SCHMERSAL: Marking leadership in the machine safety solutions
Q. Being the key player in the industry, please brief us company’s journey from inception & share some of the milestones achieved?
Schmersal India Private Limited, a subsidiary of Schmersal Group, Germany was founded in 2007 in the growing Indian market for machine safety. In 2010, the cornerstone for a production factory in India was laid in Pune, Maharashtra, which started production in July 2013. Since inception Schmersal has been adding skilled manpower to enhance the local R&D team and in the local Product Management to focus on developing even more products for the Indian market. To date, Schmersal is the only company having a complete production facility for safety products in India, inline with international safety standard & parameter–true to the motto ‘Make in India’. However, we have also started an export-oriented unit (EOU) in Pune to manufacture products and export to other parts of the world. At Schmersal we are using Free Trade Warehousing Zone facility, as a strategic inventory management platform that allows our consumers to save time & costs to gain a competitive advantage. So, India is a major hub, not only for the Indian market but also for the international market.
In April 2018, Schmersal India inaugurated its first global support IT centre in Pune with a skilled workforce of Functional and Technical Consultants. It is the first global support activity that has been established outside Germany and India has been recognised as one of the competence centres with skilled resources to provide support for all IT services including SAP up-gradation, implementation and software development to the entire Schmersal Group.
After the successful start of the Global IT Centre in Pune in March 2020 Schmersal India inaugurated a Global Engineering Centre in Pune to support the entire Schmersal Group and supply hardware and software for the new products and solutions that are to be developed by Schmersal India and used worldwide.
Q. Please brief us about company’s infrastructure & what are the technology alliances that has been made in order to out-front the competition?
Schmersal is a globally recognised supplier and specialist in machine safety solutions and services with decades of experience in this field. Globally we have 7 manufacturing locations Wuppertal, Boituva, Wettenber, Shanghai, Mühldorf, Pune, Bergisch Gladbach own subsidaries and Germany, Brazil, China, India country representatives.
In India we have offices in Pune, Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai cities and sales representives in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai & Coimbatore locations to cover the length and breadth of our vast country. Besides the sales team we have a dedicated team of certified safety consultant under tec.nicum division to support our customers to design & manufacture their machine as per ISO standard and educate them to increase awareness.
Our Manufacturing unit is equiped with German Machines like Injection Moulding & Metal to Metal Ultrasonic Welding machines. Our Online Automatic Test Equipment have a facility for storage of all inspection records since the inception, which is very useful for tracibility of products. Entire Manufacturing facility has been set up as per lean manufacturing concept. Extended Warehouse Management (EWM)is implemented in which all material movement is through barcode scanner. As per the Global stringent norms, we have already qualified 30 vendors in India who supply localised components for our local and export demands. Since 2020 we deployed SAP R3 ECC 6.0 for all our transactions with the help of our internal team. Keeping Modern workplace as final Goal, we rolled out Ms Teams and Dynamics CRM to move towards Digitalization.
Q. What are the products manufactured by your company?
Schmersal Group offers it‘s customers the largest range of safety products, solutions, and services worldwide to achieve the company’s goal i.e., “Together with our customers and partners, we are turning workplaces into safe places“
The comprehensive range includes more than 16,000 products in different System Solutions such as ASi Interface, SD Interface, Safety and Passive Field Boxes, Safe Signal Processing vide Safety PLC’s ,Safety Controllers and Safety relays, Opto electronic Solutions like Safety Light Curtains and Safety Barriers, Complete range of tactile devices including Safety Mats & Safety Edges, Safety Guard Monitoring Sensors based on RFID & Magnetic principle along with Hinge switches, Safety Position switches and Safety Interlocks. The big range of Command devices include Two hand control Stations, Safety Foot Switches, Enabling Switches along with Safety Pull cords and Emergency stops.
Our Local Manufacturing unit currently manufactures the entire range of Safety Position switches, Safety Interlocks, Safety Pull cords and Command devices like Two hand control Stations and Foot Switches. Under the “Make in India” campaign new products including heavy-duty safety switches, Key trap switches, Emergency stops and other products are being currently transferred to India from Germany.
Q. What is your marketing strategy for India?
Schmersal India is the market leader for machine safety solution & services with an exclusive market focus in India with our safety expertise, as per ISO standard.
Although the Indian market has an enormous potential, India has yet to pave its way to providing a safe working environment to the people. Our safety consultant under “tec.nicum” is already with BIS as a member to enhance Indian machine safety standards to map it close to the ISO standard. We are also educating teams of various Industry segments to increase their awareness on safety and how to implement it through Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health.
The team of Schmersal always strives to protect both man and the machines to work safely and efficiently. Our goal is to increase customer awareness about international safety standards through our academic program. To make this end possible we have online modules whereby our customer engineers can take sessions as per their own convenience. After every module a certificate is issued to the participant from our Safety academy.
We have long-term goals planned already and look forward to exploring new markets, launch new products, solutions, and services. We want to approach our clients as a partner who will be their single point of contact for complete safety solutions & services. At Schmersal, we ensure that our products and services meet customer needs. We offer them good products with high value additions thereby, establishing a long-term business relationship with them.
Q. Product innovation through R&D is vital to be a leader in the competition. As per your opinion, how does R&D play the role of catalyst in the success process?
We firmly believe Research and Development is the most important catalyst in sustainable sucess in long term to keep ahead of Maturing competition. R&D not only helps create new products, processes and services and adds features to existing products but investing in R&D also help to align various parts of company strategy and Business outlook, majorly cost reduction. Our R&D team works with the aim of increasing productivity of the machines on which our safety solutions are deployed.
