firm foothold in the international market. This has been proven time and again by the automotive component industry, which incidentally is a large customer for the surface coating industry. And in addition to the above, the current changes in perception and opinion about our biggest manufacturing competitor, China is also opening up newer opportunities. This along with the above mentioned quality and cost advantages are opening up exports markets even better.
All said and done, the future of the coating plants industry looks really bright. And we are prepared with the requisite tools to take on this challenge.
Q. How could you wade through the difficult times caused by the pandemic? And what are the lessons you learnt from this global crisis?
The pandemic created one of the most severe problems for the industry on the whole and the surface coating industry and our group were no exception. Business came to a standstill. But then, every closed door opens a new one. And this pandemic induced partial paralysis for the industry has also acted as a boon for re-envisaging business models and modes of doing business.
We have a committed team from senior management to the hands-on labour force, which jumped to the first opportunity to resume work and not only supported but actively contributed in changing the concepts to the working of our companies to suit the changed environment. The overall global market has also adapted to the new normal. The earlier de-facto method of face-to-face communication in old economy companies has given way to virtual meetings and information exchange. This has opened up opportunities in distant markets and helped strengthen our presence in markets where we already operate or are predominant. Yes, it has also created the same options for our competition, but meritocracy was always something we believed in and having a firm grip on changing trends and technologies in our lines has given us the benefit of being on top of things and maximizing the opportunities being created in this new normal.
Q. What’s the way forward for your Group?
We are entering the next phase of expansion for our group, both in product bouquet as well as market footprint. For all three lines of business, Industrial Electronics, Surface Coating and Material handling, we are working on increasing our product bouquet through both organic as well as inorganic routes.
In the surface coating domain, we already have a strong product design capability, showcased by the 18 domestic and international patents to our name. We are focusing on further development to introduce even more ‘Firsts’ to the market. ‘Internet of things’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ will act as the base on which our further developments will be hinged.