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Industry 4.0 - The future of production

Smart Manufacturing Industry 4.0 and IIoT: Is India ready?

Jul 14, 2017

The viewpoint section explores ideas from the Indian industry leaders, providing an insight on the challenges towards Industry 4.0 transformation and the key strategies to address the same.

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As the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies accelerate worldwide, Indian manufacturers are slowly joining the bandwagon and are drawing a roadmap to maximise the benefits of adopting these latest technologies. The question is whether our infrastructure is ready for this and whether we are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to adapt to these advanced technology concepts. The following section explores ideas from the Indian industry leaders, providing an insight on the challenges in this area, the types of latest technologies that are being adopted in India, the rate of adoption of these technologies as well as the strategies in place to accelerate this growth.

“Adopting advanced technologies ensures better value for money”

— Sushanta Pattnaik, Chief Executive Officer, Lakshmi Ring Travellers

How is the progress of adoption of advanced technology concepts in India?

There seems to be less awareness about IIoT within the SMEs. Some larger companies have already initiated necessary steps to update themselves. These initiatives to upgrade to the new requirements will have to be immediately addressed by organisations, which are 100% EOUs.

What are the challenges faced by the Indian manufacturing industry when it comes to adoption of advanced technologies?

The ownership of adopting advanced technologies will have to be with the top management. If the top management is not willing to trust the next generation, there will be a slowdown in approach.

What percentage of the manufacturing processes is currently automated in your organisation and how much is expected to be automated in the next decade? What are the benefits?

We have several ranges of automation varying up to 50%. In lesser automated processes, we are planning to increase the level to 25% in the next couple of years. There are still some activities best done with human hands. We will be looking at the cost benefit analysis and based on the merit of the investment, we will make a decision. The best take-away of adoption of advanced technologies is the increase in productivity and quality levels, thereby, ensuring cost competitiveness and better value for money for customers.

What should be the strategy to go for automation so as to maximise the benefits?

Investing on high-level of automation will work out only when the volume is large. This means the manufacturing organisations, mostly SMEs, need to look for growth in the global marketplace.

How do you tackle issues related to mindset change, while adopting advanced technologies?

Awareness must be created through digital marketing and seminars. Also, the pros and cons of not adopting the latest technology needs to be explained with case studies of companies. This will bring about a change in the mindset. It may also fuel some insecurity and the investors may look for assurance/returns of their investment. This can be addressed if the automation solution provider works with small players and increases their competitiveness.

“India needs to prepare for high-value manufacturing”

— Ravi Damodaran, President – Technology, Varroc

How is the trend towards Industry 4.0 influencing your industry sector? How is the progress of adoption of these technology concepts in India?

Industry 4.0 is the least understood ‘buzzword’. While industry leaders want to jump onto this bandwagon due to high expectations of gains in terms of differentiation, competitiveness and productivity, hardly anyone understands the investments involved or the preparations required to adopt IIoT. Generally, there seems to be an increased drive towards automation and computerisation, which is Industry 3.0, amongst the bigger players. However, creating an ecosystem to enable it’s adoption is still years away as we do not have high-value manufacturing where it is the most relevant.

What kind of challenges do you see in the Indian manufacturing industry when it comes to adoption of advanced technologies? How ready is Indian industry to adapt to such technologies?

Indian manufacturing industry continues to be low value/high volume focusing on commodity products and utilising low cost and low skilled labour. Small scales and margins have discouraged investments in technology to boost productivity and quality in manufacturing. The current state of the industry is still at Industry 2.0. The biggest challenge to adoption of technologies is a short-time mindset of our leadership (organically grown technology is never created overnight) combined with little appetite for investing in cutting edge technologies, resulting in Indian manufacturing still lagging behind. The efforts to create a collaborative environment for innovation has also not paid fruits because this has been a one-sided effort led by the government that has not found eager partners in the industry or academia. Therefore, the necessary ingredients for adoption of Industry 4.0, such as investment appetite, an innovative ecosystem & collaborative environment has to be created first before creating the skillsets required to implement it.

