India Holds the key to Eaton’s Major Plans for APAC
With the aim of expanding its business in India and increasing its presence in the Asia Pacific region, Eaton opened a new manufacturing facility in Bangalore recently. Eaton, which has been in the Indian skies for decades, takes pride in being a distinct contributor to the growth of both the military and commercial aviation sectors of the country, says Nanda Kumar, President, Aerospace Group, Eaton. In an interview, he speaks about the Company’s first aerospace plant in India, industry trends and growth strategies
Eaton has recently opened its first aerospace manufacturing facility in India. How promising is the Indian market for Eaton?
Making our aerospace business grow in the APAC (Asia Pacific) region is a key part of our strategy, and we believe India offers an untapped potential to fuel that growth. With key customers investing heavily in the region, we see the opening of our manufacturing site in Bangalore as an opportunity to help Eaton grow its share of new OE (original equipment) business as well an opportunity to contribute to local growth in India. In addition, we see this investment as positioning us for expansion in the APAC market, and a strategic growth opportunity for the company that will help us meet global customers’ demands. It also provides a significant opportunity to win new business on military platforms as part of India’s offset policy.
Since 1999, Eaton has consistently invested in expanding its manufacturing, engineering and services footprint in India. With the recent inauguration of its first aerospace manufacturing plant in Bangalore, India, and the acquisition of Souriau-Sunbank Connection Technologies, Eaton today has nine manufacturing sites, 19 locations and over 5750 employees representing its electrical, hydraulics, vehicle and aerospace businesses in the country.
How long has Eaton been active in the Indian aerospace market?
Eaton has been in the Indian skies for decades. Eaton’s Aerospace Group takes pride in being a distinct contributor to the growth of both the military and commercial aviation sectors along with the platforms being introduced to these markets by global OEMs. Eaton has been committed to the Indian Defence Public Sector Undertakings in terms of supporting indigenous aircraft programmes and upgrade opportunities as well as equipment repairs and upgrades on several aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF). Eaton’s reliable aerospace solutions and technologies help enhance aircraft availability and defence readiness globally.
Can you elaborate on the new facility in Bangalore and its technical capabilities?
The new aerospace manufacturing facility is on a 2.85-acre plot at the KIADB Aerospace SEZ, near Devanahalli, Bangalore. Eaton plans to manufacture hose assemblies and other fluid distribution products such as oil debris monitoring systems to serve commercial, business and regional aircraft customers. We aim to position this facility as the Hose Assembly Center of Excellence for our global operations.
The site will widely leverage principles and technologies of digital and smart manufacturing and serve as a step towards Eaton’s goal of building Industry 4.0 facilities. We expect this facility to be our model plant for digital and smart manufacturing. We also expect continued investments over the next three to five years for further expansion and upgrades.
What products and services does Eaton offer?
Eaton’s solutions can be found on virtually all major aircraft. From hydraulics and fuel systems to motion control and engine build-ups, we create solutions for today’s needs and adapt to build technologies for the next generation of aircraft.
Eaton also services the growing aftermarket sector with maintenance, repair and overhaul services. Our aftermarket services offer long-term lifecycle support, with reduced cost to operators and 24/7 customer service. We also offer global trading services with immediate availability of surplus inventory, competitive pricing and reliable options for OEM-quality parts.
You mentioned Eaton’s recent acquisition of Souriau-Sunbank Connection Technologies. What capabilities does this add to your portfolio and how does this support your strategy?
Souriau-Sunbank is a leading provider of highly engineered interconnect solutions with a unique position in the Aerospace electrical market. We believe that Souriau-Sunbank is a well-run business with great leadership and a technology leader with a bright future in ‘More Electric Aircraft’ (MEA). We look forward to leveraging the best practices of both companies to help grow in the aerospace and industrial markets.
The acquisition of Souraiu-Sunbank also helps increase our manufacturing footprint in the region with a factory in Coimbatore that makes connectors for customers in India and for export to Europe and the US.
What are the latest trends that Eaton sees in the aerospace market? How is Eaton addressing them?
Today, our business is focused on developing technologies for the next generation of aircraft. Many essential aircraft functions are now more dependent on electric power and the benefits are clear. We believe we’re uniquely qualified to support MEA with technologies that combine our electrical and hydraulic expertise to deliver the benefits of improved aircraft efficiency through increased electrical power conversion and distribution with localized power conversion for our customers.
Eaton Blended Power™ uses a combination of hydraulic and electrical power to optimize power utilization and reduce weight using a distributed architecture enabled by hydraulic power packs (HPPs). An HPP is a complete hydraulic system contained in one integrated unit, helping conversion of electric power into hydraulic power at the point of use in the aircraft. This technology, along with other products such as high density hydraulic and fuel pumps and the next-gen electric motor pump, will enable improved maintainability, while being lighter in weight and reduce overall cost of ownership.
There is also an industry focus on health monitoring, prognostics, intelligent systems, connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT). By harnessing the power of connected, intelligent technologies that collect data to provide actionable insights, Eaton is developing technology to optimize performance, improve continuity and reduce operational costs. From semi-autonomous, smart fueling systems that enhance aircraft refueling to automated defect detection meant to reduce downtime, Eaton is focused on integrating intelligent technology into products and services customers already use to improve performance, expand product lifespan and provide scalability.
The emergence of additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology has also been making significant inroads in the aerospace industry in recent years. Like Eaton, manufacturers are finding ways to quicken the pace of prototyping, expedite manufacturing and assembly timelines, eliminate potential part failure points and otherwise meet demand for complex components, tools and fixtures using additive manufacturing. However, Eaton is creating customer value by capturing the speed, cost and system performance benefits for less expensive aerospace materials like aluminum in addition to higher cost materials.
Customer technology needs remain clear - deliver products and systems that reduce lifecycle costs while improving fuel efficiency. To support our growth targets and to meet our customer expectations, we refresh our portfolio by continuing to invest in our core technologies and in investing in emerging technologies to support megatrends.