20 Industrial Laser Solutions JULY/AUGUST 2017 www.industrial-lasers.com
PERSPECTIVE FROM A LEADING
LASER EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER
India has a 5% share of the more than $12 bil- lion global laser market. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6%, the global laser mar- ket is expected to cross $21 billion in the next five years and India will be main contributor to this growth (SIDEBAR). After 2012, the Indian laser cut- ting market grew tenfold, from 50 units per year to
500 units per year.
As a company that has seen the market evolve over the last
decade, we believe that the demand for lasers is about to skyrocket in this country. The growth will be fueled by economical fiber laser cutting machines, the need for technology, the
demise of used machines, and other laser applications.
Girdhar Sharma, from the company Vibrotech in New Delhi,
was a small-scale air handling equipment manufacturer. His
1–2mm sheet metal and fabrication requirements were cutting
and bending—most of the cutting work was outsourced to a
job shop located next to his factory, while bending and finishing was done in his own factory.
When the job-shop owners decided to shift their factory to
a new location a few miles away, Sharma came face to face
with a logistic nightmare, as the nearest job shop was at least
4. 5 miles away. However, instead of looking for alternative job
shops, he decided to purchase a laser cutting machine of his
own (FIGURE 1).
The company’s sales and service engineers have been witnessing similar scenarios more over the last few years. In the
classic make-vs.-buy dilemma, “make” is clearly winning. So,
why is this back-integration making more sense now than ever
before? The answer is that demand has increased significantly
and machines have become more affordable.
Despite being the poster child for a service-based growth
model, India’s trade deficit from importing goods is four times
its trade surplus from exporting services. This has led to a par-
adigm shift, and growing the manufacturing sector has become
the number-one agenda of the Indian government. Attractive
schemes, like the much-advertised Make in India campaign,
have been launched to galvanize the
industry, resulting in 9.3% growth in the
manufacturing sector over the last year.
Lasers have also become much more affordable, as
machines now cost 25% of the price of similar machines a
few years back. New government schemes also provide subsidies on investment, as well as interest subsidies and insurance. Sharma expects to recover his investment within a year—
this is the reason that Vibrotech sold over 50 economical fiber
laser cutting machines last year.
Prioritizing laser efficiency
On the other end of the spectrum, Jayesh Ramani from
Powerbeam Technology Mumbai owns India’s first and fast-
est laser cutting machine—a 6k W system with an accelera-
tion of 6G from Polish laser manufacturer Eagle (FIGURE 2), as
his primary concern is efficiency rather than capital. Ramani,
with seven different laser cutting machines, is an OEM for
Siemens, L&T, and Godrej, and has a virtually unlimited demand
for his job shop.
“Having one very efficient machine is much more profitable
to us than several machines running in parallel. Most importantly, I am not worried about the production anymore and
the machine makes my factory futuristic,” Ramani explains.
“Not only does it reduce the maintenance, it also saves me a
lot of space,” he says. This is a pertinent remark, as Mumbai
remains one of the world’s most expensive real estate markets.
However, the most important observation is about quality, in
terms of which machine adheres to market demand.
As more global companies set up their manufacturing plants
in the country, quality norms will become more and more strin-
gent and an increasing number of OEMs will subscribe to
Ramani’s views about possessing cutting-edge technology.
One sector that takes quality very seriously and happens
to be the biggest consumer of laser-processed goods is the
automotive sector, which is presently in overdrive—India is
poised to become the fourth largest automotive market in the
world in 2017. Companies like Kia and Kawasaki have already
announced plans to set up manufacturing plants in India;
FIGURE 1. A laser
from HSG installed
at Vibrotech in