What percentage of Indian manufacturing processes is currently automated?

Automation and computerisation, which is basically Industry 3.0, will result in higher quality and productivity for the larger players today and prepare them for Industry 4.0. Our industry is still very low in terms of automation adoption as we have had abundance of low-cost labour for decades. As globalisation drives competition and lowering of trade barriers level out the playing field in terms of higher awareness for safety and environmental concerns in manufacturing, we need to adopt automation to improve productivity and quality. The rate of adoption of automation is moderate in the OEMs and large Tier-1 companies and we expect it to reach a high penetration level in a decade. Tier-2 and smaller companies, which form the larger chunk of industry, will depend on a mature ecosystem to achieve such levels of automation.

What should be the strategy to go for automation so as to maximise the benefits in long-term?

Automation has to be seen in the light of the socio-economic conditions of our country. India will continue to generate low-cost labour for the next three decades and hence, automation is not required in our manufacturing sector, compared to other countries, where the ageing labour force continues to increase in cost. The strategy for Industry 3.0 (automation) should be two pronged. Firstly, the use of high-skilled labour is key to improve quality and productivity in low value/commodity manufacturing. Secondly, it is important to implement automation and computerisation in high value manufacturing. We need to prepare for high value manufacturing by investing in R&D and global talent over the long term. As the contribution of high value manufacturing in our industry increases over the next two decades, so will the penetration of automation.

How do you take care of knowledge enhancement and skill upgradation? How do you tackle the issues related to the change in mindset while implementing advanced technologies?

The essential ingredient for knowledge and skill management is stability of the workforce, which continues to be a challenge for all players competing in the low cost arena in a growing market. Cultural changes, such as change in mindset is difficult to achieve in a short time and is best tackled by bringing in an outside-in thinking using fresh talent.

“Industry 4.0 solutions will attract projects from abroad”

— Balachandar Jagannathan, Director, Lorandi Silos India and Manager - Technical, Penguin Engineers

How is the trend towards Industry 4.0 influencing your industry sector? How is the progress of adoption of these technology concepts in India?

The terms Industry 4.0, predictive maintenance and smart machines imply that it is headed towards the same goal of increasing machine efficiency and effectiveness. The Indian manufacturing segment is a vast area, and many players have already accommodated a part of Industry 4.0. Augmented reality and defining the algorithm shall be further adopted as per the requirement in the future.

What challenges do you see in the Indian manufacturing industry when it comes to adoption of advanced technologies? How ready is Indian industry to adapt to such technologies?

The Indian manufacturers are catering to Industry 4.0. The major challenges faced include the level of investment, aligning IT towards the machine and keeping up with technology changes. Workforce re-skilling and agile deployment will be the other hindrances. The readiness of Indian OEMs is at a feeble stage, where the infrastructure is at a dormant stage.

What percentage of the manufacturing processes is currently automated in your organisation and how much is expected to be automated in the next decade? What are the benefits?

Penguin Engineers, an OEM catering to the global requirements of packaging and SPM, has kept its vision in two sectors. The first sector is manufacturing of the machines where the machines and sensors are getting changed to cloud-enabled devices. The second sector is on the service front, where Penguin Engineers is already an early adopter for its augmented reality solutions, in order to cater immediately to its customers. The AR mobile app, partnering with Appville Softwares is getting developed and will be deployed for its future machines within a one-year roadmap. The benefits of adoption of these technologies include cost saving, and can be a premier OEM manufacturer, adopting new technology. This feature will give affinity to new projects from abroad, where Industry 4.0-enabled solutions are mandatory.

What should be the strategy to go for automation so as to maximise the benefits?

The strategy for automation is two-fold. On the technology front, finding the correct partner is key, who has the technical skills for cloud technology and the new AR/VR segment. On the factory ecosystem, there needs to be a lot of improvement and the dimensions of ecosystem, business process, platform, supply chain management, workforce and equipment need to be aligned for our local customisation.

How do you take care of knowledge enhancement and skill upgradation?

