Helix Corporation India: Introducing futuristic concepts
Oxygen is one of the highest consumed components in hospitals. To make the process of procuring oxygen cylinders not just convenient but also cost effective, Helix Corporation India is in the process of setting up an oxygen concentrator plant that would help hospitals and other medical suppliers generate in-house oxygen.
Jasleen Kaur Batra
Helix Corporation India has been around since 1994 and has been the pioneers in biomedical equipment. Over the years it has been involved with manufacturing products such as fluke biomedical testing and calibrating equipment, medical gas pipeline systems, trey med capnography modules, king bell bed head panels, atlas pendants and danmeter. In addition to these, it also deals in pulmonologist equipment – spirometers, nebulisers, IBP sensors and SPO2 OEM boards. Gradually, it has developed a huge client base and caters to more than 400 clients spread across the country. Helix Corporation began as a modest, but committed venture, in a home garage with a small energetic group of youngsters. Today, it has grown into an established setup with diverse business verticals, all of course catering to the complex demands of the medical industry.
Its recent endeavour is to manufacture oxygen concentrators that will enable hospitals to create oxygen according to their requirements. Its plant would be the first-of-its-kind in India as no one has ever ventured into the manufacturing of this technology. “We have always believed in reliability and responsiveness and our thrust has always been quality. Core to our approach is innovation and continuous improvement, and keeping up with state-of-the-art technology, and this has largely influenced the nature of our product portfolio and our plans for the future with commitment to provide dedicated service and our sensitivity to the evolving needs of the customer,” says Y R Nandakumar, Chief Executive Officer, Helix Corporation India.
USP: Oxygen concentrator
Oxygen concentrator is a unit that enables hospitals and clinics to generate oxygen according to their requirement and circulate it accordingly. The biggest advantage of this technology is that it helps doctors skip the step of procuring oxygen cylinders, which are not just expensive but also have a long procedure to it before it reaches them. “Hospitals have a need for oxygen; if there are able to produce oxygen themselves they would be more independent and confident. This technology is available for ` 8 lakh. Each unit produces 20 litres of oxygen and can be directly transferred to oxygen cylinders, patients, Operation Theatre (OT) depending on their requirement. It is a one-time investment and the cost can be regained within two years. Oxygen cylinders on an average cost around ` 600-800, whereas oxygen concentrator costs only ` 40 per litre; this major difference in cost is also a great advantage to hospitals to cut down on their cost,” expresses Nandakumar.
The capacity of the proposed plant will be 20 litres per minute with a pressure of 65 PSI. “This can be used in hospitals and is an important technology for remote areas as transportation of oxygen is difficult, and the cost also will go be less. In India, we are the only company working on such a product. It is a very simple unit that can handle 220 V electrical supply and consumes around 1.2 kW of electricity,” informs Nandakumar.
This manufacturing unit will be based in Bengaluru, and would be spread over 3,000 square feet. Besides, there are plans to expand the manufacturing unit to 20,000 sq ft in the coming year. This factory will be equipped with quality control units, oxygen analysers, quality analysers and more, all of which would be imported from the US for more than ` 5 lakh per equipment. It will also have an in-built system that continues monitoring of the produced oxygen and have compressors, control units, electronic control units and more to support the process of generating oxygen.
The factory is being built keeping international standards in mind and the production would be completely automatic. “The plant has been designed keeping international standards in mind. We would start at a slow pace to see the kind of reaction we receive from the market. As of now our production unit is capable of generating four units a month, we plan to gradually increase it by 12 units in the span of a year. The amount of investment made in this plant is of ` 95 lakh approximately, and we would be investing more capital to increase the rate of production,” informs Nandakumar.
The marketing of this product has already taken a kick start as a number of demonstrations have been made by Helix in quite a few events. The seeds of the plant were laid two years ago and and is expected to be operational by November, this year. The products would first be available in South India and then gradually make its way through the other parts of the country such as Delhi, Kolkata, etc.
The growth trajectory
Though there is a niche market for this industry, it does have a lot of potential and has been attracting people all over. “The growing confidence and aggression that India as a country has today reflects strongly in the medical industry as well. The India medical market today is evolving rapidly at various levels, right from its global customer base, its hunger for sophisticated technology, insistence on quality and deepening reach via different channels; for instance, satellite technology. This has most importantly opened up minds and made people seek more in terms of quality, service and features. Hence, there is definitely freshness in thinking and readiness like never before to try and implement value-added products and services. This paves the way for us to deliver new concepts,” explains Nandakumar.
During inception, Helix Corporation specialised in distributing and marketing advanced spirometry, pulmonology products and in design and installation of medical gas pipelines. Early to sense the pulse of the industry that was awakening to greater quality consciousness, Helix Corporation then ventured into a very integral, and fundamental domain of biomedical testing and calibrating equipment. For twelve years since it has worked as a partner with hospitals, institutions and OEMs all over India that have been seeking the opportunity to implement stringent quality standards in their organisations. Today, Helix Corporation has clients such as GE Healthcare, BPL, Apollo Hospitals, CMC Vellore, DMC Ludhiana, Alan Mumbai, Eclipse Mumbai, Asian Heart Institute, Escorts Delhi, KLE Belgaum, Victoria Hospital Bengaluru, Bowring Hospital Bengaluru, KIMS Trivandrum, MIMS Calicut to its credit who have been its’ costumers for years and have appreciated their product highly.
“Creating awareness and sensitivity to the health and status of biomedical equipment in hospitals and institutes, has been a challenge in itself. Over the years, we have been conducting training sessions in various institutions all over India. The need for high-end equipment has become basic in nature today, with the industry being well past the awareness stage. Support services are provided in an in-house, state–of-the art testing and calibrating laboratory,” informs Nandakumar.
On an average, Helix Corporation marks a growth of 20 per cent per annum and is successfully generating a minimum of 15 per cent profit. With the mantra ‘Anticipate, Innovate and Deliver’ Helix Corporation has surely managed to mark its own territory and is doing well. “It was a dream to set up Helix, and we are happy that we have achieved this dream; our dream today is to provide supreme quality and technology to the Indian market at the cheapest price possible and we will surely strive hard to fulfill this dream,” avers Nandakumar.