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Ashish Gaikwad, Managing Director, Honeywell Automation India

Image: Honeywell Automation India

Industrial Automation “Boosting the Indian manufacturing sector”

Jun 4, 2018

Ashish Gaikwad, Managing Director, Honeywell Automation India, in this interview with Suchi Adhikari, discusses the vision behind the recent expansion of Honeywell’s Fulgaon facility and the future trends, which will boost the Indian manufacturing sector. Excerpts…

The Indian government is keen on taking the manufacturing sector’s growth to 25% of the country’s GDP by 2022. What are the challenges that need to be addressed to achieve this target? How is Honeywell helping India to overcome these challenges and become a manufacturing hub?

As India rides on the high growth trajectory with more than 7 per cent GDP growth, it will continue to see a high demand of energy and fuels. However, the demand needs to be addressed with sustainable solutions. One of the macro trends in the country is the drive towards cleaner fuels and energy and Honeywell is playing an important role in promoting these initiatives. Refining of fuels with stringent specifications like BS VI will help reduce the emissions level. Honeywell is providing the right technologies to help Indian refiners prepare for the move from BS IV to BS VI. Secondly, in preparation with the move to BS VI, the automotive industries would need to modify the engines, which use fuel, so that emissions can be further reduced. To address this, Honeywell is working on turbochargers, which are fit on diesel and petrol engines, reducing the emissions and improving the efficiency of the engines. Thirdly, as India moves towards a gas-based economy, we will need the right equipment to measure, regulate and transfer gas to industrial and residential facilities. This will have a huge demand on the equipment that goes into the distribution of gas. Thus, this will also be a manufacturing opportunity for companies like Honeywell and will boost the Indian manufacturing sector.

Ease of doing business has been a major component of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Can you give us your opinion on the changes that you have witnessed in this context?

Honeywell has been present in the region since early 1930s. Our history goes back to the first refinery in the region in Digboi, Assam. We’ve always believed in the potential and talent of the region and hence the long-term association with the local stakeholders. We feel that key government initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ are making a positive impact on the business environment, including the ease of doing business in the region. There is a genuine intent by the government to help the industries to meet the designated GDP target of 25% by 2022. Thus, all the steps being taken are in the right direction.

The Indian manufacturing sector is yet to fully embrace the latest technologies. Given this, can you brief us on the Honeywell Connected Plant? What is the target market and demand for this solution within the Indian manufacturing sector?

The Honeywell Connected Plant helps manufacturers operate their plants more safely, efficiently and reliably by leveraging the power of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The main challenges facing manufacturers and plant operators today continue to be safety, efficiency, reliability, productivity and security. The power of digitization and our Honeywell Connected Plant programme allows us to address these challenges in new ways by leveraging the incredible amount of data being produced by our customers’ facilities. With Industry 4.0 becoming a reality, we would like to take a leadership position in bringing this change to the industry. Therefore, when it comes to the Honeywell Connected Plant, we are serious about implementing it as our core strategy. The initial target will be the leading industries as they will give us a platform to test our concepts. Once these solutions have been implemented successfully in the leading industries, we will provide this solution to the SME sector.

With Honeywell expanding its local footprint, can you share details of the Fulgaon factory expansion?

Being Honeywell’s largest facility in India, the extended Fulgaon facility will include an additional 76,000 sq. feet to the existing 75,000 sq. feet built in 2014. This will help in strengthening its ability to localize and develop new products in India. The facility expansion will now house a Customer Integration Center, Honeywell Thermal Solutions Factory, Warehouse and a Smart Metering Factory and Intelligrated Demo. It will contribute in developing solutions that not only work for the Indian market, but also cater to customers globally.

What are Honeywell’s future plans for the Indian market?

There is a commitment by the Honeywell management to invest in India. Our company has a significant presence in Maharashtra with its automation and turbocharger manufacturing facilities based in Pune, built with an investment of around INR 500 crore. The expanded Fulgaon factory is a part of that investment that we’d planned to do in the Indian market. ☐

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