Sunday, 7 July 2013

CHAPTER 17 : KAMANI TUBES PVT. LTD.


In the Jaipur and Kurla factories almost all non-ferrous metal items, except tubes and pipes were being manufactured. However, goods made through the process known as ‘extrusion press’ were still not manufactured in India in large quantities. So in 1958 Ramjibhai thought about manufacturing such material. His sons always respected his wishes and made efforts to put them into practice. So plans to make this material were immediately put into motion.
For this purpose, a company by the name of ‘Kamani Tubes Pvt. Ltd.’ was established. Its first directors were Hasmukh Kamani (Managing Director), John Porters and Chandravadan Kamani.
In addition to tubes and pipes it was decided to manufacture rods of different shapes and sizes in this factory. In April 1960, they obtained an industrial licence to manufacture 1,500 tons of rods and 3,000 tons of pipes.
There was no need of any expert collaboration in order to manufacture rods, but it would be needed to manufacture tubes. The production of rods was started in 1960.
An extrusion press is a kind of apparatus for drawing wires. The difference is that in the apparatus used for drawing wires, wires are simply drawn from the apparatus and in an extrusion press high pressure is applied from above or behind to draw out the wire. Material manufactured by the extrusion press is much better than the material manufactured in rolling mills and the inherent qualities of the material are superior, due to which this material is much in demand by industries. It can be formed into the required shapes using dyes and moulds. All types of rods - square, round and hexagonal - having a diameter between 3/8” and 3” were produced in this factory. These rods are used in motors, cycles, heavy electrical parts (transformers, etc.), wall clocks and other types of clocks and wrist watches, electrical parts (switches, etc.), radios and electronic items, locks, telephones, telegraph machines, and staples for locks, hinges, bolts, etc., used in buildings.
Experiments to produce this material were started on 20th August, 1960. The experiments were successful. So until December 1960, about 80 tons of rods were manufactured. In the next year 481 tons of rods were produced and in 1962 about 1,048 tons were produced. As the material came on the market, demand for it increased. As a result, in 1963 and 1964 the output was 1,815 and 2,383 tons respectively.
In the meantime the shortage of the raw materials – copper and zinc – increased. As a result the output decreased to 1,806 tons in 1965. Until the end of 1965, a total of 8,312 tons of rods were manufactured. This was the first stage in the production of rods.
In the second stage it was planned to manufacture pipes and tubes. This process was difficult, and informed and experienced experts were required. Experts in the subject were available, but they did not have any experience. So in February 1960, a technical collaboration was established with a division of the world famous English company, Imperial Chemicals Ltd.’ known by the name of ‘Imperial Metals Ltd.’ which was situated in Yorkshire. For many years India had been importing the well known ‘Yim’ brand pipes for its sugar factories. Having the same expectations of a bright future for these pipes, this collaboration was established and was successful. Copper and brass pipes of many different shapes and sizes were manufactured. These good were supplied to the following industries: Sugar, air conditioner and refrigerator plants, condenser tubes, railways and transportation, chemicals, textiles, oil refineries, pharmaceuticals, electrical, radio, fountain pen, ball point pen, sprayers (agricultural sprinklers), stoves, petromax, diesel, petrol and other engines.
Copper tubes of 10, 14, 16 and 28 gauge were produced having a diameter of 2⅛” and in 14, 16 and 18 gauge ⅝” to 2⅛“ diameter tubes were produced.
Brass tubes of 14, 16 and 18 gauge were produced having a diameter between 22 and 2⅛”  and ⅝” to 2⅛”. For sugar factories special tubes having a diameter of 22, which could withstand a pressure of 1,000 pounds (about 456 kgs) and pipes having a diameter of 4” that could withstand a pressure of 700 pounds (about 318 kgs) were produced. In addition, 14, 16 and 18 gauge tubes, having a diameter between 2” and 2” and 15 gauge tubes having a diameter of 4” were manufactured. Due to this, foreign exchange worth Rs. 50 lakhs was saved.
Ramjibhai was extremely satisfied when the work of manufacturing tubes started, as another stage in the work he had begun was reached.
Since this factory was supplying goods to the department of defence, it was declared a ‘protected area’ on 1st January, 1964. It was not possible to enter the premises without written permission. The details of all the goods intended for the department of defence had to be kept absolutely secret. The method of manufacturing them also had to be kept secret.
This factory also ventured into export activities from 1964. And within the short time of two years, it exported goods worth about a lakh of Rupees abroad. Out of a total production of 2,000 tons, 307 tons was produced in 1963, about twice that amount or 742 tons in 1964 and almost thrice that amount or 874 tons in the third year, 1965. Despite a severe shortage of raw material, the fact that the production almost trebled, within a short period of three years, stands as a testimony to the factory, and the skill and expertise of its leaders and workers.        
     
  



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