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Fronius: shifting the limits

Fronius International GmbH, with a stronghold on R&D, has brought its new technologies for monitoring and controlling energy to IndiaStarted in Pettenbach, Austria in 1945, Fronius International has grown leaps and bounds over the decades. It currently has 19 international subsidiaries and deals in over 60 countries. Innovative technology with 864 patents to its name, the company currently deals with three main divisions – welding technology, solar electronics and battery charging systems.
Taking note of the increasing awareness in quality and productivity as a rising subject in India, the company finds a brighter and wider potential market for its product with most buyers wanting to use only the best. Fronius has been providing innovative solutions to the Indian market through local partners for roughly 15 years, and its valuable client list already boasts of some big players in the industry, such as Reliance, Larsen & Toubro, Volkswagen etc. Observing an opportunity to explore the unexplored potential Indian market, Fronius now looks at foraying into India by setting up its own facility in Pune.
“The decision to set up base in India is based upon our products gaining momentum and importance in the market,” says Gerald Schmitt, General Manager, Fronius India Pvt. Ltd. “Our intention is to provide high-quality products along with continued support to our customers.” The facility will be operational by August 01, 2013.
Fronius plans to offer solutions of all the three divisions in India too. “Our welding division is already a strong contender in the Indian market, especially in the automotive sector,” reveals Mr Schmitt. An classic example of the firm’s innovation in welding is the Cold Metal Transfer (CMT) system, which made it possible to join steel and aluminum. Before this innovation, the joining of these two metals was said to be impossible.
“The main goal is to bring a new feel to welding equipment in India. With the new facility, Fronius India will not only provide top-quality products but also offer the highest level support,” expresses Mr Schmitt. Quality is another aspect that Fronius does not compromise on. For example, its solar inverters have a 20-year warranty. Mr Schmitt says, “Owing to the depth of production, the need for purchased parts is very little; therefore, we have a much better influence on state of quality than our competitors. This allows us to pass on these benefits to our customers by means of a long warranty period.” Eyeing the solar sector in India, he adds, “The solar market especially for small and medium projects is almost untouched as most of the project business is focused on the big government driven projects. We see a big potential for growth here.”
He also explains that he sees India as a prospective market for their other offerings as well and will focus on them accordingly with careful development. The company, as it does worldwide, will cater to a range of sectors across the three tiers, such as automotive, shipbuilding and offshore, power generation, yellow goods and construction.
State-of-the-art facility in PuneOn its strategic move of choosing Pune as its headquarters, Mr Schmitt declares, “Pune is a hub for the automotive industry and many of our existing customers are in automotive related businesses. As a whole, this is the right spot for us. Excellent schools in Pune will also guarantee for well-educated staff.” As the company wants to be pioneer in developing solutions rather than just be a source to buy products, the Indian facility will also feature an R&D hub, ensuring that customers get an all-round solution with technology know-how for their needs. He avers, “We aim to forge a lifetime relationship with all our customers, one that is mutually beneficial to all involved. We recognise that our customers’ business is ever evolving and developing. Hence, we want to make sure that the equipment we provide is always able to cope with different changes along with also being available to new requirements of our customers.”
Skill-development training and seminarThe facility will also have a workroom to be used as a training ground for customers’ employees like welders who need to be educated on the latest techniques or new technology for their solutions. The room will also feature three robot cells for research on automated solutions as well as all equipment required to do the same on manual systems. Training programs as well as seminars will be held throughout the year at the facility. The Pune headquarters will also be a stage for regular seminars, with specialists from Fronius Austria as guest speakers. Mr Schmitt indicates, “This is mutually beneficial for customers as well as us. We depend on market feedback and demand to be able to stay ahead and keep our position as technology leaders. Only with this input from the welding world can we ensure that R&D at Fronius Austria is developing the right solutions for the market.”
Future plan and commitmentThere are plans to have three other holdings in India in the first year, viz. Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore, apart from Pune. It aims to further increase to at least four more teams at strategically important areas in India. It also has expectations of not less than 10 per cent growth per annum. Talking about the expectations from India, Mr Schmitt states, “As India provides endless opportunities for the firm, these figures can of course be pushed.  We will have to prove ourselves to the customers and the Indian market.”

 
“The main goal is to bring a new feel to welding equipment in India. With the new facility, Fronius India will not only provide top-quality products but also offer the highest level support”
Gerald Schmitt, General Manager, Fronius India Pvt. Ltd.

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