BEML: From earth moving to rail coach manufacturing and aerospace

Being India’s leading defence equipment manufacturer, BEML keeps the Indian Army and other defence forces abreast with modern military equipments. The company has global ambitions and to become a globally recognised brand it plans to expand its market share in Asia.

Long before Bangalore was called the Silicon Valley of India, the city made its name as a hub to some of the largest public sector heavy industries.

Bangalore has been home to public sector units since the 60s. Companies such as Bharat Earth Movers Ltd known as BEML, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and others have grown their presence – both in terms of number of people employed and the kind of work undertaken over the last five decades.

BEML Ltd, is a leading multi-technology and multi-location Mini Ratna Category-I company that falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence, offering high-quality products for diverse sectors such as coal, mining, steel, cement, power, irrigation, construction, road building, aviation, defence, metro and railways.

It has emerged as the forerunner of heavy engineering industry with a track record of growth and revenues for over four decades.

For the kind of success that this company has achieved over the years, one needs to take a step back and look into the past.

BEML was incorporated in May 1964, and commenced operations on January 1, 1965. It was wholly-owned and operated by the Ministry of Defence until 1992, when the Government divested 25 per cent of its holdings in the company.

BEML is Asia’s second-largest manufacturer of earth-moving equipment, and controls 70 per cent of the market in that sector.

BEML has manufacturing plants in Kolar Gold Fields, Bangalore, Palakkad and Mysore. It has numerous regional offices throughout the country. KGF unit is the main unit accounting for the manufacture and assembly of a wide array of earth-moving equipment such as bulldozers and excavators.

Rail coaches are made in the Bangalore complex and the Mysore facility makes dump trucks and engines of various capacities.

BEML manufactures rolling stock for Delhi Metro and Namma Metro in Bangalore. It works in consortium with Hyundai Rotem and has supplied more than 200 coaches to DMRC and has an order of 150 coaches from Bangalore Metro.

Jaipur Metro has also ordered to manufacture, supply, test and commission 10 train sets of four-car each, totalling 40 cars to Jaipur Metro Project. BEML has restructured its operations under three distinct business groups viz., Mining & construction, Defence and Rail & metro.

It has formed strategic business units and product groups following the concept of ‘Business within business.’

New business division includes technology, trading, aerospace and international business. The company has global ambitions and to become a globally recognised brand it plans to expand its market share in Asia.

In line with that, BEML has set up warehousing facilities at Malaysia. An overseas office has been established in China for outsourcing.

Besides, local company, PT BEML Indonesia has been established in Indonesia to capture the emerging market.

BEML Brasil Industrial Ltda was set up for sales of mining and construction equipment in Latin American countries with a phased local manufacturing programme.

Over the years, BEML has demonstrated its engineering strengths and technical prowess by harnessing sophisticated technologies and erecting giant equipment such as the multi-crore walking draglines and electric rope shovels for the coal sector.

With a commitment to market driven R&D, BEML has successfully rolled out over 30 value-added products.

BEML recently introduced road headers and slide discharge loaders for underground mining applications.

Railway products include integral rail coaches, electric multiple units, rail buses, track laying equipment and overhead equipment inspection cars. BEML also manufactures heavy duty trucks and trailers and hydraulic aggregates for transportation sector.

The company also manufactures high power diesel engines and heavy duty hydraulic aggregates to meet specific customer requirements. The company plans to diversify into varied activities including underground mining equipment, underground storage for petro-products, leasing and financial services and joint ventures abroad.

Its Rs 30-crore composite R&D Centre at KGF has laboratories that work in areas such as fluid power, material science, structural engineering and power line aggregates.

The company has modern manufacturing facilities at Kolar Gold Fields, Mysore and Bangalore and are certified under ISO 9001-2000 series. Apart from this, BEML has set up its fourth manufacturing complex at Palakkad, Kerala, as part of its expansion and diversification plan in a record time.

This complex is dedicated to the manufacture of defence equipment and rail coach components and spare parts. All these units have modern facilities such as CNC machines, hi-tech welding equipment and flexible manufacturing systems to turnout cutting edge technology products. Continuous modernisation of manufacturing facilities enables BEML to deliver world-class products.

