Mr Ronald Kolettu
March 31, 2022
Making a mark in the niche process equipment industry, Pune-based Enpro Industries Pvt. Ltd. successfully delivered its largest value project of super duplex stainless steel for one of the world’s largest water treatment companies. Vice President, Process Equipment Division, Enpro Industries Pvt. Ltd., Mr Ronald Kolettu shares details of the project and insights on the future of stainless steel in the process equipment sector.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I spent my childhood in the small industrial town of Chinchwad in Pune, Maharashtra. I completed my early schooling from Pune and then, earned a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering before joining the Pune-based energy Company, Thermax Ltd. It was here that the foundation of my professional career was laid. Globally renowned as a boiler manufacturer, I got the chance to work at the newly-launched chemical plant and process division (CPPD) in the latter half of the 1980s. I immediately developed a fascination for process equipment and metallurgy. As a young Quality Engineer, I got to interact with attending surveyors from Lloyds Register (LR). I was awestruck with their technical prudence and professional conduct and aspired to become like them. By 1997, I was finally one of them and fulfilled this role for nearly two decades, travelling across Kolkata, Dubai, Saudi Arabia. Later, I got to lead the Pune team for the next 10 years before taking on bigger challenges.
Having gained sound knowledge of the process equipment sector and a wide professional network, I set up the Process Equipment Division at Enpro Industries in 2017. Today, we envision Enpro to be a promising player in the process equipment market with a focus on state-of-the-art metallurgy equipment.
2. Tell us about your recent stainless steel equipment supplied for HURL projects in India. Why was stainless steel chosen for this project?
We successfully developed and delivered titanium evaporators and crystallizers, our largest value project in duplex and super duplex stainless steel, for Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL), a leading fertilizer unit in India. This was for a 2 X 312 KLD Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) project complying with stringent wastewater treatment regulations in the industry. The project comprised 38 equipment, weighing ~150 tonnes, and 4 evaporators, 12 heat exchangers, 16 crystallizers, 4 de-aerators in varying shell thicknesses and tube sheets (6mm wide and 69mm long), with the largest equipment measuring 2000 millimetres in diameter and 14 metres in length. The material of construction for the tube sheet is stainless steel grade SS316, clad with titanium. Some of the salient features of the project are:
- Orbital welding of tube-to-tube sheet joints to achieve optimum quality
- Special purging units for TIG welding to achieve the highest level of weld quality
Numerous environmental regulations, rigorous permit processes, and lack of water availability are driving many industrial facilities towards implementation of ZLD systems. The effluent produced by the unit, with a large concentration of brine, is treated using ZLD technology which minimizes wastewater discharge, maximizes water recovery, and helps control the quality of the water to be recycled.
The equipment was fabricated using duplex stainless steel and super duplex stainless steel, as these stainless steel grades are inert and non-corrosive. Thus, they are best suited for treating wastewater with a very high concentration of corrosive brine. Moreover, sourcing these grades from Jindal Stainless proved to be cost-effective compared to overseas counterparts.
3. What led to replacing imports with domestic produce for this project?
As a practise, our customers had been using imported duplex and super duplex stainless steel. We wanted to showcase the technical and manufacturing prowess of indigenous stainless steel manufacturers. Jindal Stainless, the largest stainless steel manufacturer in India, took up the challenge to develop low thickness super duplex stainless steel for this project. The Company successfully supplied the required stainless steel grade in the stipulated timeline, helping us drive down the project cost by a very large extent. It was a win-win situation for all the stakeholders and surely a milestone in proving India’s manufacturing capabilities.
4. What are your views on the process equipment industry and the role of stainless steel in it? How will it shape up in the future?
As a durable, corrosion-free and 100% recyclable metal, stainless steel has proven to be the best raw material for developing industrial equipment when compared to other alternatives. It is now important to innovate and develop technologies that can control the microstructure of stainless steel, enabling maximum customisation of its properties and catering to newer avenues in the process industry. The industry is now gearing up to tap Green Hydrogen technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, adopting electric vehicles using fuel cells, and developing hydrogen filling stations. Process equipment for such projects is subject to high pressure and would bank upon good quality stainless steel with higher strength and ductility. This will give the domestic stainless steel industry ample scope to bolster its manufacturing, fabrication and welding capabilities.
5. A message for millennials and GenZ readers of our newsletter.
My message to my youngster friends is to understand the importance of patience and consistent hard work. The corporate world is rewarding for those who value developing and sustaining relationships.
While technology is changing almost every other day, social media and cell phones have deeply invaded our lives. We need to strike the right balance and achieve optimum results for ourselves.
I’d also recommend reading to be a must-have skill. As an early riser, I spend a lot of time reading myself, “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek being my current book.