Traditionally, automotive sector were the biggest users of robotic automation but now we see that even other industries like hospital bed manufacturer, E-Rickshaw manufactures, power plant equipment.

What is your strategy to expand business for existing product range?
Our major share of business is dependent on Automotive sector. We are expanding the customer base into other customer segments like infrastructure and Railways. As announced in the last fiscal budget Government has big plans to invest in infrastructure sector – Power, Bridges, Dams, Roads and Urban infrastructure development. Infrastructure sector is a key driver for the Indian economy. This sector is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development and thus intense focus from government. Infrastructure sector has a plan to invest Rs. 100 lakh crore (US$ 1.5 trillion) over the next 5 years. Rs 50 lakh crore (US$ 750 billion) investment plan is there for Railway infrastructure 2018-30.

What are the trending technologies in the welding industry?
The skilled –employee shortage is a major problem for industrial manufacturing in India. According to the American Welding Society, 40 per cent of manufacturing companies declined new contracts because of not enough skilled workers were available. When skilled employees are hard to recruit and retain, it is essential to automate welding processes. As labour cost rises, the automation accelerates ROI and improves a company’s competitive position. Robotic automation is catching up fast. Traditionally, automotive sectors were the biggest users of Robotic automation but now we see that even other industries like Hospital bed manufacturer, E-Rickshaw manufactures, power plant equipment manufacturers are slowly implementing robotics automation for welding. Robots are a great way to achieve Arc welding tasks. They help us to tackle the skills shortage as well as improve productivity, quality , efficiency and more.

What is your expectation from the industry bodies and policy makers to capitalise the present market?
India has a target to become 5 Trillion US$ economy by 2024-25 and 10 Trillion US$ economy by 2031-32. That means average annual nominal GDP growth to be 11%. It is a huge challenge to meet massive infrastructure creation to achieve the planned GDP growth. Steel is the foundation of progress. Welding technology is the foundation of steel usage. Currently (2017) India’s per capita consumption of steel is 70 Kg, which is expected to increase to 158 Kg by 2030 as per National Steel Policy (NSP) 2017. India’s population is expected to grow to 1.46 billion in 2030. So, total expected consumption of steel in 2030 to be 158 Kg x 1.46 Billion population = 230 Million tonnes . In 2017 India consumed approx.. 91 Million steel. In simple terms it can be understood that what we achieved in 70 years , we need to achieve 150% of that in next 13 years. As per a rough estimate there are 2.5 lac welding operators in 2017 and we need 3.8 lac welders in next 13 years .

Government need to invest heavily on creating huge amount of skilled welders. On private level industry has created some institutes but it is very small as compared to total demand. Additionally Automation will see huge growth as welding volume need to be coupled with global quality and global standard of speed of welding fabrication. Industry bodies need to make metal fabricators aware about latest technology available to adopt global practices in welding.

What is your company’s outlook for 2022?
We see a healthy growth in our business by 2022 and beyond. Apart from machine and robot hardware, we have invested in our division on Industry 4.0, which will be the business of future. With the help of internet machines will communicate to each other , and real time data will be available on remote computer , tablets and mobile. Industry 4.0 system will help manufacturers to quickly adapt to changing demands of customers and reduce wastage drastically.n

Amrityoga, Sr Manager-Marketing, Panasonic Smart Factory Solutions India

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