On a Global Trail

Ceramics Division
Sergey Kostrov, General Director, VAW, Mr. M.M. Murugappan, Chairman & Sergey Petrosyan, Dy. General Director,VAW.

2007 - 2008. CUMI followed a global trail of acquisitions, expansions, new business ventures. The strategic acquisition of Volzsky Abrasive Works, Russia, made CUMI the second largest producer of silicon carbide grains in the world, while the acquisition of the technical ceramics division of IVP Limited, Aurangabad, strengthened its base in engineered ceramics.

Expansions were large in scale and strategy. The joint venture partnership of JingRi - CUMI at China saw the commissioning of two new plants during the year - a modern 2,000 tonne facility for resin bonded abrasives and a 1,000 tonne vitrified bonded abrasives plant. The Uttarkhand facility for thin wheels also went on stream. At Hosur, a new automated plant for manufacturing wear resistant liners was commissioned while a modern facility for metallised cylinders is near completion.

New business ventures formed part of CUMI's growth plans. The Company made its foray into the burgeoning power tools business by setting up a manufacturing facility at Jigani, Bangalore.

And as always, helping CUMI to strike the global trail was the vision driven workforce, with an angst for innovation, quality processes and market leadership. At CUMI, the road map reads global. The rest, is future possible.

^ Top

An acquisition that reads VAW!

Bonded Abrasives, Super Refractories

Catapulted the company to the super league. Volzhsky Abrasive Works , Russia, ranked as the world's second largest silicon carbide manufacturer with 65,000 tonnes of installed capacity became a part of CUMI.

VAW's capacity for Bonded Abrasives, with 50,000 tonnes, is more than double that of CUMI and it is also a major producer of Super Refractories. With this strategic acquisition CUMI is poised to become a significant player in the international abrasives, ceramics and minerals business.

Spread over an area of 150 acres on the banks of the Volga river, in the Volzsky town in Volgograd, VAW is the single largest manufacturer in Russia of SiC, Abrasives, and refractory products, with a total turnover of $65 million. The close proximity to raw material resources: silica sand from the Oryol sand pit, oil coke from the Volgograd oil refining factory and energy from the Volga hydroelectric power station, provides it with a unique cost competitive edge.


Inside the vast expanse of the plant territory, materials are moved with the help of special tape conveyors in the form of closed tunnels built above the ground and on trolleys shunted on internal railways. VAW is also provided with a dedicated locomotive, with a direct connect to the Volga railway station, for the movement of its finished goods.

With international quality certifications, about half of VAW's total production of black, green and metallurgical Silicon Carbide, is exported to more than 20 countries across the world, including the USA, Japan, Korea, Germany and France.

VAW is also one of the largest producer of abrasive tools in Russia. The automated production facility, manufactures value added abrasive tools with ceramics and bakelite binding, used in metallurgy, automotive, communication, transport, bearing and other industries.

With a large potential for capacity optimization in abrasive tools and refractory products, VAW offers immense opportunities for manufacturing new product lines for the international market. For CUMI, VAW would be a strategic stronghold to work out global business dynamics.

Abrasives Tools
^ Top


Ceramics Manufacturers

CUMI's synergetic acquisition of IVP's fully operational technical Ceramics plant at Aurangabad, was to enlarge capabilities and to enter the value added market in machined or engineered ceramics.
The plant manufactures ceramics components, with specialist technical knowhow in engineered ceramics. These machined ceramic components are custom designed for a wide range of niche applications, of major OEM's of boilers, pumps, textile machinery, etc.

The technical expertise and ready customer base gained by this acquisition provides CUMI with a competitive edge and access to market segments, hitherto unaddressed, such as nozzles, igniters, seal faces, thread guides , insulators, textile components, etc.

^ Top


Ceramics Manufacturers

CUMI pursued an aggressive expansion drive in plant scale and process efficiencies. The world class facility for wear resistant liner tiles was commissioned at Hosur, India. Equipped with the state-of-the-art manufacturing systems, the fully automated plant is amongst the most advanced ceramic facilities in the world with a continuously operating chamberised Ball Mill. This uniquely designed Ball Mill is one of its kind and the second largest in the industry .

A high speed mechanical press installed at the plant, ensures micron accuracies, at very high speeds of tile moulding, while an online inspection system with vision technology, facilitates simultaneous measurement of dimensions in terms of tile geometry and size.

