Robotic and laser welding: Scaling up the SME sector


In an interaction with Soumitra Kulkarni, Director, Swami Samarth Electronics, he shares his company’s journey and how they act as a low cost manufacturing partner for OEM vendors.

Walk us bit through about your company’s journey till now.
Swami Samarth Electronics Pvt. Ltd. was founded in 1995 By Ramesh Kulkarni, a very small work shop kind of set up with 4-5 employees. Ramesh Kulkarni worked for 35 years with CEAT Tires as boiler engineer. After growing his business from a very small work shop, with a turnover of ` 10 lakhs to lac to a well-established small scale firm with 30 employees and turnover of ` 3 Crores, he handed over all the business activity to me in 2009.

What are your major offerings?
Swami Samarth is currently working in 4 business verticals having annual sale of ` 6 crores and 60 plus employees. As a vender to OEM, we provide stainless steel, mild steel and aluminum sheet metal components, cabinets and enclosure manufacturing services to quemanagement systems, access control equipment, security systems, medical equipment industries and engineering industries.

What major technologies are put into use for laser cutting services for OEM industries?
We provide laser cutting services to other OEM vendors as well as interior designs and architects. The most important service we provide is to work as a low cost manufacturing partner for those who are expertat marketing but find it difficult to handle manufacturing hassles. The major break through in terms of growth and acquiring new customers took place in 2016 when we adopted 2 D fiber metal sheets laser cutting technology and CNC bending. Fiber metal laser cutting is a must-have technology if you need to provide sheet metal fabrication services to OEMS. The major advantages are:
• Rapid prototyping is possible as set up time is negligible
• No tools are required to change as compared with CNC turret
• No post processing operations are required like deburring
• Gets very clean finish of cutting edge
• Low maintenance and consumable cost etc.

Tell us a bit about your biomass stoves.
Forthe last 10 years, Swami Samarth is working in the field of biomass stoves and have developed India’s one of the lowest carbon monoxide emitting improved cook stove Agneekaa Eco Mini and successfully it is commercialised. Till date more than 10000 rural house hold kitchens are smoke less.

How do you view the sheet metal industry of India?
Till 15 years back in sheet metal industry, shearing machines, stamping machines, mechanical press breaks, drilling, tapping machines and arc welding machines were main machines. Now, 2D fiber laser cutting technology have eliminated the need of shearing machining, stamping machine and drilling machines. The work of 60 manual minutes has now got reduced to 2-3 minutes; saving time and thus reducing costs, the biggest need.

How do you define the common welding techniques and technologies used in fabrication?
One of the important but time consuming manufacturing activity in sheet metal fabrication is welding, used to join different parts together by fusing metal homogeneously. In welding, major technologies are used:
Arc welding: Suitable for heavy fabrication in this metal electrode is fused in between the joints.
Mig welding (Co2 welding): In this copper coated metal wire is fused in between joints and co2 gas is used to shielding the flux from atmosphere.
One more method majorly used to join stainless steel as well asaluminum metal is TIG welding. In TIG welding, through Tungsten rod, high current is passed and the arc is formed to melt the metals to be joined and filler material is used to add metal if required.
• Spot welding is one of the common method used in case of thin sheets joining
One more comparatively new method is capacitor discharge welding. In this method, specially manufactured studs are welded.

Which welding technology are majorly put in use by your company?
All the earlier mentionedmethods are manual and time consumable. In large scale, robotic welding is used to reduce manpower cost and to eliminate the man made mistakes. As welding robots are costly, they are not in use in small scale industries.

The new promising technology in the welding operation is laser welding as the scope of cost reduction is quite possible in this technology and, we, as small scale owners are eagerly waiting to adopt this new technology as there is no post processing operation such as grinding and finishing is needed.

What is your take on Union Budget 2019?
The good part in this Union Budget 2019 is that the government has increased the percentage of buying from small scale industries from PSUs. This will give boost to small scale industries. Also, government is creating awareness about GEM portal and bringing more transparency in government procurement procedure.

What is next for your company?
Acquiring new technology have opened hundreds of doors of other opportunities for us. We have decided to focused on selected opportunities and grow our business in all four verticals of ours that we are working.

“We have developed India’s one of the lowest carbon monoxide emitting improved cook stove Agneekaa Eco Mini”
Soumitra Kulkarni, Director, Swami Samarth Electronics

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