Apr 7, 2016: R. STAHL, a specialist manufacturer of explosion-proof equipment, has a strong manufacturing facility in India that facilitates the global explosion proof equipment leader to achieve unprecedented levels of growth.The company has a wide portfolio of LED lighting solutions for hazardous environments.
A global company, R. STAHL is more than 135 years old, and with 80 + years of experience in explosion protection technology, and has it’s foot prints in several countries across the world with its headquarters in Waldenburg, Germany.
Speaking to BizLED Bureau, Joerg Fitzek, Managing Director, R. STAHL, elaborated on the company’s growth strategy; the potential of the emerging markets; and the growth of the company’s busiest manufacturing facility in India.
One of R. STAHL’s historically key markets is the oil and gas industry. Did the economic slowdown within this industry hit the company?
JF: There is a tremendous slow down in the upstream oil and gas industry. Little or no investment in this stream has impacted a lot of manufacturing companies like ours.
Tell us about the new markets that have emerged for R. STAHL?
JF: This development coincided with strong growth from new and emerging markets that are beginning to open up for R. STAHL. The pharmaceutical and chemical industries are burgeoning on a global scale and there are investments that are happening here that culminate in more requirements for electrical and instrumentation products designed for hazardous areas.
The growth opportunities in the renewable sector, where focus has rapidly gathered pace over the recent years, is also opening up opportunities for R. STAHL.
In terms of geographies, the positive developments of India’s domestic market where on-going petrochemical, refinery projects, and other projects in the shipbuilding industry, are continuing to grow, are also proving beneficial for R. STAHL.
How is R. STAHL taking advantage of the growing global LED market?
JF: The global LED market is proving lucrative for R. STAHL. LED technology is becoming more and more dominant in all industries around the world, including those that operate in hazardous areas. Governments across countries are encouraging consumers to adopt it, and this fosters growth for companies like ours that have a wide portfolio of LED lighting solutions for hazardous environments. We are able to take advantage of this even further by remaining very open to the development of new designs.
What is R. STAHL’s India subsidiary focused on?
JF: Our India facility is playing an important role towards our commitment to continuous development.It is focused on innovation and recently completed several new LED products for zone-2 hazardous area installations. We design and develop LED lighting, ranging from floodlights, sheet metal clean room lights, emergency lights with battery back-up, right up to pendant lights and linear lights. Importantly, we extend complete support and technical guidance to deliver these projects.
The manufacturing facility is equipped with some of the world’s best and latest CNC machines, state-of-the-art infrastructure, new machines like sheet metal fabrication of reputed makes, etc. The SONDERHOFF make silicone foaming machine is one of its kind in the country with an indigenous curing oven. The facility has well laid out shop floor with modern material handling equipment, state-of-the-art ERP software for inventory control, and engineering software for design and lighting calculations.
A sophisticated R&D laboratory with the latest testing apparatus is also a major attraction of the facility. The lab is accredited with ISO 9001:2008 certification by DEKRA EXAM and ATEX, besides the IEC Exapproval. R. STAHL also aims to obtain ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 approvals for its India facility.
What has been R. STAHL’s growth in the last one year?
JF: Our focused attention to development and growth opportunities has rewarded R. STAHL with record levels of growth over the last year. In fact, there has been a quantum leap in annual sales.Our business has increased turnover from Euro 12 million last year to Euro 16 million in 2015.We expect to make about Euro 22 million salesin 2016.
What are the reasons you attribute to this growth?
JF: One of the reasons behind this is that we secured a large repeat order from a leading refinery in India. Besides this, we have also reached out to major EPCs and end users in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries with our enhanced product portfolio, including LED luminaries range, and this has resulted in a lot of good business.
Another reason for this success is that exports to Asia Pacific, Middle East and African regions have grown significantly over the past year. Our parent company is also encouraging other subsidiaries and partners within the distribution network to source products made at the India facility. We have the added bonus of producing products that are certified according to the latest IEC standard for explosion proof equipment, which is accepted universally.
What will be R. STAHL’s growth strategy this year?
JF: Whilst the challenges posed by the oil and gas industry continue, success and growth in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries is positive, and to capitalize on this will be a key part of R. STAHL’s progress from now on. Putting together a complete package for these markets, whilst at the same time investing into its manufacturing capabilities will be our central focus. With investments on upgrading tooling for sophisticated CNC machines, and in correspondence with increased training and into its personnel, the Indian firm is gearing up to cope with any future rises in demand.
Over the coming 12 months, we will be positioning our newly developed products in the domestic and international markets with the help of their USPs, which are unmatched. In the longer term, I have a vision to scale up not only the annual sales figure by high double-digit growth, but also to add onto our manufacturing line in India, high-end technology and the development of new explosion-proof products and solutions to take the portfolio to the next level. We are also working towards being the leading manufacturing facility of our kind in India, which is already enforced by the IEX Ex approval.
Tell us about your latest LED products that are being manufactured in India
JF: R. STAHL has recently added a number of Ex LED lighting products to the already existing portfolio namely Cleanroom LED Luminaire 6412/5, Zone 2 floodlight 6525, Zone 1 floodlight 6125, Zone 1 emergency LED Luminaire with in-built battery backup. These are yet to be launched in the market but are nearing completion.
Along with the resourceful R&D team in India, and the expertise available in our HQ in Germany, we are able to produce new and improved designs of LED lighting products. Besides, due to the availability of a world class IEC compliant laboratory and knowledge of the manufacturing and testing standards, it becomes more feasible to develop new products in the Indian facility.
The challenge in explosion proof LED lighting is the thermal management as there is always a restriction on the temperature, up to which the light fitting can attain when in continuous operation, and as we know, LEDs emit a lot of heat. But the technology that R. STAHL has adopted is one of the best. Hence, we offer three years or more warranty for our LED lighting products and can emphasize on their long life and efficacy.