Gainwell Engineering, the manufacturing venture of Gainwell Commosales (formerly Tractors India), is looking to commission its manufacturing unit in Panagarh, West Bengal, by December 2022. Trial production would commence from January 2023 and commercial production is expected to start by early next fiscal (FY24).

The company has invested close to ₹500 crore on setting up the manufacturing facility across 35 acres in Panagarh.

Underground mining equipment

According to Sunil Kumar Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director, Gainwell Engineering, the unit will start manufacturing underground mining equipment to begin with.

“India’s total import of capital goods stands at around ₹3.20-lakh crore every year. So there is a need for the country to expand its capital goods manufacturing. When we set out to identify some of the areas, we found there is a huge scope in underground mining equipment,” Chaturvedi told BusinessLine.

Gainwell recently entered into a technology licensing agreement for underground mining equipment with Caterpillar, the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. The agreement will enable Gainwell to manufacture medium and high seam underground room and pillar equipment to support the growing coal production in India and other countries around the world.

As a part of this agreement, Gainwell Engineering will also supply after-market spare parts and render service support to the existing active population of licensed Caterpillar Room & Pillar Equipment and Highwall Miner.

The company will manufacture select models of continuous miners, face haulers, roof support carriers, scoops / multi utility vehicles, feeder breakers and highwall miner under Gainwell brand with technology licensing agreement with Caterpillar.

Scope for growth

The share of underground mining in coal production in India is only around six per cent as against close to 94 per cent in China, 50 per cent in Europe and Germany and around 40-45 per cent in USA.

Underground mining is far more sustainable as it does not destabilise the surrounding areas, is safer and is less polluting, Chaturvedi said, highlighting the potential of growing the segment in India.

“The central government is focusing on increasing the share of underground mining rather than surface mining operations. We have the IP and technology from Caterpillar and we are excited (about the opportunity),” he said.

Coal remains the main stay of energy security for India and emerging economies, and there is likely to be a steady demand for coal in some of these countries moving forward. The company will also be exporting its equipments to these countries.

“There is a good demand for these equipments from countries such as Australia, China and US and also from Russia and Africa,” he said.

Manufacturing other capital goods

Moving forward, the Panagarh unit plans to expand its scope and look at other capital goods. as well. There is a huge potential to grow capital goods manufacturing in India to help the country grow at around 9-10 per cent annually, said Chaturvedi.

The company is also looking at manufacturing equipments for railway and defence sectors.

“It is just a question of a few quarters and then we plan to enter into material handling equipment and railways track maintenance equipment. We also hope to get into manufacturing of critical defence equipments. We are working on all those so this will not be an underground mining equipment company only; we will be a capital goods manufacturing company serving multiple sectors,” he said.

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