Quah Beng Chieh, Head – Marketing (Asia Pacific), FARO Singapore Pte Ltd

Quah Beng Chieh, Head – Marketing (Asia Pacific), FARO Singapore Pte Ltd


  • Conclusion:

    We have noticed a greater demand for high precision and high accuracy in the recent years. Indian economy is maturing; people are looking higher productivity. Growth of sectors like aerospace, medical devices, and automotive have also led to the growth in demand for high-end technologies.

How has the field of 3D Measurement technology changed with growing demands for speed and productivity? And what’s the role of 3D Measurement systems?
We need to look at how market progresses over the year. Earlier,manufacturers used hand tools, which mainly provided 2D measurements so the precision and productivity was limited. Later, as the industry and economy matured, the demand for higher levels of accuracy and speed in measurements increased and people started using 3D measurement systems. Companies want accurate results but industries need to ‘move’ together. There is no point if one company has the capability to measure at a high level of accuracy while its supplier does not. It will result in a mismatch. As the economy matured, more companies have adopted the technology, generating more interest and awareness in 3D measurement devices like FARO’s.

What are the latest developments in measuring technology?
Measuring technology today is advancing from contact measurement to non-contact measurement. We see a lot of customer requests for non-contact measurement devices. Some parts cannot be probed because of the criticality and the nature of the job, while others can be so soft that any kind of contact can cause defects to the component.

Apart from this, contact measurement is also less efficient than non-contact measurement. Contact measurement is performed by taking point-to-point measurements of an object.An object like a mobile phone, for instance,will need many data points to achieve a complete measurement, which may take a few minutes. On the other hand, non-contact measurement can complete the task in just a couple of scans or less, providing the user with all the data. In fact, the user gets not just a few discrete points,non-contact measurement generates thousand of points in a short time, resulting in extremely precise results that can be manipulated in a variety of ways.The trend is going towards non-contact measurement,as it promises greater precision and higher accuracy. In India, an increasing number of companies are moving ahead to adopt high-end technologies to produce high precision parts, and this trend is set to continue.

How are you tackling the situation looking at the economy? Has the rupee depreciation against major currencies affected your business?
Frankly, India is not the only country that is facing tough times; the situation is the same around the world. Ourmantra is to provide ‘value for money’ to the customers. FARO has been successful in understanding our customer’s exact needs, not just herein India but across the globe. In so doing, we develop products that fit their needs, not over-engineering our product or over-charging people for features that they do not need.

Our focus is always on the buyers’returns on investment (ROI). FARO products are user-friendly so the returns begin from day one of ownership. Today, we are proud to say that most of our customers can achieve ROI within 3-6 months of purchase.
When it comes to rupee depreciation, it has indeed impacted our customers. But if you look at the total cost of ownership, we still provide value for money. What the customers really want to see is the value of their investment and that is what we provide. The current currency depreciation may increase the cost, but when put next to the ROI,they usually do not have much to complain about.

You have many excellent technologies in your basket such as portable CMM and 3D imaging devices. How is the response to such high-end technology in a cost conscious market like India?
Pushy tactics in a market like this would never work, as the first thing a customer wants to know is how a product would fulfill his requirement.Second, it is the ROI and the total running cost of the device.The industry is constantly evolving and FARO always aims to understand,and address customers’needs. The challenge is to find the right fit for the Indian market and for each customer. Our intimate relationship with the customer drives our product development, ensuring that there is an apt solution for every unique need. Most of our clients are satisfied with the total value that we can provide.

The greatest challenge in India is the awareness to the benefits of 3D measurement systems. A developing economy like India still lacks an understanding of what 3D measurement can bring,and this has to change.

How is FARO’s portable CMM different from other CMMs available in the market? Please explain the technicality and benefits of portable CMM.
In‘precision measurement’ or ‘measurement’ in general, there are three main traditional categories of products that manufacturers can turn to — traditional hand tools, portable CMMs, and fixed CMMs. The biggest benefit of hand tools isin its low cost, but its downside is that its accuracy level is not up to par. With fixed CMMs, one can obtain extremely high accuracy and repeatability, but the challenge lies in the prohibitive total cost of ownership. With portable CMMs, however, manufacturers get the best of both worlds as such devices are less costly than fixed CMMs, yet they provide very accurate readings without the need for a controlled environment. Portable CMMs also eliminate the need for multiple devices enabling companies to share one device for different setups.

I would not say that one is necessarily better than the other, because it all depends on what the customer needs. However, when it comes to portable CMMs, FARO is the world leader.

What sort of demands do you see in the metrology industry? Particularly in India.
We have noticed a greater demand for high precision and high accuracy in the recent years. Indian economy is maturing; people are looking higher productivity. Growth of sectors like aerospace, medical devices, and automotive have also led to the growth in demand for high-end technologies.

Do you think SMEs in India are ready to adopt high-end CMM products?
Of course!Everybody needs 3D measurement (says Mr Quah with a grin). Jokes aside, local SMEswill need a 3D measurement system at some point, because many large companies rely on these smaller firms to produce components. It is a cascading effect that requires SMEs to provide a certain level of quality for their customer, which is the large company. To satisfy their customers’ needs, the SMEs have little choice but to deliver high quality productsby adopting high-end technologies like 3D measurement solutions.

What percent of your revenue comes from small enterprises? How important this market is for FARO?
A large percentage of our business,whether in India or elsewhere,is with SMEs. Again, we go back to the cascading effect that supports our business. Our biggest clients are the SMEs of the world.

FARO caters to many industries. Which industry according to you is most promising from a business point-of-view?
Industries such as aerospace, medical, automotive, metalworking, and energy have a higher requirement for precision;so these are the sectors where we see higher demand for our products.

Automotive industry, one of the biggest consumer of machine tools is in bad shape. How much has it affected your business?
The automotive industry is one of the largest markets globally. It is also one of the markets that have been driving the growth of our business over the years. Some of our major clients from this industry includeMercedes and Porsche (in Europe), General Motors (in the US), Toyota and Honda (in Asia) and Maruti and TATA Motors (in India).While the industry contributes significantly to our business, the situation has not affected us since we supply to many other growing sectors as well.


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