Nilkamal Plastics Ltd., one of India's largest injection molders, is broadening its processing base, having added a rotomolding machine just over a year ago, and with plans to introduce vacuum forming and blow molding to its portfolio by late summer.
The firm already runs eight plants - including joint venture factories in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - and dominates the Indian markets for injection molded chairs and materials-handling crates. With annual sales of 32.1 billion rupees ($717 million) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2005, and 2,500 employees, Nilkamal rates as a molding giant in India. Its 56 presses, with clamping forces of 660-1,565 tons, process more than 11 million pounds of polyethylene and polypropylene resin each month, according to A.B. Ambekar, general manager of the Mumbai, India-based group.
The Indian and Sri Lankan plants all have earned ISO 9001:2000 certification from TÜV Rhineland Group, headquartered in Cologne, Germany.
The firm pumps out 1.2 million plastic chairs a year, prompting it to proclaim itself the world's largest molder of such products. Its range of furniture products extends to dining tables, coffee tables, trolleys, shoe racks, multipurpose racks, baby chairs and stools. It makes 74 different types of products, but materials handling is Nilkamal's core business, Ambekar said in an interview at the Association of Rotational Molders International's South Asia Region Division conference, held Feb. 15 in Noida.
Nilkamal does more than just manufacture.
``We do all our own product design ourselves,'' said Gopal Krishnan, senior works manager for Nilkamal Crate & Bins in Silvassa, India, about 110 miles north of Mumbai. The company has 15 designers on staff and, using SolidWorks and other design software, develops and makes its own models. ``We do not make our own molds,'' though, Krishnan said, noting that the firm instead sources tooling from Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Taiwan and Singapore.
Founded in 1981 by brothers Vaman and Sharad Parekh, the company went public in 1991. The Parekh family remains firmly in managerial control, with Vaman's sons Hiten serving as executive director and Manish as head of the furniture division, and Sharad's son Nayan in charge of the materials-handling division.
In November 2004 Nilkamal branched out into rotomolding, buying a sophisticated, four-arm machine from India's Reinhardt Roto-Machines, a German-Dutch-Indian joint venture in Vadodara, India.
``We will add blow molding in five months'' to make insulated boxes for soft drinks, Ambekar said, though the firm has yet to select a machinery supplier. Nilkamal has supplied crates and materials-handling products to Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo since 1994.
And, as soon as it can obtain the necessary mold, Nilkamal will commission its new, locally made vacuum forming machine, which already is in place at the Silvassa plant. ``That will start in two months,'' Ambekar said.
``People were buying crates from us and going to others for vacuum formed products,'' said Krishnan, so the company decided to add that process to its repertoire. Everything is geared toward serving the materials-handling sector, both executives stressed.
The Silvassa plant will house all the new processing equipment, and already is home to research and development and design operations. Ambekar does not anticipate the need for any further physical expansion for now; the focus instead will be on implementing the new processes.