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CASTING & FORGING Industry 4.0 and IoT will become a necessity to run the business

Mar 9, 2020

… mentions Fathe Raj (F R) Singhvi, Joint Managing Director, Sansera Engineering, in his conversation with Anvita Pillai. He discusses how Sansera is moving forward by incorporating digitalisation in its daily operations, their initiatives in integrating digitalisation, its benefits, how the company is aligning itself with the industry requirements, his perspective on the readiness of Indian factories to adopt Industry 4.0, the anticipated challenges and more. Excerpts…

With digitalisation/Industry 4.0 integrating into the manufacturing industry, how is Sansera ensuring implementation of latest digitalisation tools with a focus on quality and customer requirements at each stage? What are the initiatives in this area?

Sansera started its journey of digitalisation about 10 years ago, anticipating the need for it. Latest digitalisation tools adopted in our company include IoT, analytics – mainly for SCM, sensors, robotics, gantries and automation. The process of capturing the data manually leads to a lot of errors and delay in corrective actions, resulting in loss of time and money, affecting the performance of the plant. Therefore, it is apparent to capture the real-time data in order to review the process without loss of time. We have implemented capturing real-time data from its recently installed machines, which gives the production data and also works on capturing the live quality parameters, to automatically generate the SPC charts. With the above, live status of the production and quality can be obtained. The areas covered are machine production monitoring, paperless shop floor, work order management, inspection data capturing – with interface to external SPC through automation for high volumes, traceability and configuration management. Using plant simulation, we simulate the production lines to understand the nature of the production system. This helps us to identify the bottlenecks, optimal manpower planning, maintaining optimal inventory, production, planning, line balancing, etc. We also use process simulate – a time-based simulation software – which helps us to validate automation system design, perform virtual commissioning of automation systems, perform ergonomics analysis and safety of the operators, before carrying out the physical implementation.

Some of the key initiatives at our company are the implementation of real-time data on CNC machines for calculating the OEE (availability, performance and quality), use of robots in the area of machining and forging, automated inspection of parts through robots and sensors capturing the live data. AGV is the latest implementation at one of our plants.

How has workplace automation been integrated into daily volumes of work in your organisation? How has this helped in increasing labour efficiency whilst cutting net cost and improving product quality?

Workplace automation has substantially reduced the need for additional manpower and has reduced human errors. This has also given a safe working environment in critical operations like forging and surface treatment process. Less human intervention has resulted in controlling the rejections due to human error.

The forging industry in India is not much developed in terms of advanced technology adoption. But your company has fully automated the forging processes. Can you brief us more about that?

Our organisation has fully automated and integrated the forging process with the necessary automation technology and controls, right from raw material lifting and cutting to heating, pre-forming to final forging and subsequently finishing the operations. We have used many robots, sensors and thermocouples in the forging automation for a seamless flow and assured quality, which also includes controlling the temperatures and weight of each forging. The acceptance and rejection at every stage is monitored and automated.

Aerospace is another integral focus sector for your company. How is Sansera preparing itself for the developments in this sector, aligning with the industry requirements?

Sansera has progressed well in the aerospace sector in the last five years, supplying detailed parts to OEMs, tier-I and tier-II companies.

Some of the main challenges we face are -

  • Global competition: Despite sourcing imported raw materials and consumables, we still need to provide substantial cost savings to our customer

  • Human challenges: Skill development & team building, and retention of skilled manpower or superior knowledge pose as a problem

  • Building a complete eco-system: Availability of RM / customer approvals on special processes causes a hinderance

  • Inventory & logistics costs are very high

Some of the key initiatives taken by us are -

  • Skill Olympiad is Sansera’s way to develop skill-sets functional wise by in-house and external training

  • Monthly rejection display and group analysis

  • Machine wise rejection / plant wise rejection / rework monitoring system

  • Motivate the team by awarding for zero rejections and for continual improvements

  • Implementation of Industry 4.0

  • Application of QCC and Kaizen

  • Execution of Zero Defect Plan (ZDP)

Our approach:

  • Build a strong culture and system to meet customer requirements & company objectives

  • Systematic, risk-based thinking approach for all the processes and monitor mitigation actions periodically. No short cuts/escapes.

  • Effective daily management to monitor, control and meet the company’s objectives (OTD and Zero PPM)

  • Thoroughly understand and consume all customer requirements

  • Evaluate skill levels, conduct trainings and improve competency

Do you think Indian factories are equipped enough to adapt to advanced technologies, for example Industry 4.0, IIoT, etc? What are the challenges anticipated?

Not many factories have started working on the implementation of Industry 4.0, but the awareness on this is increasing. Many service providers are developing the software to meet the Industry 4.0 requirements. In the days to come, a lot more companies will adopt Industry 4.0 and IoT to make the whole system more efficient and fool-proof.

One of our biggest challenges is customising the customers’ requirements. There is no single solution which is readily available to meet them. The solution provider and the end-user have to work together to achieve the expected results. Industry 4.0 and IoT will become a necessity to run the business. Many of the new generation machines and tools have incorporated many features of Industry 4.0 and the software is compiled with features to assist in digitisation.

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  • Fathe Raj (F R) Singhvi is presently the Joint Managing Director of Sansera Engineering. He has previously served as the Chairman of HR & IR, Aerospace and before the current change, he was the Chairman of Skill Committee. Aside from managing a company with a turnover of ₹945 cr, he also manages Sansera Foundation which is involved in improving the lives of over 5000 children studying in 28 government schools and 10 private-run schools.

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