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“A lot of industries are now considering friction welding as one of the key technologies within their manufacturing process.”
Founder & Director,
Friction Welding Technologies
FWT is one among the leading players in manufacturing of world-class, highly advanced friction welding machines. How has been the journey so far?
The journey has been extremely adventurous so far with several ups-and-downs and a multitude of challenges at every step. And I believe that’s the best part of running your own business. Facing challenges, and rising above them. As a first-generation entrepreneur I had no entitlements or privileges. I had to start from the scratch. And when you start from the scratch you don’t have a benchmark to live up to, so you do nothing short of your best, with whatever resources you have. You acquire knowledge, you build network, you make mistakes, you fail, you get up, try again and again until you succeed. When I started, India was new to friction welding. We started by refurbishing an old, scrap friction welding machine. We disassembled it to the last screw, and started building it from the scratch into a fully functionally machine equipped with latest technology and design. FWT itself was build not differently. We started building the organization first by discovering our core values and building our team around it. Today whatever we do is a manifestation of the core values that we imbibe –Excellence, Value, Integrity, Responsibility and Commitment. These have helped our organization reach international shores and have made our journey meaningful.
The company has always been passionate about innovation and technology? Please explain on some of your mega innovations?
When Godrej Aerospace wanted to build BrahMos indigenously, they considered Friction Welding as one of the options, and we had been working with them on manufacturing some (Non-BrahMos) components for them, then.The project was very challenging and demanded manufacture of components (bi-metallic adapters) of various sizes and geometries. Top companies in the world of friction welding quoted for two machines; one that could manufacture the smaller components and the other to manufacture the larger components. However, we pitched for only one machine of smaller tonnage. Everybody challenged our technology, also including The Welding Institute, and claimed that a single machine cannot handle all varieties of components.
But, we were confident of our technological skills and knowledge, manufactured and delivered a single machine that could handle all these varieties of components with equal precision and quality.We were the first in the world to prove this technology capability.
b) RTPC Auto-calibrator
Process Capability (Cp) and Process Capability Index (Cpk) are the key statistical elements that decide the stability and reliability of a process. A process is said to be stable and reliable when it meets the product requirements to the maximum level. FWT’s RTPC (Run-Time Process Capability) auto-calibrator ensures that after every output of the product, the Cp and Cpk are calculated, measured against the desired output and if there are any variations, the parameters such as upset, force, etc. are adjusted automatically to ensure maximum stability and reliability of the process.This also reduces the raw material usage. We are proud to say that FWT is the first manufacturing company to have automated this.
With all it’s latest builds, FWT would be incorporating IOT-enabled hydraulic packs (Cytropac by Bosch Rexroth),mechanical predictive maintenance by monitoring bearing temperature, noise and vibrations (by Infinite Uptime),using(Micro-Epsilon) thermal cameras for real time process monitoring. This optimizes the entire machine space utilization by slimming down the hydraulics, is more energy efficient, provides run-time analytics to ensure the machine is running in the best condition, and allows monitoring the heat generated during the weldprocess to help monitor and control the temperature.
We are proud to announce that FWT is the first company to have received the license to manufacture friction stir welding machines by MTI US. MTI – a 90+ year old company and are the world leaders in friction welding industry.
Could you brief us on FWT 50? What has been the products role into the successful completion of Brahmos Missile?
Various Bimetallic adaptors for BrahMos Missile were earlier developed using explosion welding technology with Russian design.It was developed together by India and Russia.But explosion welding in India had a 85% failure rate. So Godrej Aerospace wanted to implement a different technology, and FWT was instrumental in suggesting friction welding as one of the potential technologies to build critical components for BrahMos. However, this involved design change. It required two friction welding machines to manufacture various components across different sizes and shapes. World Leaders in the friction welding industry claimed that two different machines (80 ton and 20 ton) were required to manufacture these different components. However, FWT challenged this and claimed that it could build a single machine to manufacture these components. After much brainstorming, we were asked to prove the claim.
FWT built FWT-50 within a record time and demonstrated that a single machine can build all types of bi-metallic adapters required by the new design of the BrahMos Missile. This machine built in India using made BrahMos manufacturing a 100% indigenous process with no dependency on foreign components and technology. There was significant saving since a single machine was built and acquired in India that met the requirements, and since there was no dependency on Russia for the technology. Further, friction technology yielded a 100% success rate, and is environmentally safer than the earlier explosion welding technology.
Which are the other mega projects wherein FWT has worked upon?
With the success of BrahMos missile carrying FWT-50 manufactured bimetallic adapters, the world leaders – MTI – have partnered with FWT to design and manufacture the next generation, affordable range of friction welding machines – Spartan – for the global market. With Spartan, FWT is one of the first few manufacturers to design and build Spartan completely in India and export it across the globe.
FWT has also manufactured a machine supplied to GTRE for producing various components of Tejas combat aircraft, by joining exotic metals like Titanium, Aluminum, Inconel, Stainless steel with angular orientation during welding for the first time.
FWT has manufactured CE certified Machine for Sampa, Turkey – with ace featuresincluding two auto-adjustable vices for clamping job lengths from 250mm till 2000mm, with auto-adjustable motorized back-stop and with orientation welding.
