Indian industry sets store by automation technology
Festo is a reliable partner in industry and in education and training
India is one of the world’s most strongly expanding national economies. With around 1.2 billion inhabitants,it is expected not only to become the most highly populated country worldwide by the middle of this century, but also to be in third place behind only China and the USA in terms of gross domestic product.India is thus acquiring increasing significance as an industrial nation. Festo has been represented on the Indian subcontinent since 1963, and since 1986 with its own national company; it is benefiting from the upswing in the Indian mechanical engineering industry and the growing demand for automation technology.
13th April 2015
“For several years, Asia has been one of the fastest-growing markets for automation technology; the leading countries here are China, Korea and India. And we are expecting this trend to continue,” says Desmond Teo, Senior Vice President Region Pacific Business. “Festo has had an annual compound average growth rate of 8 % in the Asia-Pacific region since 2010, with a rising tendency. We grew by 11 % in 2014 in comparison with the previous year, and we intend to grow further. We see a promising future for our business”, he says.
India – a market of the future
Festo India is making an important contribution to the development of the region. This is confirmed by Rashmikant Joshi, Managing Director of Festo India: “The size of the Indian national economy, transformations in the age structure of the population and the relatively high level of economic growth make the Indian subcontinent an important market for the future. Despite the cautious forecasts for the Indian economy, Festo grew by 12 % last year alone.” Just a few years ago, there was seen to be no need for automation technology in India, with its seemingly inexhaustible supply of available workers and its low wages; today, by contrast, the market has a growth potential for automation amounting to far more than 10 to 12 % per annum. This is also borne out by the growth of Festo, which has amounted to 15 % on an average over the past ten years.
Early recognition of demand
Festo recognised the demand for automation technology at an early stage: the enterprise has been represented in India since 1963, and for almost 20 years it has operated its own national company in the prospering industrial zone of the south Indian city of Bangalore. With a broad range of services and individualised programmes in industrial education and training, the Indian national company was quick to secure market leadership and cooperates today with over 20,000 customers.
Industry sets store by the “Make in India” campaign
Nevertheless, in India some market barriers still remain to be overcome that are a hindrances to further growth. Lacking or inadequately developed infrastructure and the low standard of technical qualification for employees are stifling economic upswing and represent a challenge to the industry in the face of increasing worldwide competition.
The new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his “Make in India” campaign are giving rise to high expectations in India. This campaign will make it easier for foreign investors to produce in India, for example. The share of industrial production in the GDP is to increase from its current level of 15 % to 25 %. The demand for automation technology and for vocational education and training will greatly increase as a result. “We also see good growth opportunities here for our Festo Didactic unit. We are involved in pilot projects for dual education together with the Indian government and already today supervise 500 educational institutions in India”, says Joshi.
In the region, for the region
Simultaneously with the sale of automation technology, Festo initiated the manufacture of standard products for the local Indian market. “We must seize the opportunity and react to market openings in an agile manner,” says Rashmikant Joshi. He adds: “We are investing in the growing Indian market, in order to secure future market potential in advance. After all, only those who act and react locally can hold their ground on the market in future.”
The GPC Bangalore manufactures around 2,000 different products and components such as cylinders, valves, threaded connectors, manifold rails and tubing. Some 80 % of the products made at the GPC are destined for the regional market. On-site support is provided by the Technical Engineering Centre (TEC). Here, close to the customers, products can be adapted to their specific requirements and introduced on the market within only a few weeks. The special applications from Festo India include the sorting of rice and grain by means of fast-switching valves. Almost 90 % of all rice in India is sorted with technology from Festo.
Rapid service – worldwide
Festo intends to continue pursuing its successful double strategy in its global product range in the future. In Europe, the enterprise produces individual modules with a high level of automation and increasing economies of scale. In Germany, Festo is pursuing the development of know-how, research and development, future technologies and technology factories. At its locations in the global growth markets such as India, production is carried out in the region, for the region.
The need for education and training
“Since the market still offers a great deal of potential for development, above all in highly complex automation products, customer consultation is always flanked by education and training measures,” says Rashmikant Joshi of the requirements of the Indian manufacturers of machinery and production equipment. For this reason, the company has established training centres in numerous cities and closely cooperates both with industrial customers and with universities and other educational institutions. In 2014 for example, Festo Didactic opened a Festo Authorized and Certified Training Centre (F.A.C.T.) for process automation at the C.V. Raman College of Engineering in Odisha. Here, expertise and know-how are made available under the Festo brand both to the industry and to students. Festo Didactic cares for more than 500 customers overall in India.
The Gedee Festo Mechatronic Centre (GTTI) in Coimbatore was already founded by Festo in 2010. This pilot project, initiated in cooperation with the Indian government, represented a decisive step towards the introduction of the dual educational system in India on the basis of the German model. Festo supports the Mechatronic Centre with its Modular Production System (MPS) for vocational education and training.
Growth opportunities for the future
Rashmikant Joshi takes an optimistic view of the future: “Indian companies are strongly expanding abroad, and foreign companies are increasing their investments in India. Whether a Korean car manufacturer invests in India or an Indian mechanical engineer expands into Southeast Asia – Festo must act globally to ensure that we remain a reliable partner and can meet the expectations of our customers. Festo intends to further consolidate its position in the Indian market in future, while also opening up new markets and business fields. The entertainment electronics industry, the biotech/pharmaceutical sector and the water, food and automotive industries all offer great potential for growth. Growth opportunities are likewise provided by the development of the infrastructure and sectors such as agriculture, education and the consumer goods industry.”
At a glance: Festo in India
Establishment: 1986 – foundation of the national company Festo India, with headquarters in Bangalore
14 Sales and Service Centres: Bangalore, Nasik, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, New Delhi, Ludhiana, Kolkata, Pune, Baroda
Didactic Centres: Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Coimbatore
Number of employees: 550
Bangalore production location: production for the local Indian market since 1987, with manufacture and assembly of cylinders, valves, maintenance equipment and control technology
Global Production Centre: since 2012; manufacture of 2,000 different products and components for the global market: manifold rails, cylinders, valves, pistons; 80% for the local market
Technical Engineering Centre: since 2010; preliminary studies, regional new products, customer-specific projects
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Festo press photo Joshi Rashmikant
Rashmikant Joshi, Managing Director Festo India
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Festo press photo Festo India
In India since 1963: Festo national company in Bangalore.