With four production units in India, WIKA India (WIKA Instruments India Pvt. Ltd), a wholly-owned subsidiary of WIKA Global (WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG, Germany), is a specialist in Pressure, Temperature, Level, Flow, & Force for critical industrial applications. WIKA Global has been in measurement technology for 75 years and in India, WIKA is present for the last 25 yrs. During an exclusive interview with Niloy; Gaurav Bawa, Managing Director & Vice President, WIKA Group, India affirms their commitment towards their quality-front offerings and how precisely they’ve been unveiling the market potential to the test and measurement (T&M) domain in India. Gaurav also specifies about their products which bring in the global quality fitted for Indian usage and market wherein its superior instrumentation offerings bring down the shutdown time for the end-users saving money and time in the process.
Kindly share about WIKA’s Indian market journey. The key achievements, and focus of the company so far?
WIKA India (WIKA Instruments India Pvt. Ltd) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WIKA Global (WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG, Germany) and is a specialist in Pressure, Temperature, Level, Flow, & Force for critical industrial applications. WIKA Global has been in measurement technology for 75 years, and in India, WIKA has been present for the last 25 yrs. WIKA’s products are based on Quality. Now that we have a firm foothold in India, the strategy is to maximize the market share in the segments where we are present through prudent localization. WIKA India aims to double its turnover by 2025.
Also, we are looking to transform Indian operations as a distribution hub for the near-most global markets. WIKA India plans to encash the advantage of affordable labor and thus the cost-effective production process. WIKA has four production units in India. The first one is the instrument plant in Pune. Pressure gauges, temperature gauges, diaphragm seal, level gauges, and equipment for SF6 gas handling units are manufactured in Pune. We are shortly adding a production facility for force measurement/load cells. Our second plant was established in Chennai. In Chennai, we make the pressure switches and temperature switches in distribution marketing in Railway plants like steel plants or power plants, etc. Then coming to the Ghaziabad plant here, we make switches that cater to HVAC and railway segments. Our Faridabad plants manufacture Instrumentation Valves & Manifolds, Flow elements for DP-based measurements. These plants export products supporting vital global accounts.
Your R&D capability and innovations of WIKA catering for the demand of Indian customers?
WIKA believes in the customization of the products. While precision engineering, machine tool production, and quality control are a few of the most important areas that WIKA diligently adheres to, our engineers work closely with the customers to see how each of the products bought can be fitted and maintained.
WIKA handholds the Indian customers through their journey of choosing the best possible product from the entire range that we have.
Indian landscape has been changing with the induction of smart mobility, 5G network and smart appliances. With AI and automation playing a role in every field, WIKA too has embraced automation and upgraded the products. We have identified a list of products that need to become smart and with a targeted sense of priority, we have transformed into manufacturing IOT-enabled products.
There are global players dominating the testing and measurement market, what’s the differentiating factor of WIKA which keeps it ahead of its competitors?
‘Quality and Service’ are the two most important and age-old pillars on which WIKA rest its market leadership. The test and measurement market are precision-oriented, with no scope for mistakes. Our products bring in the global quality fitted for Indian usage and market. WIKA’s superior instrumentation offerings bring down the shutdown time for the end-users thus saving money and time in the process.
We go by the saying “Cut down your shut down” with WIKA products. A big differentiator to our products is the WIKA Global brand that helps end-users to export products with relative ease. Moreover, our strong Distribution network ensures the availability of WIKA products in all major industrial towns. With WIKA servicing available at the doorstep, it is a very important value addition to the customers.
WIKA India has its own localization targets to bring in cost competitiveness. Research and innovation with extensive support from the German Engineering and Logistics teams have helped us aptly live up to the slogan “Think Global Act Local”.
How do you see the changing digital landscape across industries, which sought to bring challenges and as well as scopes for companies?
The changing digital landscape fueled by the transforming communication technologies, IoT, electronics and the automotive market will bring in a lot of changes in the test and measurement market as well. These changes will open up new opportunities for growth but will also be equally challenging. With increasing product complexities and intricate smart products communicating with each other, the test and measurement services will need to be highly reliable, precise and low maintenance.
