Feb 10, 2017

The Indian machine tool sector is focusing on ‘digitalisation’ in order to create a sustainable growth pattern and while there are many players who cater to this segment, Siemens believes that people have understood their digitalisation story better than their competitors. Vijay Pratap Singh, Head – Motion Control, Digital Factory, Siemens in his smart blue formal wear along with a warm smile on his face shares his thoughts on the Indian machine tool sector and also elaborates on how digitalisation can help increase productivity for MSMEs and SMEs.  

What is your perspective on the Indian machine tool market?

Vijay Pratap Singh: India is a very important market for us; it is one of those economies that are not too dependent on exports. Our domestic consumption of machine tools is pretty high; today we are importing about 55% – 60% from other countries as compared to the earlier 65%-70% around 3-5 years back. This is because we are producing about 40% of machine tools within the country and this ensures that there is a huge scope for Indian companies to grow. Now, we are witnessing a transition towards Indian OEMs as they are in the process of occupying a significant share in the machine tool industry. They are also upgrading themselves and as we are one of the system providers of the whole machine tool industry we are providing them with the best technologies of the globe. Through this, Siemens is helping the Indian machine tool industry to reach the next level of manufacturing which is digitalisation.

As you mentioned that digitalisation is the next level of manufacturing, how are the MSMEs and SMEs responding to this concept? And what are your latest product offerings for the same?

Singh: The Indian machine tool industry comprises of about 25% large players and the remaining 75% is dominated by MSMEs and SMEs players. Currently our MSMEs and SMEs are full of ideas when it comes to the concept of digitalisation or Industry 4.0. However, their challenges are common. For instance, productivity is the biggest challenge for them and that is where our digital solutions come into the picture. We have introduced very scalable solutions under the theme ‘Digitalisation for higher productivity’ for MSMEs and SMEs such as the SINUMERIK CNC systems that offer optimal solutions for every machine tool system–from standard lathe/ VMCs, midrange machines for complex machining to high end machines.  With the SINUMERIK PPU 161, SINUMERIK 828D Basic, SINUMERIK 828D Advanced and SINUMERIK 840Dsl, Siemens enables its users to enhance productivity.

We also provide solutions for CAD/CAM, the virtual machine and the networking of machines. Through the integrated OPC UA server onboard the SINUMERIK 828D one can witness the machine availability details of machines on a customized dashboard. Also, the SINUMERIK MDynamics model offers top surface, high speed cutting, kinematic transformations create a unique set of highlights for demanding and sophisticated milling machines. With advanced features like balance cutting in turning one can shorten the machining time by using axis-parallel for stock removal. These new features and functions help machine manufacturers to increase the productivity and quality in cutting. 

For large industry players, Siemens has introduced for the first time in India cutting-edge digitalization solutions that help develop a digital twin for virtual part production and cloud-based data services – Mindsphere, which can support machine and plant data evaluation using special tools in order to assess and optimize the condition of machines and plants.

A recent study states that the increasing use of digitisation will make Indian employees lose their jobs. What are your views on this?

Singh: The whole world is talking about ‘Industry 4.0’ but in India we have various revolutions moving in parallel to each other. We are not only moving from 3.0 to 4.0 but in some places we are still moving from 1.0 to 2.0. In our country we are not even completely electrified, in some places we are still moving from electrification to automation and in some automation to digitalisation. I feel digitalisation is not going to reduce the number of jobs but it will demand a change in skill set. I do not see it as a jobless growth and we will further spread this message of digitalisation along with its advantages in order to increase the industry’s productivity.

In terms of policies, how have national initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘National Capital Goods Policy’ helped the MSMEs to grow?

Singh: The ‘Make in India’ campaign has oriented people in one direction and this is exactly what a high level policy should do, it should act as an enabler in order to create the right business environment. The government is in the process of implementing it but the speed at which it is being executed could be improved.  

Secondly, the National Capital Goods Policy is a conscious effort made by the government to reach out to the MSMEs and see them grow. Under this policy, there are various subsidies made available to them for purchasing a capital good and this will help them to make that initial investment and in the process their return on investment calculation will also become easier. 

As a company we are also assisting these players by providing them with smart financing solutions through our ‘Siemens Financial Solutions’ concept. These financial solutions are designed to help businesses of all sizes grow and fuel the pace of technology adoption. Apart from this, we also have a Technology & Application Centre in Peenya, Bengaluru. It is a state of the art knowledge sharing and training facility created by Siemens to mainly propagate the idea of increasing productivity with the help of digitalisation to MSMEs.

The ‘digitalisation revolution’ aims to boost production and with more MSMEs and SMEs being encouraged to join the ‘digitalisation revolution’, we are certain that the Indian machine tool industry is poised for growth! 

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