KOCHI: Let’s make the sailing safer’ is the motto of Mac N Hom Marine Equipment Private Limited. This is the vision of Uday Kumar V, the managing director of the company, who is on a mission to create safe, affordable water transport in the state and revolutionise the industry with indigenous products. Having won the bid for developing 23 hydraulic steering systems for Kochi’s water metro by competing with companies from Australia and Canada, he is now gearing up to enter the global market.
Established in 1995, the company has gone through a severe metamorphosis over the years. “We started as a firm that makes customised hydraulic systems for industries like Appolo Tyres, MRF and Binani Zinc. In 2011, a company requested us to create a steering system for their boats. They were impressed by our product and told us they have been shipping the equipment from abroad. They encouraged us to get approval from the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) for our steering systems. After numerous regulatory tests, we received the certification in 2016. Our’s is still the only company that makes hydraulic steering systems in the country,” says Uday.
Apart from the IRS certification, the steering systems have the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) certification for use on warships too. But for Uday, the priority is common men, who invest in a vessel knowing very well that he can break even only after three or four years. “Indian companies normally give the least priority to maintenance. The practice makes advanced systems unaffordable to an ordinary fisherman. We have made hydraulic steering available to them by reducing the price to `2.5 lakh from `10 lakh,” said Uday.
‘Mac N Hom’ has been distributing steering systems to government agencies like State Water Transport Department (SWTD) Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) and Cochin Shipyard, etc. “Now, we have developed a system that can be fully automatic during the operation. Our system was used in SWTD’s rescue boats which were effective during the 2018 floods and in Marine Ambulances,” he said.
The firm has adopted technology that will reduce technical glitches. “Existing boats are using mechanical chains to connect the steering with propellers. This could cause glitches. In a hydraulic system, vessels are run on oil and hence, it is safer. Besides, all our systems are based on green energy and even source energy from the sun,” said Sageesh Balan, Director (Finance & Marketing), ‘Mac N Hom’
‘Mac N Hom’ delivered hydraulic systems to Bangladesh Navy’s Khulna Shipyard, Sri Lanka’s Hairu Naval and Solas Marine recently. The company, which has 19 employees, plans to expand further in the national and international market soon.
Need for hydraulic courses
Promoters of ‘Mac N Hom’ also point out that courses on hydraulic and pneumatic systems need to be included in Engineering and Polytechnic colleges. “Hydraulics is not just a study of water anymore. It is more of a science of oil. We need to bring these changes into the academic curriculum and create more job opportunities,” says Uday.
Make in India
Uday Kumar opines that we need to be more accepting of Indian products. “But for this, it is important to ensure quality and customer service on par with international standards. We have made around 350 units for various agencies and private entities so far and ensure good customer care service for long, apart from a three-year guarantee period. We also provide a datasheet of spare parts so the customers can purchase products from any manufacturer,” he said.