Developments in The Indian Forging Industry

by Ram Prakash Forging Products
The traditional forging work where a blacksmith used to spend hours and hours heating and beating metals is a thing of the past. It has evolved into the forging industry that not only has become the backbone of the manufacturing sector of the Indian economy but is also one of the most prosperous industries in the present. This journey to becoming probably  the biggest contributor in the country's economy has been possible due to innovation in designing and improved accuracy in engineered processes, production equipment, tools and raw materials, that came together to fulfill the demands of the modern industry.

Divison of the Indian forging industry

The Indian forging companies can be categorized into large, medium, small and tiny sectors. The number of companies in each sector decreases as we go from the tiny sector to large, where only 5% of the total number of companies is made up of large enterprises. The shift from being a largely labor intensive industry to a capital intensive one can be attributed to globalization. It can be estimated that around US$600 million is invested in the large and medium sectors. That the forging industry has been heavily modernized can be gauged from the fact that the automobile sector has seen a surge in suppliers of forged products to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

Export and import scenario

In India, most forging units focused on capacity expansion, and upgradation of technology in the first half of 1990s. The regular domestic customers of the forging industry are the railways, oils and gas, power and machine tool sectors among others. Less than 5% of its requirements of forgings is imported by India. The industry has registered an export growth of nearly 30% with USA, China and Europe being the leading customers.

Challenges faced by the industry

As many mini steel plants closed and some major ones discontinued production, the forging industry faced a crisis. To add fuel to fire, there was heavy import duty and limitations on steel import. The situation improved when the government stepped in and made changes in import duties and eased the import process. Some of the other challenges that the industry faces are volatile foreign exchange rates, the increase in steel prices in India that discourages overseas customers, and lack of investment in upgradation of technology. Also, considerable improvement is required in the area of R & D and training to meet the demands of the export market. Smaller forging companies are wanting in testing and validation facilities.

The forging companies in India can look forward to better profits as there is expected increase in the global market. Liberalization is also expected to positively impact many sectors of Indian economy, including the forging industry.

About Ram Prakash Freshman     Forging Products

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