Manufacturing India: Machine Tools

Machine Tools are the mother machines to manufacture almost every part that goes into engineering products. It was in 1957 that I first came across these machines in the workshop of IIT, Kharagpur. The machine tools in the workshop were left out from the WWII. In 1961, I joined Hindustan Motors that one of the biggest facility manufacturing almost all the parts small and big going in cars, trucks, as well as heavy earth moving machines. And up to 1997 I remained in touch of machine tools industry and its growth in the country, as we did a number of projects at HM procuring the latest machine tools for expansion as well for the new products. That was the period when the machine tools sectors of India got matured.

India stands 12th in production and 7th in the consumption of machine tools in the world as per one of the latest survey that I know. The Indian Machine tool Industry has around 1000 units in the production of machine tools, accessories/attachments, subsystems and parts. Of these, around 20 are in the large scale sector and account for 70 percent of the turnover and the rest are in the SME sector of the industry. Approximately, 75 per cent of the Indian machine tool producers are ISO certified.

India consumes in value terms ($1.74 billion) as against China at $27 billon, Germany $5 billion and Japan $4.5 billion. India ranks 13th in terms of production in value terms at $500 million and 27th in exports. I have seen USA, Germany and then Japan at the top of the industry and its consumption and their sliding down too over the years. The production, consumption, and the exports of the machine tools are clear indicators of the engineering strength and the global position of a country and its economy to a great extent.

Five Indian Machine Tool Companies are among the top 115 Machine Tools companies of the world.

Metal Working Insiders Report published the list of top 115 Machine Tool companies across the world based on their financial results. Five Indian Machine Tool companies found place in the list.
1.According to the report, Ace Micromatic Group on basis of its revenue is the largest machine tool builder in India. The group has Ace Designers, Ace Manufacturing Systems, Micromatic Grinding, Pragati and Micromatic in their group. It produces different types of turning as well as grinding machine tools.

2.BFW placed at the 92nd position with a turnover of 60.9 million US Dollars can produce the total solution through a manufacturing system of bigger prismatic components such as cylinder block, cylinder heads, transmission case for different production capacity and varying amount of flexibility for multi-models manufacturing with CNC machining centres and special purpose machining units integrated with an automatic component transfer system.

3.HMT the public sector Machine Tool Company of India with revenue of 53.9 million US Dollars at the 99th position in the Metal Working Insiders Report. HMT produces almost all types of machine tools. It went for collaborations with a large number of machine tools companies from the West. It provides the total solutions including automatic handling of the parts from end to end as transfer machine. HMT has been the pioneer in producing a very wide range of machine tools in its huge facilities at four plants in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kalamassery and Ajmer. In Hyderabad it produces sheet metal stamping presses. Praga, Hyderabad is also part of HMT.

4.LMW, Coimbatore with revenue of 46.8 Million US Dollars at the 103rd position in the list has CNC machining centres and turning centres in its product range.

5.Jyoti CNC Automation, Rajkot with 28.8 million US Dollars is at 110th positions. Jyoti CNC Automation Pvt. Ltd has acquired Huron Graffenstaden, a France-based high-precision CNC machine manufacturer, valued at Rs 240 crore, in an all-cash deal. Huron with revenue of 55.1 million US Dollars is shown at the 98th position in the report.

Some OEMs such as Tata Motors started building specialised machine tools for using in its manufacturing systems. As a policy, Tata Motors while procuring machine tools from western manufacturers signed an agreement to procure the design and got the right of manufacturing them. It helped them in executing the project fast and at less cost. TAL Manufacturing Solutions Ltd manufactures a wide range of machine tools for its new projects

The latest trends are for high speed machining, near-dry machining, MQL, or machining with minimum quantity lubrication. It aims at heavily reducing coolant costs while being friendlier to the environment and the workers. The absence of high pressure coolant pump saves about 50% energy. Moreover, the tool life is claimed to increase dramatically. Basic processes such as castings, forgings are more precise, almost net-shape in dimensions cutting down the roughing cuts.

As estimated the share of the domestic manufacturers in the Indian machine tool market will increase to 50% by 2016-2017, as against 35% in 2010-2011. The Indian machine tool industry currently has a direct employment of 30,000, which is estimated to double by 2016- 2017.

The major improvements to be achieved over the next few years include in the machine tools sector relate to some technologies: development of high precision machine tools; multi-axes, multi-function machines; heavy duty machine tools; metal-forming machines of various types; critical mechanical elements; machine tool electronics and other sub- systems; as well as software for design / analysis / simulation, machining and manufacture.

Machine tools sector in India could have become the leading in the world but for the presence of HMT machine tools that lived on government protection. It would have set up huge design offices and used outsourcing for the major accessories as was the practice in the Japanese machine tools industry.

The government established Central Machine Tool Institute at Bangalore in the 60’s by the Government of India that was a major event in the history of the Indian Machine Tool Industry. The institute changed its name to Central Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI) in 1992 in tune with its current role in the manufacturing scenario in which the machine tool has become just a part of the entire gamut of concerns in the productive endeavors of the manufacturing industries.

One can see the range of the machine tools and accessories produced in India at the IMTEX that is held every second year.India has everything to become a major player in machine tools industry.

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