Alfa Laval has big plans for India
— By | Aug 08, 2017 10:14 am
For over three decades, Anantha Padmanabhan has been serving Alfa Laval at various senior and leadership positions in India, Indonesia and Middle East. Appreciating his work, the company appointed him as the MD of the company and cluster president Middle East and Africa in January 2017. Before joining the company, he was with Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited, an Indian government company. A mechanical engineer who underwent management training – with Stanford Business School, Ashridge Business School and Marketing Akademie, Hamburg— was also the managing director of the company’s Middle East business operations before taking up the new role in India.
In a conversation with FPJ’s R N Bhaskar and Rahul Nayar, Padmanabhan shares Alfa Laval’s journey in India.
What is the history of Alfa Laval as a company?
Alfa Laval is today a world leader within the key technology areas of heat transfer, separation and fluid handling. The company was founded on a single brilliant invention that is the centrifugal separator invented by Gustaf De Laval. Till today, innovation remains at the heart of everything we do. With the vision of creating better everyday conditions for people, Alfa Laval has developed products since 1883. Alfa Laval is committed to goals of saving energy and protecting the environment. Our products are involved in treating water, reducing carbon emissions and minimising water and energy consumption, as well as heating, cooling, separating and transporting food. These areas represent the core of Alfa Laval’s expertise.
Alfa Laval is a leading global supplier of products and solutions for heat transfer, separation and fluid handling through our key products – heat exchangers, separators, pumps and valves. We currently play a vital role in areas such as energy optimisation, environmental protection and food production. Alfa Laval’s products are used in the manufacturing of food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, starch, sugar and ethanol. Our products are also used in nuclear power; on board vessels and in the engineering sector; mining industry and refinery sector as well as treating wastewater and creating a comfortable indoor climate.
Alfa Laval currently holds more than 2,500 patents, and invests approximately 2.5 percent of its sales in research and development launching between 35 and 40 new products every year. Alfa Laval’s worldwide organisation helps customers in nearly 100 countries to optimise their processes. We have 42 major production units (22 in Europe, 10 in Asia, 8 in the US and 2 in Latin America). The company has over 17, 000 employees, the majority of whom are located in Sweden, Denmark, India, China, the US and France.
In India, Alfa Laval started manufacturing operations in 1960-61, when FEDAI Regulations came and it was the first wave of ‘Make in India’. The initial focus was on dairying and food processing and the company benefitted from the ‘White Revolution’. Initial executives of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) were trained with Alfa Laval. Today also Alfa Laval continues to interact and educate NDDB.
What is the current size in India in terms of turnover?
International Adjusted EBIDTA (earnings before interest depreciation taxes and amortisation) in 2016 was to the tune of 6.2 billion Swedish Kronas (SEK) and Indian EBITDA in 2016 stood at 347 million SEK (1 SEK=USD 0.12; 1 SEK=Rs 7.87).
Where are the manufacturing units and service centres of Alfa Laval situated in India?
The centrifugal separation, decanter and engineered solution manufacturing is in Pune, whereas heat exchanger factory is in Satara and the flow equipment factory is in Sarole. There are three service centres in India located in Visakhapatnam, Thane and Kundli (in Haryana).
What products are currently manufactured by Alfa Laval India?
All products manufactured at Alfa Laval India are categorised into fluid handling, heat transfer, separation and process solutions.
Fluid handling mainly consists of automation, which are the control unit and the indication unit. Then comes the fluid control equipment followed by the installation material, which is mainly hygienic fittings followed by instrumentation like analytical instruments, cleaning validation instruments, flow instruments, instrumentation accessories, level instruments, pressure instruments, temperature instruments and weighing instruments. Then comes the mixing equipment like agitators, eductors and mixers. This is followed by different types of pumps like centrifugal pumps, circumferential piston pumps, rotary lobe pumps and three screw pumps. Then comes tank cleaning equipment like rotary jet heads and rotary spray heads.
This is followed by tank equipment like tank accessories and tank covers and last but not least in fluid handling which comes with different types of valves like ball valves, butterfly valves, control/check valves etc.
