Today’s global industrial equipment and machinery market is expected to be disrupted by technological impacts like availability of new materials resulting in light weighted products, smarter machines supported by electronic and software components and reduced total cost of ownership enabled by IIoT and cloud-based Big Data. Every manufacturing organisation in India has time tested processes, product development philosophies, and success stories. However, catering to the global market as our potential market, these best practices are being challenged today.
In order to overcome these challenges and align with global standards, leveraging digitalisation is the need of the hour. Adopting digital technologies can not only help reduce time-to-market but it can also enhance flexibility, improve quality and increase efficiency of a manufacturing enterprise. This was recently explored at a conference in Bangalore, Karnataka, with EM and Siemens PLM Software, in association with Peenya Industries Association. The theme of the conference was based on the topic—‘How Indian Industrial Equipment/Machinery Manufacturers can target Global Market by Leveraging Digitalisation’.
Driving the digital enterprise
The seminar kick-started with the topic of ‘Driving the Digital Enterprise’, which was presented by Shivendra Bansotra, Technical Consultant, Siemens PLM Software. During his presentation, he stressed that it is imperative for manufacturers to be very clear about the purpose for which they are buying the latest digital technologies—the benefit that it will bring to their organisation and utilising it to achieve this objective. “Manufacturers can also look into acquiring a particular area of our technology, instead of the whole solution, after setting their step-by-step priority in their journey towards digitalisation,” he shared.
This was followed by the guest keynote address, which was delivered by Malayadri Reddy, President, Peenya Industries Association. Maladri Reddy spoke on why digitalisation is important in manufacturing today and how the automotive sector is the early adopter of advanced technologies.
After this, the conference progressed to the next presentation, which was on the topic of ‘Simulating the Digital Twin’, given by Anil Ogle, Portfolio Manager, Siemens PLM Software. He stated, “Customers today expect products that are energy-efficient, reliable in terms of performance and design standards and are producing smart, connected and adaptable products. This is where simulating the Digital Twin for performance becomes relevant.”
Next, the conference proceeded on to the panel discussion, which was on the topic—‘How Indian Industrial Equipment/Machinery Manufacturers can target Global Market by Leveraging Digitalisation’. The panelists for this discussion were T P Sridhar, CEO, Ace Designers; Sanjeev Baitmangalkar, CEO, Stratmann Consulting; Indradev Babu, MD, UCAM; Sandeep Parvatikar, Director, Unnati CNC Technologies; Shivendra Bansotra, Technical Consultant, Siemens PLM Software and H S Nikhila, MD, Precitec Precision Machineries. The discussion was moderated by Shekhar Jitkar, Publisher & Chief Editor, EM.
Sharing his insights on how ready are Indian factories and Indian manufacturers to adopt digitalisation, Baitmangalkar shared, “Indian manufacturers need to simplify their enterprises so that it becomes more efficient. When we simplify, we remove all that is not required. And when we remove all that is not required, we tend to become more productive. When we become more productive, our quality automatically increases. Quality is like a by-product of productivity. So, we do need new technologies. However, first, we need to analyse what it is that we need in terms of this new technology and where can we use this new technology.”
He further illustrated his point by citing the example of a machine tool. “Now, if we design and build a machine tool, and if we use this concept of digitalisation into it, we can know when something is actually going to fail. We will be able to predict when a motor is going to fail or when a bearing is going to fail or when the lubrication is going to fail. It will specifically allow manufacturers to address the significant concern of customers, which is—when is my machine going to stop production? If we can know this or build it into a design and thus, provide this advantage to the customer, then it would be a value-addition. In this way, we need to analyse and use what is appropriate for our business process to satisfy our customer,” he explained.
Global competency levels
The next question in the panel focused on why the Indian manufacturing sector is still lagging behind in terms of achieving global competency levels. Sharing his insights on this was Indradev Babu, who averred, “Machine tool design, manufacturing and sales call for elaborate systems, starting from customer relationship management and how well you are connected to how you are able to satisfy and answer the customer to how clearly you are able to respond. Coming next to the sales process, it involves how well you are able to integrate with your sales process and offer a solution, after which comes the applications. Then, of course, you also have product design and technology to consider. For such an elaborate system, it is important to adopt the latest digital solutions.”
