Born under the aegis of New Hindustan Tubes Pvt. Ltd., Ferron Tubes Pvt. Ltd. was created with the core idea of expanding to bigger horizons. With a vision to target newer industries that require steel pipes and tubes and its by-products, Ferron is a step towards adapting to new technology and methodologies of steel production and providing quality products. In a conversation with Tube & Pipe India, Mr. Danish Chakarwarty, Managing Director, Ferron Tubes Pvt. Ltd. talks in detail about the journey and philosophy of the company.
“The demand for tubes is growing not only in India but the entire Asian market… I see enormous potential and we aim to become one of the largest steel tube producers in the country.”
Tube & Pipe India: Could you please give us a brief outline of the business journey of your company along with its crucial milestones?
Danish Chakarwarty: We started Ferron, as a part of New Hindustan Tubes Pvt. Ltd., which was started by my father in the 1980s. Ferron was established in 2014 in Palwal with one manufacturing plant. Primarily, we are into ERW steel tubes for the precision auto components, the furniture industry, and the general segment, which uses the CR tube.
The company was started with the intention to supply products to our group companies. However, we saw the huge potential in the market and started exploring more. In 2019, we tripled our capacity. Now, we produce around 3000 tonnes a month. Besides supplying to companies and traders across the country, we also export some of our products.
In 2021, we set up another unit with backward integration of slitting and processing and forward integration of tube drawing. This year, we have extensively started focusing on newer markets. We exhibited in Tube Düsseldorf and Tube India for the first time. We are extensively working in the EV market as well as exploring new markets through these exhibitions. We are one of the largest e-rickshaw tube manufacturers in North India.
TPI: Kindly cast some light on the machinery installed at your facility.
DC: The machinery we have is based on Japanese designs, but manufactured in India by a local supplier. The welders are from US-based Inductotherm Group’s Ahmedabad plant. Inductotherm Group is the pioneer of welders in the tube industry. Along with that, we have cutting, bending and chamfering machines from SOCO Machinery Co. Ltd., a machinery supplier in Taiwan. We have slitting machines from Rollform Equipment Pvt. Ltd., Ghaziabad. Apart from that, we have a lot of other small machines.
TPI: Tell us about your product portfolio along with its applications and the clientele it serves.
DC: We cater to the automotive two-wheelers, four-wheelers, rickshaws, bicycles, furniture, and a lot of industrial equipment trade segments. The industry is massive – I come across a new use of a precision tube every six months. We have supplied to industries varying from toy manufacturers to car manufacturers. The USP of our company is that we focus on customization. E-rickshaw constitutes almost 30 percent of our business. We were the pioneers in developing special section tubes on an in-house rolling mill. These tubes are used in the frames of rickshaws and we were the first to supply them to major e-rickshaw manufacturers. We recently developed a special section tube for a customer in India who is exporting it to South Africa. With that product, the cost to our end customer was 30 percent less which, in a steel segment, is a huge margin. We believe in value addition. We are the single supplier of tubular part for a Honda four-wheeler model.
TPI: What are your strategies to create value for your customers?
DC: One needs to add value to the customers, not only by providing good quality products at low prices but also by saving the cost that the customers do not see. We recently decreased the inventory cycles of our traders in Delhi from 15 days to 7 days just by doing some alterations in the supply chain. If we see it on paper, they were able to save a few crore rupees.
Our clients have been very supportive. Recently I met one of our customers at the EV expo, they are very hopeful for the growth of e-rickshaws, and they want us to dedicate a couple of lines exclusively to the e-rickshaw segment. We have always listened to our customer’s needs and demands. And that is why we’ve been able to grow at such a rapid pace in the past seven years.
“We have been working on a lot of improvements, and efficiencies this year in the tube mills… We would also be adding another plant by next year to increase the production as well as value-addition.”
TPI: What are the recent developments and what will be your future plans?
DC: In 2021, we started our second unit with slitting machines, mostly to cater to our own needs. However, we have a full-fledged processing center and we do a lot of processing for other companies too. We have 8,000 tonnes of installed capacity per month.
In the past year, we ventured into auto parts components. Earlier, customers were procuring tubes from us and sending them out for job work. Now, we have become a one-stop solution for a lot of companies who require a minor value-addition on the tube so that they don’t have to pay for the logistics and inventories at different places. Nevertheless, our major focus remains on the ERW segment. We have been working on a lot of improvements, and efficiencies this year in the tube mills. We have installed NDTs which are now an industry standard for tube testing. We have hired a few consultants since July who drastically helped us achieve our goals more efficiently and bring our costs down.
We are rapidly looking for newer technologies. We would also be adding another plant by next year to increase the production as well as value-addition. With this, we plan to expand not just the capacity but also the range of tubes that we make right now.
TPI: Since you have been in the industry for the last few years, how do you see the market evolving in the future?
DC: The sky is the limit! The tubing market is like an endless well. We started with a very small aim, but once we entered the industry, we saw the huge potential to grow. According to various statistics, the demand for tubes is growing not only in India but the entire Asian market. A lot of people are moving from SS to cold-rolled tubes. Many companies are moving from hotrolled to cold-rolled processes to improve quality. Cold-rolled cannot become as huge as the hot-rolled pipe market; however, this niche segment, in itself, has a huge market. I see enormous potential in the future and we aim to become one of the largest steel tube producers in the country.