Precision measurements and highly defined implementation of technology have opened up a huge opportunity for the T&M market in India. The combination of electronics, connectivity, automation, and infotainment is the driving force for the sector. India is currently on a growth path and is expected to reach the pinnacle. We can expect demand for T&M instruments for the pan-India optical fiber cable installation and maintenance in the CATV segment. Many defence communication projects by the Government of India have also boosted demand.
As businesses traverse from product-centric to service-driven. Hence how does WIKA ensure service front strategies to churn retention of customers?
We have already mentioned that Quality and Service are our two most important pillars of strength. WIKA takes full responsibility for servicing the products for the customers. Our services can be grouped under the following heads:
Calibration: WIKA calibrate the measuring instruments in the accredited calibration laboratories, or directly on-site at customers’ location. WIKA has recently launched Mobile Calibration Van, bringing service to customer doorstep. The scope of the doorstep service includes pressure, temperature and electrical parameters through one master switch. This helps cut down the time lost in the transportation of the product to the labs from the installed site.
Repair: WIKAs service technicians make sure that the measuring instruments, in case of breakdowns and repairs, are fully functional again in a short space of time.
Installation: WIKA offers end-to-end service —right from product selection to installation of the measuring units and provides support for the commissioning of the instrumentation.
Disposal: As a globally responsible manufacturing leader, WIKA helps the customer with environment-friendly disposal of the products also.
This year, what key launches have been announced by WIKA?
WIKA acquired two companies in 2014—Micro Precision located in Faridabad and Switzer Instruments India Pvt. Ltd., with brand ‘Switzer” and “Indfos” with manufacturing locations in Chennai and Ghaziabad respectively. Micro Precision now has a new plant with huge augmentation in manufacturing capacity for Flow elements and Valves & Manifold, catering not only for the domestic market but also to very strong in exports. Pressure switches from Chennai and Ghaziabad plants have been suitably engineered and are now available as the brand “WIKA”.
Flow switches model FSM6100 and FSFD have also been launched. These products cater to markets like HVAC, firefighting etc. Several other developments are underway.
Can you tell your esteem readers about your doorstep delivery of services through Mobile Calibration Van?
The Mobile Calibration Van is an initiative born out of a need to maintain equipment for customers during COVID lockdown. The idea initially started then, has today been transformed into a value-added service by WIKA India to serve the clients, thus bringing down the cost of transportation and time lag for service.
Maintaining equipment in industrial units is essential for effective production which reduces the risks. Every industry needs to maintain the calibration of types of equipment for accurate and reliable measurements. Delay in transportation is always an issue. Moreover, displacement may sometimes lead to further errors and damage to the equipment. Hence, keeping this in mind, WIKA GROUP India Test & Measurement (T&M) has launched this service permanently in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh. We will expand the service pan India with time.
Lastly, what key emerging technologies and trends do you foresee shaping 2022 and ahead?
Trends that will impact every industry—right from communication devices to firefighting to consumer durables to agriculture tools can be categorized into the following:
Smart Factories: Manufacturing facilities will move from the sporadic implementation of smart equipment to more full-fledged sensor-integrated production lines. This will provide opportunities for full-fledged data analytics and communication between machinery and central monitoring tools. Process efficiency will become the highlight.
Increased Focus on Sustainability and Carbon Neutrality: As ESG — environmental, social and governance become more of a concern for manufacturers, governments, investors and even end-users, sustainable processes and carbon-neutral practices will become more prominent.
Data and Technology reducing Labour Force: Technologies such as digital twins, machine learning, AI (artificial intelligence), AR and VR (augmented reality and virtual reality) will help businesses by enabling remote monitoring, servicing and equipment operation. This practice, along with robotic deployment will generate data to influence business analysis, which will further shape future technologies.
For the test and measurement equipment market, WIKA GROUP India Test & Measurement (T&M) believes growth will come through increased demand from end-use sectors like automotive & transportation, aerospace & defense, IT & telecommunications, education & government, semiconductor & electronics, industrial, and healthcare. Given the trends discussed, we are going to see very dynamic changes in the coming five years.