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V V Kamath

Managing Director

Fronius India

1 Rating

WELDING & ASSEMBLY We need to embrace the newer ways of manufacturing

Jan 20, 2020

The forthcoming decade is of ‘data’ and ‘being in constant touch’ – companies have to design their products keeping this in mind - V V Kamath, Managing Director, Fronius India

What is your outlook on the current business scenario and what are the changes anticipated in this year? How optimistic are you in terms of the economy bouncing back on track?

India will always be in the limelight with an importance to the world economy. Even if activity slows down to a snail's pace for a while, its absolute size makes its contribution to the global growth far more valuable. As soon as next year, India's monetary and fiscal stimulus will begin to kick in. We are optimistic that our economy will certainly pick up to 6% in 2020.

What is your agenda / plan-of-action for the year 2020, in order to be competitive and stay relevant to customers and catch up with the growth momentum? Upcoming challenges can no longer be met using conventional methods. What's your take on this?

2019 was a year of uncertainties, with lots of ups and downs. The number of product launches in the automotive industry declined in 2019. Companies were looking at products that won’t need many changes before the new norms come into effect. Two and four-wheeler makers have pulled capacity expansion plans, as they expect the demand to fall. In manufacturing sectors, the new wave of automation is being driven by robotics and automation into the workplace. Moreover, the forthcoming decade is of ‘data’ and ‘being in constant touch’ – companies have to design their products keeping this in mind.

And yes, upcoming challenges can no longer be met with conventional technologies, because of the sudden transitions happening in various technological advancements. For example, the wired telephone to mobiles to smart phones transition happened so fast that the phone has become one’s bank. The same type of transitions are also happening in the metal industry. In order to meet these challenges, one has to keep his/her eyes and ears open to all the changes happening around the world. Today, everyone wants to have data and would like to get connected on a real-time basis. This is possible when one has technologies built on an open platform. I think conventional methods may not be viable on a long-run basis.

How should a company effectively bridge the gap between optimising existing technologies & investing in advancements? Would you like to share examples from your organisation?

To a large extent, investment in advancement works. Every advancement brings in obsolete for some process. But it does not mean that a new advancement works well. This could be due to the lack of skill and understanding of the advancement. Till one meets the skill level required, it is better to optimise existing technologies.

Our company always thrives on the development of advanced customer-centric products and process, with a sheer R&D focus to bridge the gap of existing technologies. Our Industry 4.0 ready and high performance welding power sources, with intelligent technologies, will always be an advance technology to meet the challenges of the manufacturing sector. One of the examples wherein companies have to invest in is wire arc Additive Manufacturing. We have the facility to fabricate real time components where there is an ample scope to utilise these advanced technologies in order to conserve existing resources.

How can India build sustainable breakthrough ecosystems for nurturing global businesses and achieving manufacturing-driven growth? At the same time, how can the industry respond to uncertain economic cycles and technological disruptions, simultaneously?

Global business is not new to India. But we have to remember that the other part of the world is also catching up. We need to embrace the newer ways of manufacturing in order to keep up with the world. L1 has to be replaced with technically advanced as well futuristic technologies. Our CAPEX budget spending has to be top-notch, keeping certain aspects in mind rather than just saving a few pennies.

One of the key drivers for manufacturing growth is spending on R&D activities – develop the product, patent it and then sell it to the whole world. This has to be top-driven. The industry knows that the business has to undergo the economic cycle because it is a cycle. That does not mean that one doesn’t invest today, fearing what comes tomorrow. One of the keys to strive and thrive today, considering any organisation, is to understand that the structure of the organisation also has to be dynamic to adjust to the market conditions and technical disruptions. Today’s millennials understand this very well. One should look at the way technologies are dumped as well as how newer innovations are embraced.

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