Timken has its presence and operations in 28 countries across the world. In India, the company has strong presence in automotive, heavy duty, agriculture and motorcycle applications to medium duty, construction and marine products and delivers high-quality products with one of the widest ranges of part numbers in the industry. Setting of a global innovation centre in Bangalore and collaboration with strong overseas player will further strengthen our position in India. We have attained equipment recovery sales across industrial sector and have revitalized exports in 2010, says Mr. Ajay Das, Managing Director, Timken India Limited in an interview with Maria R.
How do you view the current bearing market in India in the wake of rapid industrialization and increased infrastructure development?
The current size of the bearings market inclusive of exports would be approximately $1.2 bn. With the rapid industrialization, the Indian bearings industry has doubled in the last five years and has registered annual gains well above both the regional and global averages. With increased infrastructure and industrialization, at least, this trend should continue for next five years. India is among the fastest growing markets for bearings. The organized segment constituting global players as Timken, SKF and others should account for approximately $900 million. Close to 40% of the total demand is fulfilled through imports with the balance being met by indigenous products.
As the Indian infrastructure develops and the industry modernizes, I can see tremendous opportunities opening up for the bearings industry. As we move forward, customers will look for better and cleaner technologies and more value added services (like maintenance of equipment, reliability monitoring, remanufacturing) that keep their equipment running efficiently and for long. The companies should be in excellent positions to provide their discerning customers with the best in industry end-to-end solutions (design to aftermarket services).
The Indian economy which is driven largely by the domestic demand was not only spared of the worst of the downturn but also placed very well to make the most of the upturn. Most of the companies have used the downturn to make themselves lean and although it has been a somewhat painful process, the future looks more promising. While the Indian consumers maintained their spending even in the downturn, the capital investments were put on hold by many companies. This impacted the industrial segments. As the government increases its thrust on the infrastructure build, the economic growth will accelerate.
What are Timken's products being promoted in this market?
From automotive, heavy duty, agriculture and motorcycle applications to medium duty, construction and marine products, Timken delivers high-quality products with one of the widest ranges of part numbers in the industry. Some of the application areas of its products include:
Light truck & passenger car: Professional installers depend on Timken's replacement bearings, seals, hub assemblies, specialty kits, grease and more to keep automobiles on the road.
Innovative Timken designs improve performance, durability and efficiency in cars and light trucks. Automakers around the world integrate Timken bearings, steel and power transmission components throughout the vehicle.
Heavy truck: Heavy trucks need heavy duty solutions to maximize performance and fuel-efficiency. Timken provides a range of bearing, steel and power transmission products and design capabilities for heavy truck applications such as axles, wheel ends, engines and transmissions.
Original Equipment: Timken engineers work collaboratively with automotive and heavy truck original equipment manufacturers to develop custom solutions to design problems.
What is your share in this growing market and the application areas/market segment Timken India serves with its offerings? How do you see the potential of Timken's bearings in burgeoning construction and mining equipment market?
For the construction and mining sectors, our years of experience provide us a unique insight that leads to new technologies. Our engineered surface, heat-treating processes and debris-resistant bearings enhance the performance of earthmovers, off-highway trucks and shovels. Timken products enable operators to maximize uptime, reduce maintenance costs and improve productivity. Maintaining mining machinery is tough, not only because of the size of the equipment but also the inaccessibility of components. That's why we offer so many condition monitoring solutions – including continuous and handheld systems for machines, large and small. Customers turn to us for agricultural products that endure harsh conditions; we provide complete bearing solutions engineered specifically for the demands of tractors, combines and other farm equipment.
How well is the company placed with regard to its distribution and dealership network for meeting the requirement of their products as demand grows?
Channel partners are extended arm of the Timken. They are our brand ambassadors and front face to various end users. We see them as important part of perusing our growth strategy. We are investing in upgrading skills by intensive technical training so that they communicate Timken value proposition in the market. We have strong channel supports all across India. Also, we are charting new territories like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with appointment of partners.
