Manufacturing and Machining

In Hindustan Motors, I started as executive trainee, a new concept of building managers for the future because of the company’s close relationship with General Motors, the largest company in the world at that time. After a short over-viewing of various departments of the automobile giant in the country, I started working in machine shop as it was called in those days. I used to convince some easy going workmen and work on the machine tools as regular operator to learn the tricks of the trade. I learnt a lot that Prof (later on Dr.) Chandiramani couldn’t have helped. Those were the years when Hindustan Motors were indigenizing the manufacturing of the components and buying the most modern machine tools for the same. I got myself shifted to machine tools tryout department that used to prove the machines for the production engineering aspects and cycle time before handing over to the operation. It was a great learning. Later on I was shifted to the operation, and got the first promotion as ‘superintendent’ in Axle Plant. The designation soon became more civil with a change as ‘Area Manager’ and later just ‘Manager’. After a visit to Vauxhall Motors, UK, I was shifted to become Area manager of Engine Plant. Transmission came under me only when I got promoted as Manufacturing Manager, Mechanical. Thus all along, I remained close to machining.

At one time, the President suggested me to take over as the Manager, car assembly. I was forthright to reject his offer on ground of my interest in machining, though car assembly used to have more top management attraction with better prospect for career progress. Another reason of my rejection of the offer was the company politics in the area. I was never good at that.

Much later, as General Manager, Technical Services, I headed the technical aspects of the sheet metal division too that covered sheet-metal stamping, body welding, painting, and vehicle assembly along with the mechanical division that was primarily machining along with many other responsibilities. And the years in the assignment were really exciting as I could learn almost every aspect of manufacturing engineering of an industrial product such as automobile.

Unlike others in the industry, I was one who remained academic all along the career, and kept on writing what I learnt and experienced. Tata McGraw Hill published my Trouble Shooting Handbook-Machining. Later on I wrote ‘A Treatise on Automobile Manufacturing’ and ‘Latest Trends in Machining’ that are available on my website under heading ‘my writings’. Unfortunately, I couldn’t place my book on gear manufacturing that became very popular in the industry, ‘Mr. Supervisor as Mr. Manager- a guide for supervisors’ and my collection of articles written for technical magazines on my website.

Though the manufacturing management was my professional assignment I remained passionately attached in knowing the latest in technologies of manufacturing and particularly machining and machine tools. During my interactions with the executives from the machine tools and equipment manufacturers from all over the world, my favourite question used to be, ‘What are the latest in technology? How will be the manufacturing some ten years from now?’ Even today, I get a kick if I come to know of something new about machining or manufacturing.

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