Viraj Profiles Ltd is a great example of a company that on a daily basis is turning its success into something bigger and more important than just business activity.
It would not be possible to name all the initiatives Viraj is involved in, because there are so many of them, but in a nutshell those most important ones are connected with local communities such as empowering women to use their potential and their skills to start up their own businesses and creating educational places for children where they can learn through playing. It all makes Viraj Profiles Ltd the company of choice for over 1300 customers located in 90 countries and 6 continents. With more than 50,000 SKUs across different product verticals and 92 certificates and approvals for supplying stainless steel flanges globally it can’t be any different.
From a local business to global market competitor
As countless examples show, amazing things start from one man’s dream with an intense drive to succeed. Dream big and great things will happen. Mr. Neeraj Raja Kochhar, Company’s Chairman and Managing Director, did just that. He envisioned his company “to be counted amongst the most respected and preferred enterprises globally”. His dream has become reality in less than 20 years. Considering the beginnings, it is truly an amazing accomplishment. It all started locally with a small induction furnace, manufacturing utensil grade steel for Indian market. That was the start of a journey that has made Viraj Profiles Ltd well-known all over the globe as one of the largest stainless steel manufacturers and exporters with an impressive capacity of 528,000 tons yearly. Nowadays main production is focused on stainless steel wires, wire rod, flanges, fasteners, bright bars and profiles. Going back to 1995 when the company was present exclusively on the domestic market, Mr Neeraj Kochhar decided that it would be a perfect moment to start the expansion overseas. He took some necessary steps to increase production capacity and to start diversifying into new grades and product range to be more suitable and competitive for the foreign market. From that point on the company started expanding smoothly. After the first production diversification, the next one took place in the year 2000 with the addition of profile division from which 99 percent of the products were exported to international clients. A year after that wire division was created. In the same year addition of a second melting shop was executed. Still in 2001 Viraj Profile Ltd’s export activities were recognized and the company joined the Federation of Indian Export Organizations. 5 years later the company added new stainless steel solutions to their portfolio by integrating a fastener division and a wire rod division into its facilities.
Most significant milestone for the company
Every development, every freshly introduced idea was an important milestone for Viraj Profiles Ltd, because it was adding to the overall success, but the one that clearly made the biggest difference was establishing fully automated Section Rolling Mill in Tarapur, Maharashtra. The plant that covers the area of 10 hectares is using top level technology and has automatic labelling and packaging line that allows the plant to produce more than 700 different shapes and designs of angle, flats and other profiles. All the processes are fully automated and that ensures the accuracy of the measurement and dimension of each and every product being manufactured in that mill. The furnace is walking beam type with special emphasis on operational efficiency and fuel saving. The automatic combustion control guarantees a uniform heating of the billets while providing limited stack emissions. The plant is equipped with FeHR cassette rack system which is also known as a honeycomb warehousing system which allows quick storage and retrieval of bars.
Along with the production capacity growth came the need to improve network security and communication between the company and the customers as well as an internal communication between plants and the offices located on 6 different continents. Viraj Profiles Ltd decided to invest in the quality and has signed a cooperation contract with a world class internet solutions supplier Cisco. Before new solutions were implemented, there used to be no internal voice communication system which made the operations much harder. The only way to communicate was by using mobile network. Unfortunately such solution can have a serious impact on one’s health therefore the company has decided to fully switch to fiber (fast internet solution) and radio frequency link. In addition to that, Viraj Profile Ltd offers to some of their customers a video chat option. In addition to this, the company is also in the process of upgrading its SAP system from the current architecture to S4 HANA platform which will help the company in streamlining its manufacturing process across all plants and will also improve the production efficiency and will improve several other gaps. This new upgraded platform will also provide a smooth interface to its large base of customers spread across more than 90 countries. The customers will be able to access the real time status of their order through a secured network.
Being eco-friendly is one of top priorities for Viraj Profiles Ltd. The company is switching to “green solutions” and focusing on energy efficiency by using recycled scrap that supports waste management, conserves natural resources and reduces its carbon emission. During the production process new induction furnaces with ash collectors are used. They are utilized on a rotational basis to ensure they are maintained at optimum levels and minimize the energy consumption. Automatic temperature control system prevents overheating and reduces energy requirements per cycle. All dust generated in the shot blasting process is collected. Particles with heavy iron content remain at the bottom and are removed manually. These are then recycled into the induction furnace to save cost and reduce waste. During the annealing and pickling processes water is recycled, passed through a scrubber and absorber system and treated with acid or base for neutralization. The mill is using gas conversion that helps to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and achieves economy of scale. It also contributes to improve efficiency and extends the life of the furnace.
Strategies for the future
With an annual turnover close to US $ 1.5 billion, the company has enough resources to make further developments and the major improvements are already taking place. Not long ago the company moved to the production of super duplex stainless steels. High demand for it can be observed especially within the oil and gas industry, marine applications, architecture and construction because of the high load bearing capacity. The company is currently in the process of setting up facilities for producing special types of steel and super alloys for critical applications in aerospace, defense and power projects. In order to achieve this, they are upgrading with special melting and re-melting furnaces such as Vacuum Induction Melting (VIM), Electro slag re-melting (ESR) and Vacuum Arc re-melting. These special grades will be used in power, defense and aerospace sectors. Some new additions to the product range are also in place. The company is also expanding their range of austenitic, martensitic and ferritic grades and has already developed martensitic grades with hardening and tempering.