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PARI with its automated solutions helps customers go hi-tech | by Indira Rao | In 1990, two engineers with rich knowledge in robotics saw a dream together to tap the relatively unexplored market of robotics in the Indian manufacturing industry. Thus, came into existence, Precision Automation Robotics India Ltd (PARI), a company focused on automation and automation applications. Since its inception it has gone on to witness business growth exceeding 50% year-on-year thanks to its innovative solutions. Taking about the journey, Ranjit Date, president and joint managing director said that he started off with a team of seven people.

“During 1990, it was the beginning of the liberalisation era where still there were import constraints and the license system was just getting undone. So, it was perfectly an anti-automation environment. But we took it as an opportunity to educate the market, create awareness on what was happening internationally. It was a slow journey, with high risk element involved.”

However, the risk paid off and PARI became a technology driven company developing products that are standalone from the point of view of delivering automation to the customer. Based in Shirwal near Pune the factory boasts of a built up area of approximately 1.60 lakh sq-ft. Elaborating on the business verticals, Date states, “We have two verticals – one is the projects business, which is fairly a customised project and tailored to the customer’s needs and the other is the standard business. This consists of automated solutions directly to be purchased by the consumer to use and accept.”

The state-of-the-art facility houses top end machinery and has dedicated sections for each operation be it CNC, fabrication, sheet metal or surface and heat treatment. This facility is used for manufacturing A and B class category components like gantry beams, machine bases, turn tables, lifters, pallets, grippers and precision locating elements for their products. While it does the component manufacturing for their own products it is also into making precision components required for special assembly, process and machining automation.

Explaining the manufacturing process, Ajay Ramgol, corporate head, vendor development and head, central manufacturing services, asserts, “The enquiries forwarded internally are studied for the capabilities and capacities, which enables to make and buy decisions. Based on this the purchase orders are raised internally to track the cost and deliveries. The process routing is then done for each component and scheduled through “My Work Plan” (planning and scheduling software). The route cards are generated which enables the component to travel from defined work centres with defined sequencing.”

The components after complete process undergoes the inspection and then travels to the kitting stores with the proper documentation where the GRR (Good receipt) is processed at ERP and is available as a stock for the assembly shop. “The assembly area is not just used to assemble things but physically test things as well. So everything that goes out of our shop is tested for its full final functionality.

For example, if it is an assembly line you will actually see physically assembled gear boxes, engines, power trains; whatever it is that line is designed to manufacture is actually manufactured over here on a test run basis before it is shipped out,” affirms Date. PARI has emerged as one of the leaders in automation systems and solutions for industrial, infrastructure & logistics markets, due to its continuous innovations and improvements to achieve newer applications, improved performance and better cost effectiveness for their customers.

The innovation is also the basis for its sector diversification, allowing it to serve a wide variety of sectors and applications, ranging from automotive, consumer goods, transportation, construction, power, warehousing to real estate and healthcare. This innovative approach has perhaps helped the company receive global recognition and respect. “Indeed! The gear has changed and now we have competition from not only India but from all over the world,” asserts Date.

While the international market is looking at enhancing their advancements in automation, in India companies still look at it as a risk. Seconding the same, Date avers, “Preference is always given to the ‘tried and tested’ formula. In spite of carving a niche for ourselves, we still have to strive to convince customers to overcome the element of risk involved.” However, Date recognises the industry’s risk-averse mind-set and has a plan to deal with it.

He explains, “Customers need to have a very dependable and reliable process on which they can base their entire business plans. So in that sense the risk averseness is good and it is understandable. Hence, from that perspective we changed our business methodology; now we first invest in R&D and generate a prototype. By creating a prototype situation, we demonstrate to the market that a particular project indeed works, is reliable and beneficial.”

Once a company actively invests in R&D it is given that innovations form a very critical part of that organisation. It is no different with PARI. A recent example of one such innovation is the automated car park, which uses vertical spaces to improve parking problems substantially. Vivek Kulkarni, corporate head, medical, technology products and R&D stated the idea behind developing the solution. “With the population of cars growing in India and infrastructure like roads and parking plazas yet to catch up, India currently faces and will continue to face a growing challenge when it comes to parking. This situation will lead to making roads more congested and making driving cars more inconvenient.”

To address this issue, the company studied technologies that can provide a solution and they found it in the automated multilevel car parking. Kulkarni elucidates, “Using this technology, a user parks his car at specific parking locations that form an interface to the automated parking system, from where the system takes the parked car, and stores it in a compact manner using vertical spaces. Being fully computer controlled, the car will be retrieved efficiently and safely, back to the parking location for the user to drive out.”

PARI recently carried out this operation with DLF in Delhi where they converted a parking space with a capacity of less than 100 cars into an automated multilevel car parking complex which now has the capacity to park more than 1400 cars. “As a result, the parking issue and congestion in the area has been solved overnight, and yet there is free parking available that will adequately serve the projected growth of cars till 2020,” emphasises Kulkarni.

Another sector that the company has had tremendous success is in the medical device domain. With a goal to bring its technological expertise to introduce revolutionary medical devices and solutions it has developed innovative patentable medical device technologies. “Our initial products included invasive and non-invasive medical devices. The highlight of these products is the application of complex automation and robotics to drastically improve current practices,” says Kulkarni.

Moving forward, the company is looking further to extend its boundaries. Date asserts, “We are looking at the discreet end of the petrochemicals, load handling, logistics distribution and are focussing on continuing our growth in terms of increasing our market geography.”

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