Hyderabad: Reduce, reuse and recycle. These have been the guiding principles behind the success of Hyderabad-based Robo Silicon Private Limited, manufacturers of first-of-its-kind artificial sand under the brand Robo Sand. Though it took some time for people to accept, artificial sand or manufactured sand over a period of time has become a substitute for river sand. While on the one hand it is reducing the demand for river sand, on the other it is making use of wastage in the granite and construction industry as a raw material.
Behind this venture is Vijay K Kosaraju, its founder and managing director, who started the company in 2000. The first plant came up at Keesaragutta and Robo Sand is now accepted all over India in such a large scale that it has become a generic name for artificial sand.
The company has installed 14 manufacturing plants for Robo Sand across India and all these have a capacity of 200 tonne per hour.
In 2011, the company set up Rotek Infra, to focus on captive sand manufacturing plants which executed New Delhi and Hyderabad airport works for GMR. It also has plants at Reliance Oil Refinery Project, Jamnagar, Gujarat. In addition, Rotek has a plaster sand unit at Hyderabad and the fine aggregates are used for plastering.
Kosaraju went on to set up Robotek Buildcon in 2015, which is a sales and marketing company for promotion of Rotek Plaster Sand and AAC bricks.
Meanwhile, only last month the company added precast walls to the offering by setting up Robomatic Precon, a fully automated precast partition walls manufacturing facility at Lemoor village in Ranga Reddy. The plant has been imported from Elematic, Finland.
Robomatic Precast walls are thick hollow‐core, non‐load‐bearing wall elements and are manufactured in an eco-friendly environment. These walls can be used in small, large, high rise buildings and residential villas as internal walls that require thermal and sound insulation. These were launched for the first time in South India.
Precast walls are a substitute for bricks. They save on time and energy and do not need plastering and curing. It facilitates smarter design and aids the builders and architects to expedite the project execution. A wall using this technique can be installed seven times faster than the conventional brick laying work.
The group now has a turnover of more than Rs 200 crore and out of this Rs 125 crore comes from Robo Sand alone.
“Our products mainly target the construction industry, which is besieged with shortage of labour and materials. These are the main factors of the project schedules to get disturbed and the process puts a big burden on the developers,” Kosaraju says. These products also qualify as green products as there is reuse of waster as the raw materials, he says, adding that he is confident that the market will accept the pre-cast walls as a substitute for brick work.
“There is now shortage of kiln-burnt bricks. Also, the execution is seven times faster than the conventional brick work. The price for consumers remains the same,” he informs.
At the group level, it has about 125 people working with the transport requirements met through a contract system. “We chose to mechanise the construction segment. Robo in our name stands for mechanisation,” says Kosaraju.
“Many friends in the construction segment told me about the crisis with shortage of river sand, policies of Government and operations and sand reaches. We studied all these and then came up with the idea for artificial sand. Same is the case with bricks. There is labour shortage and the prices have gone up,” recollects Kosaraju, who was earlier into marketing.
It already has plans to double the pre-cast wall capacity in Hyderabad from the current 2.4 lakh sqmt and wants to get into other markets.
“In early days, acceptance was a challenge and took time. But now we don’t see a problem as customers are aware of the new trends,” says Kosaraju.