27 February 2020

Interaction-Ramesh Babbar, President & Dir, Colum

We offer the most versatile, innovative concrete products equipment in the industry

 

 

Columbia Machine Engineering (India) Pvt. Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Columbia Machine Inc. USA, an over 80 year old, worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and support of equipment for a variety of industries, with customers in over 100 countries around the world. In an exclusive interaction, RAMESH BABBAR, PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR, COLUMBIA MACHINE ENGINEERING (I) speaks to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES about the company’s offerings and participation at EXCON 2019.

 

 

 

 

Briefly tell us about your product offerings and the key features/USPs that have contributed in strengthening and maintaining your stronghold in the market?

 

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, fly ash 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. 

 

 

Please offer your assessment of the importance of shows like EXCON for companies such as yours and tell us of your own previous experience? Expectations from the trade fair.

 

A show like Excon provides us a platform to showcase new technologies and products to the industry. It also provides an opportunity to connect with existing customers, producers and competitors and exchange notes and views with them. Each show also yields new business leads and provides exposure to a significant new audience. It is important that the show attracts the best companies from all over the world as exhibitors, which, in turn, would result in good quality of visitors from the industry. The show must be well publicised through proper channels so that the target audience is reached. Hosting venue should be easily accessible from the nearest airport. There should be a large number and variety of lodging boarding options with convenient transport arrangements. Good weather is important particularly for shows with outdoor stands.

 

 

As a company what are your specific plans for EXCON 2019 – have you devised any new marketing strategy to push your products?

 

Excon has been very important to us. We have been consistently displaying our new and innovative machines and getting good response. Columbia has close to 300 plants Automatic Concrete Block Plants working in India. Most of these plants are working with semi-automatic working systems for the handling of pallets with green and cured products. Indian customers are slowly and steadily moving towards automation. We have developed automatic handling systems for our small pallet machines also. This will be available for sale to our existing customers and prospects. We are displaying automatic handling systems at our booth at Excon this year.

 

 

Are you looking to launch any new innovative product or new breakthrough technologies at EXCON 2019? Are you also looking for new collaborations and tie - ups?

 

No product launch this year, just innovation in Product Handling Systems.

 

 

Do you practice ‘Make in India and Sell Globally,’ use your India manufacturing base to supply the global market.

 

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. We offer our customers US technology, manufactured locally in India at a very low cost thus saving a lot of our customers money as compared to other Chinese and German manufacturers. We are strong not only in India but in global markets of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, Addis and other Eastern regions of Africa.

 

 

Your assessment of India’s manufacturing policy, to what extent does it foster growth of your company.

 

In India, hiring skilled and educated workers in construction and equipment industry is still a challenge. Hence producing products and getting work done at site becomes difficult. This hampers the quality and progress of the project. Hence it is preferred to manufacture precast Concrete Products in controlled environment under the supervision of trained and skilled workmen. This also ensures more productivity and consistent quality products. Our customers have realized this and implementing at their plants. We share the success stories of one customer at one location with another customer at another location across India. This spread awareness of latest technology and trends even to remote locations in India. Trade shows like Excon also play a major role in sharing and implementing knowledge and information among our customers.

 

 

What distinguishes your products vis-a-vis the competition? What is your current market share in all your product categories?

 

Chinese manufacturers dump low cost equipment in Indian markets. Some of these Indian buyers get attracted by their price and buy these machines. Most of these machines fail in producing quality products or the quality benchmarks set by Columbia customers in that market. These products fail miserably at site hence spoiling the name of that particular Concrete Product. If the buyer is financially sound enough to survive this disaster he comes back to Columbia. Chinese manufacturers have started entering into partnership with local Indian or European companies and have started selling their machines in their name. This has spoiled market at a great extent.

 

 

Your outlook for the Indian ECE market. Which sectors will be the major demand drivers?

 

Since there is market for quality equipment manufacturers, we get customers from all over India. Shift towards automation, restriction towards over utilization of natural resources, relevance of green technology for sustainable future have all led to the increased demand of our machine and technology towards the growth of our nation and economy.




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