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The vital elements signifying the efficiency of a manufacturing system are the output of good quality parts and the accessibility of production equipment

Viewpoints Discrete Manufacturing: Adopting advanced technologies and skill upgradation

Sep 4, 2018

The vital elements signifying the efficiency of a manufacturing system are the output of good quality parts and the accessibility of production equipment. The manufacturing industry in India is changing profoundly, with advanced technologies progressively supporting worldwide competitiveness and economic opulence. Many primary 21st century manufacturers are bringing about the amalgamation of digital & physical worlds in manufacturing, so as to produce smarter products and more resourceful processes. The Viewpoint section examines the transformation and trends in discrete manufacturing in India, adoption of advanced technologies and the knowledge & skill upgradation needed to adapt to the changing trends.

“India is very much an outsourcing target”

With globalisation in the production world, India, now, is very much an outsourcing target due to uncertainty in mobility for OEMs and their need to invest in various directions. This leads to more sophisticated parts that are demanded from India. Thus, more requests are received for high-end technology machine tools. We also see an increased demand for automation to achieve uniform quality. However, there is one challenge that comes in the way of cooperation between customer and machine. In India, communication is more of an early negotiation to get the cheapest price of a machine than a partnership to find the best production solution. Nevertheless, it is important to share information and experience, especially for multi-technology parts, as raw parts, production conditions, machine tools and tools do have an influence on the final quality and stability of the process.

India also has a vast experience in manufacturing raw parts and the latest technology information. Our creativity to achieve good prices is a forte. Plus, the IT strength of India will also play a significant role in the future. Hopefully, without compromising on direction labour and environment conditions, and along with the government focusing on lifting the manufacturing sector by concentrating on infrastructure and skill development, India will continue to progress.

“Indian manufacturers are in their comfort zone of using traditional processes”

Indian manufactures are slowly but steadily adopting advanced manufacturing. However, the industry still faces some difficulties while trying to adapt to the latest trends in advanced manufacturing. With the challenge of quantifying RoI for adoption, industries need to work with experts to identify impact areas and develop a business case with quantifiable benefits.

Availability of trained workforce has also emerged as one of the most vital challenges for the adoption of digitalisation. For the Indian manufacturing sector to leapfrog, it is critical to make its workforce future-ready. Selective technology partnerships in the short-term would help jumpstart and plug the immediate skill gap. Steady upgradation of skills can be achieved simultaneously through various interventions ranging from orientation seminars to technology demonstration and formal training. Factors, such as, leveraging e-learning platforms that ensure interactive and effective learning with minimal cost and policy level directives for mid-management in order to experiment with emerging technologies to innovate and overhaul existing manufacturing processes can also play a great role. Indian manufacturers are in their comfort zone of using traditional processes. The vision should be to increase productivity by improving operational efficiencies through automation and skill upgrades.

“Organisations are making their own roadmap”

The entire discrete manufacturing sector is adopting modern CNC machines and cutting tools today to stay ahead in the market. However, our industry is lagging behind in its use of automation. We are seeing increased levels of utilisation for higher level of automation of critical sectors, including SMEs. Additionally, the competency development in our country is still largely an in-house process, within the company driven by business needs. This is essentially happening because final training imparted in institutions still lags in terms of current technology levels of the industry. Given this reality, organisations are making their own roadmap to gear up on this front. There is awareness that without skilled manpower, utilisation of high-capital and high-technology capital goods cannot be best deployed to stay competitive. However, even if this realisation is there, there is the issue of skills shortage in the industry and there is no quick-fix solution for this. We need to have a multi-directional approach addressing curriculum, infrastructure and faculty skills at the institution level and find cluster approach in partnership with technical institutions to train the young workforce to meet increasing demand.

“The sector is looking for products that will bring in competitiveness”

A majority of industries are upgrading their manufacturing setup from traditional setup consisting of manual processes or semi-automatic processes to smart CNC machines or to robotic automation. Various processes like fettling & grinding, which were traditionally done manually or by using semi-automatic tools, are now successfully shifting towards robotic automation. Also, processes such as, robotic machining, are the next steps of rapid prototyping or 3D printing, where the user can work with a large variety of materials.

Hence, manufacturing technologies are changing fast and bringing in new challenges for the entire industry. The sector is always looking for products that will bring in competitiveness. We expect to have a faster spread of robotics and automation technologies. Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, which uses cyber-physical systems and cloud computing. With Industry 4.0, machines are becoming smarter and users are able to interact with them in similar ways as they interact with their smart phones. These machines communicate and cooperate with each other and humans in real time, which help make decentralised decisions.

Image Gallery

  • Andreas Zieger
    Managing Director,
    EMAG India

  • Hanuman P Chittem
    VP & Head of
    Manufacturing Vertical,
    SLK Group

  • L Krishnan
    MD,
    TaeguTec India

  • Mohini Kelkar
    MD,
    Grind Master Machines

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