Ban on Chinese suppliers helps local firms such as Vehant Technologies develop hi-tech security scanners and bag domestic orders too
Next time whenever you are at the airport, chances are your baggage might be scanned by homegrown technology. The Indian X-ray baggage scanners segment is one which was dominated by Chinese suppliers but the recent move by the government has opened doors for the Indian suppliers. One such local player is Noida-based Vehant Technologies. “The ban on Chinese suppliers helps India to become self-reliant when it comes to the tech industry.
It falls in line with the PM’s recent call of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. Due to Covid, the market has been down in recent months hence comparison of sales (with 2019 figures) is not really possible but still this ban has helped a lot. We have recently bagged two major orders from Kolkata Metro and Punjab Prisons which would have been difficult if Chinese vendors were there,” said Kapil Bardeja, co-founder and CEO, Vehant Technologies, a manufacturer of X-ray baggage scanners machines. It is also among the first to develop the machine locally. Currently, it manufactures 500-600 X-ray baggage scanners annually, including dual view scanners.
Currently, the Xray baggage scanner market is flooded with US and European players such as Smiths Detection, Rapiscan, 3D Xray, Astrophysics. Nevertheless Indian players such as Evolve, Krystan Vision, Siddhalakshmi have picked up pace. Bardeja added, “In x-ray scanners, we are still importing 20-25% components but it is from non-Chinese vendors. Earlier we had a few Chinese vendors but after May 2020 guidelines, we shifted to western vendors which increased costs a bit.”
Local manufacturing of X-ray baggage scanner machines is fairly new; while Chinese players can produce 5000 scanners a year, the Indian manufacturers are able to make only 500 machines.
“We are very positive about government support, it should continue. Either ban on Chinese players or providing a level playing field is required. We think some kind of duty protection is also required for the Indian players to compete with global players. In my opinion, a 20% duty imposed on foreign players is good for Indian manufacturers to compete,” he said, adding, “We added x-ray baggage scanners to our portfolio and have grabbed 25% market share in the last two years. We have also successfully sold to airports.”