For knowledge enhancement, we are planning for a central knowledge-warehouse, wherein the latest technology and knowledge management that is fetched during the visit to various conferences, meetings and exhibitions will be segregated and allocated to each folder. This folder shall be accessed by each department on a periodic basis. In terms of skill upgradation, it will require recruiting dynamic and young people for specific knowledge transfer techniques. Service engineers, who are skilled in AR, can be hired-on-demand basis. Training for them, can be given virtually. This training shall include assembly in a virtual environment, monitoring augmented service, etc, which are being planned with Appville Softwares within the next one year.

“Present adoption rate is at a primary level”

— Yash Parikh, Automation Engineer, Neoplast Engineering

How is the trend towards Industry 4.0 and IIoT influencing your industry sector? How is the progress of adoption of these technology concepts in India?

The trend towards embracing IIoT and Industry 4.0 concepts is positive. With affordable smartphones and high-speed internet, customers are demanding critical data. Although the present adoption rate is at a primary level, it is expected to grow sharply in the next decade.

What kind of challenges do you see in the Indian manufacturing industry when it comes to adoption of advanced technologies? How ready is Indian industry to adapt to such technologies?

The main challenge is the unavailability of proper infrastructure, in terms of manpower and connectivity to SMEs, which form a major part of the manufacturing industry. Some of the industries are not even aware of these concepts and the few who are aware of this are hesitating to upgrade due to major funds involvement. Unless there are better incentives from the government, the path towards transformation will take time.

What percentage of the manufacturing processes is currently automated in your organisation and how much is expected to be automated in the next decade? What are the benefits?

At present, around 25-30% of our manufacturing processes are automated and we expect to reach upto 80% within the next decade. Automation has two major benefits. Dependency on manpower is reduced, which has relieved us of spending more time in finding appropriate candidate to perform the task. Since human dependency has reduced, the number of errors has also decreased, which is benefitting the production lifecycle and finished product.

What should be the strategy to go for automation so as to maximise the benefits?

Any project, if planned well, is automatically executed up to the mark. In order to plan properly, the entire process has to be divided into small sections, which are further divided into branches. Key problems related to all the processes have to be noted down on paper and brainstorming sessions should be held to discuss the same, which includes the management and process heads. After joint decisions and budgeting, execution should start, which will give the desired output.

How do you take care of knowledge enhancement and skill upgradation? How do you tackle the issues related to the change in mindset while implementing advanced technologies?

Internet connectivity allows us to stay updated with the latest technologies. We keep technical knowledge sessions with automation companies, who help us in further enhancement. We also encourage our employees to keep in touch with various institutions, which conduct skill-upgradation sessions and attend them whenever necessary. Motivational training sessions are also conducted to make the workforce understand about the need to change. By conducting these sessions, we are able to achieve our targets.

“Improving connectivity & infrastructure will boost adoption rate”

— Aditya Ratnaparkhi, Chairman, Electronica Plastic Machines

How is the trend towards Industry 4.0 and IIoT influencing your industry sector? How is the progress of adoption of these technology concepts in India?

Our company belongs to the plastic industry and we are seeing our customers use advanced technology and IIoT solutions and reap the benefits. The adoption of these technologies in India has definitely started to gather momentum. However, we, as an industry, are only getting started.

What kind of challenges do you see in the Indian manufacturing industry when it comes to adoption of advanced technologies? How ready is Indian industry to adapt to such technologies?

As with any technological changes, there are going to be challenges during the initial adoption period. Initial acceptance by market is always a challenge for any technological advancement. The Indian manufacturing industry has started to see the benefits offered by Industry 4.0 solutions and is ready to adopt these new technologies. Improvements in connectivity and infrastructure will help in boosting the adoption of these technologies even further.

What percentage of the manufacturing processes is currently automated in your organisation and how much is expected to be automated in the next decade? What are the benefits?

At Electronica Plastic Machines, we are always looking for ways to improve our production and quality by various systems and automation plays a key role in this. Automising certain processes have allowed us to achieve consistent performance with minimal downtime and over the next decade, we can see automation making great strides in the manufacturing industry.

