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SIMPLE IS BEST

“In order to achieve quality and productivity, continuous innovations in the field of concept and design are taken-up as a compulsory company policy and improvement challenged and implemented year after year. ‘Simple is best’ is what the process and machine designers in Mazak work on”, says Sudhir Patankar, general manager at Mazak India.
Being one of the world’s largest suppliers of CNC lathes, machining centres and manufacturing systems; how do you describe the present scenario in the Indian market? Is it too competitive?Buoyant is the word. Volatility is uncertain as to how long it will stay. Our estimate is that the situation should be good for the next 2 years at least. Competitive is an understatement. Lower cost per piece is the only bottom line. Quality and productivity is taken for granted. In order to achieve this, continuous innovations in the field of concept and design are taken-up as a compulsory company policy and improvement challenged and implemented year after year. ‘Simple is best’ is what the process and machine designers in Mazak work on. Working backwards from what is required on the component to designing the basic needs. It needs to also dovetail with the product design and process through concurrent engineering. Sound complicated? No, it is the basis of arriving at a simple innovative design which can effective cater to the ever lowering demand of cost per piece. Due to such severe demands on cost per piece, many processes are getting eliminated through value engineering and more value additions are taking their place.
In India, more than 70% of the demand in machine tools is met by imports from countries like Germany and China. Where do the local players lack? Besides the cost per component challenge, unless machine up time is guaranteed it is pointless for any machine tool manufacturer to boast about lower machine prices and faster machines. Let us put it categorically along with other pointers:• Higher volume needs faster machines. Making fast machines is not difficult but to be able to cater in a 24×7 environment with zero break-down with sustained quality levels needs experience and research.• Cost reduction needs to also address life time cost or cost of ownership. Unless this is factored in, it is only a matter of time the damage is realised. Unless machine is capable of delivering and maintaining the same quality throughout the life time, it may be difficult to project the actual cost and realize the bottom-line.• Cycle time reduction is not only about using higher speed of rapid and feed. It needs more engineering knowledge on the understanding behaviour to multi-task the operations.• The key focus area is the machine tool manufacturers’ engineering skills and the capability to integrate solutions and tie them in a fool proof manner. Mazak engineering team work against odds to understand the ground reality at ground zero before proposing a complete solution from the Mazak’s vast product range. All under one roof, Mazak customer can relax and witness how the engineers partner with them to deliver a perfect solution.
What are the prime growth drivers for machine tools industry in India?Though automotive industry still constitutes a major chunk in the Indian machine tool business, there is a compelling demand for providing ‘domestic’ challenging solutions by the local machine tool manufacturer. Aerospace, wind energy, oil & gas, medical, and construction are the areas where we have taken a front seat but the demand is currently being mainly met by imports. This is also due to the fact that as proven solutions are already available in the other countries, it may not be the best option to wrangle through the learning curve.
Is there any gap in demand-supply? Does the industry well equipped to meet surging demand?Short product cycles, spare parts supports for old models, multi variants in the products are putting the demands as ‘yesterday’ so unless the machine tool manufacturers plan for today which will be asked tomorrow, it is only a matter of time that they face the brunt of aggressive deliveries. The only way to cater to this requirement is to be able to think through progressively. Flexible machines but fast delivery, precise but short cycle times, low cost per component yet simple. Too many in one basket unless the thinking philosophy drastically changes on how this can be neatly addressed. Machines are to be designed like the automotive manufacturers do. Common platforms, flexible compact modules, standard CNC with specific options which can be selected through soft switches, production verticals to a line assembly constitute a few of them. High technology is compacted in terms of soft and hardware in the machine and CNC. A broad portfolio of more than 200 different products is in the offing from the Mazak stable. It is a real challenge to be able to cater with such a large range to a make the customer delighted on not only quality and reliability but also on delivery. This is realised in Mazak manufacturing factories by using our own Palletech System to manufacture the machine parts. Probably, one of the few factories in the world using Mazak machine to produce Mazak machines. Does it not prove the precision levels that Mazak machines can deliver?
Tell us about your business activities in India and products offering.We have recently opened our New Technology Centre at Sanaswadi in Pune. It is based on the Mazak standard and you can feel the difference when you enter the main gate. It is an entirely customer centric facility. It feature a large exhibition area for the display of latest machines, spindle repair facility, training and seminar rooms, an auditorium, turnkey area for customer component machining, online support, parts centre besides other support facility. It is difficult to explain but easy to experience once your visit us. We have several Technical centres spread throughout India to cater to individual requirements on a short notice.
Describe about your machine tools for mass production.A broad portfolio of more than 200 different products are in the offing from the Mazak stable. It is a real challenge to be able to cater with such a large range to a make the customer delighted on not only quality and reliability but also on delivery. This is realised in Mazak manufacturing factories by using our own Palletech System to manufacture the machine parts. Probably, one of the few factories in the world using Mazak machine to produce Mazak machines. Does it not prove the precision levels that Mazak machines can deliver for mass production? Visit us at our New Technology Centre in Pune to witness the potential being unleashed and the promise that it carries for the users.
Can you brief us about your ‘DONE-IN-ONE’ concept?Done-In-One is a self explanatory phrase which signifies that the component once loaded on the machine needs to be completed without the need for external automation. Conventionally the understanding is to perform 5 prismatic sides in orthogonal planes but Done-In-One enable the machining of the 6th side also in the same setup. Besides all the 6 planes being approachable for machining; complex oblique angle can also be performed for machining out the complicated profiles very precisely. Such machines are capable of performing Done-In-One are categorised under multi-tasking machines. Just mounting 5 axis without specifically understanding the power of the combination would be counterproductive. The axis-rotary and linear need to be configured in various combinations with respect to each other to be able to optimally use the multi-tasking function and deliver results that only is left to imagination of the user. The potential is well realised in the challenging requirement in aerospace, wind energy, medical and construction where holding machined component accuracies becomes increasingly difficult as it progress through the machining. Multi Tasking machines come as a saviour.
What are your expansion plans in India?We are closely watching the potential and strategising our moves dynamically.
Are you going to launch any new product in Indian market?All products under Mazak umbrella are available for Indian market.

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