AIA (Automation Industry Association) in collaboration with IIT-Delhi and the Department of Heavy Industry (GOI) has created a national platform for Industry 4.0 or smart manufacturing – ‘Samarth Udyog’. Several technology players have signed up as contributing partners and the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) has come on board as a partner association. The execution is being coordinated by a special purpose vehicle, ‘IITD-AIA Foundation for Smart Manufacturing’(IAFSM), set up as a Section 8 company.
Envisioning new technologies
The details of Samarth Udyog were unveiled to delegates of the 3rd summit of ACMA Centre for Technology (ACT) at a convention on December 8-9, 2017, at Pune. A key feature of the event was the setting up of a Smart Manufacturing Zone (SMZ), giving delegates a chance to see, touch and feel new technologies. The SMZ was awarded the best team prize for the wide range of exhibits.
Addressing the delegates, Dinesh Vedpathak, Head—ACT, announced that an ACT Digitisation Cluster will be formed to implement a pilot ‘use case’ in each of the participating cluster members and the programme will be facilitated by experts from the foundation for smart manufacturing. The facilitation will involve consulting, demonstration, experimentation, testing and proof-of-concept.
Speaking on this, Ravi Agarwal, representing AIA on the IAFSM Board, opined, “Digital manufacturing is a journey that demands organisational maturity and intense customer focus to adapt and embrace this revolution. De-mystifying Industry 4.0 is the primary goal of Samarth Udyog, otherwise companies will not know what is their most relevant roadmap.” As a matter of fact, both ACMA and AIA agree that there is a learning curve to follow—a company cannot start at Level-3 when they are actually at the Level-1.
Common engineering facilities
The first common infrastructure envisaged for partners and users will be a multiple-station discrete manufacturing system blending smart cyber and physical tools. The cyber physical lab will be the nerve centre for companies to witness, ideate, experiment and hone their solutions by deploying the most relevant of the new age features, such as:
Workpiece-dependent parameters setting and guaranteeing quality output
Inbuilt smart sensors for capturing data
Flexible configuration according to requirement
Open standards and diverse, Ethernet-based communication protocols
Web-based commissioning and diagnostics via integrated web server
Comprehensive access to actuator data (e.g torque or power), via web connectors for preventive maintenance or database interfacing and data analysis
Comprehensive condition monitoring for fast identification of critical conditions and OEE analysis
Integrated control system with browser-based interface allowing for information sharing across multi-vendor data systems
Augmented Reality ecosystem components and a platform for softwares, as well as content creation and management
These features will help fill the current skill and ideation gaps in the area of IT/OT integration.
Preparing leaders for Samarth Udyog
Smart factories and intelligent products can leverage new tools and techniques for improved operations with data at the heart of this transformation. But less than 10% of manufacturers have an overall Industry 4.0 strategy in place, and fewer have assigned clear responsibilities to implement it. The real reasons for the uncertainty is that it get clouded in the people strategy of companies. So far, companies have reveleed in deploying affordable labour for assembly and inspection jobs. Labour deployment has necessarily meant that supervisors need to be there as well, to manage the reporting and re-prioritisation of tasks. This is very different from the new digital culture where a system itself prompts or decides action. The transition from verbal guidance to digital guidance will cause disruption of established but less reliable practices and demand passion for accuracy and diligence in analysis. The western world is grooming ‘data scientists’. For Indian SMEs, imbibing and nurturing data-oriented approach in different roles is a possible route towards Samarth Udyog. ACMA and AIA are expected to chalk out appropriate ways to bridge the is cultural gap.
Speaking on the role of automation, Dilip Sawhney, Past President, AIA and Managing Director, Rockwell Automation, said that technology had a broader connotation and understanding the local market was essential. “An Indian ecosystem is being built that requires separating out the business essentials from technology excitement. Our potential customers and their people must experience technology, gain comfort, and thereafter, prototype and conduct proof-of-concept trials at significantly lower risks and costs,” he added.
The mission recognises the uniqueness and imperatives of the Indian scenario. Without the parallel investment in a revamped education plan and the development of master trainers, technology induction will not maximise the returns. “Smart people are needed to design and maintain smart infrastructure. It is here that the association with IIT-Delhi is expected to matter most,” said PV Sivaram, President, AIA.
Synergy between industry & academia
At the ACMA Summit, in the midst of industry experts, a team of researchers from IIT Delhi demonstrated the principles of automated vision and augmented reality. Echoing this synergy between industry and academia on the dais was Dr Sunil Jha, expert faculty and IIT Delhi’s representative on the IAFSM Board, AIA’s Director, Anup Wadhwa (and alumnus IITD) and Dr Sameer Kelkar, CEO & R&D Head, Grindmaster.
Seamless collaboration ought to be the way forward!