Interview Powering through the manufacturing industry
India - Here are excerpts from a talk with Director of Sales & Marketing, Renishaw India, Brett Allard, wherein he expunds on the company's performance in view of the changing economic situation in India.
Please shed some light on the current market scenario of the machining industry in India. How has the industry progressed in the background of the government’s “Make in India” initiative?
Brett Allard: “Make in India” has definitely had an impact – it has unified the industry and as a result has improved confidence. Confidence tends to improve investment, and investment improves output – so it is definitely having an impact. The wider government strategy of investing in infrastructure projects, defence and aerospace (to name a few) are also seeing a requirement for investment in more advanced manufacturing capacity. Therefore, Indian machine builders and suppliers are benefitting from this demand. All of this is good news for the industry in general and associated supply chains. Renishaw is fortunate to both benefit directly from this and contribute, as we have a manufacturing facility based in Pune, so increased demand in India means that our facility becomes busier, meaning we have to invest more directly in India.
What are the company’s initiatives for increasing productivity and efficiency at the shop floor?
At Renishaw, we interpret this to be about data driven and closed-loop manufacturing process – applying data to improvements in the manufacturing process through connectivity. Our closed-loop production cell will demonstrate this perfectly, and show just how much benefit can be obtained through applying techniques using standard equipment that many Indian companies have already invested in. This aligns with the wider Industry 4.0 trend within the global manufacturing industry and Renishaw has a unique offer in that we can add significant value to the machining process by ensuring that machines are capable of manufacturing to required tolerances and standards (through our calibration offer), ensuring tool integrity and condition and in cycle metrology (through our machine tool offer), and then post process measurements (through our gauging and CMM offers). All this is combined n our productive process pyramid concept.
R&D is a vital aspect for players in the machining industry. What are the measures adopted by the company in this segment?
Renishaw plc. is founded on research and development, and as it has grown, it has continued to invest around 15% of its annual budget into R&D. Considering we are a £500m business, this is a huge investment. Renishaw is not just the leader in the metrology field - it has actually created many of the technologies that are in use today, beginning back in 1973 with the invention of the touch trigger CMM probe in order to measure the fuel pipes for the Concorde Supersonic Airliner. R&D has become the bedrock of the business, and innovations such as Revo 5 axis CMM scanning, Sprint Analog Machine tool scanning probes, Equator Gauging solutions and the new Ren AM500 metal additive manufacturing (3d printing) solution will be displayed at machine tool events. In addition, the revolutionary XM-60 calibration system that is able to calibrate all 6 degrees of freedom in a single setup will also displayed.
What are the challenges faced by the Indian machining industry? And how can they be overcome?
Firstly, I would say that the move from a domestic focused market to a global player is a challenge. Whilst quality has always been a priority, the global OEM’s that are increasingly turning to India as a supply base are more demanding than the domestic manufacturers have typically been. This is most evident in the automotive, aerospace and medical segments that have complex quality standards and are highly regulated. Investment in advanced manufacturing techniques is the key to overcoming this. Second, is technology investment itself - referring to the relatively high entry cost into building true process control into manufacturing processes. With an abundance of available labour, it has been seen to be more cost effective to increase headcount rather than invest in technology to automate, improve efficiency and reduce scrap rates.
This interview appeared in www.maschinenmarkt.international.