One of the biggest challenges faced by the testing and measurement (T&M) services and solutions is to adapt to the changing times and new equipment that are flooding the market. The increased product complexity has prompted growing demand for precision testing at every stage of the product life cycle and companies have to be ready for the demand. Along with technological complexities, it is also a challenge to keep up with stringent quality checks, safety and environmental standards for manufacturing, regular maintenance assistance, and proper use of equipment. Today every industry, right from automation, and smart buildings to connected vehicles and every other product needs a stable communication network - in short T&M pertaining to communication devices need to be highly reliable and of the best quality to create, design, deploy and maintain them. In this regard, we spoke to Gaurav Bawa, Managing director and Vice President at WIKA Group about the current challenges in the T&M sector, the latest technologies deployed for seamless functioning, and how widespread investments would help in building the sector more.
Q. You offer your services on machine building and automation and mobile working machines. Explain the services in detail and what makes you so unique in the market?
Through many years of close cooperation with machine-building companies across a wide range of industrial sectors, the industry-specific challenges are well known to WIKA. We have built upon the feedback on our products and experience of these industries growing ‘Smart’ to bring about solutions in machine building and automation. WIKA is poised to accompany the Indian industry through the 4.0 revolution and offers a number of versatile products that can indicate or switch designs, provide continuous measurement with analog or digital output signals, easy to install and durable products even with high loads of shock and vibration and pressure spikes. These dynamic applications adhered to maximum operational safety, and thus reduced maintenance and repair effort.
WIKA today has Wireless sensors, beyond measurements, that can be integrated with any tools for extensive intelligence, thus leading to multiple benefits. Also, the industrial instruments supplied by WIKA meet the guidelines and international standards of the machine-building industry.
WIKA offers a portfolio of high-performance measurement products which are tailored to the measuring tasks in mobile working machines. Shock and vibration, dust and mud, dryness and humidity, heat and cold, and a fluctuating electromagnetic environment – in operation, mobile working machines are subjected to extreme and varying conditions. Nevertheless, mobile working machines should feature stable performance. WIKA meets the harsh operating conditions of mobile working machines with exceptionally robust products which unite the know-how of measurement technology, high-quality materials, and the most up-to-date manufacturing processes with a robust design. Thus, they feature high resistance against shock, vibration, and temperature fluctuations, high IP ingress protection, and also exceptional EMC characteristics.
Q. Is WIKA Group doing investments in India and other parts of the world? Can you please explain your international expansion plans and your revenue expectations?
We have been in the Indian market for 25 years and are continuously investing in India. Investment in new facilities and product up-gradation is continuous, WIKA provides employment to around 1200 people and has plans for a long-term presence in the Indian economy.
WIKA today has a firm foothold in India, the strategy is to maximize market share in the segments where we are present. The second strategy is for localization. WIKA India has a list of products for localization, and we are actively pursuing plans to localize them fully. WIKA India is following Strategic initiatives through a senior leadership programme, so that we can focus on different segments - championing and campaigning to grow market shares. WIKA deals in specialized products which are all exclusively suited to various segments of markets - we plan to focus on each of these growing segments to understand which are the best suitable for growth in the current economic situation and work accordingly.
WIKA India wants to double its turnover in the next three years. Also, we are looking at transforming India to be the localization and a distribution hub for the near-most global markets. WIKA India plans to encash the advantage of affordable labour and thus the cost-effective production process. And with a good supply chain and distribution channel, we will be able to supply products for WIKA Global as well.
Q. Can you please explain the business strategies of WIKA Group? How far has it changed since the past two years?
WIKA stands for Quality and believes in bringing the best to the customers. We are a specialist in manufacturing measurement equipment in Pressure, Temperature, Level, Flow, & Force for critical industrial applications. The Measurement Market is becoming more mature, especially with technology interventions through smart tools. With AI and automation playing a role in every field, WIKA too has embraced automation and upgraded the products. Pandemic has only boosted the speed of upgradation.
