Seco Tools, one of the world’s largest metal cutting solutions provider, bets big on India’s aerospace industry
Every year, Seco Tools hosts an aerospace conference in India, which attracts sector experts and Seco’s major customers, helping the company chart out their future course for one of their biggest revenue earners – the aerospace industry. This year, DMI spoke to Ravindra Dixit, Business Development Manager – Aerospace Business (India) and Tamas Molnar, International Aerospace Expert , Seco Tools about the yearly conference, their experience of the industry, and the company’s future roadmap.
Please share the key highlights of Seco Tool India’s aerospace conference which you organized recently.
Ravindra Dixit (RD): On August 23, 2019, we hosted the Aerospace Summit 2019. This is the sixth consecutive year of such conference in India. This year the event focus spanned all the material requirements for the aerospace industry. It is important for our customers to understand the challenges that arise, related to aerospace materials machining, and the solutions that Seco Tools offers to address these challenges. Fuel efficiency is the most important factor for airline operators therefore plane makers needs to reduce their aircrafts weight significantly. Because of this, new and exotic type of materials are used for components which very often difficult to machine. Our Aerospace meet addressed machining challenges in machining such materials and SECO solutions to mitigate such challenges.
As a tooling partner, in what ways is Seco working for its aerospace customers?
Tamas Molnar (TM): Seco develop it’s new products based on these new materials as Mr Dixit mentioned before, as these are the ones our customers need to machine more often and have difficulties with. We have a wide range of tools such as solid end mills or inserts specially developed for nickel based super alloy or titanium alloy machining, and also solutions for machining composite parts. Our objective is to work as partners with our customers, which is why besides tool we also offer complete solutions including programming, machining strategies and cost per part calculations.
RD: Composite materials are the ones which are being considered for reducing the weight of the aircraft and improving the fuel efficiency significantly. Changing towards these types of materials is the trend that we are seeing among our customers. Also reducing the weight of the exotic materials means making them more slender, making it more difficult to maintain quality of the part. Seco already has well proven solutions here and we are continuously working on new developments. As a part of continuous improvement, lot of innovations are happening in this are to develop much better solutions. New and different materials are need of industry and that’s why Seco’s focus has been to collaborate with research and development institutes as well.
Can you tell us a bit about Seco CET, and how it’s helping aerospace component manufacturers in India?
RD: CET or Component Engineered Tooling a service which helps Seco customers improve profitability through minimizing machining time and production costs by involving the Seco team early in the process. Here, our team looks at the entire picture – the component material, the machining methods, the machine tool, the cutting tool, the inventory and puts together the pieces of the puzzle to manufacture the highest quality part in the most cost-effective manner. As Mr Molnar said, it is an important part of our goal to be a tooling partner of our customer and that partnership can only happen when we partner with them on the entire engineering process and not for just a single tool solution. Our CET team comprises application experts who have a rich experience and are supported by segment expert, for example, aerospace experts in this case.
Ravindra Dixit, Business Development Manager – Aerospace Business (India)
Tamas as you are working in different markets such as Asia and Europe, how different is the Indian aerospace-components manufacturing industry from its international counterparts? And what are the challenges or opportunities you see in the Indian market?
TM: Generally I can say that the global aerospace market is growing at a healthy pace. If one looks at the orders from the two main manufactures (Boeing and Airbus), one can see a period of fast growth in the aerospace industry for the coming ten years at least. In terms of challenges a big one I think is that with such a rate of growth, manufacturers need to produce more parts in less time and lower cost with their available capacity and machine park. That is why, in addition to offering our products, we also work very closely with different CAD/CAM suppliers and machine-tool builders not only from the tooling perspective, but also for the purpose of applying new manufacturing methods such as Dynamic Milling or Advance Roughing. In fact, besides our high feed tooling offer which we already had in our portfolio, Seco has designed solid end mills specifically for these new manufacturing methods I just mentioned. Essentially, these we all developed to help customers to boost their production and increase their output.
As per the recent estimates, India’s aerospace industry makes for about one-and-a-half percent of the global aerospace market. And countries like Mexico and Vietnam have been able to take advantage of the ongoing USA-China trade war to expand their manufacturing base. What are the ways in which the Indian aerospace component manufacturing industry can do better in this scenario?
RD: As Mr Molnar mentioned, there is a healthy demand, and the challenge that I see for the Indian customers is that they need to maintain the expected delivery timelines and yet produce quality components given the resources that they have. So I think it is important for them is to manage their resources well, produce quality products well in time, for which they can’t make any compromises on the choice of tooling partners, and this is where SECO will be able to help them achieve their goals.
Has the Make in India campaign made any impact on the Indian aerospace component manufacturing industry?
RD: I do see quite a big change in the sentiment of investors given that the government is keen on growth. I’ve seen customers like Aequs Aerospace, TATA Aerospace & Defence, Bharat Forge Aerospace , SAFRAN Aero Engines, utilizing this opportunity – their fast expansion or expansion plan in the aerospace & defence industry is a positive sign for the prospects of the Make in India initiative.
TM: I agree. We see an increasing number of global players that are setting foot in India either via joint venture with local companies or by setting up their own manufacturing plants. Therefore we are definitely seeing the benefits of this push.
How do you see the Indian market from an APAC perspective in terms of the marketing challenges and what are the major plans going forward?
RD: Currently our focus is to cater to the market requirements, increasingly augment our delivery and research capabilities to be ready for the future requirements.
The aerospace segment is one of the biggest revenue earners for us globally. Our R&D teams continue to develop solutions for newer and fast-evolving technologies, working with major OEMs, universities and sector experts, helping our customers reduce the cutting time, improving the productivity and product quality. The intention is to meet the customer requirements, leveraging on our strength and expertise in Aerospace segment, and the fact of being a globally recognised tooling solution provider.
TM: There is not a big difference between other markets of Asia and India in particular. What I can say with certainty that India has one of the highest competency levels in the Asian region, whether it’s the people on the shop floor, the engineering- or management teams. Aerospace has been, and continues to be our main focus for the coming years. We have great tooling solutions, practical colleagues and good distributor network. We want to be much more than a tooling supplier – we want to be a tooling partner.