What should be the strategy to go for automation so as to maximise the benefits?

For any company, looking to introduce automation into their manufacturing process, they should use automation as a tool for solving problems faced in their manufacturing. This approach has to be driven throughout the organisation. Capturing maximum data helps in pinpointing the root cause of the problem, which can then be solved with the help of automation and Industry 4.0 solutions.

How do you take care of knowledge enhancement and skill upgradation? How do you tackle the issues related to the change in mindset while implementing advanced technologies?

Any technological change comes with its own set of challenges when it comes to implementation. However, once the customer starts to see the results, then implementing the solution throughout the process becomes much easier. As for knowledge enhancement and skill upgradation, we work directly with our customers to help their workforce get accustomed and trained in various solutions, which are offered by our company.

“Becoming enablers of connected manufacturing”

— Arundhati, Managing Director, Plazma Technologies

How is the progress of adoption of Industry 4.0 technology in India?

Industry 4.0 is going beyond digitalisation or robotisation. It is about connected manufacturing, that enables individual customer service at a shorter delivery cycle time with higher efficiency throughput. Slowly, manufacturing industries are adapting to Industry 4.0 as awareness is expanding. However, before that, much work needs to be done. While productivity stagnates, technology disruption is crucial for growth.

What kind of challenges do you see in the Indian manufacturing industry when it comes to adoption of advanced technologies? How ready is Indian industry to adapt to such technologies?

The Indian industry is in a comfort zone of using traditional tools and methods, which guarantees them certain productivity. To increase production, they consider only in terms of increasing manpower and only notionally upgrade their equipment. We need visionary managers, who will look at increasing productivity through upgrading the skill set of their existing manpower but investing in efficient scalable equipment with advanced technologies. Today’s managers need to become the ‘enablers’ of connected manufacturing, create the culture of data gathering, data processing and data analytics. They need to assure their workforce that Industry 4.0 works with human intervention, hand-in-hand and it is not a tool to replace them.

What percentage of the manufacturing processes is currently automated in your organisation and how much is expected to be automated in the next decade? What are the benefits that you see resulting from the adoption of automation technologies?

All our RobPlazma range is IoT-enabled. We have multiple functional needs and different technologies are implemented in each manufacturing vertically and horizontally across the organisation. We have combined our in-house developed RoboSwift Inside Software system in our day-to-day working processes, making 85% of our processes fully digitalised and IoT-enabled. Our multiple systems exchange data between them. We monitor this with our RoboSwift Inside Software. This was a very painstaking process of data analytics, which has improved our plant efficiency and productivity, enabling us to better deal with market volatility while at the same time giving customer-centric solutions. Our rejections have minimised, quality improved, with maximum yield from raw material.

What should be the strategy to go for automation so as to maximise the benefits?

The best strategy will be to invest in getting ready for Industry 4.0-enabled automation and start co-creation of IoT infrastructure slowly. Each should try to digitalise their shop floors and workplace with 2D & 3D processing. Also, build a data gathering mechanism, as data analytics is the key to IoT. Further, invest in step-by-step modules (with IoT-enabled machinery), like data analytics, traceability, error & maintenance logs, energy management, waste management, etc.

How do you take care of knowledge enhancement and skill upgradation? How do you tackle the issues related to the change in mindset while implementing advanced technologies?

Creating skilled work force is a need that all industries need to invest in. We have to continue to tie up with universities and colleges for skill development by introducing advanced technologies and digitalisation. Change in mindset happens when people witness success stories. We are leading with example as our own success story is created through continuous innovation and formidable IP generation.

Image Gallery

  • Ravi Damodaran, President – Technology, Varroc

  • Sushanta Pattnaik, Chief Executive Officer, Lakshmi Ring Travellers

  • Yash Parikh, Automation Engineer, Neoplast Engineering

  • Arundhati, Managing Director, Plazma Technologies

  • Aditya Ratnaparkhi, Chairman, Electronica Plastic Machines

  • Balachandar Jagannathan, Director, Lorandi Silos India and Manager - Technical, Penguin Engineers

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