We have 10 Agile project teams working on various product developments and modifications in Germany and India. All of them use Agile methods, but in different ways and to different degrees. Among other things, the focus of Agile methods lies on “the interaction of people,” and this often varies significantly from project to project, regionally and especially internationally.
Q. Quality standards are benchmarked by the product performance; please brief us how do you maintain the quality norms since from solution development to implementation?
Schmersal India manufacture safety and electromechanics safety products in our world-class manufacturing facility under process and quality checks set by German Headquarters. We follow a uniform quality standard of Schmersal Group by aligning with our parent company & global HQ at Germany. Our Local Production adhere’s to strict quality standards and all our products are certified with internal certifying bodies like CE, UL, CCC, IEC, DIN EN, ATEX, applicable ISO standard. Also, our parent company conduct’s rigorous quality checks on all safety products. The majority of the infrastructure and machines in our facility are German.
High-quality standards are applied to the manufacture of safety switching devices, ensuring a high level of process reliability. We use state-of-the-art automated test equipment and conduct a complete inspection. The test equipment verifies the product’s quality with all required critical parameters. For example the Universal Position Switch Test equipment test‘s about 10 to 15 critical paramters for safety position switch before being cleared for packaging.
Q. According you what are the factors affecting to your business?
Although we see increased acceptability for use of Safety in machines, we still have to cover a lot of ground in terms of Awareness of Safety. Lack of skilled labor to handle safety systems is also one of the factors. For effective deployment of safety systems in Machines and process, correct knowledge about safety basics and latest norms is very crucial. Management in many industries still considers the implementation of safety to be optional and not mandatory. Safety assessments and quality checks are limited to documents only and they are yet to find a way to be implemented. Uncertain market development and investment are also factor’s that hinder our long-term business plans. The pandemic has also of course disturbed the graph of growth and development.
Q. What are the key technological trends that are driving the industry?
Industry 4.0. is a real ‘mega trend’ that is sweeping through the industry and digitalizes most of our day-to-day operations. This mega-trend has touched virtually every company, and we are likely to see significant changes in every stage of day-to-day working, industrial operation & production. It also affects machine safety in a multitude of ways with development of approaches like safety 4.0. The Industry 4.0 Demonstration kit developed by Schmersal are used by our customers to evaluate the potential solutions before their actual implementation in the machines.
The trend is also clearly towards of Adoption of New Safety Systems which now provide higher uptime of Machines to users and easy diagnostics of Safety Systems. Latest Sensors and system architecture are now providing the users with pre warning of machine stoppage, exact indication of the cause of fault, Bluetooth Features for easy alignment of Light curtains, Serial Diagnostic so that the control system has minimal wiring and at the same time achieves the highest levels of safety The free software’s available for designing and configuring the safety systems ensure that Control Cirtuit designers have systems which in confirmation to the latest norms.
Q. What all are new Technology innovations adopted in 2021?
Our new Technology Innovations which have been adopted have come up from the new technological demands of our customers. Our latest AZM40 smallest electronic solenoid interlock in the world. With a strong clamping force of 2000 Newtons – despite its compact construction form. AZM150 has been developed for small machines and to packaging machines and machine tools.
We have provided the market with new & upgraded solutions like sensor with coded RFID (RSS series), adding Bluetooth feature in safety light curtain, SD bus, safety Field box & advanced safety controller with various communication bus. An entire new product series for safety to bulk material conveying system is already launched. These technological solutions help us aligning our users with Industry 4.0 and at the same time to achieve the highest level of safety and diagnostics with predictive maintenance.
The Pandemic has created new business opportunities for solutions like Schmersal Access Control System (SAC-IO-20) which ensures a definite number of people in a confined space. The software of our BP408 lift control module has been updated to enable ‘coronavirus-safe’ use of lifts
Our Virtual Fair (SMART Fair) platform enables our partners to visit our E- Exhibition to evaluate and try all the new solutions with the virtual promotional program during the current pandemic situation and helping to keep connect with the market & customer efficiently.
Q. What are your goals for 2021 and action plan to achieve these goals.
On the Domestic front the main fcous is to increase and spread the awareness about the basics of Machinery safety .Our“tec.nicum“ division here plays a pivotal role in upgrading the knowledge of machinery users to update them about the latest previaling norms of safety, both locally and globally. Creating market awareness for Machine Safety in association with Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health as well as the Bureau of Indian Standards is a step in this direction for supporting the local industries.
Safety Services division “tec.nicum” supports the market & customers with services such as academic activities under the Safety awareness program. tec.nicum division also provides various safety consulting services like Risk Assessments, CE conformity, Safety Logic, engineering services, validation, various safety documents and various Safety Solutions including integration as a turnkey safety solution
To keep our custoemrs and partners abrest of the latest product launches, Schmersal has introduced the VIRTUAL Exhibition platform. Here visitors to our virtual booth can feel and experience the all new Innovation in Schmersal Solutions and upgrade their knowledge and safety information by aligning with Safety 4.0
On the Global front, focus is to stabilize the Export Oriented Unit, which has had additions of many new product lines transferred to India from the Global HQ for global supply as well as for Indian customers.
Besides this year we will see the hiving off of current Indian Global Engineering and IT centre into a new entity. This new entity, currently having more than 30 colleagues will aggresively support the Engineering, IOT and IT developments of the Entire Schmersal Goup.