Impressive-IMTEX_1Text : T Murrali

It is said that the machine tool industry is the first to get affected in a slowdown or recession and the last to recover. This is because of its capital intensiveness. However, the impending IMTEX 2015 and the concurrent show Tooltech 2015 defy the belief. Despite the auto industry, which contributes to over 60% of the machine tool industry’s customer base, being still in the grips of a slowdown, the event has gained momentum significantly. While considering the response to these events, one can come to a conclusion that the slowdown has already faded away.

Impressive-IMTEX_7Organised by IMTMA (The Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association), IMTEX 2015, the 17th Indian Metal-cutting Machine Tool Exhibition with international participation will be held between 22 and 28 January 2015. The events will be housed at IMTMA’s state-of-the-art facility, Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC). The venue spreads across five large halls in about 34 acres of land. Located in the heart of the industrial corridor of Bangalore, BIEC offers services and amenities at par with international standards.

By far the largest exhibition of metal-cutting machine tools and manufacturing solutions in South and South-East Asia, it will showcase the exhaustive range of innovations and technological refinements in the complete product segment of metal-cutting machine tools.

Concurrent with the event IMTMA is also organising Tooltech 2015—the exhibition of cutting tools, tooling systems, machine tool accessories, metrology and CAD/CAM at the same venue. Tooltech 2015 will feature the newest trends in cutting tools and tooling systems from across the globe.

Both the events are expected to attract visitors from a wide spectrum of manufacturing and ancillary industries starting with key decision and policy makers as well as industry captains who are keen to source the latest technologies and manufacturing solutions for their production lines. It has come to symbolise a one-stop forum where customers can experience ‘live’ display of the products enabling them in the decision-making process to enhance their manufacturing capabilities.

Tooltech will highlight recent innovations in technology, design and product development with the aim to bring cost competitiveness in all metal working operations. Alongside, it will unveil yet again the explicit range of cutting tools from the stable of the world’s leading brands. Also, there will be an interactive ‘International Seminar on Machine Technology’ related to the field of metal cutting focusing on expertise, innovations, technology and trends.

IMTEX and Tooltech happen every year, but every alternate year the focus is different. In 2012 and 2014 the events focused on ‘Forming,’ and in 2013 it was ‘Metal Cutting,’ which will be replicated in the 2015 edition. In India auto components account for about 60% of manufacturing. So, automatically, machine tools will also have a ratio very close to this, though individual companies may vary.

Impressive-IMTEX_2L Krishnan

Speaking to Auto Components India, the President of IMTMA and the Managing Director of TaeguTec India, L Krishnan said, “We had a fairly good demand for participating in this exhibition, the mood is positive and if we had another 100% more space we would have been able to sell it. We are probably at the beginning of a medium to longterm bull curve where we are going to see positive activities. The good news is that both from the capital equipment side as well as the consumables side, we are seeing an upswing in terms of order flow and sales of devices from the month of March–April.”

We had a fairly good demand for participation in this exhibition. The mood is positive and if we had another 100% more space we would have sold it.

Elaborating the reasons, he said though heavy commercial vehicles took a very big hit a couple of years ago, 2-wheelers continue to grow with a fairly large base. The components industry is consolidating and exports are also growing. However, the sentiment for Capex was low for about 12 months and people did not have the appetite for it because there was so much uncertainty towards which direction the country was heading in terms of policy and various other governmental initiatives. It is evident that the clouds have cleared up; there is positivity in the minds of people in terms of the future.

“From the machine tool industry point of view I can say that very, very large size Capex projects have still not taken off. We believe it would take another 6 months or 1 year for it to really gain momentum. The good news is that small ticket investments (people wanting to update their capacities, add line balancing, add a new component to their existing line, develop new lines for exports), have been going on for the last 2 years. Last 7–8 months we are seeing that with investments to an extent of about Rs 50 to 60 lakh, people today are not hesitating to take a decision. If you look at Indian machine tool manufacturers, our ticket size is within that. We are not in the very large size machine tools so currently if you see the mood of Indian tool manufacturers and cutting tool industry, we have come back more-or-less to our old levels; we are not gasping for breath anymore. We have appetite; we are seriously looking at capacities and what we should do for the next 5 years, so we are under a reasonably good positive mood,” states Krishnan.

Another important background for positive feel is the growth of the global automotive industry—China is one which still continues to grow, Japan is down, US has some positive growth, Europe is down; looking at the next 10-year period there are not many highly populated economies which have an appetite for growth. So, with the small structural changes Government of India is attempting, global players see India as a big opportunity for the next 10 years.

When Krishnan gave this positive message about five months ago, people were asking if he was giving it ahead of time. He substantiated his views by stating that his company TaeguTec, which is in the cutting tool business, supplies these major consumables for the manufacturing industry; so he actually could sense what is happening on the shop floor.

2015 is very critical because the growth movement is just about to take-off. Manufacturing in the country is just priming now; it should take-off in probably 6 months to 1 year. It’s the right time for people to look at state-ofthe- art technologies and plan for the future.


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