The Kirloskar journey started with selling bicycles in 1888, manufacturing a chaff-cutter indigenously in 1901 and an iron plough in 1903, followed by the incorporation of Kirloskar Brothers in 1920.
From making India’s first iron plough to becoming the only pump-manufacturing company in the world to have a dedicated 3D printing machine for pump modelling and supplying cooling water pumps for the world’s largest nuclear fusion experiment, Kirloskar Brothers (KBL) has had an eventful journey of 100 years spanning five generations of Kirloskars.
KBL kicked off its centenary celebrations with Ratan Tata unveiling a book on the ‘Code of Ethics’ of KBL to reaffirm century-old values of the company that has helped the Kirloskar brand and the company to survive and thrive for 100 years.
The Kirloskar journey started with selling bicycles in 1888, manufacturing a chaff-cutter indigenously in 1901 and an iron plough in 1903, followed by the incorporation of Kirloskar Brothers in 1920. The baton passed from Laxmanrao to his son, Shantanurao, in 1936 and he was instrumental in the innovation of India’s first machine tool and electric motor as well as bringing modern management to the group. He expanded KBL’s footprints in the European market, North America and Southeast Asia. KBL CMD Sanjay Kirloskar, who has been leading KBL since 1985, says the Kirloskars have been innovating and Making in India since 1901. Since the incorporation of KBL, they have been a dividend-paying company and skipped it only five times in the last 100 years, he pointed out.
He said they are now a homegrown multinational with a presence in 165 countries and 18 manufacturing facilities. KBL manufactures 75 types of pumps. From introducing solar pump sets, concrete volute pumps, canned motor pumps to magnetic drive pumps, to providing pumps for the world’s largest pumping scheme in the Saurashtra Branch Canal, to being part of the country’s nuclear power programme supplier, KBL boasts of many milestones in the domestic market.
Since 2000, KBL has made four global acquisitions and now has six global manufacturing facilities across the UK, South Africa, the Netherlands, the US and Thailand. Its fire-fighting pumps are used for protecting the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, and The Shard in London, Kirloskar said. Their company has helped developing economies achieve food sufficiency.
Sanjay Kirloskar’s son Alok Kirloskar and daughter Rama Kirloskar are now part of the KBL leadership team. Alok is non-executive director, KBL, and MD of SPP Pumps UK, a KBL subsidiary. Rama is MD of Kirloskar Ebara Pumps, a JV between KBL and Ebara Corporation of Japan.
Alok Kirloskar said the journey of the Kirloskar Brothers over the next century would be about a smarter approach to product and service differentiation through adoption of disruptive technologies. KBL’s technology blueprint using combination of IoT, AI, VR/AR and 3D Printing would enable them to innovate “across the entire length and breadth of our fluid management systems — right from the deployment phase, to remotely monitoring and operating these systems and lastly to offering seamless and faster after-sales services”.