Dr Jochen Peter, president and CEO, Industrial Metrology Business Group, Carl Zeiss Industrielle Messtechnik GmbH, was in India recently at IMTEX 2017. He spoke to Autocar Professional's Kiran Bajad.
How has Carl Zeiss’s journey in India been thus far?
The Zeiss Group is a global technology leader operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. It provides solutions for biomedical research, medical technology, semiconductors, automotive and mechanical engineering industries as well as develops and produces eye glass, camera and cine lenses, binoculars and planetariums and has operations spread across 40 countries.
In India, we cater to industrial metrology, microscopy, medical technology, vision care and sports and cine optics. The company is currently in a strong position heading to our best year till day with exciting growth.
Zeiss India was started as a sales unit in 1998, headquartered in Bangalore, and has developed into a full-scale setup including a software R&D centre, two production facilities, global IT services and more than 20 sales and services offices across India. Today, we have close to 800 people in India.
India is an important market for us – it is currently our sixth largest market globally and one of the fastest growing. It outgrew China last year. I believe there is still more (growth) to come and I am a strong advocate of the future of the Indian market. We are exporting machines from India to 12 countries and adding more clientele regularly.
What are the different types of measuring machine models manufactured at the Bangalore plant?
Zeiss Coordinate Measuring (CMM) machines are used for quality control in various industries like automotive, aerospace, wind energy, infrastructure and the heavy engineering equipment industry. CMM from Zeiss help in production of precise parts with low rejection rates, give feedback to manufacturing and to provide results.
We have begun assembly of coordinate measuring machines at our facility in Bangalore. Initially, it has started assembling of two popular and proven models of coordinates measuring machines called Contura G2 and Spectrum. We assemble nearly 120 machines locally every year.
Who are your key customers in the Indian automotive industry?
Some of our key customers in India are Continental Automotive, Lucas TVS, Indo-US MIM Tec, TVS Motor Co, Tata Motors, Minda Corporation, Sansera Engineering, Cummins Technologies, Bharat Forge, Bajaj Auto, Ace Designer, Bharat Electronics, John Crane Sealing System, Auto CNC Manufacturing and PSG College of Technology, among others.
Given that Zeiss caters to various industries in India, how promising is the automotive sector to the company’s growth?
I believe in the auto sector as a future growth sector. I have strong connect with the auto sector as I began my career in R&D at one of the big European OEMs.
We have some significant challenges in front of us including electric mobility, autonomous driving and emissions. Demand for vehicles will continue to grow over the next few decades and China and India have significant potential. Automotive will be a key growth driver for the next 5-10 years in India. We are focusing on the automotive industry and trying to bring some unique solutions for manufacturing; quality assurance is moving from the quality lab into the production line. Other than the automotive industry, aerospace is going to be an interesting sector in India with huge potential and we are very strong there. Medical is also important market for us.
In the automotive sector, we sense an opportunity ahead as emission norms are changing. They will change the way manufacturing has been done, and in this changing scenario metrology plays a big role and we have good prospect there.
What initiatives is the Zeiss Group taking to increase productivity and efficiency on the automotive shopfloor?Measuring technology plays a significant role in enhancing productivity and efficiency of the shopfloor. The strategy of measurement has to be planned well so that travel time is optimised. The speed of the movement of measuring equipment is also an important factor. The industry is now working towards incorporating scanning technology where thousands of data points are collected throughout the components. This is important because of the intricate designs made in the components. For reverse engineering, scanning is a compulsion as well as a necessity today as this helps in faster inspection cycle time with cost effectiveness.
Zeiss has an R&D centre and Tech Center in India, both of which cater to your global markets.
Research and development plays a critical role in the manufacturing industry. The R&D division carries out work on process development of technical and intermediates, customs synthesis, process improvement, application research and basic research. This can happen because of development in IT. Integration of IT and R&D would give solutions for critical process thereby enhancing automation and manufacturing output.
Software testing plays a key role in supporting R&D, Zeiss has partnered with global companies for software development, software testing, service and application. Indian engineers are sent out for providing application and service support all over the world.
With our Tech Center, we are giving the quality of manufactured products that meets the expectations of customers through our modern assembly facility and competence centre. This center possesses several CMMs, roundness testers, surface and contour measuring equipment, non-contact CMM and industrial CT measuring equipment. These machines can be demonstrated to prospective customers showcasing the ability to provide solutions to their quality problems.
What are the opportunities you foresee in the Indian metrology and microscopy industry?
India is increasingly adopting a global approach to become a strategic player on the international platform. The entry of foreign companies in the manufacturing industry has anchored technology-based orientation, which is helping India create a core and contemporary manufacturing sector, fed by ancillary manufacturers who also need expertise technical skills. Carl Zeiss has worked with all leading companies globally and provided solutions to them. We can provide top-end solutions that would help Indian industries to help to integrate with global manufacturing. Our products have wide acceptance across the globe. For exports, sustained quality becomes an essential feature and Zeiss products help in producing reliable productsd which enhances the export potential.
What are the near-term plans to increase Zeiss’ footprint in the Indian market?
We not only have a manufacturing facility in India but also do a lot of software testing. We have also begun software development. So this is much more than assembling machines. Given the talent available in India, especially for R&D, testing, development and software development is not just coding but is given the responsibility for one of our global products which will be sold globally.
Today, even companies which do not have manufacturing machines need quality control machines. Factors like standardisation and globalisation increase the level of precision needs in the country. Further, large scale production in India increases the need for step-up and accuracy which attributes to the rise in the use of CMMs. Customer buy our machines because of our technology, the performance they get and the partnership and support they receive from us.
How do you view the IMTEX platform and what products did the company launch this year?
Participating in a trade show requires significant commitment. The manufacturing sector is increasingly recognising the the need for good product design and efficient manufacturing in the demanding and competitive markets, and they rely upon authenticated measurement and testing. IMTEX includes all the technologies predominantly in metal, plastic, ceramics, composites and exotic material which has the ultimate objective of enabling manufacturing excellence through world-class productivity and cost competitiveness.
At IMTEX 2017, we launched the Zeiss Smart Proof 5 Microscope to check the surface roughness measurement by an optical method. We had displayed automation-integration of CMM and roughness measurement. A software-Pi-Web provides a platform to integrate manufacturing and measuring equipment that provides real time meaningful data. We have also launched Zeiss Contura, the latest-generation machine and board platform for flexible, reliable and uncompromising quality assurance of larger measuring range.