Boeing and Tata join forces to reach the growing Indian market
US-based Boeing Co. and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd have agreed to jointly develop products and platforms in aerospace and defence manufacturing, and access new markets together.
The agreement was signed by Shelley Lavender, president of Boeing Military Aircraft, and Sukaran Singh, managing director and chief executive officer of Tata Advanced Systems. “This agreement with TASL (Tata Advanced Systems) is significant because it demonstrates Boeing’s commitment to expand its aerospace manufacturing footprint in India,” Lavender said.
“As we step into our 100th year in business, a new aerospace partnership with India is the perfect milestone to accelerate the momentum we have generated for making in India,” said Pratyush Kumar, president for Boeing India. To be sure, Tata Advanced Systems already manufactures aero-structures for Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook and AH-61 choppers.
On Monday, Mahindra Defence Naval Systems Ltd, a unit of the $16.9 billion Mahindra Group, said it has tied up with the UK’s Ultra Electronics to build equipment for underwater warfare. Earlier this month, Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd, the defence division of the Mahindra Group, had signed an in-principle agreement with Europe’s Airbus Helicopters to set up a joint venture to manufacture helicopters in India, in a bid to tap a market expected to be worth $41 billion in seven years.
Currently, 14 Tata companies are engaged in providing support to the country’s defence and aerospace sector. These are the Tata Power Strategic Electronics Division, Tata Advanced Systems, TAL Manufacturing Solutions, Tata Technologies, Tata Motors, Tata Advanced Materials, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Tata Steel UK, Tata Elxsi, Titan Company (Precision Engineering Division), Avana Integrated Systems Ltd, Nova Integrated Systems Ltd, CMC Ltd and Tata Industrial Services.
The current order book size of the Tata group in the sector is above Rs.10,000 crore. Other Tata group companies—Tata Advanced Materials (TAML) and TAL Manufacturing (TAL)—are also supplying important components to Boeing.
TAML has delivered power and mission equipment cabinets and auxiliary power unit door fairings for the P-8I long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
TAL is manufacturing complex floor beams out of composite materials for the Boeing 787-9, a modern aircraft with exceptional environmental and fuel efficient capabilities. It has also provided ground support equipment for the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter.
“This framework agreement is the result of the world-class competencies of TASL as well as the vendor ecosystem it has helped establish in India. It gives us an opportunity to explore the massive potential in India for aerospace manufacturing and make the investments required to grow the industry,” said S. Ramadorai, chairman of Tata Advanced Systems.
“Boeing’s platforms require complex manufacturing processes within a competitive cost structure and we are confident that the partnership will be able to deliver high quality aero-structures out of India,” he said.
India’s defence budget allocation is estimated to touch $620 billion by 2022, of which 50% will be capital expenditure, according to a report released in February by lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and financial services company Centrum Capital Ltd. The annual opportunity for Indian companies—both state-owned and private—is expected to touch $41 billion by 2022 and $168 billion cumulatively, it said.
“With defence being one of the focus sectors for the Make in India campaign and an assertive India building up its military muscle, India provides both the opportunity for boosting sales and realizing frugal engineering for cost management for the global A&D (aerospace and defence) organizations,” said Amber Dubey, head of aerospace and defence, KPMG in India.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.