Gestamp's expansion strategy is linked to the growth plans of its clients. This geographic diversity enables Gestamp to take advantage of global growth opportunities. Talking to Automotive Products Finder, Raman Nanda, Country Head & President, Gestamp India talks about the technologies displayed at SIAT 2017 and opportunities.
What are the new technologies offered by Gestamp?
Gestamp is a Spanish company from Madrid which has India operations based in Chennai. We want to make a lighter and safer car. This is the motto of Gestamp.The product portfolio diversification has helped Gestamp strengthen its strategic relationships with automakers, which come to Gestamp for innovative solutions and high quality products that cover the entire value chain. Technological innovation is the key of Gestamp's success and one of the basic points of its strategy for the future. All the technological know-hows are focused on reducing weight and on the resulting reduction in atmospheric emissions and improvement of safety in collisions. In this area, Hot Stamping means the most important change for the automotive metal components and, after more than 25 years of expertise, Gestamp is a worldwide leader in this technology.
We are showcasing here four important technologies. The first technology is hot forming or hot stamping. Mostly stamping is done with steel being at room temperature. In hot forming, we heat the steel blank up to 930 degrees, when it is nearly in plastic stage and it can be formed easily and then press and stamp it. For these, we can get shapes, which are much more intricate and which cannot be achieved in cold stamping normally. The second is from hardening with an input of 500 MPa to 1,500 MPa. So instead of using the 1.6 mm thickness sheet for making that part, the OEM can use only 1.3 mm, thereby reducing the weight by that component. Another technology is patch work blank. By this technology, we are able to add a patch and give it strength at the area where more strength is required. The third technology is tailor welded blank, while the fourth is roll forming. It helps in improving the yield of steel. Besides stamping and welding technologies Gestamp has developed other technologies expanding its potential in the automotive industry such as Finishing, Tooling etc. We use various finishing technologies such as shot blasting, zinc coating, powder coating and cataphoretic painting on our products. In Tooling, our internal capacity for developing and manufacturing die allows us to maintain the maximum experience in both hot and cold stamping within the group.
What are the opportunities for PV and CV?
As a company, we are focused on PV. So we think there are many opportunities, especially in cars and SUVs. And the reason is that the body part of the car is going to get a major focus by 5-10 years now. Specially, by the new laws coming in and the higher awareness amongst OEMs to do something in the front of the body. We have the crash regulation. With the fuel efficiency norms and emission norms which have been notified there is much higher acceptance for these technologies from the automobile manufacturers point of view. We are bringing in those technologies for the OEMs at this stage. So they make the right body for their vehicle. Our major customers are Ford, Nissan, Renault, Volkswagen, Skoda and the numbers are increasing.
What is your take on adoption and adaptation of technologies at affordable cost in India?
In my view, the concept of affordable cost has to be linked with the features that customers are looking for. It has to be linked to the factor of safety. The society is now becoming more aware of these things. Earlier there was no coated steel being used which now is being used. Earlier, there were no ABS and airbags being used. Now people are aware of and are using these technologies. Whether affordable or not, people are using these concepts. Therefore, it is adapting itself to the new environment. The cost is extremely important in India. When, we reduce the thickness from 1.6 mm to 1.3 mm the cost also reduces. So cost is very important part in India. It is never the only point. It is taken into count by the features and what is appropriate to the customers.
Who is your major competition in this segment?
We cannot just speak about the competition in the market. We can say that the competition is increasing for the industry average. We started production in three plants in the last seven years. Our investment in India is exceeding Rs 1,000 crore. We expect in the next 2-3 years, turnover to go up to 50 per cent more. We are growing faster than the industry rate. For us, that is the target we set for our business. During the years, Gestamp has had a strong growth sustained by the high added value given to its customers, in terms of technological content, productive investments and international development. The diversification of Gestamp product has been essential to strengthen the strategic relationship with the clients, who trust Gestamp to get innovative and market-leading product solutions.
Talking about PV, what is Gestamp’s contribution in coming years?
Gestamp is an international group dedicated to the design, development and manufacture of metal automotive components. It is specialised in developing innovatively designed products to achieve increasingly safer and lighter vehicles, thereby reducing energy consumption and environmental impact. The technology what we offer is the contribution. Unlike Europe and the US, where almost 38 per cent body is hot stamping, in India it is zero. So, practically we cannot blame the designs for that. It is not available in India. Gestamp has always had an ongoing commitment to incorporate new technologies into our manufacturing processes and to develop traditional technologies. It started off as a company based solely on cold stamping small parts and it has become a company based on multiple technologies.
What is your vision 2020?
The year 2020 is in the horizon. In our industry typically visibility of your business basically is from 2-3 years from now. We are targeting a 50 per cent increase. We will keep growing from the industry rate beyond that.
Any special comment on the company's manufacturing capabilities?
Gestamp has a global presence with its origin in Western Europe. The group has focused its expansion into North America, South America, Eastern Europe and Asia, where the automotive market is developing. Present in 20 countries, Gestamp has about 100 industrial plants, 12 R&D centres and a workforce of over 32,000 employees worldwide. We are here as it is a technology show. Gestamp believes that technology drives the automotive industry. In my view, just like you have seen a big focus like BSI, body is the next engine. Body is going to be the focus of OEMs for the next years. The features, the technologies and there Gestamp has a great base.