Pioneers in manufacturing Fire Fighting Products
NewAge is a formidable name in fire protection equipment. The company established in 1960 has had a meteoric growth, at times inorganic. The company acquired Jayshree Textiles, a Division of Indian Rayon Corporation way back in 2003. Soon thereafter, in the year 2006 to be precise, it also acquired the Hose Division of an international company, thus making it Asia’s largest manufacturer of Firefighting Hoses with a daily production capacity of 20,000 meters. With a large portfolio of firefighting equipment and solutions, the company is serving industries as diverse as oil & gas, chemical, fertilizer, power plants, aviation industry, construction and infrastructure, defence establishments and so on. The company is a regular recipient of Export Excellence Awards for exporting its products to over 60 countries across the globe. Industrial Health & Safety Review speaks to Sujal Shah Sheth, Director, NewAge to know more about its wherewithal and its views on issues which affect the fire protection industry. Excerpts:
Q. How would you introduce your company to a new audience?
NewAge is a reputed group engaged in manufacturing firefighting equipment and allied products since 1960. As a matter of fact, we are the only manufacturer in the subcontinent to offer a complete range of firefighting equipment starting from fire hoses, hydrants, water foam monitors, foam equipment to fire vehicles. We have our factories in Surendranagar, Gujarat, spread over an area of 50,000 sq. ft., and regional offices in strategic locations like Pune, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kochi, Vadodara, Kolkata and Bangalore. Besides meeting the demands of the domestic market, we also export our products to 60 countries across the globe. As a result of our backward integration, we are self-reliant with our own foundry and machine shop. Today NewAge is considered a benchmark for quality in the industry.
Q. What’s your products range and what are the turnkey solutions you offer?
NewAge started from being a manufacturer of basic firefighting equipment like Fire Hose and Landing Valves. In accordance with our vision, we constantly innovate and bring out new solutions and raise the standard of the fire fighting industry. NewAge today leads the market in path-breaking and cost effective solutions. We have one of the world’s largest manufacturing range including Fire Hose and Fire Trucks – the two extreme ends of manufacturing in Fire Fighting Industry.
Q. What are your major milestones?
Some of our major milestones are as follows:
1962: First order from Defence Establishment of India was received
1970: Started the unit for manufacturing of Fire Hose
1970: First order for Export of Fire Equipment was bagged
1993: Started production of Type B Hose
1994: Bagged order for ‘Long Range High Velocity’ Foam Monitor
2002: Took over Jayshree Textiles’ from Aditya Birla Group of Companies
2007: Bought out the Textile Division of ‘Lehavot Fire Protection , Israel
Q. What’s your vision for NewAge?
Our vision statement goes like this:
- To acquire and maintain a global leadership position in our chosen areas of businesses.
- To continuously create new opportunities for growth in our strategic businesses
- To remain among the top 10 most admired companies to work for in the industry
Q. How do you view India as a market for fire protection industry?
India as a whole is a growing market for firefighting industry. Laws for Fire Fighting and Safety are getting stricter day by and along with increase in awareness of the general public. This makes India a very potential market for business.
Q. What do you think are the most pressing issues to be addressed in the fire sector?
Manufacturers in the fire fighting industry in India have great resources in terms of innovation and unique solutions for the users. However, unfortunately, the users still have a very little recognition of this fact. As in many developed countries, the users must call in the manufacturers to discuss issues they face while fighting fires or to improve the design and performance of the equipment according to the changing scenario of the fires. Not only will the industry grow and evolve due to these inputs from the users, but also the users will benefit from this exercise.
Unfortunately, the users’ mindset today is to pay more for an imported equipment rather than pay the same amount of money to an Indian manufacturer to provide a better solution. The thinking and the mindset that an Indian manufacturer cannot match the quality of an imported equipment need a drastic change.
Q. Standardization in the industry is a topical issue. What’s your view on the subject?
It is rightly said that “One does not need to invent a wheel”. Internationally, many countries have very high standards and norms in terms of design and performance parameters of the firefighting equipment and fire vehicles.
Majority of these can be adopted in Indian Standards and customization can be done in specific areas wherever needed. In this way, we can achieve a fair level of standardization in a time-bound manner.
Q. What do you see as the next big thing in harnessing technology in the industry?
The industry is moving from conventional methods of fire fighting to more technology-based and information-based approach to fire fighting. Use of High Tech Camera Systems, Robots, Thermal magers, Drones, etc. by the users shows a new evolving trend in the fire fighting industry. NewAge sees artificial intelligence as a next big change in technology and approach for the industry.
Q. We have seen incidences of fire related to malfunctioning of Fire Safety equipment. What can manufacturers do to preempt such fires?
The incidences of fire related to malfunctioning of fire equipment do occur. However, in majority of the cases, the reason for failure is due to lack of maintenance, improper use, improper training, improper application and improper selection of the equipment. Under such circumstances, the onus lies on the users to ensure that no matter how good an equipment they buy, it must be properly maintained and used as per directions and instructions from the manufacturer.
Whenever a user buys a new equipment, emphasis must be laid on imparting training to the users. Unfortunately many a time this is lacking.
If the above points are taken care, there are rare chances for failure of fire equipment during critical time.