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Tata Electronics develops advanced machines for iPhone casing production

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In Short:

Tata Electronics, after success in assembling iPhone enclosures, is now developing complex machines locally for casing production with Indian manufacturers. The move aims to reduce reliance on China, boost electronics exports, and strengthen the local ecosystem. Experts see this as a boost to Indian manufacturing. The company is testing the machines at its Hosur facility and plans to export them in the future. This initiative aligns with the government’s efforts to diversify the supply chain and build a robust manufacturing ecosystem in the country.

After establishing itself as a major player in assembling enclosures for Apple iPhones in India, Tata Electronics is now focusing on developing advanced high-precision machines used in the production of these iPhone casings, according to sources informed by ET.

Developing Local Capabilities

The company has partnered with two Indian manufacturers to build these sophisticated machines internally, with plans to eventually export them. Previously, these machines were imported from China.

The machines are designed for use in production lines of contract manufacturers servicing global companies like Apple, with the objective of boosting India’s electronics export target of $300 billion by 2025.

“The Tata Group is currently testing these machines at their facility in Hosur,” said a source familiar with the developments. “The aim is to enhance local capabilities beyond enclosure manufacturing to develop a robust ecosystem in the country. These machines are just one part of the larger strategy to reduce reliance on specific components.”

Potential Industry Impact

Industry experts see this initiative as a significant boost to the Indian manufacturing landscape. “The potential demand for casings is high,” said Ajai Chowdhry, co-founder of HCL. “If Tata Group can substitute imports by producing these machines locally, it will stimulate an industry since there is a substantial need for casings in the market.”

Indian manufacturers are currently at varying stages of capacity and readiness to execute this plan, stated the same source.

Diversification Strategy

This move aligns with the Tata Group’s global plan to reduce dependency on basic components, moving towards complex parts to enhance diversity and mitigate global supply chain risks while nurturing the manufacturing ecosystem in India.

Queries to the Tata Group regarding this development remained unanswered at the time of publication.

Export Plans and Challenges

While the Tata Group has collaborations in Pune and Bengaluru for this project, exporting these machines could take time to materialize as they need to meet stringent quality standards. Precision engineering expertise in India is still evolving, hence a gradual approach is required.

“It’s a process of maturing,” explained a source. “India has a journey ahead before achieving export readiness. Precision engineering is intricate and demands time to develop proficiency.”

Industry Response

“The development of key capital goods is vital for the industry,” remarked Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of the India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA). “Our focus is on establishing India as a significant hub for assembling and manufacturing electronics capital goods.”

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