Factors like increasing spend on infrastructure, railways undertaking modernisation projects, sales of automobiles rising, etc are like to lit up demand for welding machines and consumables. According to Aniruddha Vilekar, Chief Technical Officer, MR & Head- Marketing, Ador Welding Ltd (formerly Advani-Oerlikon Ltd), automation in welding & cutting has become very crucial with Industry 4.0 knocking on our doors. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, he highlights on emerging trends in welding industry and new opportunity areas for Ador Welding.
How is Ador Welding helping Indian metal fabrication industry to improve productivity with its latest technology?
We firmly believe in ‘Make in India’ and have been developing many import substitutes working together with many top government establishments.
Ador welding has introduced the Champ Pulse 500, arguably the first indigenously manufactured Pulse Mig Welder with multiprocess capabilities. The Tig Tig process which delivers at least 3 times the speed of conventional tig welding effectively giving Tig welding quality at Mig welding speeds. The high speed SAW flux range of Ador Welding make SAW welding even faster.
Ador’s ESSC (electro slag Strip cladding fluxes) make it possible to perform the process of strip cladding much faster giving deposit rates to the tune of 30 kgs per hour with minimum dilution.
Ador Welding offers the most comprehensive range of welding consumables for high strength welding applications for all processes viz; SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, SAW, MCAW with the special alloy steels required for them developed with steel plants in India which were imported in the past..
We have the complete cutting solutions too - offering both IM and NM cutting torches, High definition plasma cutting equipment, Standard as well as customised Welding automation solutions, Metal cored wires for hard facing applications which give minimal slag and enhance productivity and quality, auto darkening welding helmet through our Soteria series and a vast range of welding and grinding goggles, ear muffs , personnel protective equipment like safety gloves, welding curtains, welding cables and so on.
Our welding machines are now equipped with IoT enabled systems that help collect collate and analyse and interpret welding data for enhancing weld productivity.
We are the only indigenous welding equipment manufacturer to offer 3 year warranty on our welding equipment thereby assuring uninterrupted performance and longevity to the end-ser thereby lowering his downtime costs.
What is driving the demand for welding consumables and equipment in India at present?
There has been surge in infrastructure spending both in the current fiscal as well as the next year as promised in the interim budget. The arrival of the world’s top automobile manufactures in India and using their Indian factories as manufacturing hubs both for domestic and export requirements has lit up demand for the welding industry.
Railways has many new products for metros, modernisation projects announced and budgeted and a lot of activity on the ground.
With refineries modernising plus new refineries like the one in Konkan (Maharashtra) coming up soon, the oil and gas sector will see a sharp surge in the market for welding consumables and welding equipment. Formalisation of the economy post GST implementation has also helped the in formalising the economy.
We have seen a rise in demand of both welding consumables and welding equipment in the current year and foresee this trend in the coming couple of years at least. Our company is all set to cross Rs 500 crore for the first time ever to grow substantially over last year’s performance.
What is your opinion about the Interim Budget 2019?
This budget has been not as conservative as expected. Though there has been only a marginal increase in budgeted support towards defence expenditure of around Rs 25K crore, there has been an expenditure allocation of Rs 1.58 trillion for Railways which is the highest ever and will surely provide business opportunities.
There is bound to be some further thrust on infrastructure and MSMEs sector which augur good for the industry. The budget has been hailed by stalwarts of the industry and promises to boost the manufacturing sector.
What was the rationale behind opening Ador Welding Academy? How is the response?
The Ador Welding Academy has been into knowledge sharing and skilling in the field of welding for over four decades now. Our initiatives with Skill India and NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation) have further strengthened our endeavour towards imparting welding knowledge and bridging the ever widening gap between supply and demand of expert welding engineering professional and skilled welders that are so much in demand. through our Academy we have also initiated a programme of educating girls and boys in welding for almost free. These programmes are for a duration of 3 months and the trainees selected from economically less fortunate backgrounds in the field of welding and giving them employment.
