Forms & Gears scouts for foreign partner
Chennai-based fixture Forms and Gears, which specialises in hydraulic machining centre fixtures, is looking for partners from across the world either to establish a joint venture or technology partnership. The company is already in talks with a couple of internationally renowned fixture builders in the US and Europe.
“We realise the huge potential in the international markets for complete hydraulic fixtures solutions. We are looking for partners primarily with a buy-back arrangement as we can offer world class products at half the price,” CEO Reji Varghese said.
The company currently exports hydraulic fixtures to a few auto component and machine tool manufacturers in Japan and the US. The share of exports to turnover is 15 percent and Varghese expects this to go up substantially once a partnership is forged.
On the domestic front, the company is developing engine test rigs for Cummins India, receiver gauges for the Japanese company Marubeni and machining centre fixtures for clients including Toyota, John Deere and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M). In fact, it has received repeat orders
for the fixtures to the new Scorpio’s engine block.
Business is also expected to go from Hosur-based Caterpillar India which is planning to export engines to the US. What is interesting here is that Hindustan Powerplus (now bought out by Caterpillar) was sourcing fixtures from Forms & Gears during the ’80s and exporting them to the global facilities of Caterpillar.
For the last three years it has been growing at close to a 100 percent and Varghese feels that this will continue this year also. The key driver for growth is the shift in OEMs from conventional manual fixtures to hydraulic fixtures, which offers benefits like faster machining and lower cycle times, improved component quality and reduced operator dependence.
The additional features available on fixtures are dual pressure for roughing and finishing, air seat sensing and pressure drop monitoring. The uniqueness of hydraulic fixtures is that it unlocks the full potential of the machining centres by significantly increasing machining speeds.
This enables higher cutting parameters to be inculcated eventually translating in to lower cycle times. For instance, Sanden Vikas India saw a ten fold increase in productivity in manufacturing brackets for compressors and return on investments in less than six months. And Lakshmi Machine Works (LMW), cut by cycle times by up to 40 percent on new machines with hydraulic fixtures.
Forms & Gears operates out of three units in Chennai. It also has a dedicated design-cum-engineering centre. It offers complete solutions from concept, design, manufacturing and prove out (sample) of components. The 35 year-old company, founded by RT Varghese, the father of the current CEO, has a long list of clients including Mazak, Makino, Toyota, Hyundai, Ford, Caterpillar, Delphi, Cummins, M&M, Tata Motors, Maruti, Ashok Leyland, BFW and Eaton.