Sagar Bhosale, Managing Director - Schmersal India
Question 1. Human and machine safety is a global concern. What training do you impart to the customers to make them more fluent in machine safety?
The Schmersal Group's aim is to reach out to more and more companies to make them aware about the wide range of safety standards. Therefore, Schmersal has formed a separate safety services division under the brand name tec.nicum. The tec.nicum service portfolio is based on four segments: Sharing of knowledge/ seminars; consultancy services; technical planning and implementation. The tec. nicum academy provides a comprehensive training and seminar programme regarding topics focusing on machine and plant safety - for example: risk assessment and conformity assessment, safety-oriented design and also product and technology-specific workshops. Our tec.nicum division consists of a team of engineers, trained from Germany for functional safety expertise and possess a profound understanding of complex legal and technical questions including the ISO standards.
Question 2. Safety switching appliances and systems are fine but how can accidents be prevented without proper awareness of their applications?
Awareness and knowledge is key when it comes to machine safety. Our tec.nicum team provides mechanical engineers and operators with competentconsultancy services for all questions about machines and occupational safety. Our Functional Safety Engineers, are specialists in the field of safety technology. They not only conduct risk assessments and identify potential hazards, they also support companies in selecting standard compliant protective devices - based on an absolutely product and manufacturerneutral consultancy. They take care about the integration of these devices in machines and provide turnkey solutions.
To ensure optimal use of safety devices at the production site, we interact with employees who directly use the devices and train them. We also have a demonstration room at our factory in Ranjangaon near Pune, where customers can physically see the solution in use and experience the ease-of-using the device, its diagnostic capabilities and other useful features in person.
Question 3. How effective are safety seminars and training events that your company conducts across the globe?
The services offered by tec.nicum academy are a response to a consistently high level of demand, which can be traced back to a number of factors. On the one hand, it stems from new staff joining the industry, who have to be integrated into the area. On the other hand, more experienced staff are finding themselves confronted with ever-changing legal requirements. For instance, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has announced to gradually transfer all the ISO Standards to Indian Standards. Thanks to the global tec.nicum network, our TÜV certified Safety Consultants have expertise in international laws and regulations and are also familiar with the ISO Standards. Also, international companies require a great deal of information relating to the requirements for legally-compliant machinery exports and differences in
regional and national legislation. What's more, the technology in machines and systems is becoming increasingly complicated, which in turn requires increasingly complicated safetysystems. Regular training is essential foranyone keen to stay up-to-date with all legaland technical issues. Against this background I can truly say that our seminars and trainings are very effective, not least because they are also provided inhouse and tailored to the specific requirements of our customers.
Question 4. The Company boasts of a comprehensive range of 25000 products. It must be quite formidable challenge to keep an account which customer needs what product for machine safety?
Indeed, Schmersal develops and produces an extraordinary wide range of products, from basic door and limit switches, simple products like two hand control for press safety applications manufactured in India, to advanced noncontact type safety sensors and RFID safety solenoid interlocks like AZM400.
Our product portfolio includes cost effective standardized products as well as customer specific products and tailormade systems. This exceptional wide range of products enables Schmersal to be a provider of integrated systems and solutions for machine safety. All our components are harmonised with one another and fit together nicely. As a systems and solutions provider we are able to develop customised safety solutions for a wide range of different applications and industries – be it a textile plant, the global automotive industry or the lift industry. Combined with our safety services this means that Schmersal offers one stop solutions from a single source to all our customers. What's more, we are continuously developing innovative components and systems and are extending our expertise so that we can support our customers in the introduction of next generation digital technologies and Industry 4.0 production concepts.
Question 5. How do you reckon industrial safety standards in India vis-avis Europe or USA?
Compared to Europe and the US, many industries in India still stick to old machines that may create hazardous situations.The good news is, that awareness around the benefits of safety solutions has increased. Earlier there was a common perception in India that safety is one of the obstacles in productivity, which is certainly not true. The opposite is the case: Well planned safety solutions contribute to productivity because they prevent lost time accidents which cause production loss and economic damage. Secondly, international standards and global safety norms have propelled Indian companies to augment their safety initiatives. Therefore, Schmersal welcomes the decision of the BIS to adopt the ISO Standards. Employees in India will benefit from improved safety standards. And our customers will benefit, too. They should welcome the introduction of the ISO Standards all the more because all Schmersal products already comply with the ISO standards, that means: Schmersal's components are 100 % compliant to the new Indian norms – at no extra cost involved. Also, when Schmersal designs more complex safety solutions for specific applications, our customers can be sure that these solutions are compliant to the new norms.
Question 6. Do you do package deal with your customers or provide needbased solutions?
We provide both – it is completely up to the customer to decide which one he prefers. Depending on the specific requirements of the customers it might sometimes be the best and most cost efficient solution to just buy a standard safety component. In other cases, customers order the complete package – from risk assessment to the design and implementation of customized safety solutions. The same applies to the tec. nicum portfolio: Customers can order just one single module, for instance of the evaluation of an existing machine, or the complete package
Question 7. what if an accident happens even after adhering to all safety precautions and application of all your safety products? Do you take responsibility for that?
In principal, it is the employer who is responsible for the health and safety of its employees. To avoid accidents, companies should regularly audit their production sites to identify potential hazards. The tec.nicum experts can support companies by conducting safety audits and risk assessments and designing the appropriate safety concepts. This, combined with employee training, can help ensure that businesses are able to manage workplace injuries effectively.
However, as a company that develops and produces safety products, Schmersal has a very high level of responsibility. This is why the quality of our products is our top priority. Worldwide all production subsidiaries of the Schmersal Group – including India, of course – work on the basis of the same quality management system which is certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9001.Our customers can trust us that we provide reliable safety technology and that we contribute in the best way towards the safe improvement of their production processes
Question 8. What did your balance sheet show his fiscal? Are your products more in demand than before?
We definitely see a rising demand for safety solutions. The Schmersal Group achieved more than 8 % growth in sales and generated a group turnover of around €235 million in 2017. Of this, more than 12% was generated in Asia, and a growth in sales volumes was also recorded in Asia. Especially in Southeast Asia, for instance in Vietnam and Thailand, the demand increases. Therefore, we are planning to establish a new office in this region. In India, we achieved a milestone by the end of 2017: Our factory in Ranjangaon manufactured and supplied more than one million safety switches to the Indian market. The current manufacturing capacity is five million safety switches per year. We also see a growing demand in safety services. Our Indian tec.nicum team recently received and completed a big order from a renowned, Pharma company. So, yes, the future looks bright for Schmersal.
Question 9. What is the team strength of the company's India operation?
Schmersal India has been recognized as one of the competence centres with a skilled workforce to provide support for SAP implementation and software development to the entire Schmersal Group. This is why the management at the Schmersal headquarters decided to establish a global support IT centre in Pune which was inaugurated in April this year. It is the first global support activity that Schmersal has established outside Germany. This is a great recognition of the performance of our team in India.
Question 10. Any expansion plan?
To further strengthen its India presence, Schmersal plans on adding more skilled manpower. The aim is to enhance their local R&D centre and Product Management to focus on developing more products for the Indian market. Embracing the 'Make in India' initiative, the manufacturing facility of Schmersal India is enhancing its product range by designing and manufacturing customised safety products as per the needs of the customer specific application. We are concentrating more on localized R&D in India, and our R&D & Product Management team is working diligently to come up with new products for the local market.
We produce for the local market as well as export to the Schmersal Group from our 100% export-oriented unit (EOU) located within the Indian factory. Further, we have started to export to the neighbouring SAARC and Gulf countries. In short: We will keep on growing with the market.