The completely automated operations of the plant are monitored by a centralised SCADA system which tracks process data from individual machines ensuring seamless production capabilities matched by very few ceramics manufacturers worldwide.

Ceramics India

To increase volume capability and scale up capacities, a large spray drier has been installed at the new tile plant. With automatic PLC based controls this machine offers a unique combination of high productivity and lower cost of production.

Ceramics Product

The customized 6 axis robot for handling and stacking of tiles for loading into the kiln, also executes a stringent online quality check, ensuring high productivity and zero defect products.

Abrasives Manufacturers

CUMI's global trail led it to China once again, this time to commission two new state-of-the-art plants for bonded abrasives. The fully automated 2,000 tonne organic and 1,000 tonne vitrified facilities are uniquely designed to be fuel efficient, reduce manufacturing cost and maximise productivity.

The Vitrified Bonded plant, with its energy efficient kilns, can manufacture products ranging from 100 mm to 300 mm in diameter and 6 mm to 40 mm thicknes.

The plant is also equipped with an uniquely designed combination stone press with automated mix charging and leveling facility which reduces manufacturing cost and provides a two fold increase in productivity in comparison to the conventional press.

Bonded Abrasives

The Bonded Abrasives plant for Organic products with a 2,000 tonne capacity produces wheels ranging from 100 mm to 400 mm diameter and 1.2 to 7 mm thickness. Fully automated, the plant is equipped with a 36 metre tunnel oven, with a continuous kiln car push system programmed for every hour. The plant's mixing and moulding facilities are equipped with temperature control systems, designed to handle variations in temperature ranging from -17o to + 35o C.

With these two new plants CUMI is slated to increase its market presence both in China and South East Asia.

Coated Abrasives

Uttarkhand. Another milestone in CUMI's capacity augmentation. The new manufacturing facility at Uttarkhand is part of the Company's expansion plans for greater market penetration. Sharing its borders with Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh in the North and international borders with China and Nepal, Uttarkhand provides many advantages such as low cost power, infrastructure facilities besides Government subsidy and a ten year tax exemption.

Leveraging on these cost advantages, CUMI's state-of-the-art facility manufactures the premium and economy range of Thin DC and Cut-Off wheels for the Fabrication, Steel, Construction and General Engineering industries.

The plant also has a Coated Abrasives facility for Large Belt Conversion, ranging from 50mm to 1400 mm diameter.

The simple distribution model adopted by the Company enables a competitive pricing structure and has enabled it to access the Rs. 2.5 billion, unorganized market.

^ Top

New Ventures

Power Tools - New Ventures

On a global trail, CUMI, is taking new roads, exploring new possibilities, expanding to an even larger customer base. Power Tools . A business CUMI has always understood, having been the largest manufacturer of accessories for power tools.

The Power Tools business with an untapped potential of Rs.15 billion, is estimated to grow multi fold. With its experience and expertise, CUMI is allgeared to participate in this burgeoning market. From manufacturing accessories to engineering Power Tools, for CUMI it is a natural progression.

Located at Jigani, Bangalore, with a core team of experienced specialists, CUMI's new Power Tools facility manufactures a whole range of products for the metal working, construction, interior decoration and wood working industries. State-of-the-art testing and quality monitoring systems ensure that the products adhere to stringent quality standards.

Uniquely designed to optimise efficiencies, reduce job time and enable ease of use, the CUMI brand of Power tools deliver value and empower the customer, reinforcing the Company's policy of being a total solution provider.

^ Top

Transnational Team

Transnational Team

The acquisition of VAW, Russia made CUMI's workforce more heterogeneous and transnational. Today, the 1,683 strong Russian team is as large as the total number of the company's employees in locations across the world. In line with the policy of being an equal opportunity provider, the 745 women employees from VAW Russia, have increased the composition of CUMI's woman force, the highest in any abrasives industry.

The HR focus during the year was on leadership building and seamless integration of people skills across continents. Strategic workshops were conducted to train the Senior Management as enablers of change, fostering growth. The first batch of young leaders graduated in CLP or the CUMI Leadership Program, taking their learning into building a robust business process, while teams across countries worked out winning strategies from cross cultural competencies. Future Forward, the vision driven business model, was put in place to lead the Company into new businesses and unexplored markets.

^ Top

New Markets, New Products

New Products

Innovation. Value Engineering. This dictated the focus of the Company as it continued its foray into new markets,and customer segments.

