Nirmal Overseas Pvt. Ltd. was the first company in India to manufacture a wide range of HF/RF tube welders and induction heaters. Through continuous research & development, Nirmal has emerged as a leader in the manufacturing of tube mills, slitting machines, seam normalizing, open profile machines, burr-free cutting, and other allied machinery. Nirmal Overseas has developed a new process of designing, engineering, manufacturing, and installing the equipment. In an interview with Tube & Pipe India magazine, Mr. RK Aggarwal, Chairman, Nirmal Overseas Pvt. Ltd., shares interesting facts about the company’s journey.
Tube & Pipe India: Nirmal Overseas has an industry experience of almost four decades. What has been your philosophy? Also, take us through your business journey.
RK Aggarwal: Our only philosophy is to serve the country. We started our business in 1980 when nobody was manufacturing high-frequency welders in this country. At that time, the norm was to order machines from the UK, the USA, and other western nations. However, the maintenance engineers were not available in India to repair those machines. Since I’ve had the opportunity to work with experts from the developed parts of the world, I should start the business in this segment. Thus, Nirmal Overseas became the first company in India to manufacture such machines with the indigenous technology developed from our distinctive expertise and know-how. After that, some other firms also emerged with a similar kind of manufacturing setup as ours. However, we strive to be competent and competitive in the industry. With time, we have gained people’s trust by supplying reliable solutions.
TPI: Could you shed some light on the company’s achievements? What factors helped you to stay ahead of your competitors?
RKA: We started our manufacturing operations with high-frequency welders. The machines we manufacture are as per the requirements of the Indian market:
- The probability of the machine breakdown is very low;
- Any electrician could repair it;
- The maintenance costs incurred were significantly less.
In the initial few years of our business, we found the competition quite challenging. In those early days, we approached companies and supplied the machine on the condition that they should pay if they were satisfied with the quality and performance of the machine. This enabled us to get good references in the market and repeat orders from the clients. Due to our organized and streamlined planning, we have received a few big orders which are a testament to the performance of our machines.
Earlier, our focus market was Punjab and nearby areas for the supply of conduit pipes. For this segment, the machines were generally procured from countries such as the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Our machines were equally efficient but with less capacity, load and cost. We became successful and were able to get around 50 orders in Punjab itself. Gradually, we expanded our business. Today, we have more than 1,500 customers in India. We made welders up to 1 MW capacity, which is the highest Walts welder in Asia, and supplied it to Maharashtra Seamless.
Nirmal is the only company to supply complete turnkey projects in India, from slitting lines, tube mills, and tube mill rolls to galvanizing and threading machines – this is our strength. Secondly, Nirmal Overseas has tie-ups with various international companies, such as Mannesmann Demac Germany MDH, Germany. We have a good focus on efficiency, customization & technical operation, and that’s why we have been able to stay ahead of our competitors. Nirmal is the only company in India to supply machines up to API lines for 20-inch pipes. To be a successful company, one needs complete technology and 3M – Money, Manpower, and Machines. We at Nirmal have the latest CNC machines and skilled manpower. We keep ourselves technically upgraded and make investments accordingly.
TPI: Please summarize your entire product line for us.
RKA: We provide high-speed tube mills, seam normalizers for API pipe, hot dip pipe galvanizing plants, API tube mills, hydro testing for API pipe, hot dip structure galvanizing plants, solid state HF tube welder, slitting lines, cut-to-length lines, open profile machines C & Z, door & window, the hollow section for square /rectangular, stainless steel tube mills, spare parts for tube mill industry, tube mill rolls and bur free cold SAW cutting.
“Nirmal Overseas became the first company in India to manufacture high-frequency welders with the indigenous technology developed from our distinctive expertise and know-how.”
TPI: Nirmal was awarded as the Top TEN Exporter in 1997. Throw some light on the market footprint and clientele of the company today.
RKA: In 1984, we developed indigenous technology for HF welding, which was a hundred percent import substitute. Soon after, we started exporting our machines. In fact, we have exported more than a hundred machines worldwide to around 25 countries including the UAE, Oman, Angola, Guinea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Nepal, Bangladesh, Uganda, and Rwanda, and it is our quality & service that has enabled us to make a mark in the international market. We ensure the full performance of the project and provide good customer service. We have supplied our products to Integrated Telecom Company (ITC), Bahra Electric, Al- Rajhi, and ASAD Group in Saudi Arabia. We get repeat customers, and this is a significant landmark for us. In India, some of our customers are Tata Steel, Bhushan Steel Industries, Jindal Steel and Power, Jindal Industries, Jindal Stainless (Hisar), Hi-Tech Pipes, PS Steel Tubes, and Surya Roshni among others. If India can provide high-quality products at an affordable price, it can capture worldwide. Our next milestone would be to export our machine to South America, North America, and countries like Brazil.
TPI: Going forward, what are your future plans for the company?
RKA: Earlier, we were producing one machine in two months. Now, we are making one and a half machines in one month. Further, we plan to make two machines per month – a tube mill or a slitting line. We will expand our manufacturing area and transform manual machines into fully-automated ones. In the coming years, we aspire to manufacture CNC machines in all stages. All computerized machines will be there so that we can increase our production as well as improve our quality. I always wanted to make portable machines so that if anybody wants to make pipes, but cannot afford to put up a plant, they can take the machine from me on rent. I have made a pilot machine that can make 6mm pipe which I want to exhibit at upcoming events.
TPI: How has the Indian tube & pipe industry changed over the years, and how do you foresee the future?
RKA: A few decades ago, there was a dearth of qualified professionals in the Indian tube and pipe industry, except for a few conglomerates. Jindal Group was among a handful of companies that have contributed to bringing a kind of revolution in the tube & pipe industry in the country. They envisioned and succeeded in transforming the unorganized sector into an organized one.
Earlier, there was little competition in this industry. Now, the situation is quite different as the competition has grown to a great extent. The market demands dictate that the technology suppliers should keep in mind the volume, competition, cost-effectiveness, and good quality simultaneously. This has signaled a significant change in the industry. The pipe manufacturers are looking to install quality-oriented production lines as they strive to enhance their manufacturing systems.
TPI: Any concluding thoughts on the interaction?
RKA: Since the industry is dynamic and constantly evolving, technological innovations are always taking place. For instance, newer manufacturing systems are an outcome of the ongoing evolution of technologies. Further, we are planning to upgrade the technology to integrate laser welding. This will be more efficient in terms of productivity as well as costs. A new technological revolution is on the rise. Every day brings new opportunities to learn and innovate!