Industry 4.0, also referred to as the fourth industrial revolution or Smart Manufacturing, can spearhead India’s transformation as the manufacturing hub of the world by adding value to many aspects. It is an amalgamation of emerging technologies, such as, computational power, IoT, business analytics, advanced robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Additive Manufacturing or 3D printing, Augmented Reality, etc. Of these, Additive Manufacturing, autonomous robots, digital manufacturing, industrial internet and agile product development influence manufacturing the most.
The smart factories of the future allow operations to be executed with high reliability and minimal manual intervention. Automated workflows, improved tracking and scheduling, optimised energy consumption and synchronisation of assets, which are integral to a smart factory, can increase quality as well as reduce costs and waste.
Currently, the investment for automation across many industries may not be high because the overall level of manufacturing is not complex as compared to other countries. This indicates that the Indian industry actually has the opportunity to ‘leap frog’ this automation curve by taking full advantage of the Industry 4.0 automation technologies.
A recent report states that the country is poised to become a $10-trillion GDP economy, which is four times bigger than its current size, by 2030. This is due to the rising consumption-led demand along with India’s transformation as a low-cost manufacturing hub.
However, to fully capitalise on this opportunity, Indian manufacturers need to improve their productivity dramatically. Government push alone is not sufficient to provide the necessary growth propulsion for the manufacturing sector. The makers and the automation players need to work together with the policy makers towards the varied ambitious goals outlined by their initiatives.
There is also a strong divide, which needs to be bridged by upgrading the skills of human resources to share the same stage with the global companies. In addition to the advantages it offers on the manufacturing front, Industry 4.0 has a lot of potential to generate employment opportunities for India’s burgeoning young population. The growth in the manufacturing sector is expected to create up to 90 million domestic jobs, which can be addressed by harnessing Industry 4.0.
However, recruiting and retaining manpower with the right skill-set could prove to be a challenge for manufacturing companies. Businesses can meet the challenge by adopting active or experiential learning methods to address their training needs. The new technology-enabled trend in training is catching up in India, with several organisations deploying experiential training activities for their corporate learning initiatives.
The Indian manufacturing sector is at the cusp of major technological transformation. Blending advanced manufacturing technologies and Industry 4.0 with low-cost labour available in the country, India can fast-track its transformation as the manufacturing hub of the world.
This is a guest editorial feature by Sameer Gandhi, Managing Director, Omron Automation India