Future looks bright for laser and laser-based applications

  • Interviews
  • Feb 15,23
C And C Laser Engineering, which provides laser marking, engraving, and micro-machining systems, is looking forward to expand its export potential with the Government of India targeting to make India a $ 5 trillion economy. Hrishikesh Sawant, Director, C And C Laser Engineering, in this interview talks about the company’s new products, growth plans and advantages of laser based technologies.
Future looks bright for laser and laser-based applications

Kindly brief us about your company.
Our company, C And C Laser Engineering was started in August 2018. We provide laser marking, engraving, and micro-machining systems along with the lasers for various applications primarily like identification. Production lines need to have the parts being manufactured to be identified with some permanent marking which can be only achieved aesthetically by lasers. The industries that we serve are—automobile, tools, jewellery, fashion, diamond, orthopaedic implants, aerospace, research and development, electronics, mould and dye, medical etc.

There is a sales growth in the FY 2022-23 as compared to 2021-22. We have achieved the figure of last year’s by December 2022 and hoping to do much better in the coming quarter. Since the focus was more on domestic market, our exports were limited and looking forward to improving in that sector in the coming year.

What is the USP of your company? How do you contribute to the growth of the Indian manufacturing sector?
The identification marking being non-contact, permanent and personalised is the USP of our systems. As mentioned earlier, we provide lasers and laser based marking, engraving, micro-machining systems, and the services for such applications. The technology of laser marking is demanding because the laser processing method is a non-contact procedure, but it is permanent. Lasers can mark on all metals, non-metals, whether the part is bare, painted, powder-coated, anodized or hardened. Laser marking machines can mark state of the art 2D barcodes for identification where in the user can add the entire history of the production of the part into a code that can as small as possible.

Any manufacturing company needs product identification so that the product can be traced back with its history. Every product and the part thereof should be uniquely identified with its manufacturing history mentioned on the product, which should be permanently tagged to the product, without damaging the aesthetic look of the product.

This can be achieved only with laser marking. Similarly, there are many products which need micro-machining with the finest of resolution and with minimum of damage to the product. Bio-degradable medical stents can be manufactured using lasers only. Lasers are used for many medical applications which include therapeutic as well as analytic applications.

What is the contribution of exports to your business? How do you intend to expand your exports?
We have very limited direct exports as our main focus presently was national market. However, our lasers, sold to our local OEM customers, are installed on laser systems which are exported to all over the world. Soon we will indulge in exporting complete laser-based systems to its customers all over the world.

Could you please share with us information about your new innovations or products and solutions that you have launched in 2022?
The company has recently launched its UV Laser marking, engraving or micro-machining system. The UV Laser system can be used to process any non-metal or metal. Non-metals like plastics, wood, textile, glass, etc. can be processed without any damage to the base material. The UV Laser system provides the much needed least of Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) so that the base material is not damaged.

Forthcoming products from the company are—3 axes IR Fiber Laser Galvo Marking System for 3D engraving and wide field marking, CO2 Laser based 3 axes, CO2 Laser 3D Engraving a wide field marking systems, and state of the art service centre for IRADION CO2 Lasers.

How important is branding for your products or solutions? What are your marketing plans for 2023?
Branding a product, always helps in promotion of the business. Branding is significant to set a strong foothold in the industry. A good Brand name is synonymous with good quality and good services and these two main virtues are two pillars of brand recognition. In laser industry, laser systems are branded according to the wavelengths, the application, the power, etc. We will continue to advertise in prominent subject-related print media like Industrial Product Finder. We will avail the opportunity to exhibit our products and services in the major shows and exhibitions like National Laser Symposium, Laser Photonics India Show, 3i expo, etc.

According to you, what is the mantra for success in the marketplace?
According to me, the market always needs new technology. So, we should keep on upgrading the technology always. About 20 years ago, laser marking was very new to the market and hence huge lamp-based machines were being used for the marking application. These have been replaced now with small compact, more efficient, zero maintenance, and negligible power consumption fiber laser marking machines. So, technological upgradation is always the need of the market. Similarly, one should be efficient to provide the necessary services for the systems. The sales of those products are negligible if the products are sold and the service for the same needs to be arranged or purchased from some other country.

What are emerging trends in your industry?
Lasers always have been explored and researched all over the world. Laser technology has been upgrading ever since the lasers were first used industrially in the early 60s. As mentioned earlier, the lamp pumped lasers widely used about 15-20 years ago are now obsolete and have been replaced with fiber laser technology. In the recent trend, disc lasers are now finding many applications in the industry. Disk lasers are found in applications from tens of watts to over 30kW, and from femtosecond pulses to continuous wave (CW). These lasers are used in material processing applications such as cutting, remote cutting, conduction welding, conventional welding, remote welding, heat treating, laser metal deposition, drilling, ablation, and surface cleaning, and are found in a large variety of industries.

How is your company gearing up for sustainability?
As I have said earlier, updating and upgrading with the latest developments in the field is the key. We accordingly have been regularly updating ourselves and offering our clients the latest in laser systems.

It is said that to improve competitiveness, it is important to adopt modern manufacturing technologies (like automation, robots/cobots, digital tools, AI, Industry 4.0, 3D printing, etc). What is your take on this?
Automation, involving robots for production, using digital tools like robots, cobots, artificial intelligence and 3D printing are the need of the modern market. C And C Laser Engineering provides systems that are compatible with most of the automations, robots, cobots and other digital tools.

SMEs are the backbone of India's manufacturing sector. How can we help SMEs to increase their productivity and efficiency?
The SMEs need financial support from the government. This can be provided by the government by issuing funds for development of the technology, at much reduced rate of interest.

The government is aiming to make India a $5 trillion economy. What is your vision for the Indian manufacturing sector for 2025?
Today, technology has stimulated innovation with digital transformation, a key aspect in gaining an edge in this highly competitive market. In the sphere of manufacturing, I see the manufacturing scenario is certainly going to change due to a push for certain market segments such as defence, infrastructure, automotive, and others, and one of the keys can be the Indian government’s purchase policy. Due to the post effect of the pandemic, the Indian government has put forth the Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat more strongly to reduce dependency on imports from other countries. As per the new government procurement policy for purchases up to a certain limit, preference will be given to the Indian manufacturer or integrator that can make systems locally or at least have a certain percentage of the components made locally. This will push companies to get into manufacturing if they must do business with Indian government. This, I see in the long term, is a step towards giving a boost to local manufacturing even though it’s going to assemble or integrate as a first step, as all major components for lasers are normally imported.

To conclude, Cutting still dominates the Indian laser market and will be the major contributor in the coming years with a shift towards higher-power fibre cutting. However, the future looks bright for laser and laser-based applications, with new market segments opening such as e-mobility, additive, solar, defence, and infrastructure.

What are your long term goals for your company?
The centre would be manufacturing lasers, provide extensive services for the lasers manufactured by us and for most of the lasers manufactured by other companies. C And C Laser Engineering plans to install IR-GR-UV-CO2 (nanosecond, picosecond, femtosecond) laser marking, engraving, micro-machining, welding, cutting systems all under one roof, very shortly.

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