The sound of silence

Plant Visit

FARROKH COOPER, CHAIRMAN & MD, Cooper Corporation, is sure that generators will never go out of business. “Power supply will always continue being in short as demand keeps increasing. So we are pretty comfortably off,” he says with a smile. The
Satara-based engine and generator maker has also projected that its annual turnover in the next two years will rise to Rs 1,500 crore by March 2018 from nearly Rs 600 crore now, a growth of 150% in two years.
At a time when Make in India is the countrywide chant, Cooper Corporation has been highly active in the Indian market and currently has an installed capacity to make 24,000 gensets per year. As demand grows, the company will increase its installed capacity and double the number of shifts it operates in (currently one shift in the gensets division).
Cooper Corporation, for instance, has been in the business of manufacturing diesel engines since 1922. It was then made for agricultural forms and designed by Ricardo (UK) — a tradition that continues till date. “We continue to source the new engines designed by Ricardo. We get the designs and then develop and market it. The branding is both Ricardo and Cooper.
Since then, we have moved to adopting modern technology of engines,” says Cooper.
The successful longstanding association between Cooper and Ricardo has made Cooper products years ahead of their competition in terms of innovative technologies, total cost of ownership and durability of products. Working together with Ricardo, Cooper is the only company in India who has made 52 engine variants in six years including diesel and gas versions.
The new Cooper engines will power applications for diverse sectors including automotive, gensets, marine, defence, construction equipment and agriculture.
Recently, the company installed an emission analyser to meet the latest norms of BS IV. The company imported the analyser instrument from Japan and it’s connected to the test beds to test units. Emissions are tested during the development validation. And every year it has to do COP (conformance of production), after which the engines are sent to ARAI for certification. The company has 2-, 3-, 4- and 6-cylinder engines, not to forget the machine tools for machining
the components.
IN TERMS OF machining, the company operates a horizontal machine centre HM 800 on one side and a vertical machine centre on the other. The castings are sourced from its captive foundry. Most of the castings are cast iron and aluminium which are then machined.
The raw material for making the castings is pig iron to which certain alloys are added. The company prefers to buy aluminium billets as one of the raw material. The end-product is tested on five test cells – three smaller ones for 2-cylinder engine and the remaining two for 3-, 4- and 6-cylinder engines. The two-cylinder engine is a common rail direct injection (CRDI),
while the 3-, 4- and 6-cylinder are rotary fuel systems.
Cooper Corporation has a clean and methodical system for manufacturing. One area feeds the sub-assembly components to the main assembly. it maintains eight stations in the conveyor that can be doubled if need be. “Per production is 500 engines
per month on a single shift. We use a clean room for assembling the fuel system components. The processes are fail safe and there’s not much manual intervention,” says Cooper.

THE COMPANY IS keen that every cylinder and valve is tested before taken for assembly onto the engine.
For instance, the 4-cylinder engine 100kVA R125kVA adhere to CPCB II emission norms and when it is put into a genset, it meets noise requirement of 75 deviate value and this is fitted with EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) cooler, an added feature. “You will not realise that a generator is working. We also CNG engines and and a 6-cylinder marine package for marine
market branded Ecocat, which was started 5-6 years ago,” says Cooper.
At the main machine shop where castings and major components are machined, the company has set up CNC machines from Doosan and Makino. Besides that it also uses Ace Micromatic and Hyundai VMC (vertical machine centre).
In terms of quality, every part is checked right from materials received stage. This is besides the audit processes conducted at vendors, done through the quality assurance team. With over 258 vendors based out of Pune, Kolhapur, Karad, Belgaum, Delhi and Chennai, the company gives its vendors six months projections and three months firm order.
Exports play a vital role for Cooper Corporation. Cooper says, “We export to Middle East, South Africa, Afghanistan, Europe, America, South America, etc. Our distributors help us here and also take care of aftermarket,” says Cooper. The company ships more than 2,000 containers in terms of exports, and what makes this possible for the company is the high level of sophistication it has deployed at its plant in terms of machinery.

AN INTERESTING FIND about the company is the K10 unit used for rotary centrifugal casting. This is a cylindrical liner and currently during our trip at the plant, casting was being done for an automobile company. It has a melting furnace of two-tonne capacity and ahead of that is the folding furnace where labourers pour the metal and one more step ahead is the loadsill wherein sits the pouring ladle. The metal is weighed before pouring. The melting furnace has
to be set between 15 and 200 and the folding furnace between 14 and 800. The gypsum kerosene machine (8-station) has a robot attached. The first station is used for painting (dipping and spray painting) and to maintain the die temperature there is a
cooling system above.
Cooper is a big player in components and not dependent on one single company. it makes complex castings for Railways, automobiles, marine, etc. With power sector growing, the company plans to enter into the US soon. Cooper takes pride in the fact that when the new emission laws came up, it was the first to be CRDI-complaint.
What is more important to Cooper is that he doesn’t want to upset the ecosystem and takes care to hire locals from Satara. He is sentimental about the fact that they have parted with their land in the hope of getting employment and he doesn’t want to let them down. Currently, the company employs more than 2,000 workforce and all of them are locals.
At a time when most people go globe-trotting, Cooper prefers to stay at his place of work and be rooted to his office and travel only when it demands. The septuagenarian prefers to tie up with OEMs and stay cost conscious, offer best customer service and be nimble to stay ahead of the market.


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