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Home Cover Story Bearing makers gung ho about Indian automotive market

Bearing makers gung ho about Indian automotive market

Bearing manufacturers are taking steady but cautious steps to serve the growing Indian automotive industry.

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With the Indian automotive sector recording growth in the current financial year and which is likely to continue in the coming years as well, component manufacturers are excited to cash in the positive trends in the industry. Bearing manufacturers in India have also geared up to get maximum business.


Minebea India looking to beef up operations

NMB-Minebea India Pvt Ltd, the global manufacturer of miniature and small-sized bearings and precision components, is looking to strengthen its business operations and expanding sales activities for the new clients in Indian market. The Indian arm of the Japanese precision components manufacturer, which commenced its operations in Gurgaon in 2013, foresees enormous market potential for its product range that includes ball bearings, stepping motors and small DC motors, micro actuators, load cells and sensors with volumes based on customers’ demand. It plans to serve the local market mainly through imports from its manufacturing facilities in Japan, China and Thailand.


Ashok Ashta, Managing Director and CEO, Minebea India, states
, “We are mainly selling ball bearings of 22 mm outer diameter (OD) and less, which find applications in cars, two-wheelers or anything which is movable. Our USP is that we are the best in what we do. That is why we have been the market leaders in the miniature ball bearings commanding around 60 per cent market share globally. So in India, those who are quality conscious, will automatically come to us. This has been the practice in other countries and I see it being replicated in India too.”

Ashok Ashta_200.jpgWe do see a lot of opportunities in the automotive and allied industries where there will be a demand for high-precision miniature bearings.”

– Ashok Ashta,
Managing Director and CEO, Minebea India

Talking about its current association with clients, Ashta says, “We supply our products to all leading industries, with a special focus on the automotive sector. So if the manufacturing sectors boom, demand for our products will shoot up. But if there is a deceleration, it affects us also. Until last year, the manufacturing index (in India) was witnessing crests and troughs. Fortunately, for the last six months the manufacturing sectors have been on an upswing. As there has been a robust production of vehicles, our industry got a huge fillip. And our bearings are completely related to the industrial segment of the country’s GDP. Currently, we are seeing a lot of buzz in automotive and other industries like smartphones, aviation, aerospace, etc.”

Ashta, who was quite exuberant about the fact that the company will be clocking US$ 100 million by 2020, will also consider the prospects of a local alliance that will involve a factory set up for assembling products and simultaneously setting off a chain reaction that will lead to better quality exports in the long run. He adds, “India’s importance will be determined by the fact that how many products are sold here. We do see a lot of opportunities in the automotive and adjacent industries where there will be a demand for high-precision miniature bearings. The automotive industry will definitely grow as market analysts are predicting the Indian passenger vehicle market to be among the third or fourth biggest in the world. This is due to multiple factors like pent up demand, rising disposable income, etc. Furthermore, there has been a huge thrust on ‘Make-in-India’ initiative by our Prime Minister. So obviously, the bearings industry too stands to get a fillip from that.”

However, Minebea has yet not take a call on setting up a manufacturing facility, “It depends on the evolution of the auto component industry in India as we don’t supply directly to OEMs but to their vendors. As the tier-1 parts suppliers (in India) evolve over the years, we might also build a facility to be close to our clients. We will follow a step-by-step process. Currently, we are importing from Japan, Thailand and China. So once there is a reasonable demand for our products, we will take a call. And we might consider exports once the plant is set up,”
states Ashta.

Going forward, Minebea will be firming up plans to ink a JV or forge an alliance with a local partner, as Ashta points out, “The openness for an alliance still exists (like it was earlier). We are in constant talks with multiple channel partners and stakeholders. We (our parent company) have already acquired a company in Europe called Sartorius Mechatronics and they had some of their business in Bangalore. So even though they are a separate entity, some synergy can happen with them. We are also open for an inorganic growth if we get the ideal company with a ready-made infrastructure.”

Talking about its long term growth prospects, Ashta signs off by saying, “Our primary objective for entering Indian market is to leverage on the growth potential in automobile, aerospace, medical and textile market which are fast emerging. For established parts makers like Minebea, India offers the added advantage of a broad producer canvas to choose from. We will also be hiring more manpower, with the expansion of our operations in India.”

ARB Bearings focuses on
quality at Indian costs

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ARB Bearings, a leading manufacturer, exporter and importer of all kinds of bearings is cashing in on the boom in the automotive aftermarket space. Headquartered at Delhi, the company was incorporated in 1990 and is running five plants with capacities of 15 lakh units per month which is scalable to 20 lakh units per month. The company deals with a range of products such as taper roller bearings, ball bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, spherical roller bearings, clutch roller bearings, needle roller bearings, UCP bearings (pillow block), water pump bearings (integral shaft brags), self aligning ball bearings, angular contract bearings, double row angular contact bearings and all type industrial application bearings.

“We are catering to all segments of the automotive industry such as
two-wheelers, four-wheelers, LCVs, HCVs, tractors, steel rolling mills, cement plants, etc. Moreover, we offer global quality products at Indian costs. Within a short duration since inception, we have carved a niche in various segments ranging from automobiles to industrial machinery to household appliances.

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Going forward, we bet big on the automotive segment especially on two-wheelers,” Vinod Goel, Director, Marketing, ARB Bearings, states.

Talking about the new products, India’s leading bearing manufacturer has said it has rolled out double row taper roller wheel hub bearing for new generation heavy trucks and trailers including those for Volvo buses at the 12th Auto Expo 2014 Components Show. “We can also make customised bearings. We have made100 different sizes in the last two years for various clients. We are also planning to tap new clients in the OEM space,” Goel adds.

Currently, ARB caters to OEMs such as Preet Tractors, ACE, HMT, Sonalika and many tier-1 component players. Out of its total business, nearly 30 per cent is contributed by OEMs, 20 per cent by exports and 50 per cent is derived from the aftermarket verticals. Within the automotive segment, more than 50 per cent is derived from tractor and agricultural equipment, 15 per cent from SCV, 10 per cent from CE, and 25 per cent from two-wheelers. In its bid to push itself in the aftermarket space, the bearings major is already running 250 distributors all across the country. Currently clocking a turnover of
Rs 200 crore, the company is looking to post Rs 220 crore by the end of this financial year.

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