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New York Times profiles Pune’s PARI Robotics

In an article that talks about how manufacturing companies have led to a surge of exports of sophisticated products out of India, the New York Times has picked Pune’s PARI Robotics as an example of companies that are leading the way in exporting high value products out of India (as opposed to our traditional export items like garments).

PARI Robotics is a company that sells automation products / services (i.e. industrial robots) to industry. They have robots for various different manufacturing applications, including automated welding, assembly, thermal cutting, automated storage and retrieval systems, surface coating, taking measurements, and a bunch of other uses. There a whole lot of interesting information on their website. Their customers include the who’s who of the automobile, home appliances, engineering goods and other manufacturing industries. Their success stories page also makes for interesting reading.

Here are some interesting excerpts about PARI from the New York Times article:

When Ranjit Date returned to India 20 years ago after earning a doctorate in robotics from an American university, he hoped to help automate factory assembly lines in his home country.

His company, Precision Automation and Robotics India, has done that. But more recently it has also begun selling robots to Western manufacturers like Caterpillar, Ford and Chrysler. This year, in fact, a third of Precision Automation’s sales will come from exports, up from almost nothing five years ago.

On how PARI got started:

Mr. Date started the business with a friend, Mangesh Kale, who, like him, grew up in Pune. After earning advanced degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., they returned to India in the early 1990s – just as policy makers were pushing through early economic changes.

At first many Indian manufacturers were unwilling to invest in robots, Mr. Date said, because labor in India was so cheap. But in the increasing global economy, Indian manufacturers had to improve productivity to meet rising demand and compete with foreign companies.

So, after all this, how are they doing now?

Mr. Date, the robotics entrepreneur, expects sales at his company to increase 20 percent this year, to $67 million. The company is building a second factory, a 150,000-square-foot plant on the outskirts of Pune, to keep up with demand for its robots and automated assembly lines. He said Precision Automation’s products were 10 to 50 percent less expensive than similar equipment made by Western suppliers.

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