The Schmersal Group offers its customers the largest range of safety switching appliances and systems worldwide for the protection of human life and machines. In this interaction, Sagar Bhosale, Managing Director, the Pune-based Schmersal India Pvt Ltd, elaborates on the growing need for workplace safety and the role played by his company in this direction.
How has been Schmersal Group’s journey in India?
The Schmersal Group offers its customers around the world systems and solutions for machine safety, occupational safety and sub-areas of automation technology, having a comprehensive range of 25,000 products which includes safety switches, solenoid interlocks, emergency stop - switches, security sensors, safety mats with safety function, photoelectric light barriers and end switches, which include limit switches, position switches and micro switches.
Schmersal India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Schmersal Germany, was founded in 2007 as a sales organisation in order to participate in the growing Indian market for machine safety. In 2012, the cornerstone for a production factory in India was laid in Pune, Maharashtra, which started production in July 2013. The constant rise in demand for Schmersal products was the main factor behind the decision to invest in the factory. To date, Schmersal is the only company producing safety switches directly in India.
On January 1, 2016, the Schmersal Group, founded an independent Safety Consulting division under the name tec.nicum, with the sole aim to provide safety, service and update the knowledge about the various norms and standards to industry. Schmersal India tec.nicum division has a team of five engineers, trained from Germany for functional safety expertise. They are certified as Functional Safety Engineers by TÜV and are specialists in the field of safety technology. This team conducts a comprehensive assessment at companies to evaluate their present safety levels.
Which are the major end-user industries for your products & services?
Our customers currently include many international and big local corporate names in industries such as food and beverages, pharma, textile, machine tool, metal & steel, mining, automobile, automotive ancillaries, alternative energy, plastic, cement, power, the lift industry etc. Since Schmersal provides Man-Machine Safety, we are present in almost all sectors where man interacts with machines.
How is the demand for your products? What is driving this demand?
We, at Schmersal, perceive a colossal demand in the automation segment and are devoted to addressing the safety facets. With the safety norms from the Government falling in place, there is a surge in the requirement of safety products in the market. Also, with the increasing awareness of safety, the customers are getting more and more inclined to implementation of safety at their workplace.
How do you ensure high quality standards for your products?
Our world-class manufacturing facility has a production space of 3,000 sq m, where we manufacture safety and electromechanical products. We follow stringent quality norms similar to our parent company in Germany and conduct rigorous quality check on safety switches Most of the infrastructure and machines in our facility have been sourced from Germany.
The high quality requirements apply to the production of safety switching devices with this high process reliability is guaranteed. We have modern automated test equipment and 100% inspection is carried out. The test equipment confirms the quality of products almost for 10 to 12 different critical parameters.
Do you also export from India?
We have been exporting to the SAARC countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and have distribution channels there to cater the safety product requirement. In recent times, we have exported to the Middle East. We already have been providing safety services to many customers across South East Asia. Steadily the export business is picking up pace.
Furthermore, we are re-exporting some of the products manufactured in India to our principal in Germany to support the increasing requirements there.
How have been the exports in 2017? And what are you expectations from 2018?
Focus to export started only from 2016 and we started by appointing channels as a first step in these new markets. We had a good business in exports for our Services Division, especially the South East Asian market. Now with the EOU and the FTWZ in place, the penetration for this export market will be much more in 2018. In the past few months we have witnessed a spirited growth in exports and we intend to grow at least 4 to 5 times in 2018 over 2017.
What are your growth plans for the company?
Schmersal India is a growing company. We have come a long way in the last decade. At present, it employs around 80 employees, including a mechanic apprentice. In the near future, the plan is to increase this number to 85 to 90 employees. The number of trainees is also set to rise.
Besides, in April 2018, Schmersal India would embark an IT centre in Pune, with a team of thirteen IT professionals to extend Post SAP Implementation Support Services to the entire Schmersal Group, starting with Germany and progressively in China and Brazil.
Further, the local R&D centre is now fully functional and has started rolling out products designed in India for the local market. Also, we are always open for any association or tie ups which enhance our solutions offerings to various industries.