“With big changes happening on the manufacturing front in the last two years, the strong drivers are going to be automation and digital. People are looking for flexibility, quick change and small batches. Another new area which has opened up for us is in the aerospace, defence and railways sectors. With Make in India gaining momentum, this really is an exciting opportunity for us,” said Rao.
Kennametal is well positioned with product portfolios focused on every end market. They have solutions for various sectors including aerospace, defence, railways, and of course, automotive, which has been their mainstay.
“At IMTEX this year, we have showcased our new capabilities and competencies in all our business areas,” stated Rao. For example, with WIDMA, they have displayed a state-of-the-art machine for PCD grinding. This is a three-in-one machine; it can grind steel, carbide, and polycrystalline diamond. It has a very powerful spindle of 13kW and when it comes to finish grinding, it reaches 50,000rpm. It has an all new concept of linear motor and the spindle is placed directly onto the motor. The robot is used not only for loading and unloading, but it does another three pieces of work, in its free time, in terms of lathe marking, edge rounding and cleaning. Basically, it is an intelligent machine and IoT-enabled. It also has a fixture capability, which promises quick change in just 30 seconds. In fact, Rao said that they have a number of clientele who are particularly looking for this kind of quick change fixture.
In fact, clients are opening up to investing in high-technology, and are conscious about total cost of ownership, which was unheard of earlier. “When the customer is investing in a high-end machine, they immediately discuss the end-to-end value for money, the kind of change over time, the kind of tools needed, and speed of the spindle. So, there is a shift in mindset,” he pointed out. Having said that, there are certain pockets of applications where customers are still looking for a translatable basis buying so, and Kennametal has positioned their product line accordingly. All said and done, we must admit that in India value for money is quite important, confessed Rao.