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Riding high

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Event Report

ACMEE 2014 showed that the industry is ready for the boom when it comes | Team MT | One of the biggest exhibitions on manufacturing technology, the 11th international machine tools exhibition ACMEE 2014, was held from 19-23 June at Chennai Trade Centre. Organised by the Amabttur Industrial Estate Manufacturers Association (AIEMA) and the AIEMA Technology Centre, the show displayed only one sentiment that of positivity.

The show was inaugurated by Chief Guest Srivats Ram, managing director, Wheels India Ltd. In his key note address, Ram stated that the industry must gear up for the growth phase and invest in readying themselves for the upturn. “Better times are ahead of us and with the new government taking lot of initiatives to boost the industrial growth, we as an industry must also do everything possible to ride the curve”, he opined.

The inaugural speech was followed by the ribbon cutting ceremony. The dignitaries along with Ram included S Chandrasekaran, chairman, ACMEE 2014, P Ramadas, managing director, ACE Manufacturing Systems, S Ravishankar, dy. managing director, Yamazaki Mazak India, Satish Sadasivan, managing director, Schunk Intec India and R Ramchander, Convenor, ACMEE 2014. Speaking on the exhibition, Chandrasekaran said, “The ACMEE exhibition has changed over the years. What started off as a components exhibition has now become a complete machine tools one. Chennai being an automotive hub, has a lot of component manufacturers like Tier I and II, who use a lot of machine tools and the exhibition has exactly pulled in such a crowd.” He further said, “Machine tool manufacturers have brought in their innovative tools and techniques to the show and that is what the Chennai crowd is looking for and that has resulted in such great footfalls.”

The trade fair saw around 420 exhibitors with almost 120 of them being international companies. This again testifies the fact that international companies are not backing off and are likely to continue to invest in India. Chandrasekaran agreed, “After a slack period, the machine tools industry seems to be picking up slightly. From 2013, the industry has witnessed around 10% growth and this enthusiasm and general mood is because of the new government and people believe the industry will continue to grow.”

The positivity was reflected in the exhibition as well for it witnessed about 60% new exhibitors. Mazak and Beckhoff were a couple of such examples. On participating for the first time, Ravishankar averred, “Chennai is an important market for us and, we have by and large been focusing on the corporate sectors who are already our customers. By participating in this exhibition we are looking at the next level – the TIER I and II to create awareness about the our brand and innovations”.

Reflecting similar ideas, Jitendrakumar Kataria, managing director, Beckhoff Automation Pvt Ltd said, “We have a lot of customers in Tamil Nadu and servicing them is important. At ACMEE, we are expecting to meet decision leaders, end users and those who are looking for specialised machine solutions. Apart from meeting new aspiring customers, servicing the existing ones is equally important because a major chunk of our business comes from them.”

Companies like Lakshmi Machine Works Ltd (LMW), Grind Master Machines and Mahr Metrology India are regular participants at ACMEE. Talking about their experience at the show, Mohini Kelkar, MD, Grind Master Machines said, “We have been coming here so often that we do not really expect to meet new customers but it is a good platform to keep in touch with the existing ones and discuss new opportunities.”

LMW has been participating since 2006-07. I N Bhattacharya, GM, marketing & sales, LMW on his participation this year said, “We got a good break with ACMEE. Earlier people did not even know of all our solutions. They just thought that we had costly products. This show helped us reach out to a lot of customers.”

One advantage the regular participants have over the others is that they have constantly seen technology progress over the years. Seconding Bhattacharya said, “Technology in India hasn’t grown leaps and bounds but has definitely improved over the years. This is because quality manufacturers have set up their base here. However, import remains a big problem as far as the industry is concerned.”

The exhibition this year saw a number of new technologies and innovations being displayed. In fact Fanuc launched the world’s first Tamil CNC at the exhibition. “Though the CNC market was growing we saw that there was an acute shortage of labour and the operators who were handling the machines were not well versed with English,” asserted Sonali Kulkarni, president, Fanuc India Pvt Ltd. To offset this, the company had launched a Hindi CNC at last year’s Intec. This year recognising the importance of the Tamilnadu market they came up with the Tamil CNC. “Fanuc is the only global manufacturer that has addressed the Indian language issue in the country,” she emphasised.

Mahr too upped the antenna by bringing in their innovations to the fair. R Ganesan, MD, Mahr Metrology India said, “We have brought in our latest innovations like the non-contact shaft measuring machine. It is a technology where the parts are not measured with tactile probes but with a camera system. The camera picks up the information of the component and the processor calculates the distance, dimension, profiles, etc,” he explained.

As Tamil Nadu more so Chennai contributes to 33% of the automobile output in India it makes exhibitions like ACMEE important for companies like Schunk whose major business comes from that sector. Talking on how his company coped with the auto sector being in slump, Sadasivan averred, “I think when the market is down, productivity doesn’t matter much to the customers. What matters is cost reduction. So, we worked on, special promotions and products as well, probably not top of the line product but a good enough product at a lower price.” Thus, taking into consideration the market scenario, the company launched new products with short life-cycle.

Even though the market was going through a slow phase of growth, India has been witnessing a manufacturing revolution driven by the increasing presence of multi-nationals, investments and expansions coming in from the domestic market. Now, the arrival of the new government has spurred renewed optimism amongst the manufacturers and this was quite evident at the trade fair.

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