Surinder Kaul, Assistant General Manager, Donaldson India Filter Systems Pvt Ltd.
Donaldson India Filter Systems, a 100-per-cent, wholly-owned subsidiary of Donaldson Company Inc, USA, manufactures and markets Donaldson products including Donaldson gas turbine air-filtration systems, engine filters, and dust collection systems in India. The company recently expanded its facility at Manesar, almost tripling it in size besides including an in-house engine product design facility.
Surinder Kaul, Assistant General Manager, Donaldson India Filter Systems Pvt Ltd, discusses the current developments in the Indian filtration market and his company's strategies for the future with Agith Antony….
The proposed norms for CEV engines - India Stage - III based on EU Stage IIIA for 19-560 kw and USEPA - Tier-2 for below 19 kw will be effective from April 2011. Are we geared up to meet the technology challenges especially in terms of filtration technology here in India? One of Donaldson's core competencies is our global position. We are the largest manufacturers of filtration products and have a historical relationship with OEMs across the globe. The highly developed markets in the US, Europe, and Japan have brought in these emission norms a long time ago. As Donaldson maintains the same quality and standards for its products all over the world, the proposed norms are not a challenge for us.
But in India, the environment is dustier and the climate changes from region to region. How you address these issues while developing products? Globally, Donaldson enjoys a leading position in hydraulic filtration systems. Perchance, Donaldson is the only filter company in the world that spends over 2 per cent of its total revenue on R&D. We have manufacturing facilities across the globe, and our filtration products have proved their worth in Operation Desert Storm in the Iraq war. We work very closely with the army for some of its equipment. Technologically, we are well advanced to address these issues.
What is the latest in products? Our latest technology is power core, which is a new-generation, air-filter technology for off-road and on-road applications. These are metal-free air cleaners, lightweight, very compact in design, and competitively priced.
What is the potential of the market for filtration products? The potential is huge. As per our estimates, I am talking purely in terms of niche markets - off and on-road applications – it comes close to about Rs 700-800 crore. If you add aftermarket and industrial applications, the market will be immense.
Does the import of filtration products, which is on the rise, affect your performance anyway? Not really. First, the import is basically meant for the aftermarket. We rather work with the OEMs, engine manufacturers, etc. Second, these are not quality products and cannot compete with players like Donaldson in the market.
But we understand the competition is getting tougher and more international players are eyeing the Indian market. We welcome the competition as it brings out the best in us and proves our worth. We have historical relations with customers and are there from the very beginning of design. As a recent report suggests, the construction equipment market, which is pegged at $ 4 billion is expected to touch $ 15 billion in 2015. There's plenty of room for more players.
What was your turnover last year? We are growing at a rate of 30 per cent year-on-year. We closed 2008 at Rs 70 crore and last year it was Rs 100 crore. We have recently invested in the expansion of our Gurgaon facility and have enhanced our capacity and productivity nearly three to four times.