Going Global

A gas-to-gas heat exchanger for UHDE’s Turkmenistan Project.

The Godrej Process Equipment Division:
Redefining Frontiers

ll big ideas start simply. And one such simple beginning in 1976, which saw the birth of the Process Equipment Division (PED), today holds out the promise of being another big idea in the basket of big ideas that Godrej has floated since 1897.

Starting with the manufacture of trays in 1976, PED today designs and manufactures a range of process equipment in diverse metallurgies, ranging from plain carbon steels to alloy steels, duplex and super duplex stainless steels, nickel alloys and other non-ferrous metallurgies ranging from copper to aluminium and titanium.

Starting with a not-so-big plant of Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited (IPCL) in India, PED today has its equipment installed and commissioned on every continent. Dehydrogen desulphurisation (DHDS)/ultra low-sulphur diesel (ULSD) reactors, secondary reformers, polypropylene reactors, high-pressure vessels and exchangers —for the uninitiated, these are only names, but for process plant engineers, anyone who can make these has well and truly arrived. PED can count itself among the global few.

PED discovered the global market in the late 1990s when capital investment in India saw a downturn, and the start-up of new projects was consequently put on the back burner. Not to be defeated by circumstances, the people in PED set their sights across national boundaries and, in doing so, transcended the self-imposed barriers of myths such as "We cannot be competitive", "Too far away" and "Nobody wants 'Made in India'". Today the question in PED is not "Argentina where?" It is "Argentina when?"

A few small orders and then came the big break in 2001. More than 100 pieces of equipment out of a possible 250 for a fertilizer plant in Qatar ?QAFCO-IV ?confirmed global engineering major UHDE's confidence in PED's capabilities. From then on there was no looking back.

A degassing vessel for Nanhai Petrochemical Complex, China.

Some of PED's major achievements in recent times include:



UHDE Germany ordered close to 50 pieces of critical equipment for a fertilizer project in Turkmenistan.


Godrej won a major replacement order from Qatar Fertilizer Co. (Qatar) for supplying a critical high-pressure heat exchanger ?a synthesis boiler feed water heater.


Technip (France) and Snamprogetti (Italy) ordered equipment for another major fertilizer plant in Oman.



PED received an order from Aker Kvaerner (the Netherlands) for supplying stainless steel columns to EVAL, a petrochemical plant in Belgium. This was PED's first opportunity to supply equipment to a European plant.


Bechtel (Houston) ordered stainless steel vessels for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Darwin, northern Australia.


Tecnimont (Italy) ordered a degassing vessel for Nanhai


Petrochemical Complex in China.


PED won an order from Technip (Italy) for supplying a critical high-pressure reactor for a desulphurisation project in a refinery in Chile.


Bechtel (Houston) ordered stainless steel and clad vessels for an LNG project in Equatorial Guinea, west Africa.


BASF (USA) ordered three large and heavy heat exchangers for their petrochemical plant in Port Arthur, Texas.


Hitachi Zosen (Japan) ordered DHDS reactor internals for a low-sulphur diesel project in Bahrain.


PED broke through into the top of the line and most coveted segment of the market ?DHDS reactors. It bagged the largest single order worth U.S. $14 million for three such high-pressure, thick-walled reactors from Valero Refinery in Louisiana, USA. The heaviest reactor weighs 665 metric tons and the base material of the reactors is heat-resistant alloy steel, of 153 mm, 132 mm and 124 mm thickness respectively, and will be cladded from the inside with a 3.2 mm deposit of Stainless Steel 347 (SS 347) ?using the electro slag strip cladding process. Along with the reactors, PED will also fabricate and supply the trays and internals, which will be installed in the reactors before despatch. This highlights PED's unique strength of being the only international fabricator with contrasting capabilities required to supply reactors as well as reactor internals/trays.


PED's relentless efforts to get a share of the replacement market comprising major end users in the Middle East paid off, when Kuwait National Petroleum Company placed a major order for 25 heat exchanger bundles.

A CD hydro column for Jacobs / Conoco Phillips, USA.

Today PED's capabilities have been endorsed by the biggest international names in the process licensing and engineering and contracting business ?UHDE, Aker Kvaerner, Bechtel, Jacobs, Conoco Phillips, Valero, Japan Gas Corporation, Stone & Webster, Technip, Snamprogetti, Haldor Topsoe, Universal Oil Products, Tecnimont?The list is not endless, but it is growing rapidly.

Getting them is not as difficult as keeping them. For that, PED's mantra has been to perform consistently well on each of the critical success factors for international projects —Total Quality, Logistics, Schedule, Safety and Aesthetics. This has been achieved thanks to consistent and sustained efforts towards augmenting infrastructure, upgrading quality systems, regular progress monitoring and review, and implementing better shop practices. At the same time, region-specific marketing approaches have been evolved to ensure optimum focus and better overall coverage.

A CD hydro column for Jacobs / Conoco Phillips, USA,
weighing 480 MT and 71m tall.

However, the biggest catalyst for PED's progress has been its "can do, will do" attitude, high level of self-belief, commitment and transparency coupled with the doggedness to hang in there. The indefatigable desire to excel and to contribute is shared by all members of the PED team; there have been innumerable occasions where workmen have taken the initiative to perform a task in a better way ?be it mechanisation or fixturing. It is this pooling of ideas and the collective determination to succeed that makes PED tick.


PED won its first order for physical exports to Saudi Arabia, when UHDE, Germany, ordered critical equipment such as secondary reformer and high-pressure exchangers and vessels for a fertilizer project, SAFCO-IV. For the third consecutive year, UHDE ordered a major project from PED, signifying the high level of confidence and trust they had in PED's capabilities.


SNC Lavalin (Perth, Australia) ordered alloy steel reactors for a fertilizer plant in Karratha, western Australia.


PED received an order from Metax (Singapore) for supplying the world's largest butterfly valves to the Changi Water Treatment Project, Singapore.


PED received an order from Jacobs (USA) for fabrication and supply of two large towers to Alliance Refinery of Conoco Phillips, Louisiana, USA. These towers were the cornerstones of the low-sulphur gasoline project being implemented at the refinery. This was a significant landmark in PED's progress, being PED's first opportunity to physically export to the USA. It also brought with it a huge challenge for the PED team, as the order comprised the heaviest and tallest columns to have ever gone out of not just PED, but also from the city of Mumbai. The city's civic and port infrastructure had never been tested to this extent and hence was unproven. The PED team took up this as well as the other challenges, which are part and parcel of a complex and high-magnitude project such as this. The path to successful project execution was fraught with numerous hurdles and unknown devils. PED's resolve and unwavering focus saw it through and the columns were delivered to Mumbai’s high seas almost 10 days ahead of the contractual delivery date (19 November, 2004). This performance left the customer completely satisfied ?in fact overwhelmed ?with the commitment shown by PED.

That PED has firmly established itself as an international manufacturer of high-end equipment is evident from the fact that PED's international sales constitute about 65 per cent of the annual turnover.

The PED team looks ahead to explore more uncharted territories, to reach out to newer horizons in the future. PED also strives to realise its dream of being a leading global fabricator of high-end critical process equipment counting every major process plant in the world among its satisfied customers.

The PED Team