It is a matter of immense pride for IMTMA to have completed 75 glorious years in its endeavor to keep the machine tool manufacturers of the country close-knit. Shared are a few glimpses from its journey that was embarked upon with the sole aim of ensuring growth and progress of the industry…
Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA), one of India’s oldest industry associations, is celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2021. IMTMA’s 75 years’ commemoration is spanning throughout 2021 as the Association highlights key moments in its history. While very few companies in any industry have withstood the test of time to celebrate 75 years, IMTMA is looking back with some degree of satisfaction as one of the associations to claim this distinction.
The year 1946 was a watershed moment, not only in the history of the world but also for the Indian sub-continent. World War II had just ended. The political map of the world was redrawn with new super powers emerging while the British were on their last leg of their rule in India, which was soon to begin its new journey as a sovereign nation.
It’s not an irony of chance that as India was set to embark its journey as a democratic country, a group of machine tool manufacturers in the then British India came together to form an association which in due course would become the apex body and single point of contact for the entire machine tool industry of India and also bring the country’s manufacturing ecosystem under one roof.
On September 20, 1946, six prominent manufacturers of machine tools held a meeting in the Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, when the question of forming the Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association was discussed and finalized. The late Sir Dhunjishaw Cooper of Cooper Engineering Ltd, Satara was appointed the President and MB Jambhekar of Mysore Kirloskar Ltd of Harihar (Mysore State), was appointed the Vice President. Important preliminaries for the formation of the Association like the various classes of Membership, Membership fees, the rights of Members and other incidental matters were discussed and tentative decisions were taken at this meeting.
The meeting marked the commencement of IMTMA which was granted recognition by the Government of India as a body representing machine tool manufacturers in India. IMTMA was constituted with 19 members: The Mysore Kirloskar Ltd; P.S.G. & Sons Charity Industrial Institute; U.M.S. Radio Factory; Cooper Engineering Ltd; The Indian Tool Manufacturers Ltd; G.G. Dandekar Machine Works Ltd; Investa Machine Tools & Engineering Company Ltd; The Hind Machines Ltd; The India Machinery Company Ltd; Paul’s Engineering Company; Supercrafts Ltd; The General Engineering Works; The Batala Engineering Company Ltd; The Zamindar Foundry; Metropole Works; Fazal Mohammed & Sons; The Indian Sewing Machine Manufacturing Company Ltd; The Climax Engineering Company; and The Sind Engineering Works.
The First Annual General Meeting (AGM) of IMTMA was held on January 29, 1948 in the library room of Indian Merchant’s Chamber at Lalji Naranji Memorial Building in Bombay. The first AGM, after adopting the statutory agenda, deliberated at length about difficulties and problems faced by the machine tool manufacturers in the country. Founder members discussed the ways and means for improving status of the Indian machine tool industry. Several members put forth progressive suggestions for increasing demand as well as supply of machine tools in the country. A meeting of the first-elected members of IMTMA’s EC followed the first AGM. EC members, at the meeting, unanimously elected MB Jambhekar as the President of IMTMA, and DS Mulla as the first Vice President of the Association.
Today, with over 460 member companies, IMTMA represents 90 percent of the organized manufacturers of machine tools and related items / components as well as subsystems and has brought the Indian Machine Tool industry to an important position in the world.
Settling down in business
IMTMA began its parallel journey with the newly formed young democratic India which was aspiring to emerge as an industrial nation through the establishment of various Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and research institutions. The formation of Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) in 1953 gave a big fillip to the Machine Tool Industry and in the following year the Integral Coach Factory in Perambur, electronics factory in Bangalore and steel plant in Rourkela were set up giving birth to various ancillary industries in the Indian manufacturing landscape. The development work on new machine tools and accessories by Mysore Kirloskar, Cooper Engineering, Praga Tools Corporation, Batala Engineering, etc. laid the foundation of the next level of activities of the Association. During this period, IMTMA published the Directory of Machine Tools and the master catalogue – Guide to Indian Machine Tools (GIMT), which continues to be revised, updated and published annually.
The Association continued to make strategic connections with industry associations in various countries for close liaison for technology and industry updates. Members were encouraged to visit and participate in international industry trade fairs and seminars in India and abroad. IMTMA worked closely with the Government and the machine tool controller and development officer. Data was collected from sectors like Railways on the number, type and sizes of machine tools required and the possibilities of satisfying these requirements from domestic producers.
