Companies

Apt Tools: Hoping to see off Chinese imports in the packaging space

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on January 16, 2018

If you thought “what is in a nail or stapler pin?”, think again. For today, anything and everything is about packing. And this is exactly where Coimbatore-based Apt Tools & Machinery India Pvt Ltd has stepped in, avowing to eliminate the import of Chinese products in the packaging space.

The decade-old company, according to its Director (Technical), P Raghu, commenced business by importing coil nails, which is the main consumable in the making of wooden boxes and pallets. “Most customers were dependent on import of such nails 10 years back. We still are, but have managed with some domestic supplies in recent years. The sector is largely unorganised,” Raghu told BusinessLine.

Raghu, who earlier worked with a Japanese company, quit his job to join his classmate, J Sundara Rajan (who is at present Director – Business Development at Apt Tools) and childhood friend S Karthikeyan (Director- Operations, Apt Tools), to promote this venture.

The trio have invested around Rs 2.8 cr in it till date.

The facility located at Kallapalayam village on the outskirts of Coimbatore, was initially into manufacture of smooth shank coil nails before getting into the complete range of coil nails for the Indian market.

“Wooden pallet manufacturers, granite exporters, valve, pump and the engineering industry use coil nails extensively,” Raghu explained, adding, “our monthly production hovers around 60 to 70 tonnes, with total spare capacity of 100 tonnes.”

After studying the potential for concrete nails (used in the construction business), Apt Tools diversified into this segment as well. “We introduced “STURDY” brand concrete nails a year ago. We currently produce 15 tonnes a month, but hope to double it to 30 tonnes by April next,” Sundara Rajan said.

The company is also into the manufacture of C-ring, Spring Clip and Roll Clips used in automobile seating and spring mattresses. “Our supplies in this product range is about 20 tonnes/month, but there is scope to more than double it to 50 tonnes/month. We are at it and hope to achieve this target by April next,” Raghu said.

Notwithstanding coil nails and clips, the Apt Tools product range includes industrial stapler pins as well. “These pins are used in furniture manufacture and pumps packing, among others. Large volumes of industrial stapler pins are imported from China. Our production is only 10 tonnes/month, but the monthly requirement is five times more,” he said.

While the promoters are upbeat about the potential for the Apt Tools product range, Raghu admits that his company’s products are much more expensive than the imported Chinese nails and pins. “There are very few manufacturers in this product range and the sector is unorganised. Some intervention in the form of concessional import duty and freight could benefit the industry,” he said.

The company is targeting a turnover of Rs 25 cr by March 2018, up from a level of Rs 19 to Rs 20 cr this fiscal.

Raghu did not fail to point out that the company lost heavily in the inter-state dispute over Caurvey water. “We incurred a business loss of up to Rs 1 cr in September as most of the raw materials come from upcountry centres such as Nashik and Mumbai”.

Published on October 26, 2016

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