According to Kunal Marathe, Marketing Director, Lubeco, the Indian machine tool industry and metal cutting sector are becoming extremely price conscious. While cost optimisation should be done in order to reduce the burden on the end user, the industry should be able to identify the thin line between cost reduction and cost optimisation. He also explains how the demand has seen an increase due to the boost given to the defence and aerospace sector, along with the automobile and electronic manufacturing industry.
Brief us about your company and the products & services offered by it.
We started off as textile chemical manufacturers but switched to industrial lubricants following the closure of mills in and around Mumbai region. Since Pune was an automobile hub, we shifted base from Mumbai to Pune and became Pvt Ltd in 1998. We started with two-three products such as EDM fluid, washing chemical and synthetic coolant but developed and increased our product range year after year and we now have around 80 odd products. We made technology and additive partners from Germany and UK along the way to speed up our R&D and upgrade our technology. Because of these alliances, almost all our products are RoHS (EU Compliance) certified. We recently entered into the field of fluid management and developed a tube type skimmer which performs at least 40 times better on speed, efficiency and cost counts than conventional skimmers. Our company has two brands: Lubeco and Fluidmate. Under Lubeco, we have all types of fluids and lubricants namely, metalworking fluids, hydraulic and lubricant oils, rust preventives, cleaners, mist lubricants, EDM fluids, speciality lubricants for drawing, punching, rolling, etc., carbide grinding coolants, paint strippers, rust removers and so on. In Fluidmate, we have products like skimmers for small and medium size tanks and large size ETP and centralised coolant tanks. We also have fluid suckers to remove huge volume of fluids from large tanks within minutes and coolant mixers for forming exact cutting oil emulsions eliminating manual errors. There are also refractometers, pH meters, TDS meters under the Fluidmate series.
How is the metal cutting sector shaping up with respect to the Indian machine tools industry?
The Indian machine tool industry and metal cutting sector are becoming extremely price conscious and while cost optimisation should be done in order to reduce the burden on the end user, the industry’s goal should not be price reduction but cost optimisation. It should be able to identify the thin line between the two. Price reduction is based on a narrow concept and good for short term gains but cost optimisation is based on a broader concept and excellent for long term benefits. Overall, the future looks bright for the machine tool industry because of the boost to the defence and aerospace manufacturing industry.
How do you serve the metal cutting sector in India?
We manufacture advanced and high performance cutting fluid solutions to the metal cutting customers in India. The conventional cutting fluids are bad for operators’ health, machine life and environment, and even though they are low priced, they incur high on production cost. We provide semi synthetic and synthetic technology cutting fluids to these users, which reduce consumption and disposal cost of cutting fluid, increase life of the machine, is user friendly and due to its long sump life, is more environment friendly. So customers tick all boxes with our cutting fluids – safety, cost and performance. Our tube type oil skimmers also help in improving the life of the cutting fluids by at least 30 per cent, also helping in improving the cleanliness of the machine and subsequently its life.
How is the demand for your products? What is driving this demand?
The demand for our product is good. Due to the boost given to the defence and aerospace sector, along with automobile and electronic manufacturing industry, there is an increase in demand. This growth is one of the major driving factors for the demand. Along with it, increase in awareness about using good quality products is also helping our products grow.
Tell us in detail about your plans to tap the automotive and auto component industry in India.
We are already supplying to the automotive and auto component industry. Automotive industry is fiercely competitive, as India has been a hub for major automotive manufacturers for years now. This competition rubs onto the supplementary industry like machine tool and lubricants. So, even though we are already catering to this industry, we have to constantly evaluate our products and upgrade them in order to not only sustain but excel in this competition. We are focusing on R&D, quality control, marketing and distribution to tap deeper into this industry. Now one more addition to these aspects has come up – after sales service for customer retention.
What are the emerging trends that are being observed in the metal cutting and machine tool accessories segments?
The trend is to develop more and more eco-friendly technologies. Environmental impact generates desires to develop new technologies. Because the carbon footprint generated by old technology needs to be curtailed or stopped completely. So that alone drives current technological trends. Apart from that, saving cost remains the second most important force for new technologies. Industry and the government are working together in driving the industry towards a greener future. For example, government has made ETPs mandatory to stop effluent into the ground. So the industry wants to generate less effluent in order to reduce cost of effluent treatment. Hence, suppliers need to provide
that technology which will reduce the cost of effluent.
How is the industry preparing itself for Industry 4.0?
The future of the industry looks promising with better taxation policy (GST), easier business norms, more foreign investment coming into India by way of Make In India projects, growing new industries such as aerospace and the existing automobile industry, more focus and spending on research and development in all fields, etc. Overall the future looks good and stable. The industry is also preparing itself to adjust to green technology by way of reduction in effluent and use of fossil fuels, adopt new technology to decrease dependence on manpower and invest in social causes.
What products/technologies/services will you showcase at IMTEX/ToolTech 2019?
We will be displaying all products under Lubeco and Fluidmate. Lubeco will have all types of fluids and lubricants like metalworking fluids, hydraulic and lubricant oils, rust preventives, cleaners, mist lubricants, EDM fluids, speciality lubricants for drawing, punching, rolling, carbide grinding coolants, paint strippers, rust removers and so on. Fluidmate will have products like skimmers for small and medium size tanks and large size ETP and centralised coolant tanks. We also have fluid suckers to remove huge volume of fluids from large tanks within minutes as well as coolant mixers for forming exact cutting oil emulsions, eliminating manual errors. Apart from these,
we will have refractometers, pH meters, TDS meters under the Fluidmate series.
Your comments on IMTEX/ToolTech 2019 (in terms of standing of the Expo, your past experiences, and your expectations for this year’s Expo)
IMTEX/TOOLTECH has been a star show for this industry and is one of the oldest and most popular ones. The visitor footfall has been rising, participants are increasing and more space is being developed. We have also increased our space booking constantly since 2011. However, we feel the new technologies are not being showcased as prominently as earlier. Better management of traffic is another issue that should be looked after by the management.
Are you going to launch any new product/technology/application at the IMTEX/ToolTech 2019? If yes, please elaborate.
We are going to launch two products – a new model of skimmer for low maintenance requirements of the customers and a coolant mixer for saving cutting fluid wastage.
What are your growth plans for the company?
Our vision is and has always been sustainable growth in terms of volume and technology. Technology is the catalyst for success and without success there would be no investment in newer technology; both go hand in hand. So our vision is to develop new technology, market it and sell it. We also plan to expand and upgrade our manufacturing facility, participate in exhibitions in south east Asia, and appoint new distributors and marketing personnel in untapped regions.