We have trained dozens of girl welders in the past year alone at AWA (Ador Welding Academy) and most of them have been employed in organisations such M&M, Ador Welding, GE to name a few. Their welding skill levels are so good that they are winning accolades in National level Welding competitions.
Which are new welding challenges before Indian manufacturing companies? How is your company helping Indian firms to solve these challenges?
The biggest challenges in front of the industry is shortage of skilled welders and engineers.
There are challenges in welding of high strength steels with high impact requirements at sub-zero temperatures, steels with high elongation. There are challenges like increasing welding speeds to increase productivity, increasing deposit efficiencies, reducing distortions and heat input in welds. There are been a surge in welding automation requirements as industries strive to boost productivity. and being ready of Industry 4.0.
Versatility is the order of the day. Gone are the days when you could make one product for several decades. This is an era of adaptation.
Ador Welding is a complete welding & cutting solutions provider. Our products range has solutions for all welding processes and our training academy (AWAPL) has been into weld skilling for several decades now.
We have been constantly evolving the meet industry requirements, foreseeing change and working towards offering solutions.
Not only do we train welders and engineers through our Welding Academy, we also have customer meets and seminars to educate customers about the latest welding trends. Our Welding Automation division is designing new methods to offer customised welding solution to boost productivity and improve quality.
The latest introduction is the Tip Tig process in both manual and automated versions that has taken the industry by storm. This process makes Tig welding easy, it effectively gives Tig welding quality at Mig welding speeds. It also reduces the heat affected zone due to its low heat input & increases productivity and quality.
We have technology development centre for welding consumables for the most critical of welding requirements. We have developed alloys for high strength steels and are helping end users establish the WPS for welding of critical high strength steels.
Our products are CE and CWB approved and therefore can be used for clientele working projects which demand these approvals.
Aluminium is increasingly being used in industries such as automotive. Do you offer welding equipment and technology for aluminium? If yes, are you seeing increase in demand?
The Automobile industry is seeing a change in the material of construction with some shift happening to Al alloys for their extremely low weight (1/3 the weight of steel) and high strengths. We have a whole range of welding consumables for welding of Aluminium and its alloys both
for GMAW ,GTAW and even for SMAW welding.
The Ador Welding range of welding equipment now bolstered with the introduction of the Pulsed Mig machine Champ Pulse 500, thus offers a comprehensive welding package for Aluminium and its alloys.
How is your company incorporating automation & robotics in its welding technology/machines?
Companies that invest in automated welding systems can reap many benefits, from improved efficiency to reduced variances in part quality. Utilising advanced welding processes can take those results to the next level - for even greater productivity, weld quality and cost savings.
Advanced welding processes help address issues with distortion, spatter, travel speeds and other factors, which can minimise rework, increase production and offer a competitive advantage.
As a result of the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government of India, the thrust is on achieving world class standards. With Industry 4.0 knocking on our doors, automation in welding & cutting has become very crucial.
Ador has smart welding equipment compatible with robots and can be synchronised with them seamlessly. Our welding equipment has been upgraded to being IoT friendly which means one can collect and analyse welding data for improving welding yields.
What are the new opportunity areas that you are looking at in India? What are the emerging trends in welding industry?
We are looking at automation and IoT in welding to be the next big thing as we move ahead towards Industry 4.0. Internet of Things, Artificial Neural Networks and intelligent machines are collecting and analysing data to enhance welding efficiency. Communication between various fabrication processes and welding are things to look out for.
Real time data collection for monitoring welding parameters and quality checks are possible by Digitally controlled welding machines today. Digital controlled welding machines can be IoT enabled. All of Ador Welding’s inverter equipment can be readily IoT enabled by adding a hardware called ‘Data gateway’.
What are the growth plans for your company?
We will cross Rs 600 crore by 2020-21. Our capacity enhancements and modernisation plans are in place to meet customer expectations.