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By TPCI | December 9, 2019

When Sudarshan Chemical Industries was manufacturing pigment in the early seventies, they faced difficulties in procuring and importing grinding machines, which were used in the manufacturing process. This triggered the idea of finding an in-house, sustainable solution for the same. Thus the company began thinking of adopting global technology and initiating this activity locally.

This gave birth to the subsidiary Rieco Industries Ltd in 1978, with the primary objective of making industrial equipment. Today Rieco is a pro in developing tailored and customized engineered systems and has been providing efficient solutions to the industry for over 45 long years.

Talking to Indusfood-Tech, Vikas Bhatia, Managing Director, Rieco Industries Pvt Ltd, shares how he is exploring ways of supporting the customers in India and across the globe specifically through the event. Bhatia also shares that the company’s customer-oriented approach will continue to be a priority in all its present and future endeavors. Following are a few excerpts from the interview:

Indusfood-Tech: Tell us about the company’s formation and growth story? How have you evolved as a business in India and abroad?
Vikas Bhatia: Rieco was born in 1975, with the primary objective of providing grinding solutions. We adopted global technology from our collaborators then and set up local activity with their technology.

After starting grinding solutions, other needs for de-dusting and material handling arose. With the confidence of providing grinding solutions, adding new offerings was a natural extension. We entered into more technological partnerships for creating the systems for environment control and material handling. We thus built our portfolio with technologies from global giants, ensuring high quality output. Currently we have tie ups with CIMMA Ing. Morandotti & C. Srl, Italy and KLEIN Anlagenbau AG, Germany.

We became a full line supplier for environment, conveying and grinding solutions, providing systems across industries viz. cement, food, power, minerals, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, soaps and detergents, fertilizers, petrochemicals and polymers, plastics, paints, pesticides, agrochemicals, cosmetics, mining, chemicals, and other industries.

In terms of business in India and abroad, we have the best solutions for the industry, as a consequence to which we have a very strong customer base in India and across the globe.

We have been providing technologies, solutions and projects to different countries such as Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Africa, Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh Indonesia and Sri Lanka. We have a good amount of growth from the overseas market. We believe that there are different solutions and opportunities, which can still be discovered by us for our customers in the quest for addressing their needs.

Indusfood-Tech: What are the key product categories you cater to? And what are the major end use sectors where you are witnessing good demand for your equipment?
VB: We cater to food, spices & condiments, bakery & confectionery industries. We also supply equipment to core sections like power, coal, steel and pharma. We have been providing grinding solutions to a number of clients who, over the years, have remained loyal to us. We also do Powder Dust Conveying and Dust Extraction Systems (DES) primarily to provide clean air to the environment. All these three product lines are witnessing huge demand across the globe.

Our efficient and reliable Air Pollution Control System is one of the industry’s best till date. With the continuously rising demand of such equipment as well as standards for emission getting stringent, the need for a good system is very high.

In Cryogenic Grinding and dry chilled air grinding, which we provide for certain applications, where we grind products at very low temperature esp. in the processing of spices and foods as they contain essential volatile oil. So, under Cryogenic Grinding, the material is blanketed in liquid nitrogen and then put through the grinding process. This helps to keep the natural taste, colour and aroma.

We also provide Nitrogen-based closed-loop grinding for materials, which become explosive or difficult to handle when exposed to air.

Indusfood-Tech: Can you give us more insights on your Dust Extraction Systems (DES)? How is this equipment ensuring cleanliness of the environment?
VB: The basic principle on which the equipment works is that of a vacuum cleaner. It sucks the polluted air, say thousands of cubic meters of air per hour; with the air particles ranging from say 5 micron to 100 micron in size.

So, basically, it is forcing the air through a certain filter media and the dust particle gets trapped and what is released further is clean air with minimal amount of dust particles. In industries such as cements, coal and even steel production (especially when you have processing lines which uses boilers), the fuel produces harmful gases and certain particulate matter. So all that gets collected by equipment like DES, Fume Extraction Systems (FES), Bag Houses etc, thereby providing cleaner air around the environment. We specialize in designing and providing these kind of solutions to our customers.

In the F&B space, it is used in industries, which produce foods having volatile oil compounds (VOCs). When released in the air, they can cause irritation to people at work place who breathe that air. For example, if you go close to a chilly-grinding unit, the volatile oils are continuously getting evaporated in the atmosphere. These are irritants lead to coughing and sneezing for the people exposed in the working area.

Indusfood-Tech: How strong has been the role of the R&D for your business to be a success? Any major R&D/innovations that you might wish to share with us?
VB: We have continuous developments on energy efficiency and finding the right solutions for our customers. We have a full-fledged product trail lab at Alandi, in Pune, where customers who want to consider our equipment for their product do a sample grinding of their raw material and through that we establish capacities and final product characteristics. We experiment with different metallurgies and do different types of combinations to produce the right solutions. In terms of further enhancing the performance and energy efficiency, we look at all possible ways to streamline the overall energy consumption.

We are also giving solutions to our customers to reduce overall compressed air consumption. Moreover, I think R&D is something, which every organization should invest in for finding smarter and better solutions.

Indusfood-Tech: How has the progress of your business been on the export front and which are the main markets you have successfully penetrated? What is your strategic approach to tap your potential target markets?
VB: We feel that the entire globe has lot to offer to the Indian food industry. We are looking at tapping buyers from Africa, Gulf countries and S. E. Asia specifically through Indusfood-Tech 2020. However, we have penetrated successfully in countries round the globe. In Sri Lanka, we have good demand in the spice industry. In fact, we see a lot of interest in the spice processing industry from countries, which have a hot climate like Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and some African countries.

Indusfood-Tech: Which are the major avenues of expansion that you see in the coming years?
VB: We are definitely looking at more overseas customers. However, apart from expanding our footprints beyond India, we are also looking at new applications, which we can process through our solutions. In terms of waste processing, we are looking at some applications where we can handle the wastage more effectively. We will also look at product portfolio expansion, solutions and industry applications, which can be addressed. So, two major expansion plans are underway; one the geographical footprint and the other being the product offerings.

Indusfood-Tech: How is the food processing equipment industry expected to grow in the future? What will be the drivers of the growth?
VB: People don’t have time to cook food. That is why processed or semi-processed food will be the need of the hour. Whether it is spice, tea or customized vegetable industries or say any industry, the ready-to-cook items will gain global momentum as customers have gradually changed their requirements and consumption pattern. We can see a 20% growth in the food processing segment in the next decade.

Indusfood-Tech: How do you see Indusfood-Tech as a platform for the growth of the industry?
VB: We are participating for the first time in the show and we hope that we get good response. It will help us attract the international buyers which we feel definitely would increase our presence in the global market.