A.T.E. - 75 years of partnering the nation
Laying the Foundation
Founded in 1939, A.T.E. (known as Associated Textile Engineers, at the time) was a small trading company dealing in German textile machinery. Mr Shyamlal Bhagwati, the founder and a fervent freedom fighter, set up the company with the aim to challenge the British monopoly in textile machinery in India prevailing then and, because German technology was considered to be among the best in the world.
The road to establishing A.T.E. as the trusted brand it is known as today, has not been paved with roses. During World War II, and soon after the business was established, the company was nearly closed down as it was impossible to establish contact with its German counterparts. However, Kakaji – as Mr. Bhagwati was fondly known – held on and re-established contacts once the war was over.
After completing his graduation in electrical and mechanical engineering, Mr Atul Bhagwati, Kakaji’s nephew, joined the family business in 1954. Initially he spent 6 months in a large mill in Ahmedabad and later he went to Germany for training in the factories of A.T.E.'s principals, especially Truetzschler. Soon thereafter, he took over the company as Managing Director and established it as a private limited concern.
Meeting Challenges: The Rise of A.T.E.
Just as the company began tasting success, the Government of India imposed the import curb in 1957, to conserve the country’s foreign exchange. Not a man to bow down to challenges, Mr Atul Bhagwati along with Kakaji succeeded in persuading the German manufactures to make their machines in India in collaboration with well-established Indian engineering firms, nominated by Kakaji, for whom A.T.E. became an agent. This agency business kept expanding far and wide, including joint ventures with European principals, under the leadership of Mr Atul Bhagwati.
Mr Prakash Bhagwati, the younger brother of Mr. Atul Bhagwati, joined A.T.E. in 1973. An engineer by profession, Mr Prakash Bhagwati played a phenomenal role in the setting up of A.T.E.’s manufacturing units. Our first factory in Ahmedabad went into commercial production in 1975 and manufactured high speed, lightweight aluminium alloy flyers, which were previously imported. The gradual expansion and diversification of the company did not just stop at textiles, but included flow technology, and print and packaging solutions.
Charting a New Course
When Mr Anuj Bhagwati, the 3rd generation of the Bhagwatis, took over the reins of the management at A.T.E., he not only decided to pursue the current businesses of A.T.E., but he also decided to get involved in new businesses to address prevailing social needs, and steered A.T.E. on the principals of the triple bottom line: People, Planet and Profit, thus keeping intact A.T.E.’s founding principles. Considering India’s – and indeed, the world’s – dire needs for environmental protection and sustainability, A.T.E. thus decided to embark on the clean technology business by creating and deploying innovative products and solutions for addressing these social needs for a sustainable future. .
A.T.E. then plunged into the untested territories of clean technology businesses even as some of them were still in their nascent stages of evolution, with the odds stacked heavily against them. A.T.E. began its cleantech business journey in 2006 with its entry into the then little-known Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology. We then went on to cover wastewater treatment, eco-friendly cooling solutions, and energy efficiency solutions, thus encompassing the three essential elements of life: Air, waTer, and Energy.
Apart from joint ventures to manufacture next generation spinning machinery, A.T.E. has set-up a state-of-the art manufacturing company in Ahmedabad to manufacture precision spinning machinery components such as spindles, weighting arms, top rollers, and cradles, under the brand TeraSpin. These components are manufactured based on SKF technology, which has come to A.T.E.'s fold with A.T.E.'s take-over of SKF's textile component business in India.
Today, A.T.E. is a multi-product, multi-location conglomerate that operates in 8 business areas, and represents more than 50 world-renowned principals such as Trützschler, Karl Mayer, Fong's, Monforts, Huber, Sulzer. (Read more about the milestones in our 75 year journey)
A.T.E.’s values are not just about excellence in business but also include a deep-rooted sense of social responsibility, customer satisfaction and employee growth. With some of the best HR practices in place, A.T.E. is a ground for overall employee growth. There is also a firm commitment to ‘giving back to society’.
A.T.E. has always engaged with initiatives that help in uplifting and empowering society since its founding days. To cite a few examples, Kakaji was a freedom fighter. The Bhagwati Hospital in Mumbai and two rural hospitals in Gujarat were set up by A.T.E. and the Bhagwati family. The group has also adopted several villages in Gujarat. In the recent years, A.T.E. is actively associated with various NGOs, such as UDRI for improving Mumbai through urban planning and Praja Foundation, an NGO co-founded by Mr Anuj Bhagwati that serves as an educator and watchdog for improving governance in India. A.T.E. also supports various NGOs for promoting science, and for the welfare of underprivileged children of the society. (Read more about our initiatives in CSR)
Thus A.T.E. stands firm in its legacy of commitment, care, and innovation through all of its business and social ventures.