“ARO 3G technology is more competitive than customers may perceive…”

Martin Smith, Vice President ‑ JEC Distributors International Inc
General Manager JEC Distributors Pvt Ltd
Could you brief us on JEC’s role into the welding segment?
“ARO 3G technology is more competitive than customers may perceive…”
JEC origins in Ontario, Canada started as a distributor of welding technology. The Owner and Founder, Mr. Joe Ruggiero achieved success by obtain exclusive agreements and contracts that led to expansion and acquisition of the technologies that he was servicing to the NAFTA Auto Industry.  Joe has worked like me in the industry for more than 25 years.
Today, the main Technical Partners are ARO Welding Technologies from France, where we provide complete service support in North America and India and our own Copperhead range of welding electrode tip management solutions such as tip dressers and changers.
Service is the role we play, providing welding solutions for customers to improve quality, save time and money in production with highest quality, lowest cost ownership of resistance welding guns and related technology.
What type of welding equipment does JEC includes into its product range?
ARO Welding Technologies have an innovative system which is the ‘3G Robotic Resistance Welding Gun’. This product is a very smart, modular and maintenance friendly spot weld gun which is a leading technology in its field and JEC’s own brand “Copperhead” Automated Electrode Tip Dressers and Changers.  These technologies form the kernel of the company’s synergistic products for High Strength Steel and Aluminium spot welding in the automotive sector.
This is a very important development, since the Indian Government demands for reducing Carbon emissions, wherein lightweight and electric vehicles are targeted to achieve.
There are challenges in welding the high strength steels and aluminium combinations, and ARO is the market leader in this field.
What new technological advancement have you introduced?
JEC introduced to North America the MKW 308 Mechanical Cap Changer.  It has become the GM standard due to its reliability and efficiency.  Its major benefit is that it has no power. It uses the robot to achieve functionality and as the Robot is already in the production line, it is utilising existing technology and accuracy to achieve efficient time saving operations, thus freeing trained electrical engineers to focus on other important maintenance operations.
Secondly, JEC has an advanced cutter technology developed and manufactured in Germany for the global market. The accuracy of the blade production and adherence to strict tolerances provide a repeatable long-life performance that is creating a new benchmark in the industry.
What is your say on the rising competitions? How do you manage to cope up?
JEC has always been involved in robotic welding and it is this knowledge and strength that is behind the company’s international expansion and technical partnerships.  We are present in Canada, America, Mexico, India, China, South Africa and Europe.
The ARO 3G Welding system is the industry game changer for robotic welding and is complimented with the ARO iBox for resistance welding procedures and permits an adaptive operation and function to be achieved for high quality consistent performance.
We know that here in India, as in other countries, there are many competitors from overseas, principally Japan, Korea and North America as well as from local manufacturers.  However, the ARO system by comparison may not be the lowest cost to purchase, but it does have the lowest cost of ownership.
We make no excuse for selling quality at a premium price, when we can demonstrate the lowest cost of ownership, performance and function.  Shall we just say that ARO 3G technology is more competitive than customers may perceive and we are willing to demonstrate this in the robotic welding segment.
Is the Indian market on par with the international markets?
Yes and no.  It is on a par with the demands of the industry, but not in the breadth of variation demanded in other markets.
It is changing, the dynamics in India are astounding, innovative and driven.  Being involved in the market with our presence here has taught us patience and from that a success that many colleagues and customers are willing to participate with us in achieving, based on improved perceptions of the quality available from the Indian market.
There is a fantastic marketing video with a tag line ‘Incredible India’ and it certainly is.
What are JEC’s efforts towards health and safety?
Our technology offering for spot welding guns and electrode tip management products feature numerous design elements that make handling, maintaining and using the technology safer and healthier.
For example, the Copperhead E4N Combined Automated Electrode Cap Changer and Tip Dresser is a system that collects 98% of the contaminated swarf and debris that is machined from the spot face of the welding cap and deposits it into a collection chamber.
This is achieved by the unique design of our gearbox housing with a double blow off valve and high force venturi that creates a dynamic air flow to remove the swarf or debris from the cutting area into the collection system.  This prevents debris from contaminating the production zone.  Thus, the amount of clean up is minimised and operator exposure to the contaminated debris is minimised.
Additionally, the automated exchange of the welding caps means that operators no longer have to enter the robotic cell and walk around the robot, tooling and production line to access the weld gun to remove the electrodes.  Thus, with the integrated E4N system and water control ensures minimum water escape, thus minimising exposure to the operators to the chemicals in the water that are present and necessary in preventing water pollutants contaminating the cooling system for the welding and production zone.
What according to you is the current market scenario of welding industry in India?
The market is very fluid and many and varied customers are using ARO product already and are interested in the newer technology that we are promoting.  There is an awareness that the changes in the industry will demand higher quality technology to match the expectations.  Local manufacturers are working hard to match the requirements, but exposure to the technological demands are a drain on resources and increase costs to match existing proven technologies already available in the market place.It is clear that significant growth in the sector will occur.  You only have to look at the forward plans for new production facilities in Delhi, Gujarat, Pune and Chennai and you can see clearly that the investments strategies and infrastructure changes are being implemented to meet the demand.

Which countries according to you are leading in resistance welding?

France, Germany and Japan are clearly leading the market. You only have to observe their overseas partner operations to understand the motivation to match market requirements.

What are the major challenges you witness?  How do you aim to resolve the same?

Customer understanding and knowledge transfer are the two important areas in India as I see requiring attention.  We can achieve resolution by good service and provision of technical excellence in there understanding of the technology available to help them meet the quality criteria that is going to arise.

Knowledge transfer is a key element coupled to service and with a wealth of experience in electrode tip management I am transferring a lot of my knowledge to the JEC Team on a global basis, not just in India, but of course the Team we have in India is extremely important to JEC Globally and to me personally.Apart from your Office and Warehouse in Chakan, Pune you have service teams in Chennai, Gujarat and Delhi, what is the initiative behind that?I can’t reiterate this enough.  ‘Service’ Many years ago I was made aware that Nachi Robotics opened operations in the UK, but the first thing they did was send a service engineer and that was before they had any real UK exposure or sales personnel to visit customers and expand their business.  Whilst I had my own view on service and I believed in it very strongly from my previous experiences in a different industry, it is service that built my business success.Service = regular visits and contact = reliability and trust = customer appreciation and response = mutual satisfaction and fun.Pune, Chennai, Gujarat and Delhi are the epi centres of automotive growth and it is beholden upon JEC to be present to provide excellence in service, it is the foundation of our company.Your expansion plans?We have expectations and discussions ongoing all the time, some are organic and self-generating and others are by acquisition.  But they all have to make financial sense.  I am blessed that the company owners have foresight and I am aware of there ambition.  My focus is India and here expansion will be organic and will be based on the Team of great local people, all highly qualified and skilled that make the difference.