Steelbird International, which supplies rubbers, filters and plastic parts, has seen its order book crash during the current pandemic.
Manav Kapur, Executive Director, says the company churns out merely 20,000-22,000 filters down from 40,000 units earlier. “Demand has been severely hit and the fear factor is extremely high,” he adds.
The pandemic has also delayed the commissioning of Steelbird’s new plant, near its existing one in Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, which will roll out 40,000 new-generation filters everyday. The existing facility makes dampers, bushes, bellows/boots, gaskets, mats, oil seals and rubber.
Its filter bouquet includes spin on, element type, reticulated foam, PU filters, polyurethane filters, and plastic moulded filters. The company also makes air oil and fuel filters for automotive applications. SteelBird caters to the needs of vehicle makers and Tier 1 suppliers such as Greaves Cotton, Tata Ficosa Automotive Systems, Lumax Auto and Royal Enfield.
The company got into making tyres in 2018 and launched a specifically designed one for e-rickshaws at the 2020 Delhi AutoExpo. At present, there are about over 5,000 retail touch points for its tyres.
For now, Kapur will be hoping that the pandemic does not last too long, given the disruption it can cause to the automotive ecosystem. As it is, vehicle makers are shutting down operations for a week to 15 days and this only means that May will be a washout. For suppliers like Steelbird, a national lockdown will be the last straw on the camel’s back because this could also lead to an encore of the migrant exodus first seen last year. The industry will be hoping that things could start looking up from the second quarter of this fiscal.