That India's numbers, especially when it comes to the educated, trained and skilled, are its strength, has got yet another endorsement. This time from Down Under.
Australian LPG safety device manufacturer, Premier Fosters Pty. Ltd., has tied up with Gasfuse India Ltd., to manufacture a proprietary gas safety device, Gasfuse, in India.
Apart from the attraction of a 54-million domestic LPG user base in India, our sub-continent is viewed as an attractive manufacturing base, given its traditional manufacturing strength, engineering skills, the ability to produce quality goods, and the ability throw up all this in required numbers.
Despite Premier Fosters being in the business since 1992 and their claim to being the largest LPG safety device manufacturers in the world, this is the first time that the company is moving beyond the Australian shores. And that too, to India, which it has chosen with a view to making it their global sourcing base.
"Australia is not a manufacturing country. It has great technical know-how and is strong on innovation, but it does not have the right capacities. Indians have the engineering skills, and Indian manufacturers talk the right numbers with the right capacities," said Geoffrey Fosters, inventor of 'Gasfuse' and chairman and managing director of Premier Fosters, at the inauguration of the joint venture unit at Pirangut near Pune.
Premier Fosters has, besides providing the technical know-how, invested 10 per cent in the Rs 7-crore project. The project will have a debt equity ratio of 1:1, where the major investors will be the Aurora family who run a chain of hotels in Pune.
Foster disagreed with the perception that India was a cheaper production base. "We are not looking at lower costs, but at the capacities to manufacture quality in the right numbers," he said.
Gasfuse India will have a capacity to make 60,000 units per month. N R Mudaliar, the managing director of the company, said the company would start operations with a 10,000-unit production. According to him the launch of the product is expected towards the end of May at an estimated street price of Rs. 1,195 per unit and the company would achieve the break-even point at 30,000 units per month.
Fitted between the cylinder and the regulator, the safety device acts like a fuse, detecting gas leaks. It shuts off the flow of gas in the event of a major leak. It also indicates low pressure of the gas (when there is very little gas in the cylinder).
According to Mr. Foster, the pressure sensitive device is currently designed to work on bottled (cylinder) gas. A similar device for piped gas too is in the making.