DK Sharma, President, TAGMA India and Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej Tooling

…asserts DK Sharma, President, TAGMA India and Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej Tooling. With the Indian tooling market oscillating between ambiguous and mystifying numbers, Sharma discusses about the current trends and demands in Indian tooling industry and how TAGMA is working to help SMEs in their growth. Talking to Nishant Kashyap, he magnifies on the promises of the rapidly growing Indian die mould industry.

Tell us about the current Indian die mould and tool room industry? How is the demand for die moulds in India

There is an increase in demand for tooling in India, thanks to the growing requirement in the automobile industry. In a bid to make India a manufacturing hub, and to augment exports from the country, major automotive manufacturers are now sourcing most of their tooling requirement from India. This means localization of tooling is happening. When an automobile is manufactured, OEMs and Tier–1 suppliers are looking to source tooling locally – instead of relying on imports – so as to reduce the cost.

India is likely to witness the kind of growth China experienced. When automotive players set shop in China, the local tooling suppliers improved their capabilities to fulfil the growing demand. Eventually, the local tooling suppliers improved and started exporting to developed markets like the US, Europe and Japan. This is what is going to happen in India as well. The demand will drive the technology adoption, and eventually, India will become a major supplier of tools.

What are the other sectors that are driving the demand for die mould in India?
Apart from automotive, we foresee a good demand coming from industries like infrastructure, plastics, packaging and appliances. Other promising sectors are electronics and aerospace, which are presently in a very nascent stage in India, but are expected to witness growth in the years ahead.

What is the current market size of the Indian die mould industry? How do you see the industry growing in the coming years?
For the FY 2017-18, the estimated market size of the Indian tooling industry (comprising press tools, plastic mould, die casting dies, forging dies, rubber mould, jigs & fixtures and checking gauges) is around INR 14,650 crore. The overall tooling market is further divided into two key segments – domestic manufacturing of tooling (from Commercial Tool Room and Captive Tool Room) and imports. The tooling market in India is expected to reach to INR 20,000 crore by FY 2020, at a growth rate of CAGR 11%.

Also, the share of Commercial Tools Rooms (CTRs) is expected to increase from the current 49%, to 60% by FY 2020, on account of increased localization, and the gradually increasing trust reposed by MNCs on the development capability of domestic CTRs.

In the FY 2016-17, sourcing of dies and moulds from domestic CTRs increased to INR 7,160 crore, from INR 6,400 crore in FY 2012-13. Likewise, manufacturing of tooling from Captive Tool Rooms has increased to INR 4,800 crore in FY 2016-17, from INR 3,700 in FY 2012-13. Import of tooling accounts for around 18% of the total tooling requirement in the country.

Can we get some figures related to import, export, consumption and production related to die mould industry

The total import of Indian tooling industry, in 2016-17, was to the tune of INR 2,650 crore. Whereas, in the same FY 2016-17, the total value of export business for the Indian tooling industry was INR 450 crore.

Indian tooling industry is certainly on the growth path, however, the progress is slow when we compare our export figures vis-à-vis imports. We have to gear up in terms of our capability to manufacture critical and high precision parts & components, augment design, testing and tryout facilities and corresponding infrastructures, and ensure on-time delivery schedules.

What are the challenges faced by the Indian die mould industry?
Shortage of skilled manpower: Finding the right talent for the tooling industry is one of the biggest challenges faced by the companies and calls for an immediate industry- academia partnership. Students coming out of diploma institutes or graduating from engineering colleges, have no exposure or knowledge of the industrial scenario – hence, not ready for the industry.

Unavailability of adequate eco-system: There is no appropriate eco-system available in India for a tooling supplier to perform his tasks easily. For example, an Indian toolmaker based in Mumbai has to source material from Gujarat, travel to Pune for heat treatment related services, and then go south for trial and testing purpose, all of which adds up to the tooling cost and time. In countries like China, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand, they have clusters developed for the industry, where one can find all kind of ancillary services and support system available within the manufacturer’s vicinity. Such cluster-based approach, if developed in India, will add great value to the Indian tooling industry.

Meeting the ever increasing demand of customers: Today, the manufacturing cycle for a car has come down from 18 months, to 8-12 months. Car makers are looking for suppliers who can understand concurrent engineering and deliver quickly. This becomes a challenge for the Indian companies, owing to poor infrastructure and unavailability of high-end technologies.

Poor infrastructure and resource availability: Even though there are several excellent tooling solution providers in India who are working with large MNCs and developing complex tools, they still have to depend on import for raw materials.

What are the initiatives taken by TAGMA to uplift the Indian die mould manufacturers?
As mentioned earlier, the biggest challenge the industry is facing is the shortage of skilled manpower and availability of high-tech machines. We are working continuously to address those issues. We are trying to collaborate with technical institutes to develop skilled manpower. Apart from this, we are also planning to start finishing courses where students and employees will learn about the nuances of the tooling industry. We will also be engaging retired and experienced professionals who will dedicate time to guide the next generation.

Recently, we started a Tool Trial Centre at Chakan, Pune, to help SMEs get hold of high-tech machines at a lower rate. Companies which do not have facilities like tool trial and validation, calibration setup, etc, can benefit from this Centre. Apart from this, the Centre will also be used for training and development purpose.

We are also jointly working with the government to roll- out industry-friendly policies and provide support to develop more such Centres to help the industry players.

What are your expectations from the Government?
We, as an industry association aimed at helping local players, feel that the duties on import of machineries and raw materials needed for tooling industry should be reduced – whereas, duties on import of Dies, Moulds, Jigs & Fixtures should be increased.

Reduction on bank interest rates to 8-10% will also help SMEs in expanding capacity and acquiring high-end technologies. Apart from this, we feel, government should dedicate more funds on skill development and improving the infrastructure. Also, there is a need to develop SEZs to establish a proper eco-system in the country.

Die Mould India 2018 is around the corner; please tell us about the new initiatives that have been taken for the exhibitors and visitors?
Any exhibition is successful when the Purchase Manager of the user industry visits the expo. We are inviting all the OEMs and customers to visit the exhibition; we are inviting delegates from public and private organisations and organising one-on-one interaction with the suppliers. We have a dedicated B2B pavilion for the same. Apart from this, will be having a 3D printing pavilion for 3D printing machine manufacturers and service providers.

Die Mould India is an opportunity for the machine tool companies, die mould manufacturers, tool room service providers in India. Your views on the same…
Started in 1998, Die Mould India has come a long way to become the largest exhibition in the country for die mould and tooling solution providers. It is a platform where solution providers can meet potential buyers and learn from their expectations. Exhibitors include CNC machine manufacturers, cutting tool manufacturers, CAD/CAM & software developer companies, die mould manufacturers, tool manufacturers, companies related to 3D printing and much more. It means one can witness all kind of manufacturing technologies under one roof. This unique gathering of technology providers, makes it an ideal place for companies to source products and understand the new technologies available in the market.