Automation will see a big rise due to Covid 19: P L Muthusekkar

In this interview, P L Muthusekkar, MD, NORD Drivesystems Pvt Ltd, focuses on gear boxes industry and how automation will lead to rise in skilled jobs in India.
Automation will see a big rise due to Covid 19: P L Muthusekkar

In this interview, P L Muthusekkar, MD, NORD Drivesystems Pvt Ltd, focuses on gear boxes industry and how automation will lead to rise in skilled jobs in India.


Germany based NORD Drivesystems offers a wide range of geared motors, electric motors and drive electronics components in various sizes and versions. India is the fifth largest market for NORD. NORD Drivesystems India's manufacturing facility has an installed capacity of 42000 geared motors per annum plus a 22000 electrical motor assembly. The company is aiming to achieve a turnover for India of Rs 500 crores by 2024.

In this IPF video interview with Rakesh Rao, P L Muthusekkar, MD, NORD Drivesystems Pvt Ltd, highlighted on the demand drivers for gearboxes and impact of Covid 19 on Indian industries.

Nord opened a new facility in Pune in November last year. What is the significance of this move for Nord in India?

NORD products go into all industries using rotating or conveying equipment that are required to move products from one place to another. We serve many industries in Indian manufacturing segment like textile, food & beverages, pharma, construction equipment, steel, sugar, general engineering, etc.

The new facility is NORD’s third expansion in India. The new facility, which is adjacent to the existing factory at Hinjewadi (Pune), will be used to make large size gear boxes, which we call as industrial gear box units (IGU).

In India, we started with small gear motors which are used in food industry or light duty application. After which we moved into the medium sized gear units that find applications in airport baggage handling, cranes, material handling, etc. With the new facility, we will be moving towards much larger size gearboxes of up to two thousand kilowatts and close to around 300,000 Newton Meter (N m).

In Pune, we recently started assembling intelligent drives (called variable frequency drives) which control the movement of the gearboxes to increase energy efficiency. Intelligent drive helps in predictive maintenance, thus enhancing the life of the geared motor. This is useful especially for big projects (like Airports) where large number of moving parts are involved and stoppage of operations is not an option as it could cause huge losses.

Are our products IoT enabled?

Absolutely. Our products are Industrial IoT (IIoT) ready (we call it as “Industry 4.0). We follow standard communication protocols so that one geared motor can communicate with other easily. Through a remote monitoring, one can operate these machines through a mobile or a laptop. It helps in improving the operational efficiency.

Companies across industries typically need to produce more units and a range of products which requires a modular and scalable production line. So how is NORD helping them to achieve this objective of modularity and scalability?

The modularity and scalability are slightly different. Basically, all the types of gearboxes come with universal mounting and unique case housing, so that the gear boxes can be mounted in any position and in any direction. So by and large all our products are modular products. They are versatile and can help companies (the users) to scale up their operations quickly.

We are able to meet large scale requirements of our products for any project. In fact, around 50 to 55 percent of our business comes from large projects.

NORD is very flat organisation which enables faster decision making. The company is also employee friendly with attrition rate of only 4 per cent. Most of NORD India’s employees have completed more than 10 years in the organisation. With experienced workforce and latest product range, we are fully equipped to meet the needs of our customers.

What covid pandemic has taught us so far?

Covid 19 pandemic will help us to understand many things from a different perspective. For example, we could have never imagined that engineering industry could work from home. Today we are booking orders, placing orders for our parts and stocking, etc without travelling. Though full-fledged manufacturing operations are not happening, other activities are being managed online.

A lot of e-learning is happening. This is adding a very interesting new dimension to working as we see the digital world functioning in full force. We would also see increase in automation and adoption of hygiene practices at workplaces.

So, you see a rise in adoption of Automation and Industry 4.0 post covid pandemic in India?

Definitely, automation will see a big rise. According to the World Economic Forum, automation is estimated to generate 6.1 million jobs in the next two years. We normally have a different feeling when automation takes place. People assume that we are going to lose job. People raised same kind of fear when computers were introduced. But the fact is computers created more jobs than before.

Demand for IIoT or Industry 4.0 will definitely pick up going forward, which means one would need better connectivity. Similarly, demand for technologies like additive manufacturing (3D Printing), will also see a rise as they help in bringing down the cost of the production for many of the products.

Has Covid 19 forced you to recalibrate your growth plan for this year?

Impact of Covid 19 has been severe on industries. Covid-19 has changed the way of doing business and now we should look at whether this crisis results in a new and long-term change. Every company will have to prepare themselves according to the situation, their product range and end-user industries that they cater to.

NORD had a five-year growth plan of achieving Rs 500 crore revenue in India. As per this plan, we intended to touch Rs 200 crore in 2020. Unfortunately, due to Covid 19 pandemic, we would not be in a position to reach that figure this year.

We have surpassed many difficult situations (for example, economic crisis of 2008) in the past. We are confident of surmounting the present crisis as well as.

For NORD, India remains a promising market with its large domestic consumer base and a growing youth population which has a lot of energy and appetite for growth.

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