Impact of electric vehicles on the cutting tools industry
The cutting tools industry speaks about the impact of emergence of EVs and also the future sunshine sectors.
Currently, automotive industry is disrupted due to emergence of electric vehicles. Speaking about it, Gautam K. Ahuja, managing director, Dormer Pramet India concludes by saying, “The demand in automotive will increase slightly soon, due to the launch of hybrid cars, where the use of cutting tools is even more than present vehicles. However, after about 8-10 years, it will be more EV’s, where cutting tool usage will be lower. Sectors like Railway, Defence and Aerospace will grow much bigger in size to compensate for the decline in automotive. With the advent of additive manufacturing or 3D printing, where only finishing operations will be required or hole-making, it is pertinent to mention that demand for round tools will be more than Indexable Tools. Overall, the demand for cutting tools in India will be robust, with a definite shift towards round tools. Dormer Pramet is aware of the situation and working aggressively to remain ahead of market dynamics.”
Ramakant Reddy, Managing Director, LMT Tools India agrees to him by saying “Part of the future business will come from e-vehicles. We have a range of tools for e-vehicle components. Also, we have developed intelligent tools for Industry 4.0, which will be the next big thing. Additionally, we have a strong foothold for tools for the aerospace industry for exotic materials & composites.”
Being relevant is key
Jay Shah, managing director, Tungaloy India narrates the steps to be taken to be relevant in the market in future. “Keeping abreast with the changes in the manufacturing industry and staying focused on revolution at our customers place would help us be the first to be the first movers in the market in terms of grabbing opportunities. To make this happen, training human resources is a necessary activity we indulge in. Considering the changes coming our way, Tungaloy is gearing up itself with new thinking, new products, building alliances and researching new market place to enter.”
Reddy foresees, “The demand for some of the tools is going to come down. The tools required for cast iron will be most affected. So, one can see slow demand for tools for cylinder block, cylinder head, transmission housing, etc. Though the economy is noticeably hard at the moment, there are always new opportunities, e.g. e-mobility.”
L. Krishnan, managing director, TaeguTec India says, “We need to continuously develop tools to facilitate better productivity and cost control. With use of tougher materials like Ti-based alloys and other newer metals driven by aerospace and general engineering industries, we need to stay abreast of the ever-evolving requirements at the customer end. We now have several new such state-of-the-art high-performance tools under the umbrella of SFEEDTEC – a brand new line of high speed and feed cutting tooling products and solutions – that can take on the most complicated machining challenges.”
Adding into the discussion, Shah mentions “We find demands have increased and the applications are becoming more demanding too. We love working with these demanding applications.” He further elaborates, “Components with low or no machining allowance would lead to lowered consumption of cutting tools. High strength material usage (High Strength/Weight ratio) will increase. This would definitely make machining tough and eventually we have to apply newer cutting tool materials. Additionally, high complex component design, made possible by technologies such as 3D printing, metal injection moulding, etc. would lead to complex fixturing methodology and low rigidity in machining.
Our newer cutting tool geometries would help us take on such difficult and non rigid setups.”
He concludes by saying, “We may also face, totally new material to machine, which we have not handled all this while and whichever company can either suit their existing products for these new material or invent new cutting tool process/ methodology or material, would rule the market. Additionally, it is not only about the physical products, we support our customers with, but the machining strategies, fixturing methodologies, selection of right machines and metal cutting fluids, which would together help us win business.”