Industries in Coimbatore
Industries – When the British occupied Coimbatore, the territory connected the Malabar ports with the rest of India. The British later expanded their Railway network in 1862, passing through Podanur to Cochin for quicker transit of raw materials required in England.
In 1888, Sir Robert Stanes founded the Coimbatore Spinning and Weaving Mills in the northern edge of the town after starting a coffee curing factory in Trichy road thus kick starting the Industrial journey of Coimbatore.
The Stanes textile mill he started is the forerunner to the huge textile industry of world repute which Coimbatore has today. Sir Robert Stanes would later assist several others in setting up their ventures.
Stanes arrived in India in 1858 while still a boy of seventeen. He immediately launched himself on a successful career as a coffee planter in Coimbatore. Five years later he established the first inland coffee – curing plant in India.
In 1885, Stanes & Co went out of business. Stanes recalled that “the firm suffered great losses and Messrs Stanes Watson failed in business, which led to the collapse of my firm. I had to begin all over again; all that I had was 500 rupees”.
Failure in business was at that time a disgrace and Stanes’s son, Fred, who was five at the time, remembered both the shame and also having to return to England on a cargo boat. Stanes wrote that “my dear wife endured it all without a murmur and with the greatest patience”.
He started again and the business again prospered. By the time of his death he owned cotton mills, coffee and tea plantations, coffee curing plants, motor works and tire retreading plants; Coimbatore is still a major industrial city today, largely through Stanes’s contribution.
When Coimbatore City Council was formed, he became chairman. He set up the Stanes School in the city in 1862. His elder brother, Thomas Stanes, had established the Stanes School in Coonoor, in 1858.
Two more mills ( Kalleeswara and Somasundra mills ) were established in 1910. Lakshmi Mills Company commenced their operations in 1911 in Papanaickenpalayam. By the 1930s, several textile mills had been established around Coimbatore due to the cheap power offered by the Pykara power station.
In 1900, Swamikannu Vincent, a railway engineer, built the first Cinema in South India, the “Variety Hall” ( now Delite Theatres ). His son Paul Vincent introduced talking motion pictures in South India.
In 1922, Narayanaswamy Naidu started a workshop to repair cane crushers and cotton ginning machines. Two years later, he established the Dhandayuthapani Foundry.  Around the same time, G.D. Naidu started his unique bus service.
He is also credited for manufacturing the first electric motor in India. In 1931, Pollachi Nachimuthu Gounder stated his Transport business which grew into a multi – crore industrial and trading house.
In the 1940s, a Sheffield University graduate, D. Balasundaram Naidu from Avarampalayam in Coimbatore, started his company Textool to manufacture textile machines of his design.
In 1965 another Textile family of VLB Naidu group set up Mopeds India Ltd after a Technical collaboration with Motobecane of France to manufacture their legendary Motobécane Mobylette 50 cc moped under the name Suvega, but, only the central office was in Coimbatore while the plant was set up in Tirupathi.
Coimbatore was also a major movie hub in 1930s and 1940s with two fully equipped studios, Central Studios and Pakshiraja Studios. Many latter-day Tamil movie stars started or spent their early career in these studios.
Coimbatore is the highest revenue earning District in Tamil Nadu. Coimbatore is called the Manchester of South India due to its extensive textile industry, fed by the surrounding cotton fields. It is also called as the pump city of India.
The City houses large number of small scale Engineering companies. The motor and pump industry supplies two thirds of India’s requirements. While its wet – grinder industry has a near monopoly.
Agriculture is still the major occupation in the district as in any other part of the Country. General trade attracts people from all over the state including the neighbouring Kerala.
The neighbouring city of Tirupur is Home to Asia’s largest garment manufacturing companies, exporting hosiery clothes worth more than Rs. 50,000 million. Coimbatore is also emerging as an IT and BPO city. Coimbatore is ranked at 17th place among the global outsourcing cities.
Maruti Udyog and Tata Motors source up to 30% of their automotive components from Coimbatore. The city also houses numerous jewellers engaged in jewellery exports. L&T has opened a 400 acre ( 1.6 kmz ) plant on Eachanari bypass road.
Wind Energy major Suzlon has planned to set up a foundry & machine shop in Coimbatore. Along with it Hansen Transmission, a Belgian Company which manufactures gearboxes for windmills is setting up a plant here with an investment of Rs 940 cr.
Some of the major Industries are Larsen and Toubro, Lakshmi Machine Works Ltd ( LMW ), Premier Instruments & Control Limited ( PRICOL ), ELGI Equipments, Shanti Gears, Roots Industries.
The Major Pump industries Sharp Industries, CRI Pumps, Texmo Industries, Deccan Pumps & KSB Pumps are renowned world wide. Coimbatore is also called as the Pump City.
Research and Development Organisations like Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, South India Textile Research ssociation contribute a lot to the city. Other industries like PSG, Sakthi group contribute a lot, and the now closed South India Viscose are one of the major employers in the city.
Coimbatore also has a 160,000 square feet trade fair ground, built in 1999. It was named COINTEC due to its hosting of INTEC. The Trade Fair complex, one of the country’s largest, was built in six months, and is owned by CODISSIA Coimbatore District Small Industries Association. It is also the country’s largest pillar-free hall, according to the Limca Book of Records.
The IT industry in Coimbatore is nascent compared to its textile and manufacturing industries, with Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Robert Bosch GmbH, KGISL and CSS Corp Pvt Ltd to name a few.