TAMIL NADU

Demand for ready mix concrete set to go up

Labourers are not exposed to the hazards of inhaling dry cement

N. Ravi Kumar

CHENNAI: The high demand for office and residential space in tier-II cities coupled with emphasis on completion of construction projects within the schedule is set to enhance the popularity and use of ready mix concrete (RMC).

There are already signs of RMC, which promises easier, faster and better quality construction, percolating to tier-II cities such as Coimbatore, Tirupur, Mysore, Vijayawada and Vishakhapatnam, says Anand Sundaresan, managing director, Schwing Stetter India, which manufacture equipment for its production and transportation.

Yet another pointer to the prospects ahead is the decision of transporters, particularly those in the Namakkal and Salem transport belt to graduate to RMC transportation business. It is emerging as one of the preferred move for those engaged in transporting petroleum products, as the margins are attractive. The network of the product pipelines is also expanding, adds the head of the 100 per cent Indian subsidiary of the Euro 600 million Schwing group of Germany.

Noting that a few firms in the transport belt of Tamil Nadu each own about 150 trucks fitted with transit mixers manufactured by Schwing Stetter, Mr. Sundaresan says driving their preference was the guarantee offered by the RMC manufacturers. Since the cement companies are keen on improving their core competence, they outsource the transportation and assure the truckers a guaranteed business.

The key driver of the demand for RMC, which Mr. Sundaresan estimates at a mere two per cent of the total cement consumption in the country, is the change in mindset of civil contractors. "The mental blocks are slowly getting eliminated," he told The Hindu , adding that in RMC the homogeneity of the aggregates is higher and unlike in onsite-mixing the labourers are not exposed to the hazards of inhaling dry cement. Other advantages include saving on time, preventing pilferage of aggregates materials such as blue metal and sand and avoiding the trouble of sourcing water.

All these factors are expected to translate into more business for Schwing Stetter India, which manufactures a wide range of computer-controlled concrete batching plants, transit mixers for transporting the RMC to the construction sites and pumps and concrete placing booms at the SIPCOT Industrial Park in Irungattukottai. The subsidiary, incorporated in June 1998 and operating out of the facility near Chennai from November 2001, plans to invest Rs.15 crores-20 crores on another facility. It procured 10 acres near the unit. On completion, Schwing Stetter India will have separate plants for manufacturing batching plants, transit mixers and pumps.

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