I always wonder that this business venture is fairytale. Every accomplishment has some story behind it. It all started with getting in to business, winning Westwind authorisation, setting machine shop, signing JV with Setco and many more interesting stories.
Developing In Situ Taper Grinding Machine is no different. I never thought of such machine till we bagged order from Tata Motors PE dept to produce Scharmman horizontal boring machine shaft which was 2.9 meter long. This was in 2009. We could successfully produce it with the resources around and was witnessing its installation in Tata Motors.
I was talking to Mr. Singh, then maintenance head and one of the best maintenance persons I have ever met, on the reason to produce such a huge shaft. He said that everything was fine except its BT50 taper run-out, which was More than 0.1 mm in the bore itself.
And then he further said to me "Rajesh, you are a young engineer. Why don't you apply yourself and make some equipment by which you can grind spindle taper on the machine itself." He added "actually, I tried to make one on my own, but could not establish it due to daily work pressures."
I started thinking deeply on what Mr Singh said. We are fortunate that we are born in internet era. I Googled it only to find that there are couple of persons in US but both of them kept this process very secret. I contacted one of them and he showed positive interest. I sent him mail
"Alex, please quote your machine which includes, cost of it and also on site taper grinding for 5 machines in India to train our person"
He quoted something like Rs. 30 lacs, which was way beyond my imagination.
I dropped that idea and decided to contact Mr. Nisal of Penta Designers. I know Mr. Nisal since 2003 when he designed some extra ordinary automation projects and special purpose machines. I explained him our idea of In Situ Taper Grinding. After few follow up calls he sent me one concept drawing and said that this is the only thing he can offer but do not have time to design this equipment. I was not surprised as I know Mr. Nisal is a busy man.
I knew, that the success of this machine lies in its design. I and Pradeep, my business partner, were not designers. So I contacted many designers only to receive negative reply.
Finally Mr. Vishwas Kulkarni of Mechatronics who is actually a neighbour industrialist, came to my rescue. He said that we will design and manufacture it.
It took almost 4 months to produce the machine. Our friend and a person who is always ready to take risk, Mr. Tamboli happily allowed us to try out this machine on their VMC. The date was 24 May 2011. The most beautiful birthday gift, I have ever received.
Our equipment has refurbished taper 26 times in next 6 months in almost every industrial city. We realised few problems in equipment and in process as well. The biggest one was sending our machine operator on site, as it used to take away 3 days of him leading to delay in delivery if regular customers. And other ones were transportation from one city to other, weight of the machine, functional problems etc. We decided to stop that activity by end of 2011. Though we were continuously receiving calls, if we can rebuild spindle taper on site.
It was like someone is fuelling fire not to forget this concept. In 2014, we decided to take help of Setco designers. We showed it to Brian Schloemer, our design director. He liked it. We sent machine to Setco USA to re-engineer it. Jason Deorr, a young and bright design engineer at Setco redesigned it. By the time, he sent us back new design, Niketan Zode has joined Setco India, took this challenge and made final design to produce machine once again. Pradeep Waghela, my business partner was always there to add his inputs.
Anil Wakude, who left our company before machine was ready, and Santosh along with machine shop team and vendors around produced all the components. Riyaz and Vivek sprang into action to assemble the machine. Manibhai, who otherwise drives car helped assembly team to finish product in time. And Salim, the coolest guy I have ever seen, made beautiful control panel removing big lacuna of original design.
A long awaited dream is coming true. This tiny wonder is going to take on world of spindle maintenance. I can see a big sigh of relief in customer’s eyes as it saves their tremendous money with this process of refurbishing spindle taper.
And what an example of team work of Setco. Each action of every team member has led to making the only machine in India and probably one of the very few in the world.