Quah Beng Chieh, Head of Marketing, FARO, Asia Pacific shares insights about establishing a manufacturing base in the country along with prospective opportunities present in the Indian market.
Quah Beng Chieh: As the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement technology, FARO develops and markets portable coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and 3D imaging devices that solve dimensional metrology problems. The company’s portfolio of products enables users from a variety of markets to perform high-precision 3D measurement, imaging, and comparison of parts and compound structures within production and quality assurance processes. Our 3D measurement technology allows companies to maximize efficiencies and improve processes.
In 2000, the company made its entry into Asia, opening its first office outside of USA in Japan. Four years later, we ventured into the Indian market and established its India head office in New Delhi. Since its inception in India, we have supplied many local manufacturers from various vertical industries with its array of advanced 3D metrology and scanning devices.
The Indian manufacturing industry is maturing, and this leads to manufacturers developing higher standards and demands for precision and speed in quality checks. With manufacturers’ products and measurement needs growing in complexity, and their quality control and inspection tasks becoming more intricate, sophisticated measuring equipment like FARO’s are vital for a production facility.
Encouraged by the growth in demand, we inaugurated a branch office in Chennai in 2011 and another in Pune in 2014, paving the way for the company to increase on-the-ground support for its customers. To this day, India continues to be a key market for us, and we will spare no efforts to ensure adequate assistance for our customers in this region.
Chieh: Since its inception in 1981, we have kept the production of its metrology solutions and technologies within the USA and Germany, for various reasons related to consistency and quality control. Today, the ability to ensure that our technologies meet the strictest inspection standards continues to be one of the company’s top priorities.
We will consider the possibility of establishing a manufacturing base here in India when the business need arises. At present, our global operations are streamlined for highest efficiency. Our 90,000 sq ft technology center and manufacturing facility in Exton, Pennsylvania, was built to specifically focus on the FARO Laser Tracker and FARO Cobalt Array Imager product lines. The facility also supports the firm’s customer service capabilities and features advanced optical metrology research laboratories. In addition, the company continues to utilize its other facility in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and in Stuttgart, Germany.
Chieh: India is currently undergoing significant changes with its vast infrastructure investment, related to the country’s ‘Smart Cities Mission’ – which was launched in 2015 to boost economic development, technological innovation, and sustainable growth in the country. The initiative involves a tremendous amount of construction and building projects, many of which will call for high precision measurement (e.g. for rail construction) and high accuracy scanning (e.g. building construction). In this regard, we recently launched innovative products, such as the FARO FocusM 70 and the FARO Laser Tracker VantageS that can provide effective support.
Chieh: Last year, we supplied to the researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) with our FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D X 300. The project was to provide the Ministry of Railways with insights on India’s current railway infrastructure and recommendations for improvements on the tracks, signaling, stations, and terminals. A first of its kind, the research will help shape the country’s future railway infrastructure and will require accurate and objective results to facilitate progress.
Using the compact and lightweight Focus3D, the team of researchers completed the task of scanning the Roorkee Railway Station in just 10 days, which is a job that could have otherwise taken 30 days. The Focus3Dperforms well even under direct sunlight and this feature proved to be vital for the team, as it enabled them to acquire data regardless of lighting conditions.
We are encouraged by the success that IIT Roorkee achieved, and we will continue to share its expertise with various partners.
Chieh: R&D is at the core of what we do. To accommodate the market’s demand for more innovative and high performing measurement technologies, we continue to invest in research at our technology center at Exton. The industry that we operate in is highly competitive. As technology is always changing, it becomes even more vital for the organization to prioritize research activities in order to stay ahead. We believe that it is our responsibility to innovate with ‘user experience’ as the main driver. Investing in R&D activities allows us to meet the market needs of today and anticipate new ones tomorrow.
Chieh: With the ‘Make in India’ program firmly in place, India is reforming to become the third largest global economy by 2030, and we see potential in the country’s growth. As mentioned previously, the manufacturing industry is maturing, and companies have become more discerning. Increasingly, manufacturers are adopting higher standards and demanding greater precision and speed in their operations, especially for inspections and quality checks. The challenge for us here is to constantly innovate and develop specific solutions to meet these demands – which we have been actively doing.
India is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. With the Indian government pushing for infrastructure investments, the immediate future is bright for companies operating in the industrial manufacturing and construction segments. For these reasons, we continue to see India as a key part of our company’s business, and we endeavor to overcome the challenges in this market.