Armsel (Bangalore), as it began life, had just five technicians, offering maintenance, repairs and modifications to users of EOT cranes and hoists around Bangalore.

The business grew steadily until it was incorporated as a private limited company and set up a crane building factory in 1998.

Like many crane builders in India, the company has been growing strongly in recent years, at an average rate of 35% a year, and now has 155 employees. Its fiscal 2008/09 sales turnover of INR270 million is three times higher than it was just four years ago.

Heri says the company manufactures and supplies cranes for the full range of end users, from steel plants, refineries and foundries to warehouse and light manufacturing companies.

“Our company’s biggest competitive advantage is having our own computerised CADD design centre, equipped with the latest technology and employing staff with years of knowledge and experience in the industry,” he says. “We mostly cater to customers who require ‘tailor made and custom built’ cranes or lifting accessories for specific applications. We provide a total solution to the customer. We can work out the complete design of the entire project ourselves and submit all the details needed by the customers or project consultants and satisfy their technical requirements.”

The company is the authorised distributor of SWF Krantechnik of Germany and imports crane kits for standard cranes up to 80t capacity. However, the proportion of standard cranes that it made with SWF kits last year was just 26%. The majority were custom-built cranes. Heri says: “For custom built cranes, we manufacture the entire crane at our works and do the complete assembly, load testing and performance testing in our own test bay at our plant before dispatch. We buy standard items like electric motors, brakes, switch gears, cables, and castings from our approved list of suppliers and subcontractors.“

A recent project saw Armsel supply nine cranes, ranging from 5t—20t SWL to Trident Power Crafts, a Bangalore-based manufacturer of generators and alternators. The cranes were for an expansion of Trident’s operations from three to six bays. With the expansion complete, Heri says, “They have started to replace all the cranes in the existing bays with our cranes.”

Armsel has a significant export business, amounting to 12% of total sales in 2007/08. In many cases this business is based on using standard SWF kits. Armsel does not have any agents or distributors overseas, but instead sends its own technicians to install and commission the crane and train the client’s personnel on site.