United Infra, a player undertaking major works in irrigation, water supply projects, and road and building construction, was considering becoming more vertically integrated by setting up their own crushing and screening plant near Bengaluru, India. With strong demand from the surrounding areas for sand and to overcome the shortage of aggregates and sand in their own projects, Mr. Sharath Jayram, Managing Director, United Infra Minerals Pvt. Ltd., invested in their own crushing and screening plant with equipment from Metso. In addition to this, they decided to hand over the operations and maintenance of the plant to Metso experts due to the benefits of having a Life Cycle Services (LCS) package in place.

CHAPTER ONE

A surge in demand and strict requirements for aggregates and manufactured sand

A heavy growth spurt in the region had resulted in a shortage of supply of raw materials, mainly aggregates and manufactured sand, which had to be fulfilled to fuel the region’s growth. Many players in the industry started looking for options from where the shortage could be fulfilled. This resulted in more quarries being allotted to industry players and a sudden rise in crusher plants being set up in the region, as crushed sand was the only feasible option to fulfill the need.

The government’s stand on the extraction of river sand was becoming more stringent due to the depleting resource and a drive to conserve the ecological balance. The government then passed the order and banned the extraction of river sand; the industry had to quickly find alternative solutions that were not only cost effective, but also a perfect replacement for river sand. This added momentum to the installation of more crushing and screening plants in and around the region, and manufactured sand became even more of a local focus.

Manufactured sand (with sizes ranging from 0 to 4.75 mm) gained acceptability as an alternative to river sand, and, with its further classification, plaster sand (0 to 2.36mm) also began to gain traction in the area. The demand was so strong that even individuals building houses opted for manufactured sand and plaster sand, due to its perfect shape and quality.

“Demand for plaster sand is picking up. The government has taken a lot of initiatives to ban the extraction of natural river sand from river beds. This has also given rise to a lot of crushers coming up in and around Bangalore. I foresee the demand for manufactured and plaster sand growing and its acceptability gaining ground among common people also who build individual houses. It’s no longer limited to just the big builders; the notion that natural river sand is superior to crushed stone sand or manufactured sand is gone,” divulged Mr. Sharath Jayram, Managing Director, United Infra Minerals Pvt. Ltd.

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CHAPTER TWO

60,000 tonnes per month with a Life Cycle Services contract

Opting to go with a Metso plant for aggregates and sand production to feed their own contracts, United Infra also did not want to deviate from the core business of construction. Finding the right solution was the key, and as soon as a Life Cycle Services package was offered, United Infra immediately opted for both an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) and an Operations & Maintenance Contract (OMC) for their first crushing and screening plant. After the plant was commissioned, it was operated and maintained by Metso’s service experts. The plant is run non-stop for approximately 18–19 hours a day, producing more than 60,000 tonnes per month on average.

Mr. Sharath Jayram adds, “We have been involved with Metso for about four years now. The plant was operational in 2014 and since then it’s been under a service and maintenance contract with Metso. The reason behind going with Metso for AMC and OMC is primarily to concentrate on sales and marketing. We didn’t want the additional burden of looking after the equipment. So far, nothing has gone wrong and we have been able to concentrate purely on marketing, sales and our core business: construction.” He added, “The prices offered by Metso for both AMC and OMC are quite competitive in the market. I’m sure that if we do it on our own, we may be able to save one or two rupees or we may end up spending more than one or two rupees. By handing over the plant to Metso, we are more relaxed, and we can concentrate more on sales and marketing without worrying about the machinery at all or worrying about the production. We just give them targets and they are able to deliver with sturdy machinery and an expert team on site.”

By handing over the plant to Metso, we are more relaxed, and we can concentrate more on sales and marketing without worrying about the machinery at all or worrying about the production. We just give them targets and they are able to deliver with sturdy machinery and an expert team on site.
Mr. Sharath Jayram, Managing Director, United Infra Minerals Pvt. Ltd.

60,000 tonnes

per month with a Life Cycle Services contract

CHAPTER THREE

Expertise and quality equipment for sustained growth

With the high demand for aggregates and sand, United Infra had started looking for options to set up their own crushing and screening plant that could feed their own requirements and allow them to sell the extra material produced at good margins to other players. After conducting their own research on various alternative suppliers, United Infra opted for Metso’s four-stage crushing and screening plants with a Nordberg® C106™ jaw crusher, Nordberg® GP300™ cone crusher, Barmac® B7150SE VSI, AC30GI air classifier, and multiple screens to produce aggregates and sand.

Mr. Sharath Jayram stated, “As per strict guidelines enforced by the government, the shaping and the size should be right; for that, we had to go with a Vertical Shaft Impactor (VSI). Also, it should meet the Zone II standards for use with concrete applications and to control the fines; we have put up an air classifier as well, as the fourth stage in our plant. Another factor here was the scarcity of water in the region; the ultrafine level in manufactured sand is high, so dry classification was the best option for us.” He added, “Being a contractor ourselves, about 35-40% is consumed by our own projects, part is supplied to RMC units and the rest is supplied to other road contactors who buy material from us. We have been able to do justice to quality as well to the product we are selling in the market with the help of Metso’s trusted solutions.”

Being a contractor ourselves, about 35-40% is consumed by our own projects, part is supplied to RMC units and the rest is supplied to other road contactors who buy material from us. We have been able to do justice to quality as well to the product we are selling in the market with the help of Metso’s trusted solutions.
Mr. Sharath Jayram, Managing Director, United Infra Minerals Pvt. Ltd.

CHAPTER FOUR

The road ahead

Mr. Sharath Jayram remarks, “The journey with Metso has been quite good right from day one when we started deciding on the configuration we needed and negotiating the price with Metso. The teams involved in the installation, commissioning and post-sale services, AMC & OMC, have been the best. We have never had any issues, as the teams have been very reliable, supportive and skilled. All the Metso teams – from sales to services – have been quite supportive and cooperative with us.”

Eyeing expansions in the same field, United Infra plans to procure more plants in the region to cater to the ever-surging demand for aggregates and manufactured sand in and around Bengaluru city. The trust developed and the performance delivered by Metso over the years has enabled United to execute their expansion plans smoothly, as they know they have the experts as their reliable partners.

We have never had any issues, as the teams have been very reliable, supportive and skilled. All the Metso teams – from sales to services – have been quite supportive and cooperative with us.
Mr. Sharath Jayram, Managing Director, United Infra Minerals Pvt. Ltd.

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