How is the cutting tools industry playing its role in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’? How is it helping in the overall industrial manufacturing growth?
When it comes to metalworking and component manufacturing, cutting tools become an indispensable part of manufacturing processes, be it micro-precision components or any part of the vehicle. The Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative is all about making India ‘self-reliant’ in order to boost the economy, industrial growth and infrastructure. This gives an immense scope for the development of all types of industries, particularly the manufacturing sector. The Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative is set to benefit all sectors, like the automotive, aerospace, medical, energy, railways, etc. It will eventually help with the growth of other industries, like the handicraft industry, cottage industry, MSMEs, etc. Therefore, being strategic partners to various industries, it opens a vast canvas for us as well.
How has MMC Hardmetal India strived to take its technology beyond the established norms and practices of metal cutting normally observed on the shop floor? What are the challenges overcome in this process?
The world is embracing the new industrial revolution. We have witnessed much advancement in metal cutting technology in the recent times. These developments pertain to smart manufacturing, high-speed machining, near net machining of ‘difficult-to-cut- materials’ and dry cutting methods. Our research and development focus on these aspects and they reflect in our products too. We have always endeavoured to take our technology beyond the established norms with total adherence and compliance to our core values, ‘for people, society and the earth.’
The challenges that we need to overcome are about meeting customers’ high expectations, delivering the best products with high precision, reliability, top-class efficiency and enhanced durability. Other couple of challenges are about environment protection and keeping human exertion to minimum levels.
Do you see radical changes in the cutting tool field, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly the last two years?
The pandemic has created a broad awareness amongst everyone across the world. Strategic changes are required to align with the new situation. This includes digitisation in manufacturing as well as other business processes, such as supply chain activities, sales, customer support activities and so on. The world will move towards the new industrial revolution much faster than envisaged. This includes the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, connectivity, computational power and analytics to reduce or avoid mobility of employees. Many companies have started taking steps in this direction. They have provided digital access to their employees, business associates and to customers as well, in order to ensure the smooth functioning of various business processes.
Your company’s business operation, production, etc were affected due to the pandemic. How did you keep your team agile and nimble during this period?
We evolved a strong communication system amongst us to stay connected and had regular dialogue among us. With digital support, we held online meetings/interactions & training sessions with our customers, distributors and team members. We have continued this practice even after the situation has eased out. Similarly, we utilised the non-active time to study and discuss the latest technological developments and market challenges. All these efforts kept us agile and nimble.
You say that any technology used with bad intent turns into a disruptive technology. Can you elaborate?
Technology itself does not wear any tag such as good or bad. Every innovation or technology is aimed to make human life easier. But history is fraught with a few innovations that have proved fatal for mankind. For example, Sir Alfred Nobel invented the dynamite, a high explosive for mining and building. But it was misused to disrupt and destroy human life. The term disruptive technology is associated to Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT, robots, self-driving cars, home assistants, electronic gadgets and services, etc. We have plenty of examples that show how the use of AI, IoT, with bad intent, turns disruptive and leads to cybercrime. The same can also be said about robots and home assistants.
In an interview almost three years ago, you mentioned that the converging of IT and OT and advancements in additive & subtractive manufacturing are technology developments that will have the maximum traction. Three years later, do you still believe the same or have there been more technology developments & trends about?
Yes, indeed. The integration of IT and OT in the manufacturing process leads to superior enterprise management. It helps the enterprise to validate business ideas and allows rationalising capital expenditure. It allows advancements in 3D visualisation, Additive Manufacturing and industrial robots and facilitates modern technology to improve process efficiency & boost production. With thorough knowledge of engineering processes and advanced machine tools & equipments microprocessors and sensors, as well as communication protocols, the integration of IT & OT becomes very effective. In recent times, we have seen the development of integrated data network and digital platforms which facilitates automation and smart manufacturing.
Your company has been associated with IMTEX for more than 18 years. After a big gap, what opportunities are you looking at grabbing at the exhibition in 2022? How do you plan to make up for the time we were all virtual?
IMTEX has always fetched us many exciting opportunities. I look forward to this event with great hope and aspirations and to having fruitful interactions with many stalwarts. I also expect the gatherings to be more pointed, highly insightful and interactive.
Our endeavour is to make the most of it by introducing cutting-edge technology and innovative products, such as our new chip breaker system series, a wide range of grooving products, our new ASPX series cutter for face milling and so on.