By Pramod Thomas
3M is a global innovation company. With $30.1 billion in sales and presence in 70 countries, the company sells more than 60,000 products globally and employs around 90,000 people. In 2014, 3M earned its 100,000th patent and it continues to earn an average of 3,000 patents every year. One of the business areas of 3M is Safety & Graphics. Under this, 3M provides solutions for improving performance and productivity of building operations and infrastructure, enabling transportation and traffic safety.
In India, 3M was established in 1988 with headquarters in Bengaluru with branch offices at Mumbai, Gurgaon, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai. It has a turn over of Rs 25,070 million (as on March 31, 2017) and employs over 1,600 people. 3M leverages its global innovation expertise to develop homegrown solutions that address unique needs of diverse customers in Indian markets. The company has invested in Innovation Centers at Bengaluru and Gurgaon to boost local product development and its manufacturing footprint is spread across Bengaluru, Pune and Ahmedabad. 3M offers solutions that improve manufacturing efficiency and impact improved healthcare delivery to safety solutions that help increase road visibility, everyday kitchen aids and car care products.
3M, with its Traffic Safety Systems, has pioneered the use of retroreflective technology in road safety, pedestrian safety and traffic management solutions to ensure safe, orderly and efficient movement of all road users and vehicles. Its high-performance materials, systems and services effectively serve motorists in today’s challenging driving conditions. The company has solutions for Road Safety and Vehicle Safety.
In an exclusive interaction with Pramod Thomas of AutoParts Asia, Pawan Kumar Singh, Head Transportation Safety Business, 3M India details about innovative products and services of the company. Interview full text:
How 3M products contribute to road safety in India and across the globe. What are your new products in this regard?
For the last 80 years, 3M Traffic Safety Solutions have been at the forefront of making roads safer for motorists with the main goal of bringing families home safe. Accident reduction has been the single goal of all our products and solutions over several decades. We provide a complete range of retro-reflective signage solutions include our flagship diamond grade range. In addition, in India, we offer our full range of road furniture products including retro-reflective pavement markers, media markers, delineators, solar based markers, flexible sheeting, etc. We also provide vehicle marking tapes which are especially useful for trucks, trailers, buses etc and help reduce accidents to a large extent by making these vehicles more visible on the road.
In the Global and Indian context, could you elaborate on the aspect of road safety? What are the new developments happening in this space?
Throughout the world, transport authorities and civic bodies are looking to achieve two things – reduction in accidents and fatalities, sustainable mobility solutions. Electrification of vehicles, the movement to autonomous & driverless technologies etc are all emerging trends to address these issues. In the Indian context, the emphasis is to have more motorable roads – especially in the rural areas, have more expressways in the cities & to enhance the quality and maintainability of roads. Development of regulations towards Road Work Zone Safety is another key requirement.
How technology and innovation help in enabling drivers to anticipate and avoid hazardous situations while on road?
Technology today is helping both vehicles and drivers. Vehicles are today equipped with features like airbags, ABS, traction control – which automatically deploy in times of emergency to protect the passengers in the vehicles. Optimal on-road technology like effective retroreflective signage, pavement & lane markers, optimal hazard warnings, speed warnings, etc go a long way in warning drivers & ensuring safety on the road. As many as 90% of all accidents are due to driver error. Therefore it is imperative we enhance implementation of technologies which help the driver to make a quicker and more effective judgement whilst driving on the road.
What are the latest innovative and smart mobility solutions offered by 3M?
3M has recently launched a new smart mobility platform called Smart Variable Messaging Signs in India. These signs are designed to provide real-time, contextual & automated information to motorists in a form that is simple and useful to them. Information such as traffic & congestion updates, best routes, air quality updates, emergency warnings, road safety warnings etc can be provided in an integrated fashion to motorists thereby making the roads safer and helping reduce congestion as well.