"Clinker grinding and cement terminals are two areas of immense potential which is definitely experiencing major growth. The South American market is possibly a bit more mature with new capacities being added through complete kiln lines. As Indians, we hope that 2014-2015 shall once again see the upsurge in the industry in India."
Ajay Hooda, Director (Marketing), Frigate Teknologies Pvt Ltd shares his views with Sandeep Sharma about his company, product & solutions offered to the Cement sector, industry response, cement projects, energy efficient technologies, challenges before cement industry, verticals & geographies driving cement demand. Edited Excerpts...
Tell us about your company, product offerings for the cement sector and your core competencies?
Frigate Teknologies is a diversified global conglomerate providing integrated design, engineering, procurement, construction & project management services in Aviation, Cement, Energy, Marine, Mineral Processing, Steel and other associated downstream sectors. The philosophy at Frigate is based around "Rational Processes"; in that, a client's technical requirements, expectations, budget, time scale are analyzed, and only then, Frigate proposes a solution, enabling the delivery of a truly the best value proposition for the client's needs. Frigate prides in being flexible and attuned to a customer's needs and can take up responsibilities covering the entire spectrum of consultancy to EPC contract including supply of critical spare parts. Frigate strives to become a model of tomorrow's company- applying best practice in everything they do, creating a working environment that stimulates great ideas and rewards achievements, acting with honesty and integrity in dealings with clients and suppliers.
Frigate recognizes that to be a successful and sustainable company in today's business world, they need to do more than simply deliver high-quality services, or secure healthy revenue streams. Collaboration between different competences within the company enables Frigate to peel down a problem to its core to arrive at the most comprehensive solution. This applies to all projects, from a single product up to complete turnkey plants. A dynamic enterprise, Frigate explores and pursues the enormous opportunity in markets globally. Partnering with the best in their own arenas, Frigate brings technology and quality to clients worldwide and reiterates its belief of delivering the best, in services and manufacturing. An excellent track record for successful completion of projects within tight schedules, lends credibility to Frigate, encouraging clients to trust it with repeat orders. New contacts find Frigate approachable and friendly, those who know Frigate well consider them professional and trustworthy.
Would you take us through the cement plant lifecycle? Where does your role start in this process?
Frigate is undoubtedly one of the finest OEMs to the Cement industry. Having started only 5 years back in 2008, Frigate has matured tremendously to become one of the most trusted partners to the industry. The initial focus at Frigate was in the Bulk Material Handling and Port Handling segments. Within the first 3 years, Frigate proved its mettle in the industry with repeat orders from all the major cement manufacturers with repeat orders related to Bucket Elevator, DPC, etc. The last 2 years, Frigate has partnered with the world's best to offer complete solution in the pyre-section, viz., Pre-Heater, Cooler, Burners.
Frigate now offers complete Clinker Grinding Plants on a turn-key basis, including retrofit and upgrade. The industry has reposed it's faith on Frigate with recent repeat orders for cement mill and coal mill optimization, which includes supply of Frigate's show case Classifier technology
How is the industry response to your products & services? What kind of customization do you offer?
The industry has been like an Alma Mater to Frigate. The first project at Frigate came from Switzerland for a cement plant in Senegal. Thereafter it has been no looking back for Frigate. The initial few clients felt that they were taking a calculated risk in placing order with a newly born company. Their decision to entrust Frigate with a new product turned out to be their best decision. Every client, which has worked with Frigate, has seen and experienced the customized product; technology and service from the Frigate stable and continues to pin their trust and faith on Frigate. Needless to say, Frigate also prides in offering fully customized product and technology to every client, irrespective of the order value. Frigate is matured enough to put itself in the client's shoes when proposing a solution, so that the selection by the client always remains commercially competitive and technically competent
What's the USP of your product technology?
