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India is competent in the field of steam turbine technology

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

Vikas Prakash Gupta.jpgVikas Prakash Gupta, Director - Technical, VVK Turbotech Pvt Ltd

VVK Turbotech Pvt Ltd is an emerging player in the field of steam turbines catering to a diversity of industrial applications. Vikas Prakash Gupta, who founded the company in 1998, speaks at length about the company's growth and future plans. Gupta maintains that India has high technical competency in design, engineering and manufacturing of steam turbines. However, domestic manufacturers will need to establish credibility and offer equipment at reasonable costs, he feels. An interview by Venugopal Pillai.

Tell us in brief about the various activities that VVK Turbotech is engaged in with respect to steam turbines.
VVK Turbotech Pvt Ltd was formed in March 1998 to carry out business of design of turbines, its components and systems. We are also engaged in the business of designing of marine engineering components and supply of old turbines.

I joined VVK Turbotech as a Founder Director at its inception itself after having over two years hands-on experience on maintenance and operation of steam turbines of various makes.

Which industries do you cater to, and which of these would have the maximum business potential in the medium term?
We cater to a large number of industries which require small to medium size captive power plants. Some of the industries are sugar, chemicals, petrochemicals, carbon black, rice mills, fertilizers, distillery and paper, apart from the thermal power sector. All these industries have good potential in long term.

Untitled - 42.jpgWe understand that VVK Turbotech also offers services with respect to wind turbines.
Regarding wind mill sector, we are in the process of exploring possibilities and the potential in this sector. We are also aware that this sector has totally different technologies and hence we are taking a cautious approach. We might finalize our plan shortly.

Please discuss the criticality of a good turbine design with a view to deriving maximum efficiency. You have been of the view that efficiency of a turbine can be improved through better design of blades. Please elaborate.
A steam turbine is a machine consisting of various components of which blades and nozzles are most critical. Their proper design and manufacturing attribute to the efficiency of the machine. Other factors that contribute to efficiency is the speed of the rotor and its diameters. And the third factor is related to efficiency in checking various leakages. Hence, it is important for a turbine to have proper designs of seals and labyrinths.

What is your view of India's overall competency in design, engineering and manufacture of steam turbines? Technologically speaking, how has the industry been shaping up over the recent years?
Indians are quite capable of carrying out design, engineering and manufacturing of steam turbines. Even collaborators are taking help of technical personnel in building turbines in India. In the recent past our technocrats have absorbed lot of inputs and used them in resolving practical issues in manufacturing, commissioning, troubleshooting etc.

What is your opinion about Chinese main plant equipment for power plants (boilers and turbine-generators) that now have a significant presence in the Indian market?
We are all aware that pricing of Chinese equipment is very competitive and this has been the main reason behind their faster and significant presence in the Indian market. However, it will be too early to firm up an opinion about the performance of these equipments. It would take more time to establish the performance and track record of turbines from China.

Untitled - 43.jpgTell us about the main challenges that the Indian steam turbine industry today faces.
With ever-growing demand of power, many establishments to deal with turbine-related issues, including manufacturing of turbines, have cropped up. The customer is now in a fix about where to go and whom to approach. While cost is always on the customer's mind, it should not be the only criterion when one is shopping for goods or services. Therefore, to establish credibility and reasonable cost is the biggest challenge facing turbine suppliers and service providers. Another aspect of challenge is to educate customers about the right choice of suppliers and service provider.

Please summarize the expansion and growth plans that you have for VVK Turbotech in the medium term.
VVK Turbotech is an emerging and forward-looking organization. Our core competence is in steam turbines and thermal power houses. Our focus in the past couple of years has been to undertake forward and backward integration. We have taken up significant capacity augmentation and have been able to spread our presence geographically, including overseas markets. We hope to continue this progress in future as well.
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