Amit Bhingurde, COO of TAL Manufacturing Solutions Ltd (TAL), explains the introduction of industrial robotics in the country, amidst a scarcity of skilled workforce and companies finding it hard to scale up production. The company is showcasing its industrial robot BRABO at the Indian machine tool makers’ expo, IMTEX 2017.

What is the industrial robotics scene like in India? How alarming is the skill shortage?

At present, there is no industrial robots maker in India. We at TAL have developed the TAL BRABO, which is set to bring down the entry barriers in industrial robotics and change the manufacturing ecosystem. As for skill shortage, to be fair, there is no dearth of manpower in India. But there is a scarcity of skilled workforce in the manufacturing sector.

How are MSMEs and SMEs faring against the skill shortage scenario?

We have come across many SME manufacturers trying to cope with low technology automation solutions. But, the results were limited, as the entry barriers for robotics were very high owing to the fact it was largely operated by foreign players. For these players, India was not one of the focused markets.

What has been the company’s strategy in the wake of the skill shortage?

TAL BRABO has been created to address the skill shortage. The company is now developing various applications which are easy to design, operate as well as maintain. So, the less skilled operator can use it and first-time robot users will find it profitable to put it to use in their factories. They do not have to hire afresh or be dependent on robotics engineers. Hence, we feel we are helping bridge the demand-supply gap for of the demand of skilled workers.

What are the company’s expansion plans? Has it already started exports?

Out company is in an expansion mode. Besides auto OEMs, traditional automotive tier 1 and tier 2 spare part makers are our users. Surprisingly, we are getting more response from the general industry, where robots have never been used. We plan to add more products to our portfolio. We will be showcasing the 2 kg payload capacity variant in the BRABO range at IMTEX, Bengaluru and take it further based on the feedback and demand for newer applications. Our target is to tie up up with OEMs and expand our partnerships — with system integrators, both in India and abroad. TAL BRABO has already started exporting to Middle Eastern countries.

What is the company’s production capacity and who are the customers, both in the domestic and the foreign markets?

We have a production capacity of 3,000, which can be increased on an annual basis. The current list of customers includes Tata Motors, Limited, Mahindra & Mahindra, L&T, Diebold, CPG Industries, Hydromatik, SGK Industries, RTA Spa Italy and BITS Dubai Campus.

How much has the company invested so far and what are the key target sectors for robots?

The investment in R&D is an ongoing process. We have invested in the new technology space such as aerospace and robotics. So far we have invested about ₹180 crore. TAL has set up a live demonstration centre for its customers at the Pune facility, where robots are being demonstrated performing multiple applications such as sorting with vision system, press tending, gluing sealing, machine tending and pick and place. Our key focus areass are automotive, electronics, logistics, food, packaging and pharma industries.