SKB brings in world-class machine tools to India
SKB Machine Tools, a leading machine tool agency, represents companies like Nissei (Japan), IMM Maschinebau (Germany) and Kataoka (Japan) for sales and service of machine tools in the Indian market. The range of machines includes double disc grinding machines, centre-less grinders, profile grinding machines, gear hobbers, gear grinders, cam grinding and milling machines and entire line of piston rings. They are high precision machines and are used for highly specialised operations. “SKB has a client-centric approach and that makes it unique. The company is the preferred supplier to many OEMs and tier companies across India. With the new rules and regulations for the automotive industry there is big scope in the Indian market for highly advanced high-precision machines,” Rajesh Ramaswamy, Director, SKB Machine Tools, told Auto Components India.
From Nissei, the company supplies CBN grinding wheel technology for double disc grinders which finds its application in the disc brake of two-wheelers. With ABS in place disc brake takes the front seat and this technology (double disc grinder) from Japan becomes very relevant. From Kataoka, the company supplies camless turning machines, considered as the game changer for the piston ring industry due to the elimination of cumbersome cams and cam profiles. All are generated by software.
From IMM Maschinebau, the company supplies engine blade polishing machines, which redefines blade manufacturing due to its unique technology of 6-axis with endless abrasive belts. “Huge technological
changes are happening in the Indian auto market with the regulations on ABS and airbags, introduction of CVT cars and auto gears. They have opened new avenues for us as these highly complicated parts have to be machined with the help of high precision machines. Indian market is still driven with conventional 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis machines. But the technology will help the OEMs to go for a precision machine. As a partner, we have a client-centric approach and we are able to serve the customers very well,” he said.
Ramaswamy said the machines that SKB supplies abide by the process capability. Consistency and repeatability are the vital parameters to achieve the desired process capability. The company has achieved a score greater than 1.67 in process capability which is a positive sign for a seamless business flow. These high precision machines are automated. Some of the non-critical operations can be made semi-automatic to allow human intervention and generate more employment.
“For many companies volumes are not large enough to justify the investment on a high precision machine. We are not able to advise the manufacturers to go for dedicated machines as they have to be tweaked often to make a different part. This will lead to productivity loss and poor time management. Hence the customers are hesitant to buy high precision machines and this poses a major challenge to us,” he said.
The company has minimum competition to the machines it supplies, although there are a lot of channel partners in the Indian market who do sales and service for imported machines. The double disc grinders are patented for various features and this acts as a unique selling point. IMM machines are not made anywhere. This is again is a fillip to the company. All the machines have customers across the globe. The machines have gone a seachange from mechanical to automatic which is CNC-driven. Computer programming and software training become necessary. “Trial runs are shown by us soon after installing the machines. We will be able to handle normal hiccups. Major issues, if any, will be handled by the client-side engineers,” Ramaswamy said.
In India the pace of doing business is not anywhere close to Japan or the western world due to factors like lack of trust between the suppliers and customers, reluctance to embrace new technologies, automation cost and resistance from workers, and vague safety and environmental regulations.
SKB supplies also spare parts for old German and Japanese machines. “We are also open to new partners in different lines,” Ramaswamy said.
Rajesh Ramaswamy, Director, SKB Machine Tools