Brick industry in India continues to modernize
Leading this tendency, together with other stakeholders, European manufacturer Verdés started fabricating extruders in India in early 2013. As reported by their Indian branch in Hosur (TN), Verdes Clay & Minerals Equipment Pvt Ltd, the more progressive of the Indian brick makers have started to improve and modernize their brick plants. During 2015 and 2016 the number of their customers has trebled, as compared to the years 2013 and 2014. This shows an erratic but sustained increase in mechanization, whilst in parallel the number of traditional brick plants that close down is on the rise. Their customers are spread between Gujarat and Haryana in the north and Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the south.
After the start-up of the Wienerberger plant near Bangalore, it was assumed that other new relevant players would appear in the heavy clay sector in the following years. However this has not happened as of yet. Serious investors from Indian sectors other than brick or from western countries continue absent, while alternative walling materials, mainly ACS blocks, continue to make inroads in several states.
Expectations are high that this should start changing, as generally even the more capitalised local brick makers are not able to raise the funds for an investment on a 400 or 600 ton/day plant. Which should involve artificial dryer and tunnel kiln, such as the example set up by this European brick group. This lack of capital is also the case in the other SAARC countries, which are the next target for the team at VCM.
In the meantime, Verdes has had to adapt to the local needs by manufacturing a very wide range of small machines. Only in extruders 6 different models are now available. And similarly for grinding, mixing and dosing machines.
These are used to manufacture a variety of extruded products, being standard-sized perforated brick the most usual one. But not exclusively brick. For example, 4 recent customers in South India produce exclusively floor tiles, while 3 more are concentrated in hollow blocks and ceiling blocks. Another half dozen of the regular brick makers are preparing themselves to also incorporate new, more added value clay products to their brick lines. Verdes is of course committed to help them in their industrial development and along this way generate enough capital to continue progressing to bigger and more efficient automated plants.