Further highlighting the current state of the industry, he shared, “Typically, machine tool manufacturers are at the CAE level in the country and they have not adopted the cutting edge tools in engineering to develop their products. So, to compete with the global players, these tools definitely offer an edge but then, we also need to analyse and resolve if we have the necessary competence and trained professionals available to do so. Thus, technological solutions, alone, is not the answer. The ecosystem also has to build up simultaneously. Hence, while Siemens is giving all these solutions, the ecosystem also has to develop to provide the next level of competency. These are some of the challenges being faced by the Indian industry.”
Factors of consideration
The discussion delved further into the specific challenges currently being faced by the Indian manufacturing sector and the obstacles that need to be overcome in order to adopt the latest technologies. Shining light on this was Nikhila, who informed, “Cost is an important factor of consideration in the current scenario. The moment the cost benefits become more and more realisable, people will be very quick to adopt the digital solutions. Digital technologies can be applied across spectrums, very fast and quick. And it’s available as well. However, the question is—when and how. It’s the trigger point that has to come.”
He also emphasised on the significance of adopting a collaborative approach in R&D. “The R&D efforts in India are not happening at a higher level where this can make us globally competitive or which will allow us to match the globally best machines when we do make those machines here. This is another major challenge.”
Highlighting the government’s initiatives and urging manufacturers to focus on priorities, Sridhar noted, “The Indian government is looking at a lot of initiatives to improve the current scenerio. However, I do believe that we need to focus on what is relevant for us, what is appropriate and ultimately, what the customer will benefit from. The customer will not really bother about how you make your machines as long as they work—it is of least importance to them.”
Focusing on the MSME sector
Addressing the concerns of the MSME sector, Parvatikar observed, “We often forget about the cost and fail to decrease our cost. This is due to crucial data, which is not available to us. So, when we implement technology, we get the data on the technology and analyse this data so as to reduce costs, see where we are spending more—process, production losses and everything else that needs to be analysed so as to reduce your cost and increase your profitability.”
He further elaborated, “From the customer’s perspective, there are two types of customers. The first type wants products as per his specifications. He doesn’t bother about how or where you manufacture. Then, there is the second type of customer, who wants products as per his specifications as well. However, he is also concerned about your process, your stressability level, how you manufacture, what is the relationship between the customer and employer, etc. These factors are very important for the second type of customer. And this second type of customer gives more margin. So, to meet all his requirements, we need technology. Hence, I request the MSME sector to invest in technology and to improve their technology so that they, too, can be competitive in the market.”
He also added that the cost of the technology is often a major roadblock, which is faced by the MSME sector. “Many times, the technological solutions offered are not affordable and bankers are not that supportive of the MSME sector. Another challenge that we face is skilled labour. Hence, implementing the technology has become a challenge for us.”
Measuring technology adoption
Highlighting the reasons as to why technological solutions should be considered in the current scenario by the Indian manufacturing sector, Bansotra shared, “Innovation does not need technology. However, technology does play a role in innovation. So, whenever someone evaluates technology, a fundamental question needs to be asked. We need to analyse whether the technology is for everybody or if it is for a department or a particular user and the business benefit that the organisation is going to get. We need to measure technology adoption as per our objectives and should not go by blind faith.” The concluding remarks of the discussion were given by Jitkar, who agreed that digitalisation is indeed the need of the hour and it is a necessary ingredient for accelerating the productivity of the Indian manufacturing sector while making it globally competitive.
Remaining market relevant
The final phase of the seminar progressed to the presentation of Sahir Patel, Portfolio Manager, Siemens PLM Software, who covered the topic of ‘Product Data Management—Take control of your Data!’ He spoke of the rapid pace of digitalisation that is enveloping the Indian manufacturing sector and the need for manufacturers to upgrade to the latest technologies so as to avoid being outdated in the market, remain globally competitive and market relevant. The conference also included a presentation on the topic of ‘Cost of Quality’, which was given by Anmol Kaul, Portfolio Manager, Siemens PLM Software, who shared his valuable insights on making efficient cost decisions and managing profitability and affordability.
Also addressing the need for affordable digital solutions was Rutuja Ganoje, Financial Consultant, Siemens PLM Software, who elaborated on industrial equipment financing options available to manufacturers and also offered an extended credit facility for the software purchases from Siemens. “Siemens has come up with a financially-viable solution where we pay for your software purchase to Siemens and you can make the payment as and when you start using the Siemens software solutions,” she concluded, thus addressing the Indian manufacturing industry’s concerns of making financially-viable technology solutions available to manufacturers.