How did you come across the idea of starting your venture with Abhiwins? Looking back, can you trace back the journey of your company?
Abhiwins was started in May 2021, as a Mech Tech start-up. Our objective is to create automatic probes and tool setters for CNC machines. These products are designed and manufactured in line with the Indian operating conditions so that they are highly affordable as compared to imported options. They are also rigid enough to withstand the harsh environment of day-to-day operations. We are on a mission to remove the fear associated with probes in the operators/owner’s mind so that probes become a default accessory that they can opt with their CNC machines.
Mech Tech (or manutech = manufacturing tech) is an uncharted territory for many young entrepreneurs. What made you join this territory and what were the challenges you had to face?
I was supporting my family business Manleo, and during that time, I decided to get into the business of probes and tool setters and provide solutions that customers demanded. Therefore in 2020, after extensive market research and visiting hundreds of customers across India, we realised the gap between which solutions customers need and which solutions are available today. This drove us to start this Mech Tech, where we are innovating and bringing affordable automation to help manufacturing move from ‘feel’ based methods to ‘system’ based method of reference taking through our products. COVID-19 restrictions on travel and exhibitions getting deferred were challenges that restricted face-to-face visits in the past two years. Besides, semiconductor shortage is affecting the industry worldwide with slow product development.
You closely work with many machine tool builders and users of CNC machines. Do you think Indian SMEs are ready to adopt high-end solutions?
Yes, there are several MSMEs who are now more willing to adopt technology & post COVID, several companies have seen operators’ shortage escalate. This has hit their operations and profitability forcing them to be more technology-dependent than manpower-dependant. Also, most of the OEMs are expecting their suppliers to comply to tighter tolerances, which means 100-200 microns was acceptable a few years ago, and today 30-50 microns is the new norm. So, companies cannot match the quality standards using crude and conventional methods. Technology is no longer good to have, but a must to have across manufacturing process.
Companies are ready to accept technology, however, acceptance is faster when solutions are affordable as well as have good service assurance associated with them.
What are the emerging trends in the Indian machine tool industry?
For customers, there is a wide choice of MTBs, who are manufacturing machines indigenously and this competition has only propelled improved quality at affordable investment. This eases financing options making it the correct time to be present in the manufacturing space. In terms of trends, I see that automation including robotics, Additive Manufacturing, import substitution and digital marketing are going to dominate the industry.
How will concepts like industry 4.0 shape the future of Indian shop floors?
Especially with MSMEs, there is still a substantial amount of groundwork to be done before these companies adopt Industry 4.0. The biggest aspect of this is data collection, mining and analysis. Firstly, systems need to be created for data gathering & then we can talk about actions, predictive & preventive as a result of data analysis.