Thejo Engineering builds Australian presence

After starting from humble beginnings in Chennai city (erstwhile Madras), India, Thejo Engineering has become a pioneering global company that creates engineering solutions for the Australian mining industry. 

Thejo Engineering was formed 46 years ago when two childhood friends in India had a vision to develop a specialised engineering business in the future.

Today, their vision continues to grow and has moved beyond India onto the global stage, including expansion into Australia’s mining industry.

Originally a partnership between K.J. Joseph and Thomas John, Thejo is a combination of the two names – ‘TH’ for Thomas and ‘JO’ for Joseph, with the middle ‘E’ representing a chemical triple bond of the strongest variety that can’t be broken.

The name is also derived from the word Thejus, which means radiant energy.

This strong bond and energy remain key values within the company. They reflect the success and ambitions that have driven Thejo’s growth in India and around the world in countries like Australia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Chile.

Thejo has become a specialist brand in conveyor belt splicing by the cold vulcanising process, in-situ pulley lagging and in-situ recapping of conveyor belts.

The company is also today recognised as a leading industrial solution provider for belt conveyor-based bulk material handling systems, mining and mineral processing and corrosion protection application.

As one of the few companies from the sub-continent that offers manufacturing, marketing and servicing activities under one roof, Thejo prides itself on delivering quality products and efficient services.

Chairman K.J. Joseph, who has more than four decades of experience in manufacturing and service areas, says one of the company’s major strengths is that it has maintained a consistent set of clients from the beginning.

“We are a small company compared to the global giants and the fact is that even though we are small, the unique feature we offer to clients is our sensitivity to their needs,” Joseph tells Australian Mining.

“One of the key areas where we have made a difference globally is that we have been sensitive to the needs of the client and by virtue of being a one-stop shop for services and manufacturing.”

Through the support of these clients, Thejo has taken the opportunity to grow, expanding its business across India, Australia, Middle East and South America.

“We initially had a client who called us and said I have a problem with this, can you make something to fix it. As a result, Thejo now has eight product verticals,” Thejo chief operating officer Manoj Joseph Kallarackal says.

“Every step we have taken and every single product we have made, we have developed the technology and manufactured in house.”

Thejo is convinced the benefits of this approach have ensured lower costs for its clients compared with what they would pay to other sources.

Headquartered in Chennai, the company has five manufacturing plants and a research and development centre, which was approved by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology of India (DSIR). Thejo has figured among the top 25 innovative companies in India during the last two years and was awarded the Best Innovative Company in India (Manufacturing-Medium Industry Segment) for 2020 by the Confederation of Indian Industries.

Since starting as a partnership, Thejo has transformed into a publicly-listed company, becoming the first organisation to be listed on the ‘Emerge’ platform of the National Stock Exchange of India in 2012.

Thejo managing director V.A. George, who has more than four decades experience in the corporate world, has been instrumental in transforming the company from a family-owned to a professionally-run business.

When looking at ways to increase its global presence, George found that Australia’s mining industry had a demand for its products.

“We decided to globalise and, even though we are a medium-sized company, Thejo Engineering Ltd started a wholly owned subsidiary Thejo Australia Pty Ltd in Perth, WA in which Bridgestone took 26 per cent stake of the company. Later, Thejo started its own branch in Perth. While Thejo Australia Pty Ltd is focussing on belt conveyor services, the branch takes care of marketing of other products of Thejo Engineering Ltd,” George says.

“We are still expanding our presence in Australia and find the market there to be one of the most competitive. Today, our prime focus is on Australia.”

Thejo’s branch office offers abrasion and wear, filtration, screening and customised product related solutions for the mining, mineral processing and corrosion protection sectors.

On the other hand, Thejo Australia Pty Ltd, with offices across Western Australia in Perth, Kalgoorlie and the Pilbara, specialises particularly in belt conveyor related services.

The Australian subsidiary’s focus is on belt splicing and pulley lagging, rubber lining, supply of belting, splicing machines, belt winders, tool kits, splice kits, adhesives, pulley lagging products, belt conveyor accessory products and supply of belt maintenance equipment for the Western Australian mining industry.

Looking to the future, Thejo plans to grow its $60 million business by three to four times, with expansion in Australia a key part of these plans. Despite outsiders questioning this goal, Thejo is confident it now has everything in place to advance its position.

“All these years, it was about developing products and getting the team ready. Now with eight product verticals the team is ready, and it is about launching off,” Kallarackal explains.

“One of the biggest factors in our growth has been our people and we definitely want to expand that. The products, technology and services are all important, but without the people we wouldn’t be as successful.”

Since 2010, Thejo has grown its business globally into the field of operation and maintenance of various processing plants.

This expansion has been supported by a workforce of 1500 people, including highly-skilled engineers and technicians.

With dedicated manpower, long-term supplier relationships and quality conscious production plants, Thejo is equipped to manufacture the widest assortment of materials and reduce lead time to suppliers.

Building on the company’s strengths, its state-of-the-art manufacturing plants offer a wide range of engineered products, equipment and customised solutions to clients.

With almost two decades of supply to various clients, ranging from mineral processing, aggregates, power, metal, cement, ports, chemical and fertilisers, the company’s focus is on the growing demand for specialised and customised solutions.

Thejo vice chairman Thomas John takes pride in knowing that the company’s range of machinery, technical competency and human resources allows it to deliver top-quality products.

“It is also one of the main reasons why today many international original equipment manufacturers outsource their requirements from Thejo,” John says.

By continuing to increase a global presence that is backed by high-quality products and service, Thejo is dedicated to becoming a niche player for engineering and manufacturing solutions across a range of mining disciplines.

This feature also appears in the February edition of Australian Mining.

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