Mumbai, Oct 14 (PTI) Asia's largest fixture manufacturer Forms and Gears is looking to set up a manufacturing-cum-assembly plant in Thailand for fixtures and automation products, besides establishing a production facility in Chennai for automation, its Managing Director Reji Varghese has said.
The company at present has a manufacturing facility in Chennai, with a capacity to produce 500 fixtures annually to meet the demand of both domestic and overseas markets.
Forms and Gears along with its partner ASM Technologies provides complete turnkey solutions with cutting tool, fixtures and automation to clients across industrial segments such as automotive and tractor OEMs, generator manufacturers, engine testing companies and other special purpose machines, among others.
Besides providing complete turnkey solutions to domestic OEMs including Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra, Volvo Eicher, Escorts, Sonalika, Maruti Suzuki and TVS, among others, it also exports to about 10 international markets such as China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Germany, Turkey and Qatar, among others.
'We are looking to set up a plant in Thailand. It will be for part manufacturing of fixtures and assembly and support for commissioning,' Varghese told PTI in an interaction.
He said that the plans are at present at the exploratory stage, adding the company already has a joint venture in Thailand for fixturing solutions and automation.
The company had last month introduced 'SmartFix 4.0,' a precision workholding device with the ability to collect, transmit and analyse data in a useful format for the end-user.
Developed for the first time in the world, it takes workholding devices and fixtures into the digital and cyber space.
Varghese said the company expects 30-40 per cent of its total fixture business to come from exports this fiscal with a strong order pipeline, mainly from the South-East Asia market.
Stating that the capacity utilisation at the Chennai plant is back to the pre-COVID-19 level, Varghese said his company is not putting up any additional capacity for the domestic market till the demand bounces back.
'We have also started doing work for the electronic industry like assembly, automation high-speed lines, among others. For the electronic device industry also, we have developed some interesting solutions and the segment has given a big boost to business,' he said.
He said the capacity which is being added now is for the electronic industry, adding that, 'besides, we are also setting up a separate plant for automation in Chennai'.
The pandemic has affected the company's business like any other businesses on account of the closure of the manufacturing plant for nearly three months, but exports would offset the impact on the domestic business, he added.
Besides, business from the tractor and infrastructure sectors has also helped the company mitigate the losses suffered on account of the impact on the passenger vehicle segment, Varghese said.
On demand outlook, he said the tractor and infrastructure sectors have already picked up on account of good monsoon and the commercial vehicle segment is expected to follow suit. According to Varghese, the company would have crossed last year's turnover by now but the plant's closure for three months due to coronavirus-induced lockdown created disruptions.
Varghese said that the group's (including the ASM Technologies) revenue last fiscal stood at Rs 150 crore, adding that 'we expect to grow in revenue by 20-30 per cent this fiscal'. PTI IAS MKJ