Ready for India

From components for the lighting and automotive industries to solid carbide tools, the Plansee Group and its workforce of 700 is engaged in a wide range of activities in India.

Just two years ago, Melissa Albeck opened a subsidiary for WNT in India. WNT is the sales arm of the Ceratizit Group for drilling, milling and turning tools. Albeck is responsible for expanding the international presence of WNT beyond the 18 countries in which it is already active. But it still took Melissa Albeck a little time to become familiar with the Indian culture: “To start with, we feel at home because our business partners speak English. But working together is a whole new experience. Nothing runs quite according to plan as it does in Europe, because there is an entirely different perception of time. And yet, everything somehow manages to work, despite the huge divergence from European culture.” So many differences, but WNT’s service concept is a hit in India: The delivery service of the 8000 standard products within 48 hours. And the technical support WNT offers its customers. After all, the customer should be working with the perfect tool for their application, for as long and as profitably as possible!
In a word, WNT hit the spot when it exported its service concept to the Indian market. Albeck: “Perhaps it even works better here, because personal contacts are so important in India, often the single most important element.” No trust, no business. And when you add in the technical expertise of the generally young machining specialists that WNT trains up as technical sales engineers, the result is an ideal team of people to advise to the Indian customers that rely on the high quality of WNT’s cutting tools. WNT has field sales staff in all the important commercial regions of India, be it in Pune, Bangalore or Delhi. Customers are supplied from the central warehouse in Uluberia near Kolkata. “The market is huge and there are plenty of opportunities for the Group here,” says Melissa Albeck. When she refers to the Group, she also means Ceratizit, the parent company that has been in India with a production plant for almost the last 20 years. Two years ago, Ceratizit’s new plant in Uluberia went online. Given the increasing demand for high-quality cutting tools in Asia, Ceratizit is producing ever greater quantities of indexable cutting inserts and toolholders in Uluberia. And it is in Uluberia that WNT’s central warehouse can also be found. In this warehouse, every order received is processed, packaged and shipped on the same day.

Reproduced and optimized

A change of scenery. Since the end of the 90s, Günther Wirth, the German manufacturer of solid carbide tools that was acquired by Ceratizit in 2013, has had a production facility in Bangalore. “When automotive suppliers need tools, they depend on getting the same high quality wherever they are in the world,” explains Gerhard Bailom, Co-Managing Director of the Indian company. “That’s why Günther Wirth originally opened this plant in tandem with one of our customers.” To make sure the projects comply with the quality standards, comprehensive knowledge transfer between Germany and India was ensured.
Günther Wirth now produces its entire standard range of solid carbide end mills and drill bits as well as special tools in Bangalore. Collaboration with Ceratizit India has intensified over the last year or so. One key area of focus is project business. “By offering the full range of indexable cutting inserts and solid carbide tools, we want to cater for all our Indian customers’ machining needs,” says Co-Managing Director Ashwani Sareen. Consequently, there are also plans to broaden the standard range in future. Other key areas of focus are deep-hole drilling and tools for materials that are hard to machine, such as titanium. In order to supply the Indian market from a single source, the company in Bangalore was renamed Ceratizit Roundtool Solutions in April.

Tools for the Indian market: In Bangalore, Ceratizit produces solid carbide milling cutters and drill bits.

Closed-loop material cycles

Wherever carbide tools are sold, it makes sense to collect and recycle hard metal that has reached the end of its service life. And Global Tungsten & Powders has specialized in this field. The tungsten powder expert in the Plansee Group collects hard metal scrap from across the country and converts it to fresh tungsten powder in its plants in Europe and the USA. This is then reused for manufacturing carbide tools.

Plansee – “Made” and “Make in India”

Plansee High Performance Materials (HPM) has been active in India for a quarter of a century. The largest customer groups include the automotive and electronics industries. Recently, Plansee India also started producing extremely resilient spare parts for the ion implantation process, an important step in the production of semiconductors.
In the summer of 2015, Plansee HPM moved into a new building in India. With a surface area of some 10,000 square meters, this allows the previous production plants to be housed under one roof and offers plenty of space for further expansions of production capacity.
This investment underscores Plansee’s long-term commitment to India. The new plant forms the competence center for tungsten and molybdenum wire and wire products and uses the very latest in production technology. It is fully integrated in Plansee’s global production network for the powder-metallurgical manufacture of the high-performance materials molybdenum and tungsten, including all its processes and IT systems.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, managing director Anil Ramdasi underlined the social aspects: “The new plant not only has a crèche, a canteen and superbly equipped changing rooms, but also meets all the requirements for an exemplary ecofriendly building.”
Not only that, it breathes life into the Indian government’s “Make in India” campaign. India launched this campaign to industrialize the country in 2014 in order to encourage foreign investment. It involves dismantling bureaucratic obstacles and simplifying tax regulations. As part of the campaign, the skills of the workforce are to be developed and industrial corridors and industrial estates are to be created.

Part of the Plansee production network: Plansee High Performance Materials’ new production building in Mysore.

India: a growth market

According to Dr. Michael Schwarzkopf, chairman of the executive board of the Plansee Group, “As an emerging economic region, India is ready for our products and tools.” While Plansee primarily manufactures products and components from the refractory metals tungsten and molybdenum in India for export, the carbide tools that Ceratizit produces in India are sold almost exclusively in India. Currently, India is regarded as one of the few emerging nations with positive prospects for growth. The country’s economy is growing strongly. Inflation has recently been falling. The political system is seen as stable and labor costs are attractive. Up to now, bureaucracy and customs duty have been regarded as the greatest obstacles to investment.