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Seenivasan Balasubramanian

Chief Executive Officer

International Aerospace Manufacturing Private Limited (IAMPL)

2 Ratings

EVOLUTION OF COMMERCIAL AEROSPACE SECTOR Technologies are evolving at a much faster rate today

Oct 20, 2021

…says Seenivasan Balasubramanian, Chief Executive Officer, International Aerospace Manufacturing Private Limited (IAMPL), a joint venture (JV) between Rolls-Royce and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bangalore. In this interview with Juili Eklahare, he discusses how in commercial aerospace the immediate priority is to understand how the business is going to evolve, the digital initiatives at IAMPL and how we need to keep in view the benchmarks of excellence that are going to be at play in the future. Excerpts…

You have a ‘Make Things Happen’ attitude. With a long experience in the automotive & aerospace verticals, what do you think are the priorities for the industry right now and actions that must be taken at the soonest, for making the Indian industry a global manufacturing destination?

Understanding the changing customer and market needs is very important in the present situation. With the technology expecting to change to electric & hybrid in automotive, sustainability commitments are becoming a priority. Infrastructure development is also a key for moving forward.

In commercial aerospace, the immediate priority is to understand how the business is going to evolve and how that will be facilitated across the world. This is the time for the industry to improve the performance to ‘best in class’ levels for customers and to demonstrate the trusted partnership.

Can you tell us more about the capabilities IAMPL has and the services it offers?

We manufacturer more than 160 different high-precision machined, special processed parts, including rings, casings, shrouds, seals for the technologically advanced civil and defense aero-engines. Today, we have integrated machining technologies and special process capabilities under one roof which makes us competitive in terms of delivering zero-defect parts faster.

Presently, having gained the experience in the global quality and supply chain requirements, we are also ready to explore opportunities with other engine manufacturers in the industry.

Over the past 60 years, Rolls-Royce and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have produced engines together for military applications. Can you tell us how this collaboration has helped in nurturing the capability of the Indian aerospace industry?

This collaboration has worked in three primary ways – firstly, implementing the best practices and standards of quality for aerospace & defence across the industry. Secondly, implementing efficient production systems. And thirdly, hand-hold in developing methods, skills needed in the industry with the many years of their experience.

What do you think of the forecast for India becoming a global aerospace hub? Is it bright?

With our attractive civil and defence market, the availability of engineering capability & talent and competitiveness in cost, there is a bright opportunity for Indian aerospace to be a global hub. All the stakeholders need to work together, including the customers, suppliers and the government. We need to understand that technologies are evolving at a much faster rate today. Ten years from now, the job description of our engineers will be very different from what it is today. We need to keep in view the benchmarks of excellence that are going to be at play in the future.

IAMPL was one of the suppliers to Rolls-Royce which got nominated for Rolls-Royce Global Supplier of the year recently. What do you attribute this success to? Can you give us more details on this?

I attribute this to the ‘power of people’ in understanding the requirements to be a globally competitive player, working with a focus and doing things right the first time and every time. Rolls-Royce expects excellence in everything. Over the last ten years, we have trained our people to be the best and continue to implement that culture here at IAMPL. Also, Rolls-Royce helped us in training our people for its production systems. It is a step-by-step approach implemented right from the stage of process design up to the point of product shipment.

With digital/ smart manufacturing becoming the buzzword for the manufacturing sector, what are the initiatives at IAMPL in this area?

Digital has helped us to reduce, and wherever possible, eliminate manual intervention. This is helping our engineers to focus more on process improvement. We have done a pilot project of developing a system-designed quality plan, where the alpha-level accuracy matches or betters the manual effort. This will help us pursue excellence further. We have to demonstrate our capabilities on these parameters because Rolls-Royce continuously evaluates the performance of a vendor and rates vendor performance on quality, delivery, cost and management initiatives. To be a class-leading vendor, we need to score 90% or more and we are there. We have developed a digital-twin based Manufacturing Execution System (MES) with an integrated inspection system for every operation. We started this digitally empowered MES from 2018-2019.

We can proudly say that, in our industry, we have pioneered the digital twin-based manufacturing execution system in terms of integrating it with the production system and using its data for further improvements. Going forward, we aim to use our performance data for designing processes. We are working on an AI-based system which can provide decisions on control plans and ensures that the processes are in control. We have also adopted IoT techniques for further savings of power. That is a part of our digital drive. We use IoT-based devices for improving our efficiency in power consumption.

How is IAMPL / Rolls-Royce placed in supporting India’s ‘Make in India’ campaign? How are you implementing the same in growing the Indian Armed Forces?

We have demonstrated our integrated capabilities of machining, special processes and how they all are coupled with our digital manufacturing execution system, all available under one roof. Our constantly evolving capability is a natural advantage shared with HAL in all our joint programmes. At the same time, there are certain other manufacturing techniques where we have learned from them. It’s a synergy. I see this as supporting our industry ecosystem where we can become class-leading vendors to the global aerospace industry.

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  • Seenivasan Balasubramanian is a Mechanical Engineer with a post-graduation in Manufacturing Management from BITS Pilani and an Executive Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from Symbiosis International University. His experience spans across manufacturing, supply chain, procurement, program management and multi-location plant management. He has handled SAP implementations and transferred multiple programs from Europe, Asia and the US to India and led green-field projects.

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