FAFECO: Quality crane manufacturers
Project Monitor profiles Fafeco Furnance & Foundry Equipment Company whose
pursuit of excellence in material handling equipment has resulted in some prestigious orders overseas
Way back in the early 1960's two young graduate engineers M.K. Ramchandani and M.S. Gurnani, decided to build an enterprise of their own. Starting on a modest scale in 1962, the firm was given a further impetus with the entry of J. Masand, another graduate engineer with vast experience.
Today, the Rs 10 crore firm, Fafeco Furnace & Foundry Equipment Company (FAFECO), has manufacturing units in Mumbai and Vadodara and marketing-cum-service centres in New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata. Being in the material handling business the company has executed several prestigious orders for organisations like M.N. Dastoor, Mecon, BHEL, NTPC, RITES, SAIL and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. FAFECO's relentless pursuit of quality and obsession towards perfection saw orders emanating from overseas, from countries such as Sri Lanka and those in the Far East and Africa. Its cranes are taken for not just onshore and offshore projects but also used by ships on high seas.
"We have specialised and broadened the horizon of crane operations in the country," says M.K. Mirchandani, the Managing Director. A single-minded focus on cranes has provided the firm with tremendous experience which has been mirrored in their work.
"Our strategy has been relatively simple. We try to imbibe technological developments and quickly absorb and adopt the same to suit Indian conditions," explains Ramchandani. Bharat Earth Movers and TCE Tata Consulting Engineers also figure among the list of satisfied clients.
Recounting one of the challenging jobs undertaken, Ramchandani talks about how the firm used all its resources to rescue two cranes submerged by floods in one of the tunnels of Sardar Sarovar Nigam Ltd. The 250-MT cranes, which were abandoned by the owners, were rescued by their team.
Tie-ups and joint ventures
Even as the firm works towards projecting itself as a one-stop solution provider to all material-handling related problems the company has chalked out another strategy for survival. It has started entering into technical tie-ups with leading global companies. A tie-up with J&R Engineering Co. Inc. has opened up opportunities in hydraulic boom gantries. Sleek and compact designs allow the Lift-N-Lock to work in confined areas and reach maximum lifting heights. Compared to the high cost of building gantry cranes, hydraulic boom gantries can erect, dismantle and be easily relocated on other sites.
In 2000-01, FAFECO tied up with a UK-based company, Water Weights, a member of Industrial and Marine Engineering Services. The products are used for testing resistance of sensitive projects like bridges, oil rigs and crane testing. Before a bridge is opened to public or oil platforms are made operational contractors usually perform various tests. When the project is underway it is relatively easier as there is plenty of heavy material available. It is when the project is completed that testing becomes difficult. Water Weights uses big inflatable sized bags which can be filled with water to proof test sensitive projects. Besides offshore installations it is also used for shipbuilding and repair companies, docks and harbours, ramps and lifts, elevators, overhead cranes etc. FAFECO has the license to manufacture all save a few critical parts and also sell and service these products. Recently, the company also bagged a prestigious order from ONGC for the supply of 15 bags for testing existing platforms.
"Our strategy is to try out the market with the new products. In case they are accepted we will manufacture the same after due modification under license from our collaborators," Ramchandani informs.
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