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Mr. Amrit Khater

Mr. Amrit Khater

You being a pioneer in the briquette machine manufacturing industry; our readers would be glad to know how this briquette industry was started?

Biomass Briquetting started in India way back in early 80’s when we imported the first machine from Switzerland. The machine that was imported had a capacity of 400 kg/hr with a 40.0 HP Motor. The plant was set up in Himachal Pradesh and worked on Saw Dust to begin with and subsequently on Rice Husk. Both these material required processing before they could be used for briquetting and the dryers for saw dust and grinding systems for Rice Husk were developed in-house. The briquette machine was subsequently reengineered and with the same frame sizes, we reached up to 900 kg/hr on saw dust.  The manufacturing of Briquette Machine was started by us around 1987 and other associated equipment’s like the Dryer and Grinding Systems were developed by us between 1985 and 1990. 

 

There have been various innovations in the briquette machines till now; so what is the future scope of research and development in it?

Majority of the ‘Innovations’ that happened in Briquette industry were between 1985 and 1995 as this was the time when new material were being tried out and first few plants were being set up in each of the states across India. In the recent years, the market has become quite competitive and the focus on R&D has subsided. The next series of developments  that are being carried out are majorly being in the areas of instrumentation, automation and energy efficiency.

Does the non-technical background of the manufacturer affect their machine performances? 

More than the non-technical background of the briquette manufacturer it is the non-technical background of the briquetting machine manufacturers that has affected the performance of the plants. As is the case with most manufacturers, the focus is solely limited to sales and not on proper training, hand holding and knowledge transfer to the new entrepreneurs. And as a result of this nearly 50% of the briquette plants which are installed shut down within the first year of operation itself.

What are the challenges faced by the manufacturer those who don’t have the technical background? And how it can be overcome?

The standard challenges like in most industries are the procurement of raw material and sale of finished products, however most manufacturers are able to deal with these aspects after a few months of operations. However the unorganised nature of the briquetting industry poses serious challenges for any new entrant in the industry. Entrepreneurs setting up the plants are completely on their own trying to figure out how to run and maintain the machine since no qualified and trained manpower is available in the market and the support from the machinery suppliers is quite rare. Challenges faced by the briquettes manufacturers can be easily overcome by providing them proper training & hand holding at least in the first 6 months of operations. In the last couple of years we have been working on providing trained manpower to new briquette manufacturers.

Presently many briquette consumers are converting to coal and furnace oil; so what do think it is opposing trend?

This reversal happened mostly due to the low prices of fossil fuels in the international markets and this usually happens once in every few years. However, there still are many Industries that are using briquettes.

What is the scope of development in the briquette machine so that the quality of the product would more improve?

When plants are installed with proper pre-processing equipment’s like sand and stone separators, size reduction and drying systems along with at least basic level of automation, the briquette quality that comes out is very much improved. Since these systems are already available in the market more awareness needs to be created amongst the briquette manufacturers on the advantages of these systems so that they are able to benefit from the same.

How government should help industry?

A few ways in which the Government can help in promoting the industry by making available easier financing options and also promoting usage of biofuels (Briquettes & Pellets) as against fossil fuels like coal and oil.

What will be impact of GST to industry?

Since briquetting industry was tax free in most states, the impact of GST appears to be negative on the industry as such. Also, after implementation of GST, the taxation on the briquetting plant and machinery will increase.

What are possibilities for innovations and automation for briquette industry? What role is Hi-Tech Agro Project is playing in it?

Possibilities of automation are huge as this is one area that has not yet been explored a great deal. However, it is equally important to educate the customers with the benefits of installing a well-integrated and automated set up. Once the requirements come from the client end further developments will automatically happen. Hi Tech Agro, since inception the briquette industry in India has always believed in setting up of well engineer, integrated and automated set ups and continues to the promote the same even now. We are now beginning to start supplying the next generation integrated plants with with energy efficient drive systems and PLC based panels

Which are the facilities lacking in this briquette industry? And how it can be worked on?

No fixed quality parameters exist for the briquette machinery manufacturers as on date. If such standards can be made then it will help the new comers in the industry to a great extent. Also, to ensure the growth of the briquette industry it is important to give weightage to mobile biomass harvesting and collection equipment’s as the this will lead to making available millions of tons of unutilized biomass. The trend has picked up in the last few years however is still far from satisfactory.

What are the crucial reasons behind some of the plant failure? How it can be helped out?

Failure rate of briquette plants in very high. Apart from the inferior machinery and lack of services from the equipment suppliers another important factor is the competition amongst the briquette manufacturers themselves. In both these areas, tradebiocioal.com can play an important role as they can provide the briquette manufactures with inputs on how quality briquettes can be manufactured and plants can be made to run in a trouble free and efficient manner and once the manufactures start producing quality briquettes in a consistent manner, then tradebiocoal.com can also provide a platform to briquette manufacturers for sale of briquettes at a reasonably good price.

What is your opinion about tradebiocoal.com? How it can be more helpful for the briquette industry?

A good initiative. (Rest covered in above question)

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