The Indian machine tools industry has progressed at an impressive speed. Production and consumption has seen a rise as compared to the past year. The domestic demand itself is increasing tremendously and there are expansions being witnessed in factories to meet this demand. Nishant Shah, Director, Imaginarium, explains how all these developments, along with Industry 4.0, is snowballing into creating an environment for new designs and concepts.
What are the offerings that Imaginarium has at its disposal?
Imaginarium is a leader in 3D printing and advanced manufacturing technology, housing the largest set up of 3D printers in the country. Having pioneered advanced applications for over 50 industries, Imaginarium has helped disrupt the manufacturing sector by enabling enterprises prototype faster, design better and realise products in shorter time spans. We are grooming the next breed of makers and innovators for another manufacturing revolution. With a complete ecosystem of production services, Imaginarium and its range of industry-specific verticals are a platform for ideation and execution, backed up by decades of expertise. Whether it's manufacturing jewellery, innovating engineering applications or saving lives with patient-specific solutions, Imaginarium is committed to seamlessly transforming ideas into reality; and creating things that make a difference for an assortment of industries. Imaginarium today caters to more than 50 industries through its verticals namely Precious, Rapid, Life, Solutions, Academy and Ventures.
What is your opinion about the Indian machine tools industry, in general, and metal cutting sector, in particular?
India’s machine tool industry is growing rapidly. The production has increased by 23% as compared to last year and consumption has increased by 12%. This shows that India is also catering to a huge demand from around the globe. Currently, India is rated as 12th in production and 8th in consumption. We foresee India in the top 10 within two years of being in production. The domestic demand itself is increasing tremendously and we can already see expansions in factories to cater to this demand.
How do you serve the metal cutting sector in India?
As a rapid prototyping and 3D printing service bureau, metal cutting is a very niche market for us. Nevertheless, we are working with a lot of tool manufacturers and helping them in the new product development. Also, we are proactively exploring the use of 3D printing in this industry.
Keeping in mind the demand for your products, what are the factors driving it?
The demand has been on a rise since inception. The awareness of 3D printing is fast flooding different industries. With growing competition in industries like automobile, consumer goods, engineering etc., the lead time for development has been reduced by almost 30 per cent, and what quicker way to prove a concept than additive manufacturing or 3D Printing?
Elaborate on your plans to tap the automotive and auto component industry in India.
Automotive and auto component accounts for almost 35 per cent of our business. We work with OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers. Right from exterior parts, interior aesthetic parts, engine parts as well as other under the hood parts, we help prototype new concepts and designs. The auto industry is growing at a very fast pace in India and we are continuously increasing our capacity as well as reducing our timelines to become more and more lean.
Tell us about some of the emerging trends that are being observed in metal cutting and machine tool accessories segments.
I think there are a lot of companies doing some fantastic research and coming out with innovative cutting tools. As we serve more than 15 different industries, we work with thousands of products, designs, materials and finishes. Hence, many a times, we use custom tools for certain jobs. I think the fact that you can have your own tools designed specifically for a job at such fast speeds is amazing. We are using Throughput Coolant tools for all our metal cutting which has increased our tolerances and reduced machining times as well.
How is the industry preparing itself for Industry 4.0?
Not only the industry but also the government is helping with Industry 4.0. I don’t think the industry has to prepare for 4.0, it is a transformation which it has to undertake. As the largest 3D printing company in India, we already are a part of this revolution. But 3D Printing is just one of the segments, there is much more to Industry 4.0. We are continuously working towards implementing newer and leaner ways of production on our shop floor. We have been brainstorming about using AI and AR within the company for the ease of the customer. There are so many things happening which all leads to Industry 4.0.
What are your growth plans for the company?
We have different verticals within Imaginarium. Precious being the Jewellery and Accessory vertical, we have now taken the whole experience online with a one-of-its-kind platform, where anyone can upload their design and select their material like brass, gold, silver and order. Rapid is the engineering arm, and we aim to become the one-stop-shop for all low volume manufacturing in plastic, metals or rubber. We will do this using conventional as well as additive manufacturing. We have launched the online platform for Rapid as well, where customers can directly upload their CAD files and order. Solutions being our software, hardware and material distribution business, we are partnering with top companies across the world and bringing them to India. The most recent one being HP. Life is our medical vertical, in which we do customised implants, anatomical models, surgical guides, etc. Our plan is to scale this up and get it accessible to hospitals and, in