Sphoorti – Customer-Centric, Affordable, Accessible

Ace Micromatic, the largest machine tools conglomerate in the country and has been growing at a steady pace over three decades. AceMicromatic group nurtures ambitious plans to move up the value-curve by offering design driven ‘Industry 4.0 ‘ solutions to customers such as customised OEE (overall equipment efficiency) and real-time machine-monitoring. The solutions allow manufacturing companies to gain visibility into their shop operations up to a Cycle.

Nearly 60% of its customers are SMEs with whom the group shares a close connection. For some of these small businesses Rs 15-20 lakhs investment on machines is a large outflow. The group prides itself on training and helping customers attain productivity through close relationships and hand-holding. As TK Ramesh points out,

The shift towards smart-manufacturing in India puts Ace Micromatic in a unique position to introduce ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies to its customer base and gives it a degree of first-mover advantage in the SME space.

Case in Point: Sphoorti Machine Tools Pvt.Ltd Sphoorti Machine Tools Pvt.Ltd is an excellent example of Ace Micromatic’s customer focus at work. The company is small enterprise specializing in the manufacture of Tool Discs and Tool Holders. It began in manufacturing in 1996 with two Machining Centers, and over the years the company underwent many stages of development to emerge as one of the India’s leading manufacturers with 40% of sales exported globally.

The company however was facing a severe problem with data collection in the manufacturing process and their manual method was giving rise to various inconsistencies.

  • There was a large time lag in collection and in some case the reporting took months
  • The validity of their manual data was under question
  • The suspected ‘down-time’ of machinery as perceived by the operator was an estimate and not based on actual measured specifics.

In 2015, with the intent to meet the increased demand and lower overheads within existing capacity, Sphoorti made the calculated decision to apply real-time tracking of data to increase operational efficiency and shift towards more automated processes and data analytics. The problem was; Sphoorti had a varied manufacturing line with 21 machines from different manufacturers and different CNC controls makers (some were Siemens and some were Fanuc). Some of the machines were nearly 15 years old while others were recent purchases. Finding a solution to address these incompatibilities was crucial.

Sphoorti brought AmiT experts (AmiT is Ace Micromatics ‘smart’ solutions vertical. It aims to offer innovative technology solutions for progressive organizations) to study their shop floor and suggest the possible solutions. After understanding the problem in detail, the team form AmiT identified two applications that would address the concerns. These were then evaluated for cost-benefit ratios with the eventual decision to upgrade data-tacking entirely to AmiT’s TPM-Trak technology suite. It took a period of 6 months to deploy.The results were immediate and surprising :Sphoorti realised that its manual efficiency calculation of 84% was an optimistic projection at best. The actual OEE measured using TPM-Trak real-time data showed a marked difference dropping to a mere 58%.

Not only did the technology help get a realistic picture of the shop-floor, it also provided Sphoorti with automated reports allowing for better decision making and immense gains in productivity. TPM-Trak production reports were utilized to address production issues rather than worry about availability of data or its validity. As a result Sphoorti saved 20% of production loss hours just through managerial efficiencies.

Internal utilization of machines increased by almost 30% saving the company added costs of additional machines, manpower, land and consumables. They could now clearly & precisely know how management losses contributed to slowing production and lesser machine utilization.

Today Sphoorti installs TPM-Trak on all new machines on its shop-floor from day one and their production meetings are conducted using TPM-Trak dash-boards and reports. The company is now planning to go paperless by utilizing e-SHOPx, products from AmiT.

Mr. R K Purohit – MD

“TPM-Trak has been installed on all the machines. Now we are able to get real time data. With real time production data, break down data we can analyse & do the improvements, Thanks to AmiT”

M Gunasekaran, plant manager at Sphrooti machine tools explains the benefits, “We are monitoring our total manufacturing efficiency through TPM-Trak. This includes program transfer without machine disturbance, verification, actual cycle time analysis, actual loading and unloading analysis, machine down time analysis on a daily and weekly basis, etc”

Need based Innovation

As often explained by management, Ace Micromatic works on a model for innovation that is market need driven and customer cost conscious. The company has to, given the business model of its customers. Even as it moves up the value chain Ace Micromatics is not planning to lose sight of this by any means. For most of its customers “automation is not the solution due to cost. Therefore, they are left with addressing only the non-productive cost, which cannot be controlled without adequate data. “We thought that there can be some level of smartness that can be built into the machines and TPM Trak emerged,” Ramesh explains (TPM Trak is Ace Micromatic’s elite suite of products designed to provide Industry 4.0 solutions). Currently the group has deployed TPM Trak in hundreds of machines, most of whom are suppliers to OEM’s claiming that customers have enjoyed productivity gains of 10 per cent to 30 per cent, ensuring very high operating efficiencies.

As the group innovates further to address the needs of SME’s grappling with the Smart Manufacturing wave, it can have a significant part to play assisting a section of manufacturers that often get overlooked by top-end cutting-edge ‘expensive’ solutions.

The INR 17bn, Ace Micromatic Group is India’s largest machine tool conglomerate with a presence in several countries across Asia, Australia, Middle East, North & South America and Europe. Formed with the intent to provide its customers a one stop shop for all machining needs, the group specializes in the manufacturing of CNC controlled turning, milling and grinding machines along with subsystems such as tool turrets, ATC etc. The group offers its customers a wide and comprehensive range of machine to suit a broad spectrum of applications.

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