The Pinter Group is considered the pioneer in this technology globally. Through its Indian subsidiary, the group had introduced this technology into the Indian market in 2008, setting off a quiet revolution in a market which had not seen anything of the sort till then. The group though had made its foray into the Indian market much earlier in 1999 with its other key industry-leading products.
The companies that make up the Pinter Group include Pinter Caipo, Caipo Automazione Industriale S.R.L., Pinter FA.NI S.R.L, Pinter FA.NI Asia Private Ltd., Pinter Service India Private Ltd., Softex and Pinter Yuhua China Technologies Co. Ltd.
In an exclusive interview, Mr. Adria Serra, Chief Executive Officer, Pinter Group, gave detailed insights into the history of the company, its foray into the Indian market, what makes the company’s spindle monitoring system unique, its other key products and future plans, among others. Also present during the interaction was Mr. R. Soundararajan, Managing Director, and Mr. Ramon Parcerisa, Joint Managing Director, who is based in Coimbatore for managing the manufacturing in Pinter FA.NI Asia Private Ltd., the group’s Indian subsidiary, which is based out of Coimbatore.
The edited excerpts:
We began by asking Mr. Serra about Pinter’s introduction of its popular spindle monitoring system ‘EffiSpin’ into the Indian market in 2008. According to him, the initial response of the market took them by surprise. “We started promoting the system with seminars, intensive door-to-door marketing, etc. At that time, because of factors such as labor and the technology prevalent then, spinning was really different from that of the present day. Those in the textile business were really skeptical about the benefits of the system. The general opinion among them about the product was that it was a ‘luxury product’. This came as a surprise to us.”
“We were the inventors of this system and we had been selling this in Italy for the last 15 years (at that point of time). Monitoring a spindle with an individual center was different from monitoring a spindle by only one moving center. But the concept of one sensor per spindle was developed by us in Italy, with great success. At that time, the American and the European market needed the system, because labor cost was very high. This system ensured highest possible efficiency. This was the reason we were surprised by the lukewarm reception in the Indian market, where we thought the acceptance would be faster. The initial journey was not easy,” said Mr. Serra about the difficulties faced by the company when it tried launching its spindle monitoring system in the Indian market.
“For about 2 years in the beginning there were no orders. We got our first order only in 2010,” Mr. Soundararajan added.
Gradual growth in demand
According to Mr. Serra with time however, with factors such as increasing labour cost, the industry realised the importance of looking towards automation. “I think in the last 4 years or so, this product has become a ‘must’, especially with respect to new projects. Not a single project based on modern technology can miss this tool. You can get the most out of the spinning mill, if you have this system for information at different levels – information from the workers, operators, the middle management and the top management.”
It was during this time that competition began in the market. “Many people realized that there is an opportunity for this new product. In 2008 we were the only one in India. But now we have over 5-6 companies,” Mr. Serra continued.
Present in India since 1999
While Pinter started offering EffiSpin in India from 2008 onwards, the product though was being supported and supplied from Europe. It was only in 2012 that the company started producing the system in India. “However, Pinter has had a substantial presence in India since 1999, with other special products. Specifically, products that increase the value of yarns. At that point in time we were leaders in the slub products. Then nobody in India was making such products. We were the major company with slub devices. We were also the leader in core yarn attachments, with elastic and rigid fibers,” Mr. Serra said going into details of the company’s long journey in India.
In between 1999 and 2012, the company realized that it needed to be close to its customers to offer them superior aftersales support services. “This is when we set up a company called Pinter Service India Private Ltd. in 2010. Earlier it used to provide service to imported products. However, since 2012 when production started in India, it has been providing service support to the products made here too,” Mr. Serra explained.
Some of the top customers of the company in India include, Vardhman, Welspun, RSWM, Arvind Group and Madura Coats.
“In 2015 we had also signed an agreement with Lakshmi Machine Works (LMW) to be its OEM supplier too,” Mr. Soundararajan said, while listing out the company’s clientele.
Asked to list down the key USPs of its spindle monitoring system, Mr. Serra replied: “This is now a competitive market, unlike in 2008 when everyone was skeptic about our spindle monitoring system. At that time our followers were observing us very closely. They were attending our seminars. What does it all mean? That we were the leaders with 15 years’ experience when we entered the Indian market. One of the reasons to choose Pinter was because we had installations running successfully for over 20 years, without any major spare consumption already at that time. No one else has this track record, because their products started only about 4 years back.”
Mr. Serra further stated: “Another key reason is that our technology is based on European standards, which is the best in terms of electronics and support. Italy is the worldwide leader in the spindle monitoring technology. So, with our subsidiary there, our sources are based in a place where plenty of knowledge is available. Our R&D for spindle monitoring system is based out of that country. For other products it is in Spain.”
The technology is applied in countries like India and China with the help of local suppliers. “Ultimately what it means is that we are applying a product with European technology, managed by European with Asian hands. So, you get the best performing product at the lowest possible price,” he added.
Mr. Soundararajan explained how Pinter’s Indian manufacturing center has a Joint Managing Director (Mr. Ramon), from Europe in charge of the entire production. “That is one of the key reasons why we are able to maintain the stringent European standards. Whatever we produce is of European standards. Apart from Mr. Ramon, we also have other European team members visiting us on a regular basis, for matters related to R&D, new launches, etc.”
Roving stop feature
Continuing to list the key reasons, Mr. Serra said: “We are also the inventors for the ‘roving stop motion’. With this technology you can stop the spinning of the material to avoid wastage, avoid mechanical problems and to save labour. With our ‘R-Stop’ device you can run the machine with more breakages per hour without any risk. We have already over 5 million installations globally. We are also using the roving stop for another attachment (core yarn). With this product we are the leaders in the market with product reliability, cost and efficiency. Put together, spindle monitoring plus roving stop is an unbeatable offer from Pinter.”
