In conversation with K Srinath, Business Head – Robotics, Alstrut India Pvt. Ltd

Interview by Deepti Thore 

Q. How big is the market for Cobots?
Srinath: Our company has been growing at a 2x to 3x rate and so are our partners. The parent company itself has been doubling its business. Looking at these indicators, I think the market size we are talking about is very huge. In comparison to what it is in other parts of the world, the adoption of automation in India is just one-third as compared to south-east Asia. Compared to China, it could probably be one-tenth. Opportunities and the problems are very similar whether it is in India or China as both use the same machines. It is just that they are putting more robots and we are deploying less of them. The challenges faced by China remain the same as India due to the availability of manpower considering both the countries have high human population. So we are just scratching the surface of this opportunity.

Q: Do you think the industry is fast evolving in IoT and automation?
Srinath: I think there is evidence of that. The smart manufacturing companies and especially the government is encouraging programs towards these initiatives. We have witnessed the change in different industries, eco-systems, vendors and government. I think this is the best phase to make manufacturing smarter and adopt such autonomous solutions. India being very good in IT sector has its services offered globally and so much of that is extending itself to the Indian manufacturing companies as well. It gives us an opportunity to deploy technologies to enhance Indian manufacturing companies in order to reach the next level and compete globally. Industry 4.0 awareness is much higher than it was three years back and we no longer have to explain companies to adopt smart approach to make manufacturing better.

Q: Does the ongoing economic slowdown threaten to impact business negatively?
Srinath: In the collaborative robot space, there is not much of the impact. We are just scratching the surface and for us it is still raw, primarily because every manufacturing company experiments with just one collaborative robot. There are many auto components companies and we have still not entered that segment yet where the slowdown is affecting the business. When these companies witness a slowdown, we will find an opportunity to automate their processes to ramp them up for the future. In times when people are loaded with work, they often tend to worry about the outcome of automating their machines, or what happens to production during that time. But now due to slow down, there is enough time for them to automate the product and worry less about the outcome since they can stop the machines if necessary and work around the solution while business becomes stable.

Q: What are the growth areas and challenge areas from short term to medium term and medium to long term perspective?
Srinath: The growth challenge for us comes largely from our own talent because even though these technologies are great, to conceptualise the idea and to deploy it seamlessly we depend on talented engineers. These are not the areas which have been around for a very long time. So the engineering colleges are yet to reach a point where such topics are being taught. Hence, our main focus is to educate our employees in all dimensions when it comes to automation. This is one major thing that I foresee for the future growth plans of Alstrut India.


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