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Manufacturing IT Adopting next-generation technologies

Sep 20, 2018

Ajay Zod, Founder & CEO, Plastech Solutions, in this interview with Suchi Adhikari, shares his insights on automating factories and discusses the significance of involving the employees of the organisation during the implementation process. Excerpts…

What are the latest trends and developments in the plastic market?

The market for plastics is witnessing a growth due to lifestyle changes. This is a great opportunity for manufacturers as well as for machine builders. We, as manufacturing units, need to focus on quality, productivity, timely delivery and at the same time, optimise and make our production capacities efficient. Availability of capital and skilled man force is a challenge. As management, we also have to provide business value to our customers and have higher production efficiencies, machine availability, safety and quality. All these factors have resulted in the growth of new technologies, such as, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT). We are one of the early adopters of these next generation technologies in India so as to become more efficient, productive and profitable.

Can you brief us on the operations of Plastech Solutions and its manufacturing facility?

Being from a plastics and polymer background, I wanted to provide solutions to manufacturers for their plastic and polymer component needs. With this in mind, I founded Plastech Solutions in 2006 in Pune. Today, we have four manufacturing units at various locations in Pune, primarily manufacturing plastic components for automotive, switchgear, aerospace, infrastructure industries and consumer appliances. We also have a division for automation where we cater to requirements of factories to convert their legacy machines with the latest control and motion solutions. In addition, we also provide energy efficient machine upgradation. Pune, being one of the automotive hubs in India, serves as a great platform for business for our company. We are a tier 2 supplier for various renowned, multinational and Indian automotive manufacturing units.

What are the key and strategic steps that have been taken by your company in order to ensure automation of your factories?

We chose to automate our factories for monitoring our machines, increasing plant efficiency, improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and making our factory smart. To achieve this objective, we have been using technology, hardware and software solutions from the automation division of B&R Automation. After understanding their solutions for our requirements, we were convinced of the benefits of monitoring energy, machines, utilities and calculating OEE.

How is your company moving towards Smart Manufacturing?

New technologies are driving business in India in spite of challenges. We are looking at consistent improvement in our processes and are adopting the latest technologies for not only supplying machines to our customers but also to automate our factories. This has helped us remain profitable in this competitive market. However, our basic thought while implementing such technologies is not to burden our employees during implementation. We take into consideration the behavioral aspect and involve our team at every step of decision-making. This has helped us remove the resistance for such technology adoptions.

Going forward, what is your message for other Indian manufacturers who are considering adopting technologies that will make them ready for Industry 4.0?

It is always perceived that these latest technologies are for big players and not for MSMEs as they are expensive to adopt and the RoI is not tangible in short term. However, we at Plastech Solution have proved that anyone willing to adopt new technologies for better productivity, a greener future and sustainability will be successful. I would suggest that anyone willing to walk down this path of new technologies should start small and have a systematic approach, which is most critical. One should have an open mindset. Also, during this transition process, manufacturing units should involve their greatest asset i.e. their employees, in the implementation process and explain the benefits of such advancements to them.

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