“We intend to go into southern India soon. Our first plant in the south would be somewhere near Bengaluru. We are currently looking out for land. The plant might be operational in the next 12 months,” Sourabh Bansal, Co-founder & Managing Director, Magicrete, told Projectmonitor.
At present, the company has two manufacturing facilities in Surat (Gujarat) and one at Jhajjar (Haryana) which was inaugurated recently. The proposed facility in Bengaluru will be the company’s fourth AAC block manufacturing facility.
AAC blocks have eight times better thermal insulation than bricks as well as better sound resistance; it does not allow water to pass through. “All its features are better than bricks and price-wise it has parity with bricks, then why should anyone select bricks over AAC blocks, Bansal questioned.
In spite of a slowdown in construction activity, Magicrete claims to be focusing more on the conversion segment wherein it intends to convert existing practices such as bricks into blocks. Therefore, even if the construction segment slows down, the company will not be impacted since it will focus on converting bricks to blocks.
Magicrete also intends to venture into manufacturing AAC panels which are expected to be commercially available within the next six to 12 months. The company has also envisaged an investment of Rs.6 crore towards equipping its manufacturing facilities for preparing these panels.
Bansal explained, “There is expected to be a capital expenditure of around $1 million (Rs.6 crore) to make our current facilities ready for manufacturing these panels. Our plants need to be equipped to handle larger sized elements. Currently, blocks are handled by smaller cranes but panels would require larger cranes. Each panel would be weighing nearly 100 kg so obviously it can’t be handled manually. Also, pallets of those panels loading into trucks would need to be automated; therefore, all those additions are being done.”
AAC panels are 10 times the size of blocks that means nearly 100 times the size of a brick. Cities like Mumbai would witness fast adoption of those panels and then it will also penetrate into the hinterland and Tier 2 & 3 cities. The panels will have the same physical properties as AAC blocks only that they would be steel reinforced. They will be large structures from ceiling to floor. It is a total dry form of construction which does not need sand, cement or mortar on-site to join those panels.
The company plans to modify one of its existing facilities to manufacture the panels; however, the facility has not been finalised yet. The company is evaluating which facility is better equipped to shift to panels. It has started trials at the Surat facility, an indication that this unit could manufacture the panels first.
To begin with, Magicrete is looking at a capacity of one lakh cubic metres of panels per annum and, later, equip all its facilities for manufacturing panels.