Sharing his views, Mr. Soundararajan said that the company was earlier known more for its spindle monitoring system. “Shortly after they started understanding the advantages offered by the roving stop, there is great demand for the R-Stop system. In fact, this year our sales of roving stops are more than that of spindle monitoring systems. Of course, roving stop doesn’t work without the spindle monitoring system. But while earlier they bought only the spindle monitoring system, now they also go in for the roving stop. It has become the industry standard for any ring frame,” he said elaborating on another product innovation. All our products are scalable and are ready for the Industry 4.0.
India – a key market
Answering a query about the other products offered by the group in the Indian market, Mr. Serra commented: “As mentioned earlier, we are a global company, originally based in Spain. It was founded way back in 1930. We have operations in Italy and subsidiaries in India and China. Right from the beginning we were involved in textiles, basically producing components for machine makers. At that time machine makers means those making spindles, braking systems, gear box, etc. So we didn’t cater specifically only to spinning. The gradual evolution of the market, however, brought us into a different concept of business. Instead of mass production, we thought about adding value. So from late 1970s to early 1980s, we were already into products such as slub attachments and filament core yarn attachments. We were the leaders in India when it came to these products when we entered the market in 1999.”
He added: “We still offer these solutions. Of course, our palette is wider. We offer the latest technologies that were not available earlier. We are present in India in a big way. We are not only leaders in the above-mentioned products but also in colour effect yarns. In fact, in this product line we have a partnership with an LMW Group company, namely, Lakshmi Caipo, since 2007. We have been producing and developing slub family and colour effect products in the Indian market.”
The company, according to him, sees huge potential for colour effect yarns in India. “We sell and partially produce them in India. Most of the yarns though are imported,” he added.
Speaking about the huge potential for the spindle monitoring system and roving stop in India, Mr. Serra observed: “Just as I cannot conceive a ring frame without spindles or without rings, I cannot conceive a ring frame without spindle monitoring system and roving stop. There are different groups. Some need it urgently, while some others can afford to wait. For example, for those for whom the cost per kilo is critical, they are ready to go in for retrofits. For those who base their production on value-added components, because a big part of their product comes from elsewhere, they are not in that hurry to go for the system.”
Highlighting the enormous potential for spindle monitoring systems, Mr. Soundararajan pointed out that all the players put together have only covered about just 10% of the spindalage. “Now that there is good awareness of all the replacements, as well as new projects, will be with spindle monitoring systems,” he said.
“We are the only manufacturer in India who also offer production monitoring systems for preparatory machines. All the preparatory machines are also monitored along with the spindle monitoring systems for speed frames and ring frames. The entire set-up can also be integrated with any ERP too,” he explained.
Dwelling on Pinter Group’s versatile range of products, Mr. Serra said: “In Europe where we have been operating for a very long time, we have had enquiries for different machines from different sectors. So we are the only ones who can supply for worsted long stable fiber ring frame, the market for which is not as big as that for short-stable fiber ring frames. But it offers cost benefits. In Italy, for instance, I would say 90% of the spindalage is equipped with our system for wool. In Turkey too this phenomenon can be seen, where we have our huge presence. Similarly, China is our biggest market for wool ring frames. It is also a big market for preparatory machines too.”
Mr. Soundarajan underscored the fact that Pinter is the only manufacturer that offers the complete range of monitoring systems for the spinning industry.
Commenting on the market position of Pinter, Mr. Soundarajan stated: “When people say that they are the number one, they are considering the old systems, which was being sold in millions in earlier days. When you consider such systems, we may be the second largest. However, if you consider the individual spindle monitoring systems with roving stop, then we are the largest player globally.”
Indian service set-up
Another key to the Pinter success story has been its relentless focus on aftersales support services. Elaborating on the point, Mr. Serra said: “As mentioned earlier, we had set up Pinter Service India Private Ltd. in 2010, exclusively for catering to aftersales support service. Now the team at the company has grown. We now have 23 engineers here. Out of this one engineer is stationed permanently in Bangladesh, which is a huge market for us not only for spindle monitoring systems but also for our other products such as core yarn, slub and colour products. We cater to the needs of the entire Asian market from India. In fact, we even serve the European market from here. Only the Americas we don’t serve, as it is handled by our European team.”
Mr. Serra further stated: “This type of product needs support from our side. This is a key point. Support is needed in terms of software, as well as many other requirements that the customer may have from time to time.”
So, what are the future plans of the Pinter Group for the Indian market? An optimistic Mr. Serra, while pointing out the staff going about busily with their work, said: “As you can see, we have been growing in terms of square meters. We hope the growth trend will continue in the coming years too. As for next year, we expect the same growth that we are having at present. It all again depends on the market. Right now, we are focused on consolidating our operations in India, especially in our spindle monitoring system. If the market requires more, we will have a relook at the situation. In that case we will have to shift to a bigger premises with more space.”
Sharing his views on the same subject, Mr. Soundararajan said: “Until last year, our annual growth was around 30%. This year we have already grown 60%. It looks like this trend is going to continue in the near future because now all the spinners have realized the importance of the spindle monitoring system with roving stop. They have started enjoying the benefits. They have also seen that the return on investment (ROI) is much quicker. They are also realising benefits in terms of savings in energy consumption. All these factors help our customers have the competitive edge over others.”
Mr. Serra also highlighted the fact that the Indian spinning market has become highly competitive. “They are counting every rupee of the profit. If they are able to save a few rupees because of automation, it makes a significant difference to their competitiveness. Everybody is looking for more efficiency, as compared to their competitors, and our products ensure that,” he said rounding off the interaction.
By M.K. Prabhakar & Mohan Raj