27 February 2020

Interaction-Ramesh Babbar, President & Director, Columbia Machines Engineering

Major expansion plans for India

Concrete is the staple diet among construction materials used for tall buildings, and global player COLUMBIA MACHINE ENGINEERING who pioneered concreting machinery has developed innovative machines for the concrete industry. It has a presence in over 100 countries. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES,
RAMESH BABBAR, PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR, COLUMBIA MACHINE ENGINEERING. discusses their product line and their market outlook.

 

 

Give us a brief background of your company, products offered and details about your manufacturing units – location and capacities.
Columbia Machine is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of concrete products equipment, serving customers in over 100 countries. From mixing and batching to automatic cubing and splitting, Columbia builds a complete line of equipment to outfit entire concrete products plant. We pioneered the first semi-automatic, hydraulically operated block machine over 80 years ago with the unique Columbia Vibration Technology (CVT). Today, with over 15 years of local manufacturing at Vadodara in Gujarat, we offer the most versatile, innovative concrete products equipment in the industry. In India, our existing Concrete Product Machine Model SPM20 provides our customers a plant with an ideal combination of a high technology machine with medium capacity and low investment in pallet and product handling. Its simplicity and ease of installation/dismantling makes it an ideal solution for project works. The Model SPM20 can be used to produce a wide range of high quality concrete products such as hollow blocks, paver blocks, retaining wall blocks, flyash bricks and kerbstones. All these features have provided substantial profits and quick payback on investment to over 200 users in India alone. No other concrete products equipment supplier can match the versatility, economy and quality of Columbia. Our experienced local sales and service network, along with our easily available local spare parts, moulds and training facilities, provide unmatched world-class support locally. Our team of experienced engineers can design a plant to fit local production needs as well as provide installation support and training for plant personnel.
Our Vadodara factory is spread over 50,000 sq. ft. area with a 30,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility. It has strength of nearly 100 well qualified and highly experienced engineers and workmen supported by sophisticated manufacturing facilities from raw material cutting, machining, fabrication and assembly to be able to manufacturer our full range of concrete block machines, hydraulic press solutions, batching-mixing solutions, moulds and palletizers.Columbia Machine was the first company to offer state-of-the art Concrete Block Machinery with its unique Columbia Vibration Technology (CVT) made in India at competitive prices. This allowed Indian producers to offer high quality concrete products profitably such as Hollow Blocks, high strength Paver Blocks, Kerbstones, Retaining Wall Blocks, and Flyash Bricks in large volumes at competitive prices in the Indian market. Columbia has contributed significantly to the use of high compressive strength Concrete Pavers in Ports and Road construction, Retaining Wall Blocks in bridges in Highway construction and high volume, high quality Flyash bricks for use in Building construction throughout India.
    

 


Your focus on R & D and innovations, your marketing strategies across India and overseas markets.
Today, with over 15 years of local manufacturing at Vadodara in Gujarat, we offer the most versatile, innovative concrete products equipment in the industry. In India, our existing Concrete Product Machine Model SPM20 provides our customers a plant with an ideal combination of a high technology machine with medium capacity and low investment in pallet and product handling. Its simplicity and ease of installation/dismantling makes it an ideal solution for project works. The Model SPM30 machine is provided with an unique Rack Loader /Unloader Model UL30 made in India with technology from Columbia Machine, USA. UL 30 provides completely automatic loading and unloading the production pallets in to the Racks. Further cured products are automatically cubed on wooden pallets using the Plate Style Cuber PSC 200 again made in India with technology provided by Columbia Machine USA. This increased Pallet and product handing efficiency and improves productivity as well as reduces product handling damages drastically.

 

 

Could you name a few clients and projects your company has been associated with and the benefits accrued to them
In India, Columbia Machine has been associated with UltraTech, Shobha Developers, Adani, JSW, Rockwool, MAN Infrastructure, Vyara Tiles, Nitco, Super Precast and Infrastructure, PM Pavers, Super Tiles & Marbles Pvt. Ltd., Mundra Port, JNPT. Road Projects like the Golden Quadrilateral, NH 8, NH 3 and many more. Internationally too we are present in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Kenya. To name a few Hambantota port in Srilanka,

 

 

Tell us of the new products you intend to introduce and the geographical markets where you are planning to push them?
At Bauma last year, we launched a significant new addition to our concrete block machinery range made in India, the Model SPM30, which is bigger and better than our flagship Model SPM20 machine. In addition, the manual pallet and product handling of the SPM20 plant will be replaced by an indigenously manufactured, fully automatic Rack Loader/Unloader along with a Plate Style Cuber for product cubing.
Both handling equipment use technology being introduced for the first time in India.This will drastically reduce manpower required while improving quality and efficiency at affordable costs. We now also offer a very large capacity, fully automated, high technology Concrete Block Plant made in Poland by Techmatik (a Columbia company).

 

 

Give us an understanding of their key features in terms of ease of operating your products, cost efficiency etc their specific advantages and the post sale services offered. Tell us about the USP’s of your products vis-à-vis your competitors.
Most concrete block machine manufacturers use Table vibration technology. This is commonly found on big board or large pallet concrete products machines. It uses vibrators which are connected to impact bars, these bars strike the bottom of the production pallet to create vibration throughout the product. It is inherently inefficient due to the random motion, which leads to poor height control and non-linear product densities and textures. Columbia's patented vibration technology CVT, combines 80 years of innovative engineering and field proven designs with industry leading manufacturing capabilities. CVT enables producers to create the highest quality and widest range of products in the world. Uniform product height, consistent product weight, superior appearance, reduced cement requirement and sharper product edges are some of the advantages of CVT over traditional table vibration technology.
We have a strong, well experienced customer service team based at our factory at Vadodara. This service support along with local availability of all spares for our equipment has given us an edge over our competitors. We provide in house training to customer operators as well as mix design technology.

 

 


What is the present growth trend witnessed in the concrete sector?
Government is keen to develop country’s infrastructure. Metro rail system itself has been launched in 19 major cities in India and now expanding to tier ii and tier iii cities in India.

 

 

In which sectors do you expect demand for your products in the coming years.
With the increase in housing and infrastructure requirements, concrete block industry will also grow simultaneously. Road development provides concrete block manufacturers with opportunities to supply paver blocks and retaining wall blocks. Concrete pavers are practical solution for the construction of roads (particularly in high rainfall areas like Assam), high traffic intersections and shoulders because of their high compressive strength, wear resistance and easy maintenance. Retaining wall blocks produced on Columbia machines have the advantage of precision height control and are extensively used for bridges and flyovers.
Infrastructure development such as sea ports, container terminals, inland container depots and the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) between Delhi and Mumbai, (covering an overall length of 1,483 km passing through 6 states) will result in a huge requirement of high strength paver blocks.

 

 

Future outlook for your company.
Our company has major expansion plans for India. Bringing products from Techmatic range to increasing domestic volume by new products.




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