Mining and construction

The boom in the mining industry has opened up new avenues for BEML in contract mining. BEML offers a diverse range of mining machinery for both opencast and underground mines. It produces machines such as electric rope shovels, hydraulic excavators, bulldozers, wheel-loaders, wheel dozers, dump trucks, motor graders, pipelayers, tyre handlers, water sprinklers and backhoe loaders. Besides, BEML manufactures mammoth walking draglines for cost-effective operations in the opencast mines. BEML has ventured into underground mining with products such as side discharge loader, load haul dumper, winch, winder, granby car, skip and others.


Being India’s leading Defence equipment manufacturer, BEML keeps the Indian Army and other Defence forces abreast with modern military equipment. The company is manufacturing variants of Tatra vehicle for all terrain operations including bridge layer, field artillery tractor, medium and heavy recovery vehicle, pontoon mainstream bridge systems, crash fire tenders, mobile mast vehicle.

BEML also supplies engineering mine ploughs, tank transportation trailers, weapon loading equipment, armoured recovery vehicle, Milrail coaches and wagons apart from aircraft weapon loading trolley, aircraft towing tractor and radar carrying vehicle.

The first indigenously designed and developed snow cutter for military and para military application is an import substitute product. Two new product variants developed by BEML’s strong technology development team include combat post vehicle and BEML Tatra driving simulator to cater for the growing needs of armed forces.

BEML plays a major role in the country’s integrated guided missile development project by supplying ground support vehicles. The company has also created world-class test track at its KGF Complex to test defence equipment and vehicles.

Metro, Railway business

BEML is the nation’s first rail coach manufacturing company and is the only company that forayed into high-tech metro trains deployed for intra-city commuting. BEML is expanding its infrastructure to meet the greater needs of metro projects coming up in the country.

Other products supplied for the Indian Railways include integral rail coaches, overhead inspection cars, postal vans, AC/DC electric multiple units, stainless steel EMUs, catenary maintenance vehicle, utility vehicles, track laying equipment, broad-gauge railbus, treasury vans, spoil disposal units etc. Its future plans include manufacturing of high-speed rail and metro bogies, affordable metro cars for tier II & III cities.

Technology Division

With India becoming engineering outsourcing hub, BEML aims to garner substantial business in the IT-enabled services. With the extensive use of CAD/CAE and CAM, this division is offering services encompassing product design, process engineering, plant automation, enterprise management services and implementation of collaborative product engineering.

BEML has launched aerospace manufacturing division at Mysore complex produce and supply ground handling equipments, ground support equipment, toolings and components for aerospace applications. The company has recently signed an MoU with the Karnataka Government to set up an exclusive aerospace manufacturing complex at the SEZ, near Bangalore International Airport.

Trading Division

With a view to maximise business through sale of components and engineering spares, BEML has launched a trading division. This will ensure supply of high-quality components for both in-house consumption as well as existing customers. Leveraging on BEML brand for non-company products, it plans to serve customers using its vast marketing network. An export house with trading house status, BEML has proven strengths in handling large-scale trading and counter-trade has pushed the export of engineering goods as well as other equipment.

International Business

BEML has an expanding international presence in more than 55 countries spread world-wide. In recognition of its outstanding performance, BEML has been awarded the best performance in exports for the year 2007-08.

Another PSU giant, which is based out of Bangalore is HAL traces its genesis back to 1940. Now, HAL is one of Asia’s largest aerospace companies. It comes under the management of the Ministry of Defence, this state-owned company is mainly involved in aerospace industry, which includes manufacturing and assembling aircraft, navigation and related communication equipment, as well as operating airports.

HAL is one of the largest aerospace companies in Asia with its annual turnover to be running above $2 billion. More than 40 per cent of HAL’s revenues come from international deals to manufacture aircraft engines, spare parts, and other aircraft materials.

HAL built the first military aircraft in South Asia and is currently involved in the design, fabrication and assembly of aircraft, jet engines, and helicopters, as well as their components and spares. Hindustan Aeronautics has a history of collaboration with several other international and domestic aerospace agencies such as Airbus, Boeing, Sukhoi Aviation Corporation, Elbit Systems, Israel Aircraft Industries, RSK MiG, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce plc, Dassault Aviation, Dornier Flugzeugwerke, the Indian Aeronautical Development Agency and the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Some if its marquee products include Tejas, a light combat aircraft; Su-30MKI – a derivative of Sukhoi Su-27 co-developed with Sukhoi Corporation; Dhruv – an advanced light helicopter, among others.

With over 9,500 employees, it is one of the largest public sector employers in Bangalore. Apart from HAL, the National Aerospace Laboratories is also headquartered in Bangalore and is dedicated to the development of civil aviation technologies.