Any recent technological development? If yes, elaborate.
a) RTPC – as mentioned above
b) IOT – as mentioned above
c) FSW – as mentioned above
Which country so far has been the major consumer for FWT products?
India, UK, USA, Italy and Turkey
How has been the Indian market? Any expansion plans?
We have witnessed a marked improvement in the Indian market over the past five years. One of the key reasons is awareness among the industries about friction welding as a reliable technology for a wide range of applications, its affordability and successful implementation of mission-critical projects. A lot of industries are now considering friction welding as one of the key technologies within their manufacturing process.
India has also become a strategic location for building friction welding machines due to its affordability, and significant improvement in the implementation of technology.
FWT itself has seen its sales growing exponentially, and we are now focusing on onboarding newer technologies for a wide range of projects. FWT will soon be moving into a much bigger space from 14,000 sq.ft. to 20,000 sq. ft. over the next few months to meet this emerging need.
What are the major challenges that the friction welding market in India faces? Ways to overcome?
One of the major challenges that we as manufacturers face is the Quality-consciousness among vendors and suppliers. It’s not that they can’t do it. It’s just that every single time, we have to enforce quality, check-lists, ensure the finish is great and the delivery is well within-time considering the re-work after the first review. I don’t think its rocket-science. It’s a matter of attitude – attitude of rising above mediocrity. And it has to be a part of your core values.
Secondly, I believe it’s the willingness to accept project beyond one’s current capability. If one does not rise above oneself, then how would innovation happen? There are so many unexplored areas and challenges that one can invest their time, money and energy into. I believe that companies should take on these challenges and create a healthy competition within the market. That’s how the industry and business will benefit.
Thirdly, the company should have a fearless vision. Enhancing sales cannot be the vision of a company that wants to be sustainable. It’s ironic, but it’s true. No big company grew purely on the basis of making better sales. It was always for something bigger than sales.
FWT is research-oriented firm and is never satisfied with status-quo. That’s precisely why it continuously strives to find means to enhance the current product, innovate, build excellence and redefine possibilities.
FWT’s vision is to Become Dominant Player of Manufacturing Solutions in the World
And finally, I think, businesses are only focused on minting money. I strongly believe that money should be a byproduct of innovation, otherwise, money replaces innovation.
Safety at work is one of the key considerations. What is the company’s effort towards health and safety?
As a manufacturing company, we follow all health and safety norms. Proper uniforms and operation-area demarcations ensure that there are no mishaps within the factory premises.
Shop-floor: We implement 5S, that ensures that there is safe and smooth operations on the shop-floor.
Machine: All our systems are automated to the maximum extent. Implementation of Poke Yoke model and installation of sensors ensures the operators and operations are safe.
People: There are regular annual health check-ups for all to ensure that the work-force is in the best of health. A positive and encouraging work culture, team-outings, celebrations, Spiritual happy hours, self-development programs and more, create an optimistic and enthusiastic mental framework for the team.
The welding industry is largely encouraging the women in welding. Share your views. What is FWT’s role towards the same?
I believe that women of today are far better suited for various roles that today’s corporate world demands. They are great at multi-tasking, have the technical knowledge, managerial skills and have passion to outperform themselves. At FWT, we have women employees across various departments including sales, HR and the board as well.
But, at FWT, we are also here to build the future. Hence, through our educate the girl child program, we have taken the entire educational responsibility of the girl child of our blue-collar workers. We take charge of their entire financial responsibility of their formal educational, their hobbies, their passion or any other education they wish to pursue. To keep the intentions right, we are proud to say that we take charge of their education even if the worker leaves our employment, and as long as the girl child wishes to study.
Congratulations for recently winning WeldFab Tech Awards 2019 and also MCCIA Awards. Please elaborate more on your success story.
Thank you so much. It’s indeed an honor to receive awards at such prestigious platforms, and we are immensely pleased for recognizing our work. I think these platforms are doing a great work in encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation.
However, we did not focus on getting an award. We believe that HAVING an award is always secondary to BECOMING worthy enough to receive the award.So we just did our best and what seemed right to us. And I think it was the right combination of the right intentions, the right actions, the perseverance, the risk-taking, the faith and I think a bit of luck too, that our work was considered worth recognizing.
India is known as a “Service Market”. But, if we were to create a significant across the globe and build the brand “INDIA” more powerful, I think we all need to focus more on manufacturing than just service industry. I believe that Indian Manufacturers have a very bright future. We all have heard of German Engineering, Swiss Precision and Japanese quality. Now is the time to build the brand “India Innovation”. I think we can do it. Indians are innovating across the globe. We need to incorporate Superior Quality as our strategic objective and work towards it. We need to invest proactively in R&D. We need to focus on long-term brand building than short term money-making. And I am an ardent follower of these mantras, which has helped my journey so far:
- Identify your core values
- Be fearless
- Be happy in the face of challenge because that’s where the growth is
- Never think yourself low, even when you associate with International firms
- Invest in your own company and your employees, their passion
- Continuously take up self-education and educating your employees
- Focus on Quality, and educate others about it through self-example
- Be compassionate
- Trust your people
- Work towards building “A Brand New India”.