The first major differentiating factor is that the promoters of Frigate are technocrats in their own right who have worked with various global OEMs and consultants in India and abroad for nearly 2 decades before becoming entrepreneurs. The founding Directors are involved in everyday running of business and lead their respective teams with exemplary dedication enthusiasm and discipline. Frigate is thus able to assure and prove that every product is designed accurately and optimally and the same eventually reflects in the product, which arrives at the plant.
This also means that the design team offers a fully customized solution not only based on the design norms but also from the practical experience of the founding Directors and other key members of the execution team. So, practically the in-house state-of-art design facility is the first and foremost USP of the company. This is further endorsed by the latest technology partnership in the pyro-process section
Could you share with us details about the major cement projects you are associated with?
Frigate has the enviable reputation of working with major cement producers in India and abroad. Some of Frigate's major clients are:
• Madras Cement
• Jaypee Cement
• Dalmia Cement
• MP Birla Group
• BK Birla Group
• Cement Mfg. Co. Ltd.
• Meghalaya Cement
• Shree Cement
How far your products are energy efficient? In percentage terms, what can be the overall savings in operational cost?
Frigate's contribution to the cause of energy conservation starts at home itself. Frigate ensures that each project leaves the minimum carbon footprint. Within it's business premises, Frigate has nearly turned into a paper-less office.
Frigate prefers usage of energy-efficient motors as an example. From a project perspective, Frigate leads the industry in offering upgrade/retrofit solution to replace air-lift with bucket elevator and conversion of chain elevator to belt bucket elevator. In the first case, energy conservation is to the tune of 80 to 90% and in the 2nd case energy saving can be to the tune of 20%.
What are the challenges faced by the Indian Cement industry as of now?
Our opinion that many of the producers on a pan-India basis are struggling with three basis facts:
• Over capacity
• Non availability of power
• Poor operational health of overall plant
• Non-availability of trained and experienced man power
Frigate has been recently contracted by a major cement industry to undertake a major project in the following phased manner:
• Phase 1 : Rehabilitate the plant and bring it upto the original design capacity
• Phase 2: Upgrade of existing pyro-process (pre-heater, cooler, burner)
• Phase 3 : Upgrade Cement Grinding section
• Phase 4 : New kiln line to increase the production to double of the current kiln's designed capacity
Frigate is also addressing the shortage of trained and experienced man power by taking over O&M (Operation
& Maintenance) of cement plants. In this regard, Frigate has already taken over O&M contract of 2 mid-sized cement plants
Which are the verticals and geographies most likely to drive demand for cement in the near and medium term?
Frigate is very focused on the market in India. Frigate has recently acquired a few major projects in the ME-NA region. Ne of the show case project involves a pelletization disc (30 TPH) for agglomeration of kiln by-pass dust. From our perspective, the markets in Africa are undoubtedly on the most interesting from an OEM stand point.
Clinker grinding and cement terminals are two areas of immense potential which is definitely experiencing major growth. The South American market is possibly a bit more mature with new capacities being added through complete kiln lines. As Indians, we hope that 2014-2015 shall once again see the upsurge in the industry in India.
What kind of role do you see for the Government & private sector to boost demand for cement?
Needless to say, it ought to Government's spend on infrastructure. Roads are probably the most neglected infrastructure in India. With the burgeoning population, and the desperate need for propelling the overall industrial growth, one of the focus areas should be a reliable and strong road network. The Government's decision to have 100% RCC roads would in itself sustain the industry over the next 10 years, leaving aside other avenues of growth
Going forward, what are your immediate and long term plans for expansion in India?
Frigate has recently set up operations in the ME-NA region to cater to the local clientele. Frigate is now building a new state-of-art manufacturing facility, which should be ready in the 6 months and shall be a show case facility. One of the major cement producers in the ME-NA region has initiated discussion with Frigate for partnering on an exclusive basis. This means that Frigate shall over the next 5 years or so, shall build all the proposed cement plants, grinding units and cement terminals for this Group, on an exclusive basis.
In the coming months, Frigate shall go onto add to its repertoire, newer technologies wr.t. crushing, stockyard system, alternate fuel, etc.