Light Engineering Industry

The light engineering segment is a part of India’s overall engineering industry whose finished products are used as inputs by the heavy engineering industry. Hence the demand of this sector depends on the demand of the capital goods industry. Firms in this segment use medium to low end technology as compared to high-end technology used in the heavy engineering segment. Entry barriers in this segment are low, capacities are small and investments are low. The light engineering industry is dominated by small and unorganized players involved in the manufacture of low-value added products. Given the large number of small players operating in this segment, competition among them is high. The major end-user industries for heavy engineering goods are power, infrastructure, steel, cement, petrochemicals, oil & gas, refineries, fertilisers, mining, railways, automobiles, textiles, etc. The light engineering Industry comprises of group distinctive sectors producing low-tech items like castings, forgings and fasteners as well as some high-tech items like sophisticated microprocessors based processed control equipment and diagnostic medical instruments. The various sub-segments within the light engineering industry are highlighted below:

Bearing Industry

Bearings are mainly used in the rotating parts and are vital in determining machine performance. Indian bearing industry is meeting around 70% of its demand for common varieties and sizes of bearings and rest is imported. The industry has established a highly diversified product range of around 500 types of bearings. Automobile industry accounts for bulk of the total demand of this industry. Given the rising production in auto sector, the demand for bearings is going to increase in coming years.

Medical and Surgical Instruments

Medical and Surgical equipment industry has been playing a critical role in the health care delivery system. Present day healthcare has become dependent on electro medical instruments, which have become indispensable tools for medical professionals for diagnosis, therapy, and patient monitoring and health care. Indigenous manufacturers are currently in a position to manufacture wide variety of electro medical equipment such as electro cardiograph (ECG machine), X-ray scanner, CT scanners, shortwave physiotherapy unit, electro surgical units, blood chemistry analyzer, etc.

Ferrous Castings

Ferrous castings are vital to the growth and development of engineering industries since these constitute essential intermediates for automobiles, industrial machines, power plants, chemicals and fertilizer, cement plants, etc. This industry is now well established in the country. Most of the industries except large cement plants require casting within the weight range of 5 kgs. to 4 tonnes.

Process Control Instruments

Process control instruments and systems are required for monitoring and measuring of physical, chemical and biological properties. These instruments are required for measurement and control of parameters like pressure, temperature, humidity, level, flow, etc., in the process industry. These are extensively used in high cost large and sophisticated process industries like fertilizer, steel, power plant, refineries, petrochemicals, cement & other process industries.

Seamless steel pipes and tubes

Seamless steel pipes and tubes are used in hydrocarbon industries, processing and general engineering industries. Casing on tubing is used in drilling of oil or gas whereas boiler pipes are used in boilers, heat exchangers, super heaters, etc. They consist of both alloy steel and carbon steel tubes. Seamless pipes are used where strength, resistance to corrosion and product life is crucial. Oil sector accounts for around 60% of total requirement of seamless pipes, bearings, automobile and boiler sector contribute around 30% demand.

Welded steel pipes and tubes

Welded steel pipes & tubes consist of wide varieties of pipes & tubes like line precision pipes, tubular poles, hamilton poles, API pipes, electric poles, light weight galvanised pipes for sprinkler irrigation, etc. For the normal category of welded steel pipes, the raw materials required are HR & CR coils.

Industrial Fasteners

Industrial Fasteners cover high tensile and mild steel bolts, nuts, screws, studs and pins. All types of fasteners except high tensile and special types of fasteners are reserved for SSI Sector. Automobile industry accounts for bulk of total demand of this industry.

Steel forgings

Steel forgings constitute basic intermediates for important engineering applications like automobiles, industrial machines, power plants and chemical plants, etc.

Sewing Machines

The major source of production of sewing machine in the country is from small-scale sector, as manufacture of conventional hand operated sewing machine is reserved for this sector. The demand for conventional domestic machines is being fully met indigenously.


The units in the organised sector are manufacturing full range of typewriters, including electronic typewriters. Domestic demand for the typewriters is fully met from indigenous production.

Bicycle industry

The bicycle industry is concentrated mostly in small-scale sector since most of the component parts except free wheels and single piece hubs are reserved for this sector. Large scale units have been permitted to manufacture bicycle frames, chains and rims for captive consumption only.

Emerging trends such as outsourcing of engineering services have provided new avenues of growth in recent times. Engineering and design services such as new product designing, product improvement, maintenance and designing manufacturing systems are increasingly getting outsourced to countries like India and China. Besides, strong growth witnessed in sectors such as power, mining, oil & gas, refinery, steel, automotives, consumer durables are likely to provide a boost to the Indian engineering industry. Going forward, the government’s continuous emphasis on the development of infrastructure is a key growth driver for the Indian engineering industry. The power sector in particular is a major revenue generator in the engineering sector. The government of India’s objective of capacity addition in the Indian power sector during eleventh five year plan (2007-2012) period is likely to spur growth in the Indian engineering sector. Apart from the power sector, strong performance in associated sectors like automotive and consumer durables coupled with a vast pool of technical human resources, the Indian engineering sector is expected to maintain a strong growth trajectory in the coming years.

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