A word about company's Global Innovation Centre at Bangalore.
Timken Technology Centre in Bangalore is one among four technology centers across the globe. We have helped numerous customers locally and globally by developing products, services and providing technical support to help their equipment and applications perform better and more efficiently since operations started at this centre. The technology centre has successfully filed four patents for Ball Bearing/Wide Inner Ring (WIR) Housed Units' designs. This facility is also a Centre of Excellence for comprehensive testing and analysis of all Wide Inner Ring Housed Units that Timken has developed. The company is accredited with TS 16949:2002, ISO 14001:2004, ISO 9000:2000, OHSAS 18001:2007 and AAR Certification.
The technology centre in Bangalore also has the only rail test facility in India - and perhaps in all of Asia- that is accredited to the stringent ISO 17025 standards. This will significantly increase application engineering services to our customers across the world and also reaffirms our commitment to rail customers in India as they continue with their efforts for technological advancement.
What are Timken India's future plans to stay ahead in the emerging competitive environ- ment? Also tell us what is the status of the expansion of Chennai tapered roller manufacturing facility, and when it will commence production from there?
In 2010, Timken India Limited emerged resoundingly from the depth of the prior year's global economic recession. We witnessed steady recovery across industrial sectors throughout the year, and revitalized exports to serve improving demand from our American and European markets. Domestic demand for commercial trucks, tractors and automotive aftermarket products surged, while we also saw the rejuvenation of process industries and the energy markets. We also are growing our service business with a focus on providing maintenance, repair and replacement activities for key components in customers' facilities, we will help keep their operations running optimally. We are seeing revenue generating opportunities from an expanded Industrial Bearings Services facility in Jamshedpur, our MILLTEC® services and our other capabilities, such as reliability and condition monitoring services.
We will remain keenly focused on serving our customers with excellence this year and we will ramp up several aspects of our business to answer the call of rising demand apart from investing further in the development of our associates, our processes and in our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities.
We will work to increase Timken's visibility and reach in the off-highway original equipment and aftermarket in 2011, as well as in our services business, extending our offering to customers.
In Chennai, we recently announced to invest the amount of Rs.360 million, approximately $8 million, to expand tapered roller bearing manufacturing capacity in India. Timken India Limited will also be installing machines for this expansion in Chennai.
The project, scheduled to commence production in the second quarter of 2011, will enable a capacity increase of 2.4 million races of upto-8–inch tapered roller bearings. This size is used in construction and other off-highway vehicles as well as heavy trucks and other commercial transpor- tation systems. The expansion is scheduled for completion in Q4 of 2011.
We are witnessing a steep increase in demand for Timken® tapered roller bearings in and outside India. A fast growing economy, like India, warrants an even faster development of infrastructure and our products are targeted to meet this distinct upward trend in consumption. To match up with the increasing demand, we will be continuously looking to ramp up the capacity.
Could you please tell us in brief about your JVs? Is the company planning to forge any new techno collaboration?
In 2009, Timken India Limited has signed an agreement with Spareage Seals Limited, a leading Indian oil seal manufacturer. Through this agreement, Timken offers complete range of oil seals to customers and distributors in India.
Introducing this complete range of oil seals in India, was part of Timken's strategy to bring a more complete line of friction management products to customers and the industrial distribution channel. Customers have come to rely on Timken's expertise in managing friction in a wide array of applications, and we are continually providing new products and services to help them improve their performance.
Also, the Timken Company has collaboration with Daido Steel Co Ltd., through this collaboration; Timken has the expanded ability to offer its high-performance; premium engineered steel solutions to customers in Asia. Through this collaboration, Daido will manufacture specialty steel products according to Timken specifications. This allows Timken to broaden service to industrial customers throughout Asia where such highly engineered, specialty steel is not widely available, and demand for it continues to grow.
Under an initial five-year agreement, Daido will manufacture high-performance steel as specified by Timken. Those finished products will carry the Timken brand and will be marketed, sold and distributed by The Timken Company's sales force and its authorized distributors in Asia.