With an abundance of granite, marble, sandstone, quartzite and slate, India is the world’s largest producer and a leading exporter of dimension stone. Used in iconic buildings all over the world, Indian stone meets the most exacting world standards.
The southern state of Andhra Pradesh is home to one of the most popular granites of them all, known as Black Galaxy or Bronzite Gabbro.
These medium-to-fine grained dark stones, which have golden, sparkling scales, are said to be found only in Ongole, a village some 350 km north of the City of Chennai.
Sitting on a ‘goldmine’ of this much sought-after material is C.V.N. Raja, Managing Director of Pearl Mineral and Mines Pvt. Ltd, which is quarrying an area of just over seven hectares.
There are about 50 quarries here, all focused on meeting the current high demand for Black Galaxy granite, mainly from China, but also from many other countries around the world.
As a first generation entrepreneur in the business, C.V.N. Raja started with pneumatic drills, compressors and a large workforce. But he soon realized that only advanced technology could help his company to surge ahead in this highly competitive market.
After a thorough study of the available options, he chose dimension stone drilling equipment from Atlas Copco.
“Advanced technology, innovative product design and total reliability are the key factors why I chose Atlas Copco,” he says. “But what impresses me most is their commitment, service support and ready vailability of spares, which are vital to keeping the quarry running efficiently.”
High standards, quality products
C.V.N. Raja adds that whenever his clients from China, Hong Kong and Macau visit the site they are impressed with the standard of the operation and the quality of the products. And over the next couple of years, he expects his annual sales to increase from today’s INR 600 million (USD 9 M) to 700 million (USD 10 M).
Clearly, the equipment will play a major role in reaching the goal. Ch.V.Srinivasa Murthy, Director, is responsible for managing the entire fleet as well as the operators, both in terms of safety and working conditions. Over a six year period, the fleet has been expanded to include 64 machines, and is dominated by units such as the SpeedROC D30, Rock Buggy and Dominator.
Driven by a strong desire for innovation and safety, he was first in the area to introduce radio remote control (RRC), first in the country to purchase the SpeedROC D30, and has now become first in the world to place an order for a SpeedROC 2F.
To determine the latest trends in the industry, C.V.N Raja listens to his clients and his technical team, but quickly adds: “I would not invest in high-end equipment unless I could be sure of after sales service and the ready availability of spares. Atlas Copco has been fantastic. They understand the needs of their customers, and are always available to give support.”
new technology, new image
With the introduction of new technology, C.V.N Raja maintains that the image of stone quarries is changing fast as they become more environmentally friendly.
One example, he points out, is the increasing use of wire saw cutting which has significantly reduced the use of explosives, making operations both safer and cleaner. Another is precision drilling.
“We always use the latest equipment to get maximum accuracy in the size of the blocks,” he says. “This means less wastage and less waste to dispose of.”
Pearl’s preference for Atlas Copco equipment is also evident in its choice of rock drilling tools. Having realized the benefits of mechanization, the company quickly graduated from the commonly used integral drill steels towards the more energy efficient tapered drilling tools which also offer more options to use different bit types and sizes.
That was about two years ago. Today, Pearl reports 20% faster penetration in drilling operations overall, helping to boost production and sharpen Pearl’s competitive edge.
Another key success factor is the Atlas Copco service engineers who can be accessed directly and through distributors. All dimension stone equipment used in the Hyderabad region is supported by the Atlas Copco distributor Airtech Machines and Tools Pvt, Ltd., in Chimakurthy, which holds critical components and parts for scheduled preventive maintenance.
training a key issue
While he praises the development of new technology for stone quarries, C.V.N. Raja stressses that training is a major obstacle.
He concludes: “Many others like me would want to have the world’s latest technology in their quarries. I would like to see suppliers like Atlas Copco motivating the industry to interact with the government in setting up institutions, certificate courses and seminars to secure the availability of skilled manpower.”
For more information about Atlas Copco products for the Dimension Stone Industry, please contact:
Mukesh Chaturvedi, Business Line Manager
Phone: +912 039852215
Epiroc operated under the trademark “Atlas Copco” prior to January 1, 2018.