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The Indian die & mould industry has evolved over the years and is presently a major contributor to the economy

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Viewpoints Die and mould in India: Challenges in meeting global standards

Jun 4, 2018

The die and mould making industry in India has developed over the years and vies today on a worldwide platform. Plus, the manufacturing practices of the tool room industry are also experiencing a drastic change. With the industry growing so fast, the viewpoint section explores the challenges that the die and mould industry has to deal with and how it can gain skilled manpower and compete at the global level. Excerpts…

“Die and mould industry is capital-intensive” — Vineet Seth, MD, South Asia & Middle East, Mastercam APAC

There is a huge amount of imports in die and mould in the country. For this, OEMs in India should start nurturing tool-rooms by working alongside with them and build an ecosystem that is sustainable and competent. Moreover, the die and mould industry also happens to be “capital-intensive”, which means that a lot of tool-rooms need to invest in machine tools and stock material in order to be competent. On the brighter side, many tool-room clusters are coming up at various locations in the country. As far as advanced manufacturing technology is concerned, we have nearly all major suppliers of products and services in India. But in order to play globally, our industry needs to focus on efficient design and manufacturing of moulds and dies, ensuring timely completion and delivery and creating a brand that speaks for itself.

Coming to the pros of the industry, the die & mould business is probably the most fortunate in terms of skilled manpower. I have seen no other domain with such pan-India presence, such as, tool-room education institutions in our country. Most of these institutions also have a mandatory internship during the final year, which helps students become industry-ready.

“Institutions are not equipped with the latest technologies” — Vivek Nanivadekar, Executive Director, Fibro India

The lead time and quality meeting global standards are major issues faced by the local die & mould making industry. New large investments are not seen coming through, which could be because a majority of tool makers are small and medium sized. We need to double the capacity considering growth prospects. However, a good sign is that as per a recent survey by TAGMA, the import of die & mould is decreasing and local manufacturing is increasing. The overall die & mould market is expected to grow by 10-15% in the next three years.

In addition, a couple of advanced countries are likely to stop manufacturing die & mould, for two reasons–one being competitiveness and the other being non-availability of skilled manpower. This opens up their doors to Indian tool makers. Talking about tool makers or skilled manpower for the tooling industry, we have good training institutes, which deliver few hundreds of tool makers every year. Conversely, these institutions are not equipped with the latest technologies. Hence, every company has to spend time, money and energy to bring up the students at par with the industry needs. Even though, major OEMs have their own such training institutions, MSMEs are still completely dependent on outside ones. Here, the government bodies and training institutions have to mutually find a solution to fill in the knowledge gap.

“Die and mould sector must adopt modern management systems” — Himanshu P Shaparia, Vice President – Sales, Jyoti CNC Automation

The Indian die & mould industry has evolved over the years and is presently a major contributor to the economy. Dealing with qualitative changes, complexity with higher accuracies, efficient processes and demand for extremely thin delivery time are some of the most crushing factors the industry is dealing with right now. These challenges can be addressed by doing away with old traditional approaches. The sector must adopt modern management systems.

Therefore, in order to make the sector a promising one, changing technology trends in the vertical, integrated approach in the overall production, and improved tool room management systems are some of the key converging factors. Nevertheless, knowledge and skill transformation is just as essential to survive. We face a dual challenge of severe scarcity of highly-trained, quality labour, and non-employability of large sections of the educated workforce that possess little or no job skills. Upgradation is needed here at both ends. Without skilled workforce, no sector can develop or grow. One must be open to adopting the latest technologies to stay attuned to the current industry working trends.

“Industry is meeting customer demands” — L Krishnan, Managing Director, TaeguTec India

Delivery is a critical aspect to focus on in the die and mould industry, if we aim to catch up with countries, such as, Taiwan, Korea and China, who are able to fulfill quick delivery requirements. But we must also acknowledge that the industry has adapted well and is well suited to meet most customer demands. However, for any business to grow globally, it helps for any organisation to be visible in the focused markets by way of participation in exhibitions. Also, being close to the customer helps them gain confidence in the product/service.

