Anant Goenka, managing director of CEAT Ltd., was the keynote speaker at the fifth Asian Tyre and Rubber Conference (ATRC) in Chennai, India.
The theme of the 2019 conference, which began June 20 and will run through June 21, is “Automation Technology: Future Reality in Manufacturing.” Goenka said though we focus more on automation, technology and innovation, we must also stick to the basics. Digitalization has to deliver solutions ultimately.
"The customer demand is now increasing. They ask for products with high-quality, safety and longer life but at a cheaper price. The return on investment on digitalization should be based in terms of what the customer needs."
He said CEAT Tyres has evolved from a cost-cutting scenario to delivery to the customer, quality and product performance as priorities. The "bitterness" of poor quality remains longer than the sweetness of lower cost.
CEAT's managing director said the size of the Indian tire industry is around 600 billion rupees, or close to $8.6 billion, and domestic companies are not only expanding at home but abroad as well. "It helps to narrow the gap between technologies in developing and developed markets."
Goenka said a "new" way to look at buying tire building machines is to pay based on the number of tires produced per machine. Investment in digital will not replace people, he added.
Kamal Bali, managing director of Volvo Group India, delivered the special address at ATRC 2019. He said today’s customer is not looking for products but solutions.
"Digitalization, changing business model, urbanization, customers’ expected solutions, sustainability, new millennials... will determine the future course. Today, a single entity, irrespective of how big it is, can not satisfy the entire needs of the customers. It calls for collaboration among different solutions providers."
In the ATRC's opening address, Harm Voortman, CEO and president of the VMI Group, said automation brings levels of speed, consistency, and precision that can not be reached by humans.
“The automation level in the tire industry is slow when compared to the automotive industry. There is still a lot to be gained. The reason for this is the behavior of rubber components, which is very difficult to automate."
In addition to the opening, special and keynote addresses, ATRC 2019 will have six technical sessions chaired by industry veterans. The first technical session, "Digital Manufacturing Industry 4.0," was chaired by P.K. Mohamed, chief advisor for Apollo Tyres Ltd.
The event is organized by Tyre Asia magazine, a publication owned by Asian Business Media (ABM). Antony Powath, as president of ABM, is hosting ATRC 2019. Tom Thomas, executive director of technology and projects for CEAT, is chairman of the conference.
There are more than 250 delegates participating in the biennial event.
CEAT (Cavi Elettrici e Affini Torino) Ltd. is part of the RPG Group.