Heat transfer products consist of Air heat exchanger wetted, boilers, burners, finned coil air heat exchangers, finned tube air heat exchangers, heaters HVAC solutions, plate heat exchangers, scraped surface heat exchangers and tubular heat exchangers. Separation equipment consists of automatic back flushing filters, centrifugal separators, filters and strainers and various types of membranes.
Process solutions consist of ballast water solutions, brewery solutions, bulk solutions, desalination solutions, environmental protection systems, filling solutions, fresh water solutions, marine exhaust gas solutions, olive oil solutions, refrigeration solutions, safety solutions, thermal solutions and vegetable oil solutions.
This equipment is mainly used in dairying, food processing, pharmaceuticals, bio-technology, energy sector, marine products, shipping, petrochemicals, fertilizers, water treatment and vegetable oil industry.
What is the market share of Alfa Laval’s products in India? Does the company export from India?
Alfa Laval is a market leader in complete vegetable oil plants with a share of almost 50 per cent. To the dairy industry and pharmaceuticals, the company provides critical components. The company has a big portfolio of heat exchangers. India Navy is a key customer in India. Around
25-30 per cent products manufactured in India are exported to Middle East and Africa subsidiaries of Alfa Laval. Therefore, international standards are maintained. India is also a global servicing hub for Alfa Laval products.
What was/is the impact of the two key policy events on Alfa Laval India, namely demonetisation and GST implementation?
Demonetisation had some impact through the food sector as it has exposure to unorganised sector but now things have normalised. We are GST ready and have a streamlined supply network but GST has a short term impact through rise in administrative costs. In the long term we believe it will be very beneficial to us and would streamline business processes and ease of doing business.
Where does the company see itself in coming three to five years?
We would see ballast water solutions and SoX as technologies of the near future and its use will grow rapidly.Cruise ships, large tankers and bulk cargo carriers use a tremendous amount of ballast water, which is often taken on in the coastal waters in one region after ships discharge wastewater or unload cargo, and discharged at the next port of call, wherever more cargo is loaded. Ballast water discharge typically contains a variety of biological materials, including plants, animals, viruses, and other microorganisms. These materials often include non-native, nuisance, exotic species that can cause extensive ecological and economic damage to aquatic ecosystems.
Cruise ships, large tankers and bulk cargo carriers use a tremendous amount of ballast water, which is often taken on in the coastal waters in one region after ships discharge wastewater or unload cargo, and discharged at the next port of call, wherever more cargo is loaded. Ballast water discharge typically contains a variety of biological materials, including plants, animals, viruses, and other microorganisms. These materials often include non-native, nuisance, exotic species that can cause extensive ecological and economic damage to aquatic ecosystems. Ballast water discharges are believed to be the leading source of invasive species in U.S. marine waters, thus posing public health and environmental risks, as well as significant economic cost to industries such as water and power utilities, commercial and recreational fisheries, agriculture, and tourism. A recent study suggests that if no action is taken on ballast water management, species invasion can propagate to any port in the world via global shipping network with an average of two intermediate stops.
Alfa Laval introduced PureBallast in 2006, which is the world’s first commercially sold water treatment system for the maritime industry. It also is the first chemical-free solution to ballast water treatment. It works by filtering the water inside the ballasts tanks though an enhanced AOT (advanced oxidation technology) process. The process of PureBallast creates free radicals that destroy the membrane of biological contaminates such as plankton.Alfa Laval’s PureSOx removes sulphur oxides from the ship’s exhaust gas by scrubbing it with sea water or fresh water. The unique hybrid design of Alfa Laval’s PureSOx provides environmental and economical advantage.
Alfa Laval has technologies for zero liquid discharge and water recovery. Is it involved in the ‘Clean Ganga Project’?
We are not directly involved but our equipment like high speed decanters is being used.
Swedish companies are committed to gender equality and other CSR. What is Alfa Laval India’s role in such initiatives?
Alfa Laval has 6-7 per cent women in its work force and that is because of the typical nature of the manufacturing industry and also women preferring IT sector as there was a job boom there and they found it more comfortable. The ambition is to have 20 per cent women trainee engineers. Alfa Laval’s key CSR initiatives are in the field of water, sanitation and education. We do not want to be involved through NGOs rather we want to work directly. We plan to have a fulltime CSR manager in the next two months. We will also be actively involved in the Skill India initiative.