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GE Global Research steadily increasing India focus Print E-mail
Written by George Cheriyan   
Wednesday, 01 July 2009
Bangalore: General Electric, the American industrial giant, is steadily increasing its R&D presence and market focus in India, specially after the Indo-US nuclear pact and new governments taking over in both countries.

With its newly acquired status, as a validated end user by the US Government, GE's largest R&D set-up outside the US – the John F Welsh Technology Centre (JFWTC) based in Bangalore will be able to receive certain controlled items from the US like advanced security systems, civilian aircraft technology and explosive detection equipment etc. without an individual license.

Dr Abhinanda Sarkar, quality leader in John F Welsh Technology Centre , GE IndiaSpeaking to MACHINIST-IN, Dr Abhinanda Sarkar, quality leader in JFWTC said  "When an organization like GE looks at India, one of the things that they see is an exceptionally talented engineering pool. A reasonably big percentage of GE R&D engineers are located within the Indian geography, serving not just the Indian market but global requirements."

Spread over 50 acres, JFWTC, with state-of-the-art facilities, currently employs about 4,200 scientists and engineers working on cutting-edge technologies. Interestingly, all the employees are from India and about 15% of them are Indians who came back from different parts of the world after good international experience.

JFWTC has about 800 engineers doing jet engine testing and simulation with the latest simulation tools. The development time of a jet engine has already come down from 15 years to 8 years.

In addition to GE Global Research, JFWTC also accommodates technology teams from other GE businesses including GE Industrial (consumer and industrial plastics and silicones), GE Infrastructure (energy, rail, aircraft engines and water) and GE Healthcare.

The facility is home to many state-of-the-art labs working on research and development in the areas of mechanical engineering, electronic and electrical system technology, ceramics and metallurgy, catalysis and advanced chemistry, chemical engineering and process, polymer science and new synthetic materials, process modeling and simulation, power electronics and analysis technologies.

"We have one of the world’s most powerful computing environments here in a variety of metrics. We have a globally connected system that passes drawings etc. around, a very good design processes that allows us to track what is going on from tollgate to tollgate," added Sarkar. The facility also houses four transmission electron microscopes and other state of the art equipment.

When asked about their work with the railways, Dr.Sarkar said "We engage in a variety of ways with the Indian Railways, particularly in freight corridors. We have primarily a freight locomotive business and are also in signalling which is a product that our transportation business is very interested in."

Tarapur, one of India’s earliest nuclear power plants commissioned in 1962, is a GE unit and the company hopes to have a bigger presence in the nuclear world that’s emerging in the country.

In his capacity as Quality leader at JFWTC, Dr. Sarkar said, "GE takes a very holistic view of what quality is and does not interpret quality as a statistical process control or a control chart in a process mill. Quality is focused on how we get the best products and services out there by doing things the right way."

Dr Sarkar qualified his remarks by saying, "We do not have a specialised cadre of quality professionals. We simply have our leaders taking turns doing important quality tasks in addition to their other responsibilities. This allows a cyclical responsibility of managing the innovation and commercialization process, puts leaders through a training paradigm that does that, and at the same time ensures that even those who are at the most scientific end of research are familiar with what it takes to live in the real world and what it takes to make something."

With all these initiatives, GE is targeting a good market share in the large investments proposed in the Indian power sector, Railways, the aircraft industry, Defence, healthcare, etc., and also capitalizing on the large talent pool available here to develop new products and services for furthering its global business. Operating in more than 100 countries, GE employs more than 300,000 people worldwide.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 July 2009 )
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