V.V. Kamath, Managing Director, Fronius India Private Limited
Could you brief us on Fronius role into the welding segment?
We are the leading players in India, Germany and Indonesia. Fronius started in 1950, almost have been for over 67 years in India. In Pune, we started in 2013. At the initial stages, welding was a very challenging task, but it was very well interchanged. Now, it’s been over 3 years wherein we are the leading players in welding equipments. When quality is concern, Fronius is one of the most preferred brand..
What type of welding equipment does Fronius includes into its product range?
We are basically into the business of welding equipment where arc is visible. We deal with TIG welding, MIG Welding, Electrode Welding, and welding automated solutions like Orbital Welding. We have recently applied for some of the customized welding solutions. Fronius are not into the business of submerged welding. Recently, we have brought about business into duct welding. We have technology from Delta stock that can conduct different material. We are also coming with conventional reference welding with the smartest features, which will be launched soon.
What new technological advancement have you introduced?
Fronius is known for technical advancements. We make products which are ready for tomorrow, which are future prone. For example, some welding products have smart phones, which are futuristic and can perform many operations on fingertips. Our machines can be operated quickly and easily. We have machines that are a perfect blend between the man and machines. Recently we have introduced a new welding machine range called TPS/I, Intelligent Revolution. It is a new unit platform for welding equipment. It has a high intelligence and extensive communication capabilities. The TPS/I, Intelligent Revolution is an interface between a man and a machine. There are processes of speed that are semi-fast. There are unique variations in welding machines that can perform various operations on finger tips. We have introduced Cold Metal Transfer (CMT) machines. The advancements in CMT technology and the advancements of TPS technology has lead to the new paramount of welding automations. It has taken welding to a new level.
Has Fronius expanded its reach to robotic welding segment?
When you say automation, it includes robotic welding systems and non-robotic welding systems. We are not in the business of robotic welding systems. We offer automation systems for oil & gas business. Fronius have customers wanting for materials that are co-related to complex parts and thus needs to be gathered where quality requirement is very high. For example:- A natural gas pipeline, which contains high level of corrosion materials need a coating inconel or sliding of inconel inside pipeline. It has a single way with 4 wires, so the productivity is also very high. It has a camera fitted to as long as 12 meters. We have a system which can tag the 12m pipe while transporting the natural gas, especially the gases which contain high level of corrosion material. So, the operator can see what is exactly happening. In this way we can almost reduce the defects. These systems have been implemented when automation is concern. We also have a long term welding, and a set of single phase machines. Fronius also designs very complex systems. ISRO launches many satellites. I am also happy to share that, the fuel chambers in these satellites are welded by using Fronius automation systems. It is a complex welding solution system which is designed and developed by us. So, we are a niche market and we do not cover anything that is robotic or systems with robotic. We committed systems, wherein the quality requirement is very high and there is no chance of any mistakes. So when we work on any project, it has to be 100% right.
Is the Indian market on par with the international markets?
The Indian market is not at all at par with the international markets. This is because of two reasons. It is not because we lack knowledge, and also not because we lack skill, but we definitely lack attitude. Still we have the “JUGAD” in mind, due to which we can never be on par with the international markets. People in India have a behavior of doing anything if nothing and come up with something. We do a proper design, but we fail in execution. Our visions are on par with the international markets but our execution is far below. It is not because we are not capable, but because of our “Chalta hai” attitude. This is the problem in India. Besides, the welding industry is facing the manpower issues. The campaigns like ‘Make in India’, and also hopefully the GST will give a right competitiveness in Indian market. Definitely without welding there is no manufacturing and with the dearth of manpower, the welding automation is going to increase. This would lead to the bright future for automation in India.
What are Fronius’s efforts towards health and safety??
If somebody says that welding is safe and healthy, then it is absolutely wrong. Welding is a challenging task, mainly because TIG welding is difficult. While welding, the person is prone to get in contact to dust particles, which is a part and parcel of welding. But then how can we be eco-friendly. We need to consider the rest of the products while doing welding. So since we are also into the business of renewable technology, we have high end technologies that are efficient in power consumption, as compared to other conventional machines of competitors. In this way, we contribute to eco-friendly welding. Now when it comes to health & safety, we already have products for protection, like the high protection glares, wide range of ultra sonic helmets, fume attraction systems, etc. These are few of our initiatives towards health and safety. Besides, we also conduct training programs, wherein without fail we reserve one hour on health and safety. The people are made aware on its importance and where one needs to protect himself / herself. Thus, welding is a biggest challenge, not because of the lack of manpower but also because of the lack of right knowledge in welding. Everybody knows welding, but very few know what is right welding, and we are trying to improve the situation by joining hands with various colleges. We are also the active members of Indian Institute of Welding (IIW) and Indian Welding Society (IWS). Fronius sponsors various programs and also encourages welding engineers by sponsoring them. We took almost 20 engineering college HOD’s to Austria to show them the engineering activities carried in Austria and which can then be implemented in India. We have set up 4 centre of excellence in different parts of India ie, in North, South, East and West. These are the major engineering colleges where we offer an exposure to students for proper quality welding. In this way, the welding fraternity can get welding experts in future. We also have a welding school wherein we certify the welders. In most cases, we offer free welding training sessions inorder to attract the people to learn welding and opt welding as a career.