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"The Indian Machine Tool market likely to see a three-fold growth in near future"

By Guest Author,

Added 18 July 2023

With India gradually evolving as a new hub for the manufacturing, TK Ramesh, Managing Director of Ace Designers Limited, is confident that the Indian machine tool market has immense potential to witness exponential growth in the next 3-5 years. He also outlined key trends, new services, and technologies launched by his company recently and the perks of associating with a one-of-its kind platform - Festival of Manufacturing.

What, according to you, are the key trends that are shaping the machine and tools industry?

In the normal course, concerns related to quality, cost, and delivery (QCD) continue to persist. However, two key factors are significantly influencing these matters. Firstly, there is a growing demand for equipment, be it machinery or any other equipment, which is smart, and will allow them to connect with other manufacturing facilities from within the customer's premises. Basically, they are looking for machines with a layer of intelligence.

This means that individuals not only acquire equipment to enhance productivity and generate parts, but they also seek to gain insights into various aspects. They are interested to learn about what parts were made, activities which occurred during specific time frames (e.g., first shift/second shift), and discover trends. Additionally, if the machines were not functioning, they want to understand the reasons behind this production halt. For instance, was it due to a lack of operators or a shortage of materials? Therefore, there is a genuine demand for intelligent equipment; those that can be connected and possess a layer of built-in intelligence.

The second aspect stems from the increasing pressure of better quality and cost-effectiveness which gets further complicated by disruptions in the supply chain. Thus, people are looking for "just enough" machines and equipment, especially for highly costsensitive components and parts, as there is no interest in purchasing technology just for the sake of purchasing it. Instead, they want it to be affordable and deliver an impact. Thus, people are in the search for appropriate technology that aligns with this.

These are the two key trends that are shaping the machine tool & equipment industry.

What is ACE Micromatic Group doing differently to meet the growing demand and interests from the industry?

Over the past decade, our approach has revolved around listening to customers, understanding and anticipating their needs, based on these anticipations, we develop necessary capabilities. Today, 'IoT' and ‘Industry 4.0' are buzzwords, but we have been engaged in these activities for over 15 years, the only difference is the label; we used terms such as production monitoring, predictive maintenance etc. Further, anticipating needs and developing capacities involves integrating appropriate technologies. Although we are in the mechanical industry, our technologies include not only manufacturing machines but also computers, information technology, and electronics. This allows us to efficiently control machine dashboards and enhance information output.

Perhaps we were and continue to be at the forefront of machine tool companies in terms of machine capabilities and increasing capacity. To illustrate this, last year itself we delivered over 7,000 machines. If you combine the output of the 2nd and 3rd ranked, it still does not add up to 7,000. This is a testament of our work towards building capacity and anticipating needs.

With rapidly evolving market, where do you envision machine and tools industry in next five years?

Globally, the size of machine tool market is around 85 billion U.S. Dollars, whereas in India the industry stands at a billion dollars. The expected global increase in compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is about 10 -11 per cent. With manufacturing shifting towards the east, the China plus one situation and the India story, with a lot of investment and substantial infrastructure requirement, in my vision, within 3-5 years, the Indian machine tool market has the potential to double or triple. The billion-dollar market today will grow to over 3-5 billion in the coming 3 to 5 years.

Give us an insight into the new services and technologies that ACE Micromatic Group has launched recently?

We are bullish about IoT and the industry 4.0 readiness. This involves equipping all our machines across the range. We believe there are several e-service possibilities as well. We are working on impacting total cost of ownership over the life of our machines and outcome-based services.

Further, we have always been involved in subtractive machining (metal cutting), over the last three years we have delved into additive technology, and 3D printing. We began as a service bureau, and thus are looking forward to expanding our services in the 3D printing domain, understanding the technology, and serving the industry. As machine builders, we have naturally ventured into manufacturing machines for additive technology. This expansion was exhibited at IMTEX, where we were recognised for our innovative product design.

Diversifying as a metal cutting company, we have ventured into forming technology including laser cutting, laser welding and bending machines. We have expanded our general product range, to include both smaller and larger machines. These are the new services and technologies that have been launched over the past two years.

Tell us about your investment and expansion plans. How are you going to expand your market share in India?

We have been continuously increasing our market share across India, by focusing on expanding capacities. Over the past 2-3 years, we have made infrastructure investments of over Rs 200 crores along with emphasis to innovation in products and services. We take pride in being the only machine tool company in India, and perhaps one of the few worldwide, with a vast network of over 60 locations. Here, we offer a complete ecosystem with lifecycle services, machines, training, maintenance contracts, and all forms of support such as installation, production, programming, and training.

All these factors have contributed to our growth and led us to number 1 ranking in India and facilitated our entry into the global markets. We will continue these efforts and strive to improve and remain cost-efficient.

Tell us about the sustainability initiatives adopted by your company.

It all begins with raising awareness. Over the past few years, we have been creating awareness across our manufacturing plants about the importance of sustainability.

We have also focused on measuring and understanding our environmental footprint, including perspectives such as carbon, wood usage in packaging, and energy efficiency. In fact, our recent buildings are green, we have explored solar energy harnessing to meet a significant portion of our regular energy needs. Additionally, we have been involved in recycling and reuse practices for materials.

We are transitioning away from non-plant-based packaging materials through experimentation. From a customer perspective, we are also collaborating with various entities to ensure eco sustainable disposal of coolants and spent oil from our machines. These services are specifically offered to the small and medium sector which forms a significant part of the manufacturing supply chain across India.

These are our ongoing efforts, and we hope to be of international repute in reducing carbon footprint in the lifecycle of our machines in the next year and a half to two years.

Tell us about your experience and the learnings you derived from the Festival of Manufacturing. Do you think it will have any long-term impact on the industry?

Yes, we strongly believe that the Festival of Manufacturing will have a significant and lasting impact on the industry. We believe in creating value and in this regard, agriculture is the most important, as it is the foundation of food production and relies on nurturing, growing, and caring.

Secondly, efficient manufacturing is important, and to do so, you need to manufacture sustainably. For this, we need talented people coming into this industry. In recent decades, many skilled individuals have gravitated towards the IT and services sectors, which is also crucial but to increase the nation's GDP growth and improve living standards across fields such as transportation, healthcare, and packaging. So, manufacturing plays a vital role next to agriculture.

To attract talented people in manufacturing, there is a need to create a platform where these people are recognised and celebrated, to bring out the best in them. This will automatically foster a sense of wanting to belong, to contribute, to learn and to research. Based on our experience from the Festival of Manufacturing, we believe it is imperative to broaden this platform, increase awareness and let people see manufacturing as a celebration, and there is no better way to do this than celebrating it as a festival.

From a national and government perspective, the Festival of Manufacturing will have a tremendous impact as manufacturing cuts deeper across society. Manufacturing touches lives and creates comfort to a larger section of mankind than services or IT. Particularly, in Tier 2 and 3 cities, manufacturing plays a significant role. By raising awareness about sustainability and the positive impact of manufacturing, the Festival of Manufacturing can contribute greatly to the industry and the nation in the long run.

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