Since the last two years, we have internally sorted out the list of products that need to become smart, and with a targeted sense of priority, we have transformed into manufacturing IoT-enabled products. WIKA Germany has made huge investments in futuristic market segments of products through a two-pronged strategy. Not only we have invested in the automated process but we have also invested in human management to imbibe the transformation to automation fully. We already have a roadmap to turn the suitable products into IoT-enabled ones. Internally we are reworking our product range.
Pandemic has taught us that we need to go to the customer, rather than them coming to us for service. So, we have launched a Mobile Calibration Van for maintenance and repair at the doorstep of clients, which helps us to service without time lag of transferring the equipment to different locations.
Q. What kind of latest test and measuring equipment do you use to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction? Explain in detail the latest technology you use in this category and what are you looking to deploy in the coming years?
Machine Tools combine turning, drilling and milling centers, presses, punches, and laser processing machines or high-pressure water jet cutters. As metalworkers ourselves, WIKA knows the challenges of different machine tools from experience. The cooperation between development and pre-manufacturing has led us to develop products that fulfill the measurement tasks of a machine tool outstandingly. WIKA’s experience can be used for the selection of the right measuring instrument and its positioning. Any machine tool, besides the machine itself, consists of the oil hydraulics (for the generation of the clamping pressure), the lubrication system for the bearings and drives, and the cooling lubricant system for the tool cooling.
WIKA’s robust and accurate measuring instruments monitor the level in the cooling lubricant tank, the clamping force via the hydraulic pressure at the clamping cylinder, the spindle bearing temperature, or also the closing force of a press. Our flow switch detects any insufficient flow of the cooling lubricant and thus protects the tool and workpiece from overheating and damage.
With presses, force is the main measured variable. In most cases, with hydraulically operated presses, the hydraulic pressure is measured and the force calculated from the piston area of the closing cylinder. A far more accurate result is provided by force transducers. All measurement parameters can be displayed at the measuring location, transmitted to the machine control with various standard signals, or reported as a switch output on a limit value being exceeded.
We cater to the plastic industry, wind turbines, and many other industries through the machine tools specially adapted through the textile machinery, presses, filling and packaging machinery, paper machinery, printing machinery, transmissions, woodworking machinery, and calibration benches. Our endeavor is to give the best.
Q. For the past several years, India has been progressing at a massive scale in terms of technology. In regards to test and measurement, where do you see India standing at this point, and what it must do to boost its growth in this sector?
5G or Fifth Generation Network, broadcast and entertainment industry, and smart and interlinked home equipment are boosting the technology churn in the electronics market - thus also influencing the measurement market to grow. In a similar way, the electric vehicles-driven automotive market and the OEMs are growing at a breakneck speed. Precision measurements and highly defined implementation of technology have opened up a huge opportunity for the T&M market in India. The combination of electronics, connectivity, automation, and infotainment is the driving force for the sector. India is currently on a growth path and is expected to reach the pinnacle. We can expect demand for T&M instruments for the pan-India optical fiber cable installation and maintenance in the CATV segment. Many defense communication projects by the Government of India have also boosted demand.
Q. Apart from India, where do you see the test and measurement industry standing at this point globally and its growth potential?
The Asia Pacific is the largest region for the test and measurement market given their historical experience and a strong manufacturing base. Most of the demand from the APAC region is experienced from China and India. Taiwan and Japan also grew in the electronics and automotive industries. China’s National Bureau of Statistics estimated the sale of consumer goods up by 9.2% in 2018 compared to the previous year, which values up to approximately $1,436.8 billion.
Q. Kindly explain your roadmap for the coming five years.
WIKA India plans to double the turnover by 2025. We would like to leverage the cost-effective manufacturing capabilities of local facilities and Engineering talent, so we can serve the WIKA world globally. Thus, WIKA will continue to invest in further localization and capacity expansion. WIKA will also invest in the training and development to a highly motivated talent pool.