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We want to make CTMI a globally-competitive brand

Venugopal Pillai ,  Thursday, June 30, 2011, 11:03 Hrs  [IST]

Raman Roop Sawhney.jpgRaman Roop Sawhney, Managing Director, Chola Turbo Machinery International Pvt Ltd

Bengaluru-based Chola Turbo Machinery International Pvt Ltd (CTMI) is a prominent name in the field of steam turbines, serving a range of industries in the Indian and foreign markets. In an exclusive interaction, Raman Roop Sawhney discusses how the company's hunger for excellence is making CTMI a name to reckon with. He also elaborates on how CTMI is gearing up to meet the growing demand, through significant capacity expansion at its Bengaluru facility and a new unit overseas. An interview by Venugopal Pillai.

Please orient us with the various activities of CTMI in the field of steam turbines.
Being a leading steam turbine manufacturer in India, the refurbishing and servicing are already a strong forte of CTMI. A unique feature about CTMI is the technical expertise offered in power plant engineering beyond the turbo-generator sets.

In terms of steam turbines for captive power plants, which industries do you cater to and which of these do you see as the biggest demand drivers in the medium term?
The industry-wise demand has been mostly cyclical. While the first half of the last decade was driven by IPPs (independent power producers), the second half was dominated by steel plants. We see petrochemicals and sugar industry to be the driving force in the recent future.

We understand that CTMI has developed a special nozzle design that improves the efficiency of steam turbines. Please elaborate.
Yes. We at CTMI take pride in offering steam turbines which are more efficient in terms of steam consumption, when compared with other turbine manufacturers. Many such comparisons have even been well documented. This hunger for excellence is what drives us to be in constant touch with the advancements in the field of steam turbine technology through reputed R&D facilities in India and abroad

Tell us about your Hoskote (Bangalore) facility. In view of growing demand, are you planning any capacity expansion?
Our Hoskote works is spread across 12 acres of land. It has an assembly bay where several steam turbines are assembled simultaneously. The in-house manufacturing facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art large and heavyduty machines. Our latest in-house turbine testing facility enable us to perform no-load test at the rated turbine speed and also the overspeed trip test.

This helps us in the final fine tuning of our turbine, ensuring utmost quality of our out-going product. CTMI also boasts of CNC machining facilities comprising of various CNC machining centers which have been successfully manufacturing rotor blades and nozzles for captive consumption.

Our Hoskote works is undergoing tremendous expansion. We have nearly doubled the area of our assemble bay from 10,000 sq ft to 19,000 sqft, and large-scale heavy duty machines procured from UK and Germany are currently under erection.

Untitled - 44.jpgChinese players appear to have cornered a significant share of power equipment in the utilities/IPP segment. What is the scene with respect to steam turbines for captive power plant applications?
There is no doubt that the Chinese companies have made some inroads in recent past mostly because of the low price offered. However, the non-performance of (Chinese) machines and subsequently confidence that a consumer (both Indian and foreign) has on an Indian firm is what will help us even reverse the trend in the future, both in domestic and export market.

What are the typical challenges that the Indian steam turbine industry typically faces today?
Raw material availability was a problem earlier but the recent advancement of Indian companies in the manufacturing sector has put that problem to rest. The major problem today is the shortages in skilled manpower both in manufacturing of power plant equipment and operation and maintenance (O&M) of power plants.

Tell us about CTMI's export business. Which countries are you currently catering to and which of these have high growth potential?
CTMI regularly exports steam turbines and its components to USA, Fiji, Vietnam, South Korea Argentina, Middle East etc. Currently we are targeting the European market especially for the geothermal sector as our turbines are most suitable for the application.

What are your plans of making equipment for the renewable energy segment? Do you intend making wind turbine generators?
CTMI has already executed many biomass-based power plants. As mentioned earlier, the robust nature of CTMI design makes it an ideal turbine for geothermal applications and we have recently developed a prototype turbine ideally suited for solar power applications. We do not have any plans to venture into wind energy in the near future.

Please summarize your future plans for CTMI and share the major corporate milestones that you would like to attain in the next 5-7 years.
We plan to make CTMI a brand name that is globally competitive. The opening of our unit in the Middle East is the first step in that direction. Plans are also underway to venture into EPC of the complete power plants.
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