AMCL participated in the NCB event by putting up a stall where ICR had an opportunity to meet and talk to the Executive Director Rakesh Sharma and a team of UBE Machinery Corporation, Japan that included Yoshikatsu Fukuda, Overseas Sales Department; Tatsuya Hinauchi, Senior Manager - Design Section; and Hirofumi Kasai, Senior Manager, Mill System Engg Group.
Since you are part of NCB event, what are your overall impressions?
Yoshikatsu Fukuda: This is a wonderful event, very well organised and we are happy to be here. We see a lot of energy around us, and are pleased with the overall management of the event.
How did you choose AMCL to partner with? Any specific reasons?
Tatsuya Hinauchi: In May 2019, we decided to shake hands with AMCL. The first reason is that they are already in the business for over 20 years. They have similar products to offer to the cement industry, and they are well aware of the Japanese culture and discipline. They are able to fulfil our expectations in terms of engineering, and above all, AMCL has a good name in the market.
Do you think you are a bit late entrant in the full range of VRM product offering?
Yoshikatsu Fukuda: Yes. We are little late to enter the Indian subcontinent. But Indian economy is developing, which will provide us an opportunity to grow.
What difficulties you are likely to face in the present scenario in India?
Yoshikatsu Fukuda: Regarding the technology, that has not changed much. We shall be offering our products, which are comparable with any of the products in the market at an attractive cost. We shall have an exclusive service engineer to provide service to our customers. Along with him, there will be a trained team of local engineers. We would emphasise on the preventive maintenance rather than breakdown maintenance. A good satisfied customer takes your image forward.
What about the components used in your machines?
Hirofumi Kasai: Our machines are not new to India. We already have 20 VRMs running in the country in different cement plants like JK Lakshmi, India Cements, Nuvoco, and Shri Digvijay Cement, to name a few. Except the bearings and may be the grinding table, we shall source all our components locally. The product is being upgraded constantly.
Tell us more about UBE Group and UBE Machinery.
Yoshikatsu Fukuda: UBE is a big group originated in Japan and UBE Machinery is a part of UBE Group. We tied up with Loesche in 1954 and got separated in the year 1996. Since then, we produce and market our product in our own name. We also manufacture cranes, conveyors, injection machines and die casting machinery, etc. Half of our business comes from automotive sector and the other half comes from sectors like cement, coal, etc.
UBE Machinery is one of the leading manufacturers of vertical mills in the world. The vertical mills are known for their reliability, efficiency and economical operations. With this exclusive agreement, Indian cement industry will have a choice to select one of the most reliable mills to suit its requirements.We have one product exclusively designed for producing slag cement where you can grind slag and clinker together. But we also have a product where if you desire to grind slag and clinker separately you can do so.
A little about AMCL UBE tie up.
Rakesh Sharma: AMCL was earlier a part of ACC group and was into manufacturing VRPM (Vertical Roller Pre-grinding Mills) in collaboration with Nihon Cement. Many VRPMs have been supplied to ACC, Ramco Cements, Sagar Cements, Kuwait Cement, etc. to get the benefits of energy conservation.
Once Holcim took over ACC, this unit was hived off to HNG group. We have been into the business of supplying VRPMs but the recent trend is to use full-fledged VRM, which is nothing but a separator being added to VRPM. UBE is an old and trusted player in the VRM business, and the machines supplied by them are mostly reliable and dependable. This is why we decided to tie up with UBE. They are into raw materials, coal, cement and slag grinding. UBE has a strong R&D team to back up their services. Energy efficiency is quite high in their machines. UBE VRMs can be used for any application in cement as well as in mineral industry.
How do you view the tie-up with UBE?
Rakesh Sharma: Our thinking is for long term, and from that perspective, we have taken the right step at right time. It is more or less a forward integration for us. We, at India, are a developing country and the per capita of cement consumption is likely to grow at least to the world average level. There is enough scope to expand and we are going to have our share of business. We plan to offer cost-effective solutions to the industry and would aim to become a reliable resource for the cement industry. UBE Machinery Corporation, Japan has signed a licensing agreement with AMCL Machinery Limited on May 30, 2019 for design, manufacture and commission of vertical mills for cement plants and related applications on an exclusive basis for India, Nepal and Bangladesh. All the designs will be provided by UBE, and if any modifications required, will be carried out by their team. Our engineers are getting trained in Japan. We already have a full team for erection and commissioning. Slowly, we will expand our services network as well.
For the first time, we are going to have a test mill in India where the samples from the clients will be tested, which can include limestone, clinker, slag, fly ash, gypsum, etc. The necessary experimentation or simulation will be carried out before offering a product. For that matter, all the VRMs are customised since there is a lot of variation in the raw materials and the moisture content, etc.
UBE has decided to take Indian market very seriously. They are a low profile but a high content company. They do not talk much about their capabilities but believe in delivering reliable machines while always keeping the interest of customers in mind. In fact, the VRM revolution in India was started by UBE by supplying the vertical mill to Shri Digvijay Cement way back in 1984. We are getting good response from the customers from India, Nepal and Bangladesh, and we do hope to do well in coming years.