At Abrasives, new product development focused on value- add, customized products for niche markets and segment specific solutions for channel distribution.

  • 'Krystal' vitrified bonded wheels with extra cool cutting action for precision grinding applications.
  • 'Ball Master' fine grit resin bonded wheels for lapping of precision ground balls.
  • 'B99' resin bonded wheels, with excellent form retention and self-sharpening action, for precision grinding applications
  • 'CUMI FLEX GOLD' range of very Thin Wheels for the international market
  • 'Roll Master' high performance Roll grinding wheels for Hot and Cold Roll Mills
  • 'Concord' resin rolls for multi purpose sanding applications
  • 'CUMIZON' upgraded Zirconia fiber discs for metal grinding
  • 'Universal', 'Performance' and 'Performance Plus' -brands of high performance Flap discs for metal grinding and finishing operations
  • Resin Bonded Aluminium Oxide Paper for wall sanding and PU Coated wood sanding applications
  • 'CUMI SHINE' range of flexible belts for polishing sanitary fittings
  • CUMI's Electro-minerals Division focused on speciality grains and powders
  • 'CUMI SLICE', silicon carbide micro grits, gained global acceptance as a speciality product, for niche photo voltaic applications
  • 'AZURES', new generation grain systems for the abrasive industry
  • Diesel Particulate Filters and Ceramics Foam Filter, developed using special silicon carbide micro grits for the automobile and metallurgical industries
  • White Fused Alumina for wooden floor laminates
  • Semi-Friable Alumina customised for the abrasives industry
  • CUMI's Ceramics division focused on the entire range of specialized products for the material handling industry providing customised solutions for wear, abrasion and erosion applications
  • Wear Resistant Liners made from 92% Alumina for specialised material handling applications for the European market
  • Pre engineered tiles supplied to one of the largest blast furnaces in the country
  • Customised tiles for ballistic protection in armours
  • Ceramics rubber backed tiles used for contours in Toboggan chute applications in cement industry
  • Small and dimple tiles to eliminate slippage for wet and outdoor conditions in belt conveyors in coal, cement and material handling industries
  • Group of engineered ceramics for manufacturing ceramic guide plates and fixtures for making energy efficient, pollution free generators. (SOFC or Solid Oxide Fuel Cells)
  • Ceramics ram used in pumps in insulator industries
  • Ceramics paddle plates used for mixing in the clay industry
  • Core pin metal ceramics for the manufacture of organic wheels in the abrasives industry
  • Ceramics brush and thrust bearings for the anti corrosive applications in water submersible pumps
  • Ceramics plungers for chemical corrosion applications
  • Gunning material for critical applications
  • New grade insulation fire bricks for iron & steel, ceramics and other process industries
  • Precast tundish refractory for special alloy casting
  • Customised monolithic refractory for sponge iron rotary kilns

CUMI's global trail followed the lead of its customer connectivity centres spread across continents- CUMI-America, CUMI- Canada, CUMI-Australia, CUMI-China, CUMI- Middle East FZE, Wendt Thai, CUMI-Europe and CUMI Russia. These Product-availability-Points (PAP) and Stock and Sale outlets across the globe penetrated new markets.

CUMI Middle East ramped up business volumes by capitalizing on a buoyant market. CUMI America met its target inspite of a slowdown in the US economy while CUMI Australia presented an upward growth graph by focusing on new business segments. CUMI-VAW Russia with its international distribution network provided access to major processing companies and global customers and also to new markets in EU such as Poland, Slovenia, Rumania, etc

Acqusitions, expansions and new business ventures- this would be the determining strategy of the Company as it continues on its global trail.

Expansions and scaling up of facilities would form a vital part in CUMI's strategic goals to increase productivity. The Company would continue to invest in large scale automation and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities benchmarked among the best internationally.

In line with its pioneering ethos, CUMI would continue to embark on new and emerging business ventures, providing value-add solutions to niche customer segments.

Acqusitions would be a core focus of CUMI's growth strategies. Acquisitions across the globe that would lead to synergies in product and process capabilities and provide access to a ready customer base. Acquisitions that would speed CUMI's transformation to a truly global conglomerate.

^ Top

The African Safari begins………

African Safari

CUMI enters into an agreement to acquire 51% stake in Foskor Zirconia Pty., South Africa.

Foskor Zirconia is the 3rd largest Zirconia producer in the world.

^ Top
Murugappa Group Abrasives & Ceramics Manufacturers