The Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) Limited, Ranchi, has been laying stress on diversification of the company’s business in recent times. In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Guardian, Avijit Ghosh, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), HEC, discussed his plans for the company’s future. Excerpts:

Q. HEC has been taking strides for a major overhaul. What are your plans for the growth of the company?

A. The company had been facing a pressing need for modernisation of its facilities. A plan for installation of new machinery as well as refurbishment has been prepared and put up for the government’s approval.  The plan has been advocated by a high-level team of technical experts, including from Niti Aayog. HEC houses critical facilities for manufacture of capital goods and items of strategic importance. Though the regular business was majorly in mining and steel sector, the company had recorded milestone achievements for the country in nuclear applications, atomic energy, defence and the strategic sector. The modernisation shall give a new avatar to the organisation. 

Emphasis is being put on diversification of business and enhancing strength for business in defence items such as bomb shell, naval shafts and items for nuclear and thermal power plants. In this direction, assistance from renowned foreign technology providers is being lined up. From the present level of business share in this sector, post-modernisation, we are targeting to grow our business by ten folds.

Q. What are your plans for fresh recruitment of engineers and other technical and marketing staff to improve efficiency?

A. The company is in the process of identifying key skills and talent requirements across all levels from a medium and long term perspective. This would include demographic ageing pattern, future skill requirements, current competence levels of the employees and the resultant recruiting requirements, besides identifying in-house talent pools available to fill in these gaps. This will also be the basis for recruitment and succession planning and preparation of training needs.

Q. Apart from PSEs, what new business has HEC been able to generate from private companies in India and abroad?

A. HEC has recently signed an agreement with M/s SIMCO, Australia, for joint manufacture of dragline bucket. Based on this collaboration, a major order of approximately Rs 100 crore could be secured against global competition. The buckets have to be supplied to the Northern Coalfields Limited.

Another area is being explored wherein a joint collaboration with a foreign firm shall enable us to manufacture wind turbines of higher capacity.

Q. HEC has traditionally been supplying equipment to steel plants. Orders from which other new sectors like defence, nuclear energy, railways or others have HEC bagged in the past few years?

A. HEC is executing an order of strategic importance which involves manufacture and supply of components of reactor pressure vessel for nuclear submarines. Earlier, too, HEC had developed the manufacturing process and had supplied components which were installed in INS Arihant. In case of nuclear grade forgings for nuclear power plants, HEC had developed the required grade of steel (20MnMoNi55) which was a first for India. HEC is presently executing tube sheet forging using the same grade of steel.

Q. What are the other areas that HEC is looking forward to for diversifying?

A. In support of the government, HEC is setting up a Common Engineering Facility Centre (CEFC) in collaboration with CNIITMASH, Russia. CEFC shall impart training in high-end technologies and shall be one of its kind in the country. Advanced short-term courses with emphasis on practical training shall be offered in fields such as Electro Slag Re-melting, Non-Destructive Testing, Gear Manufacturing etc. Emphasis is also on technology development through industry-institute interface. MoUs have been signed with IIT Kharagpur, IIT-ISM Dhanbad and NIFFT, Ranchi, for new product development and for improving manufacturing practices. Strategic items for naval warships is another area where work has been initiated for tie-up with renowned foreign technology providers.

Q. How do you see HEC performing in the next five years? What is your big dream for HEC?

A. We have identified the pillars for bringing transformation in the organisation. These are bringing new technology and processes, continual bench-marking with world-class products, finding innovative means to minimise costs and meeting global standards in terms of quality and performance.  With these in place, coupled with the modernisation plan, we expect to propel HEC’s growth.

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