Founded in 1846, the ZEISS Group is a global technology leader operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. Headquartered in Germany, the company has representatives in more than 40 countries. In India, it is headquartered in Bengaluru and is present in the fields of industrial metrology, microscopy, medical technology, vision care and sports & cine optics. ZEISS India was started as a pure sales unit in 1998 and has developed into a full scale representation which now includes software R&D center, two production facilities, Global IT services, and more than 20 sales & service offices in almost all Tier I and Tier II cities across India.
Q. In the current market scenario, how do you look at the Indian market for your business?
Daniel Sims, Managing Director, Carl Zeiss India: Across all our other businesses not just the industrial measuring segment, the Indian market is a fairly exciting place as it is one of the fastest growing regions of the world from a fundamental economic perspective. There is a lot of investment taking place for the growth of the manufacturing sector. In addition to this, there has been an evolution in the need for quality measuring equipment that are Made in India. Both these aspects combined make India an interesting market for us and hence, we are growing across all our business sectors.
Q. In the industrial measuring segment, the ZEISS Group has established a manufacturing facility in Bengaluru. What are the different types of measuring machines manufactured in it?
Dr. Jochen Peter, President and CEO, Industrial Metrology Business Group, Carl Zeiss: Our manufacturing facility in Bengaluru is one of our four facilities located around the globe where we have recently started manufacturing Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs). Initially, we had undertaken the task of assembling two popular and proven models of CMMs called CONTURA G2 and SPECTRUM at the facility. The machines are used for quality control in various industries such as automotive, aerospace, wind energy, infrastructure and the heavy engineering equipment industry. It also helps in the production of precise parts with low rejection rates, provides feedback and also offers results that can be trusted. The plant not only caters to the local consumption but also exports to 12 different countries.
Q. What are the recent products launched by the ZEISS Group?
Dr. Jochen Peter: We have recently launched the ZEISS Smart Proof 5 Microscope, which checks the surface roughness measurement by an optical method. We have also introduced Automation – Integration of CMM and Roughness measurements and software – Pi-Web that provides a platform to integrate manufacturing and measuring equipment. This software also provides real time meaningful data. In addition to this, we have launched ZEISS CONTURA – the latest machine from ZEISS for flexible, reliable and uncompromising quality assurance for larger measuring ranges. We will continue to innovate and introduce new products in the market.
Q. What is the growth percentage you are looking at for CMMs in the Indian market in the next one year?
Dr. Jochen Peter: Markets can be stronger or slower therefore a growth of 10-12% is a realistic goal. It is important for our company to do better than our competitors. Hence, I’m not worried about growing slowly as long as we are still growing strong in our competition.
Q. The company also has an R&D centre which is expected to cater to the research needs of the company’s global markets. How important is R&D for your company?
Dr. Jochen Peter: From a global perspective, there is a need for innovation and we have always placed our resources where innovation happens and India is one such market. About 15 months ago, we established an R&D centre in Bengaluru wherein our employees are working on our metrology software and testing it. Software testing plays a key role in supporting R&D. Our company has partnered with global companies for software development, software testing, service and applications. There is a significant benefit in carrying out software development and software testing in the country as it meets not only the local demands but also global demands.
Research and Development plays a critical role in manufacturing. The R&D division carries out work on process development of technical and intermediates, custom synthesis, process improvement, application research and basic research. This can only happen because of development in IT. Integration of IT and R&D provide solutions for critical processes thereby enhancing automation and manufacturing output. Thus, we are in a transition process and are steadily moving from manufacturing to research and development.
Q. What are the challenges faced by the company in the Indian market?
Dr. Jochen Peter: We have to serve a wide range of customer needs. In Europe the needs are more homogenous in nature. In India, the players investing in CMMs have completely different needs. For instance, when a multinational company buys 50-100 customised machines from us, it becomes a huge challenge for the team on the ground. Therefore, we need this huge range of skills and competitiveness within our team.
Daniel Sims: But that is also an advantage that we have as compared to some of the local manufacturers. We locally build machines that fulfil majority of the customer requirements as we have a bigger portfolio in terms of technology. Also, we can invest in innovation and cutting edge technology as we have a global footprint in the market.
Shridhar Pissay, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Industrial Metrology Division, Carl Zeiss India: The ZEISS brand stands as a guarantee of a good product. We have to maintain some level of reliability for the product as we can’t compromise on that. Hence, the price of our products goes up a little. This is a minor challenge for us at the moment.
Dr. Jochen Peter: This is an important aspect as eventually most of our customers will become exporters. Therefore, I think it is beneficial for them that they begin with global quality standards as this will help them to grow their business on a global scale.
Q. What are the company’s expansion plans for the near future?
Dr. Jochen Peter: We have tripled the volume in the last two years or even more in our Indian facility. Owing to our expert potential we are continuing to add almost 30–50% of capacity each year. We have also been hiring double digits of people in the last 12 months and I expect this to continue. Currently, we are running a few tech centres in Chennai, New Delhi, Pune and are looking forward to expand it across the country in the next few years.
Shridhar Pissay: We are targeting different regions such as Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Jamshedpur to set up our Tech Centres as we would like to provide expert services to our customers. The centres comprise several CMM’s, roundness testers, surface and contour measuring equipment, non-contact CMM’s and industrial CT measuring equipment in the competence center. These machines are demonstrated to prospective customers showcasing their ability to provide solutions to their quality problems.
With continued investments of over 17 years in India, the ZEISS Group is positive about the Indian market!