Exclusive Interview with Mr. Rohit Saboo, President and CEO, National Engineering Industries Limited

Interview Insights:

Rail Analysis: Firstly, congratulations for the completion of the 75th anniversary of National Engineering Industries Ltd (NEI). Please share about your journey with the NEI and how did you get started in the railway sector? Pl. also share some highlights during the 75 years of NEI?

Mr. Rohit Saboo: We are truly grateful for these wonderful 75 years. We have been celebrating this accomplishment with all our stakeholders because it is undoubtedly a proud occasion for us. Since its inception, NBC Bearings has made constant strides, starting from being the first company manufacturing bearings in India to being India’s leading manufacturer of bearings, maintaining the legacy of the brand.

“NEI, which has its headquarters in Jaipur, is a crucial component of the US$ 2.4 billion CK Birla Group. When we started, we manufactured 30,000 bearings in 19 sizes. We currently export to over 30 countries, including Germany, Japan, and China, and produce 20 crore bearings annually in over 2300 variations.”

In 1952, we began collaborating with Indian Railways, and ever since then, we have been creating and supplying them with bearings. To expand our product offering, we have worked with reputable international companies like Amsted Rail (US).

In order to improve and diversify, NEI also bought Kinex Bearings in Europe in 2020. This allowed NEI to offer best-in-class goods to its current and future customers and to be close to its international clients. The company has aligned the objectives with the philosophy of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ to showcase our commitment to the nation. NEI is the only bearing manufacturer in the world to receive Deming Grand Prize for its quality. Ball bearings, taper roller bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, spherical roller bearings, needle bearings, and axle boxes are among the products we offer. In addition, we are entering the aerospace and defence sector and producing bearings for electric vehicles.



Rail Analysis: Please provide us more insights on NEI JV with Amsted to manufacture Railway bearing seals in India? Will it also be meant for global market?

Mr. Rohit Saboo: We collaborated with Amsted Seals to start a greenfield project under the brand name NBC-Brenco in Jaipur to manufacture railway-bearing seals in India. Amsted Seals is a world authority on metal fabrication and sealing systems. The company offers goods to markets outside of India with an established capacity of two million seals annually. This JV is a significant step towards diversifying our product range and offering complimentary products to our customers in railways around the world. We will be supplying products in India as well as to international markets. In the market, both NBC and Brenco are recognized for their high standards of quality and dependability. In order to create a railway bearing seal, NEI works with its partner Amsted Rail to draw on their combined 75 years of significant experience in the manufacturing of bearings and related goods. NBC-Brenco is a zero-discharge facility that supports the development of a greener economy by committing to offering sustainable solutions for its stakeholders and the communities in which they operate.



Rail Analysis: Recently, NEI opened a Global Technology Center in Germany through Its Subsidiary NBC Global. What is the focus of this technology center ?

Mr. Rohit Saboo: Recently, we announced the inauguration of our Global Technology Center (GTC) in Würzburg, Bavaria through the subsidiary NBC Global (Germany). For the automotive and industrial industries, the technological centre will focus on product development, application engineering, and manufacturing technologies. It will support NBC Bearings’ OEM clients in Europe and other parts of the world in addition to acting as an extension of NBC Bearings in India by encouraging innovation, prompt implementation of new ideas and responsiveness to client needs, and market needs.



Rail Analysis: What are NEI’s plans for 2023 and targets with respect to the Indian Railway and Metro market?

Mr. Rohit Saboo: We are continuously increasing our product portfolio by developing products for new technology being introduced by Indian Railways in mobility segment for both metro and high speed Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS). We are also working towards bringing new technology related to AI/VI for onboard condition monitoring of bearing, track, wheel and traction motors. Our selection of bearings for railways comprises axle boxes for locomotives, traction motor bearings, including insulated bearings, cartridge taper roller bearings, and cylindrical roller bearings for railway carriages.

With Indian Railways on the growth path, we are actively working with them to come up with indigenous solutions which not only are of world-class quality but also are energy efficient to contribute to Indian Railways’ sustainability agenda.



Rail Analysis: IR has planned to gradually reduce its carbon footprint and become Net Zero Carbon Emitter by 2030. Please share your views on this and the contribution of NEI?

Mr. Rohit Saboo: As environmental, climate change, and sustainable development concerns reverberate across the globe, NEI has gone above and beyond to put sustainability measures in place with a goal to lower carbon footprint and be carbon neutral by 2039. Recently, we obtained the Green Factory Building Platinum Certification by the Indian Green Building Council(IGBC) for having maintained efficiency of energy consumption and water usage, plus the ISO 50001 approval for our Jaipur plant as a global recognition for our Energy Management System. We are preparing to connect with more international clients who are looking to partner with us. Additionally, IGBC platinum-certified, our plant in Savli, Vadodara, has always used green manufacturing techniques. To support our goal of reducing GHG emissions and Carbon Footprint, our wider purpose is to reduce energy use and improve energy efficiency.

We also collaborated with our clients to take part in their Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), as they work to make supply chains more environmentally friendly. However, it doesn’t end there. We have started using returnable packaging options that help reduce packaging waste in order to further preserve environmental quality.



Rail Analysis: Also, Congratulations for being honored with ‘Iconic Brands Of India 2022’. Please share more about this achievement with us?

Mr. Rohit Saboo: Thank you! This is indeed a great achievement. We have been acknowledged among the remarkable brands that have redefined the benchmark in their respective fields through their legacy and sustainability in India and global market.

‘National Engineering Industries Ltd (NBC Bearings) has consistently had been a big influence on its customers and delivered excellent customer service across all channels, creating revenue in even the most cutthroat markets.”

This honor serves as yet another testament to the years of toil and effort we have put in, and it motivates us to keep pushing forward and achieving greater heights.



Rail Analysis: Any additional insights you would like to share with us?

Mr. Rohit Saboo: The Indian market has experienced some difficult times over the past two to three years, but things are looking up now. Our production has reached the pre-pandemic levels. Looking at the plans for Indian Railways, the projections are quite optimistic. In the upcoming months, we anticipate that Railways will see solid growth and we are partnering with them to innovate and provide with efficient sustainable solutions.

With this changing environment, we are integrating technology into our daily operations to accelerate our growth. The company’s move on bolstering digital capabilities is in tandem with its vision to empower customers and enable them with easy access to better, relevant information.

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