Early move positions sensor maker for high tech success

Export enthusiast Sensor Technology has made a pre-emptive move to build a strong business base in the Indian city of Chennai, where one of the world’s largest high technology business zones is currently under construction.

Mark Ingham

Called Mahindra World City, the zone already employs over 25,000 people and hosts companies like Infosys, BMW, Braun, TTK Group, Capgemini, Njmestronics, Renault-Nissan, Tech Mahindra, Wabco, Lincoln Electric, Wipro, Timken, cyber vole and TVS Group. It is planned to continue expanding the zone in the coming years, always with the emphasis on leading edge technologies.

Chennai is also one location of the Indian Institute of Technology, a recognised leader in research and development for industrial automation, robotics and similar fields. It is also home to several government research centres and one of India’s premier research and teaching universities.

Mark Ingham, Sensor Technology’s intrepid sales manager says: “We have been selling into India for many years; it has a growing national economy driven in large part by the high tech industries and a vibrant manufacturing sector. Part of the secret to its enduring success is that it is very outward looking. Like us at Sensor Technology, Indian business people look at the global market and are willing to trade anywhere in the world.

Mark was in Mumbai (previously Bombay) on the west coast of India to exhibit at the India Automation industrial fair, which he describes as bigger and busier than ever. “We are regulars at this show, which has let us see firsthand how India has developed in recent years. We got over 100 very good enquiries from domestic companies, which will be handled by our Indian partner company. This compares with the first time we exhibited when we got just a handful of queries.”

Straight after the show Mark hopped on a plane for the 1000 mile flight to Chennai on the Bay of Bengal to visit Sensor Technology’s partner company’s head office. Chennai (previously Madras) is the fifth biggest city in India and was probably the first to set out to become a high tech hub.

“We visited several existing Sensor Technology customers,” says Mark, “and made a real effort to get around lots of new companies and research teams. The result: we came away with both actual orders and – perhaps more importantly in this environment – a lot of interest relating to future projects.”

Sensor Technology makes a range of easy to use torque transducers that offer a wireless solution for measuring forces in rotating shafts. They are popular in test rigs and also for real time control of automated plant and machinery, where their lack of slip rings makes them robust and efficient.

Mark again: “For now we are focussing our Indian partners on the industrial products, but we have plans to soon begin promoting our helicopter load and tracking systems too. It is apparent from my multiple trips to India that the number of helicopters is soaring because they are a favoured method of travel in the rural parts of India.

“We export over 60%of our production and early entry into developing economies has always been one of our main export strategies. The first few years can be tough, but with luck we soon end up woven into the country’s industrial fabric”.

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