Exhibitions – the next big step
When all was said and done, there was still more to do. The next big step was to bring the Indian manufacturers together to share competencies and utilize opportunities profitability. An all-India machine tool exhibition became highly relevant. India didn’t have any at that time and in 1968 the idea was proposed and an organizing committee with Naval Godrej as Chairman was formed to make it happen. This gave birth to the first-ever IMTEX at Bombay in 1969. It took Naval Godrej less than a year to garner all available resources and present to the industry the first All India Machine Tool Exhibition in 1969. The journey had begun. It was indeed a bold step for a fledgling industry. The success of the exhibition gave the industry the much-needed confidence to march ahead with its activities in full steam. IMTMA never looked back.
IMTEX became IMTMA’s ultimate tool to make the machine tool industry competitive. The exhibition was planned once every three years to match the product development cycle in the industry. Later it was scheduled once in two years and afterwards with the paradigm shifts in technology, it became an annual event. It evolved from a knowledge exchange tool to an industry empowering platform to address and influence government policies and a support system for IMTMA members to ride through economic upheavals.
Over the last two decades, IMTMA has worked very closely with the Ministry of Heavy Industries who has supported the Machine Tool industry through several of its initiatives such as Advanced Machine Tool Development Centre, Advanced Machine Tool Testing Facility, Tumakuru Machine Tool Park, etc.
The year 1991 was a benchmark one for Indian economy and businesses. This was the year when the Government finally broke the shackles of the license raj and ushered in liberalism. This led to the birth of several new generation entrepreneurs in machine tools and we began witnessing entrepreneurship driven machine tool companies starting from the mid-1990s to 2000s, bringing CNC technologies which revolutionized the industry, back then.
The Association began promoting the machine tool industry with more rigour as demand from Auto industry as well as some new industrial sectors picked up. Many more initiatives were added to IMTMA’s portfolio as well. Meanwhile IMTEX continued to grow by several notches in Mumbai and Delhi, the cities where it used to be organized. During this journey we invented upon building our own exhibition infrastructure which gave birth to the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) in Bangalore with support from the Government of India and the Government of Karnataka.
BIEC has played a great supporting role in the development of the Machine Tool industry by being the venue for IMTEX. This infrastructure was developed to host large-scale engineering shows and with an objective to support the Manufacturing industry. BIEC is India’s first LEED certified Green Exhibition and Conference Facility. Halls 4 and 5 have been conferred with ‘Gold’ rating by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and US Green Building Council (USGBC).
Inside View of Hall 4 clicked at IMTEX 2017
Over the last two decades, we have worked very closely with the Ministry of Heavy Industries who has supported our industry through several of its initiatives such as Advanced Machine Tool Development Centre, Advanced Machine Tool Testing Facility, Tumakuru Machine Tool Park, etc. IMTMA, through its Technology Centres at Bengaluru, Pune and Gurugram, imparts training for fresh engineering graduates as well as industry professionals. During the year 2020 - 2021, IMTMA conducted a total of 335 programs, inclusive of 220 training programs and 89 webinars for students and industry professionals. While 3,556 delegates attended the online training programs, a record 12,042 delegates attended the webinars. Overall, IMTMA delivered 2,873 person-days of training during 2020 - 2021 through its training programs. All these initiatives are helping in advancing the Machine Tool industry to its next level.
As the pandemic recedes, the Association will host new exhibitions and events besides conducting a series of online and off-line training programs to hone the skills of next-generation engineers and entrepreneurs.
BIEC Aerial View during IMTEX 2017
Setting the tone for future
Today, with over 460 member companies, IMTMA represents 90 percent of the organized manufacturers of machine tools and related items / components as well as subsystems and has brought the Indian Machine Tool industry to an important position in the world. There are of course greater challenges with the pandemic outbreak, frequent lockdowns, etc. However, the industry will continue to remain resilient and endeavor to bring out new technologies and products which will reduce dependency on imports and enable ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and continue to work towards garnering global recognition. Meanwhile, as the pandemic recedes, the Association will host new exhibitions and events besides conducting a series of online and off-line training programs to hone the skills of next-generation engineers and entrepreneurs. For more information on the Association’s activities, please visit www.imtma.in