Elgi offers the most efficient compressors for textiles
In conversation with Rakesh Rao of ITJ, Dr Jairam Varadaraj, MD, Elgi Equipments, highlights on advantages of energy efficient compressors for textile industry and shares few tips to buy the ideal compressor.
Compressed air plays a key role at every stage in the textile production (for both man-made as well as natural fibres). Spinning and ginning mills, air-jet weaving, winding and dying of nonwoven materials, texturizing, etc are some of the areas in the textile industry, where air compressors are used. With rise in energy prices, customers are demand energy efficient air compressors today
Elgi Equipments has been fulfilling the efficiency requirement of textile industry with its wide range of cost-competitive compressors. In conversation with Rakesh Rao of ITJ, Dr Jairam Varadaraj, MD, Elgi Equipments, highlights on advantages of energy efficient compressors for textile industry and shares a few tips on how to buy an ideal compressor.
How is Elgi catering to the needs of textile industry?
As an air compressor company, we probably have the widest range of compressors to offer to the textile industry. Starting from a half HP piston compressor (that could be used in some of the smaller textile processing and fabrics units) all the way upto a 2000 HP centrifugal compressor that can be used in large processing and texturising units. In between, we also have our lubricated screw compressors and oil-free screw compressors. So, we have a pretty wide range of compressors.
In addition, we have a complete range of air treatment facilities. Depending on the customers air quality requirements, we provide a complete range of solution for the quality of the air
How much does textile industry contribute to Elgi’s overall turnover?
Compressed air is required across industries. While Elgiâ€™s supply base covers just about every industry, textile – being a critical part of the economy – is very important vertical for the company. Contribution of the textile industry varies year to year and, roughly accounts for anywhere between three to six percent of revenue.
What is so unique about Elgi that helps it stay ahead of its competitors?
We understand the customerâ€™s pain points at a very visceral level and we take those pain points very seriously. We embed very high-quality solutions for these pain points not only in our products but also at service level. For example, in the textile industry (especially in spinning or weaving units), there is a lot of fluff in the atmosphere and equipment/machinery (used by these units) needs to operate in such atmosphere. This is a real problem because the customer has to opt for frequent cleaning cycles to handle fluff. For this, we have engineered our products by adding certain features to enable the machine to operate in such a kind of an environment.
Process industries, like textiles, operate continuously and up-time is very critical. As a result, compressors have to be up and running all the time. We have built so much of quality into our products that we provide the highest levels of warranty in the world compared to any other manufacturer. In addition, we provide extremely rapid 24 x 7 service to the customer.
What are the key challenges before textile industry today?
In pre-COVID period, the constant dynamics between cotton and yarn prices and the cascading effect of that was a big challenge for a lot of textile mills not only in India, but also globally. The margins were under pressure. Many of the textile mills have highly stressed balance sheets and P&L. So, the financial liquidity is a problem for a lot of textile companies.
Cost of compressed air is a very small part of the cost of operation for a textile mill. Nevertheless, energy is costly and compressor is a significant carrier of the cost of energy.
Besides making the most efficient compressors in the world, we provide air audit services to many mills to understand the pattern of air requirement and consumption of the customer. Air audits help us fine-tune the entire compressed air system leading to significant savings for the customers.
What factors/parameters should one consider while buying air compressors?
One should not exclusively look at upfront cost. This is because upfront cost is only nine to 10 percent of a life cycle cost of a compressor. Roughly 75 per cent of the life cycle cost of a compressor is energy. So, you need to look very carefully in terms of energy efficiency of an air compressor while buying.
Customers should also need to look at the maintenance cost (which is close to about 15 per cent of the life cycle cost for a customer). They need to look at what is the consumable prices and we provide the best solutions in the world for that.
Third, the customer needs to buy a compressor which meets the optimum requirement. If your application needs a 30 HP compressor, no point in buying 50 HP compressor (if you think higher capacity may be useful in case of expansion in the future). Running high power compressor at low capacity is simply a waste of money and energy. If you still want a higher capacity compressor, then you need to opt for a variable frequency drive (VFD), which we provide as a standard solution. VFD is a little more expensive than a fixed speed machine.
So, choosing the right size of the compressor for the given application is very important.
Are there any plans for launching new products targeted at textile industry?
Last year we made our biggest launch – AB series oil-free air compressor. It is 10-15 per cent more efficient than the other conventional oil free compressors, but at a price point which is very attractive for customers.
Because of the high cost of an oil-free compressors, many companies in textile industry use oil lubricated compressors (with downstream filters to remove the oil) which are very expensive. Filters, which are consumables, consume energy resulting in a pressure drop.
With our AB series, we are opening up a completely new dimension of thinking for our textile customers who can use oil-free compressor offering high-levels of efficiency at a very attractive upfront cost.