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India's Steer to add manufacturing capacity

By: Steve Toloken

October 23, 2013

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Indian extruder maker Steer Engineering Pvt. Ltd. is expanding manufacturing capacity by 50 percent at its Bangalore headquarters and is building a larger plastics application center, as it targets technology to make its equipment more energy efficient.

At K show, Steer introduced a modification to its extruder models that it says allows its machines to run at full power across a range of extrusion speeds, a development company founder Babu Padmanabhan says if similar to applying a car's automatic transmission to the motor.

The expansion will give Steer capacity to make up to 150 extruders a year for the plastics industry, compared to 100 now, and will also increase its ability to make screw elements by about one-third, the company said.

"For us in year-on-year growth, the U.S. and China are drivers," said Padmanabhan, who is also managing director. He declined to disclose the size of the investment but said both projects will happen next year.

In an interview at Steer's booth, he said company sales grew 10 percent in 2011 and 2012, and the company is seeing even higher results this year.

Steer also supplies extruders to the pharmaceutical, food processing and paint industries.

Padmanabhan said Steer's technology offerings and service and application development centers in the U.S. and Japan are helping it grow.

At K, the firm unveiled its "Plus" technology, designed to make it easier for the machine to operate at full power at different extrusion speeds. "This is a way to improve the machine utilization and therefore energy efficiency," said Padmanabhan.

The technology targets applications with small production runs and frequent changes. Padmanabhan said he believes that 50 percent of extrusion applications are run at poor efficiency and those cases could see "substantial improvement, up to 30 percent."

He said K has helped his firm prepare for a push into the European market, where it has less of a presence and does not have a technical and application center.

"We really got an opportunity to identify and work with people who can provide the kind of service we need," he said.