“Companies need to enhance in-house training facility” — Ramakant Reddy, Managing Director, LMT Tools India

The Indian die & mould industry is technically well developed to handle the manufacturing of any product. Ergo, one of the main difficulties in the die and mould industry, is meeting the delivery requirement of inter-company as well as external customers. Inability to do so creates chances for customers to import. So, the remedy to this can be, increasing the capacity in the current market (which is estimated to grow at CAGR 11%). Collaboration between suppliers to use each other’s expertise could also be another answer.

But we can’t forget about the requirements of skilled manpower. Die & mould is a specialised area and various institutes offer courses specialising in it. However, it is tough to find an individual who can handle all three aspects i.e. machining, fitting and tryout. Hence, companies need to enhance their in-house training facility. Also, starting a course in India that offers an M.Sc in Tool Making (similar to what is offered by RWTH Aachen University, Germany) could help Indian professionals boost their skills tremendously.

“Indian industries are arming themselves to face global competition” — Beng Chieh Quah, Head of Marketing, Asia Pacific, Faro

The Indian die and mould industry is seeing an overall growth in the manufacturing sector. The major push comes from the Government of India with its “Make In India” initiative and Indian industries are arming themselves to face global competition.

When it comes to the challenges in the die and mould industry, they are related to power failures and lack of upgraded knowledge of technical advancement, in terms of hardware and software. To overcome these, the industry needs to enroll itself aggressively in the “Make In India” initiative and learn new tools, as per global industry standards. The Government has taken the initiative to help with skill upgradation, and now companies should help their workforce to take up skill development programmes. In fact, there are several effective manufacturing seminars undertaken by GOI, which are interactive and provide hands-on facility to learners.

“Invest in and nurture manpower” — Pankaj Gauba, Head – Digital Manufacturing – India & Middle East, Autodesk

Cost pressures and competition can be called some of the chief hurdles in the die and mould industry. While the cost pressure comes from OEMs, the competition continues to challenge your quality and efficiency. Taking up technology across the shopfloor is the only key to this situation, which comes with the sole purpose of solving typical business challenges and staying ahead of the curve.

For the die and mould industry to become globally competitive, there are two aspects: firstly, we need to do everything possible in our control to deliver quality, without cutting corners. Secondly, we need to adopt technology without fear, because no business can survive in the next 5-10 years if it does not embrace technology. When it comes to skilled manpower, the government is doing its bit under the Skill India initiative. Entrepreneurs should invest in and nurture their manpower, as that would result in reducing attrition within their businesses.

“Consider technology over traditional methods” — B P Poddar, VP – Sales & Marketing, Fatty Tuna India (FEMCO)

The die & mould market is growing at the rate of 15-20%, which is a phenomenal progress. On the other hand, it is becoming gradually complex. Sectors, such as, healthcare, plastic, electronics, and automotive are experiencing an increased demand in die & moulds. To meet these ever-increasing demands, the industry must take a holistic 360 degree approach and consider technology over traditional methods of looking for upfront cost and machines. Besides, the sector must implement high quality machine tools that are capable of producing excellent quality and critical dies and moulds. The right selection of software and hardware is also of utmost importance.

Skill is another serious issue, which needs to be addressed urgently. Industry & academia must come together and understand the need of this particular segment. The industry must also be willing to participate in terms of financial resources in creating skills through academia. Plus, the industry association must create skill building programmes through participation of industries and academia. Such programmes need to be specifically designed, keeping present and future industry manpower needs in mind. In my view, this segment is fragmented and should consider high-speed machining and right CNC features necessary for optimal speed control functions of machine. Along with this, die & mould manufacturers must re-align their short and long-term business strategies.

Image Gallery

  • Vineet Seth, MD, South Asia & Middle East, Mastercam APAC

    Image: Mastercam

  • Vivek Nanivadekar, Executive Director, Fibro India

    Image: FIBRO India Precision Products

  • Himanshu P Shaparia, Vice President – Sales, Jyoti CNC Automation

    Image: Jyoti CNC Automation

  • L Krishnan, Managing Director, TaeguTec India

  • Ramakant Reddy, Managing Director, LMT Tools India

    Image: LMT Tools

  • Beng Chieh Quah, Head of Marketing, Asia Pacific, Faro

    Image: FARO

  • Pankaj Gauba, Head – Digital Manufacturing – India & Middle East, Autodesk

    Image: Autodesk

  • B P Poddar, VP – Sales & Marketing, Fatty Tuna India (FEMCO)

    Image: FEMCO

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