The Indian manufacturing industry and more so, the not-so-privileged MSME sector, is still not initiated into the active pursuit of Industry 4.0. There are lots of talks and conferences on these subjects. Few are also seen dabbling with pilots on shopfloor, but the seriousness to accept the upcoming change seems to be overlooked. Many of us are in a “wait and watch“ mode – with the hope that we will be able to skip Industry 4.0 and continue business as usual with Industry 5.0. Or in short, manage a jump start!
One immediate change we foresee in manufacturing is a totally connected and integrated shopfloor. All machines and terminals will be cross linked and each equipment can “talk” and converse with one another, and also act on data exchanged. Clouds are already descending into the shopfloor and dependency on them will grow further. Instant data availability and churning of useful data with resultant speedy decisions is what is already underway. Integrating proven maintenance predictive technology with 4.0 will assist in securing accurate information well ahead of equipment failure.
A future scenario on the shopfloor may go something like this:
CNC Machine A: “Hello guys. Decibel level in my belly area (read turntable) has gone up by 20% since 6 am.”
Conveyor B (located next door): “Maybe your bearing has run out. Let’s alert maintenance.”
CNC Machine A: “I just sent out a signal. Also informed AMC (Additive Manufacturing Cell) to plan a print of bearing s.no 339. Also a ping sent to factory manager, as he may need to plan overtime, if he still expects 120% delivery by 6 pm.”
It still sounds fictional! In reality, sensors would be beaming data into central monitoring panels. Data from each equipment like, noise or vibration level, unusual thermal heating of parts, coolant temperature change, cutting tool force, pneumatic and hydraulic pressure changes, etc, supported by Big Data analytics, would then decipher the real story. A breakdown will, thus, get known far ahead of it hitting productivity on the floor. At Leadec, amongst other services, we also take up plant maintenance with KPI-based ownership. To take this to Industry 4.0 levels, we are globally engaged with MNCs and leveraging Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence to weave them into our maintenance solutions. It will be unfair to not point out that we, too, have a few nay sayers, who believe we can wait and jumpstart to the next level, as and when it matures.
The next level (Industry 5.0) will possibly involve the human mind intricately. The human mind will get knitted with machines as if it was, yet, another machine. Together, they will crunch data to yeild great decisions in nano seconds.
A jump-start to weave the mind with machines is, thus, surely not advisable. The better option is to first deploy Industry 4.0 practises and “connect” all the devices. Only in Industry 5.0 later, let the mind become intrinsically involved with it all. The future is going to be exciting.