Digitalisation is a buzzword today; while the word excites many people, it makes some apprehensive, too. There is no doubt that there is tremendous pressure to digitalise a customer’s journey in a business, leading to enriched productivity and quality. In this context, EM and Siemens Industry Software, along with MTMA Rajkot, recently organised a conference on ‘How Indian industrial equipment/machinery manufacturers can target global market by leveraging digitalisation’ in Rajkot, Gujarat, where it was explored why we need a change in mindset while adopting digitalisation & where does a city like Rajkot stand in adopting it.
Significance of digitalisation in Rajkot
The event took off with Yogin Chhaniara, President, Machine Tool Manufacturers Association (MTMA), Rajkot, expertly addressing the audience on the focus of the event’s topic being very important for Rajkot and its machine tool builders, as the city has been running the industries in the same conventional way for decades. “So, it’s pivotal that we bring in some digitalisation and modernisation here and compete more effectively in the market,” he said and continued, “MTMA has been in Rajkot for the past 30 years, organising exhibitions, while giving the association members an exposure to foreign markets.”
Solid Edge 2020
Next, Anshuman Prakash, Global Technical Enablement and Nitin Malvadkar, Pre Sales Lead India, Siemens Industry Software, highlighted ‘What’s new in Solid Edge 2020’ through which they gave a brief of some of the solutions that added inside Solid Edge 2020.
Through a video, Prakash explained the use of Augmented Reality (AR), free of cost through the application Solid Edge mobile viewer to scan a QR code, which is generated on free online cloud-based collaboration tool – Solid Edge portal. “One can upload digital designs made in Solid Edge, leading to the generation of the QR code. By scanning the QR code with a tab or mobile device, one can experience the digital design in actual working conditions,” he explained.
Turning to paperless manufacturing, Prakash introduced Siemens’ new product, ‘Solid Edge Model-based Definition’ which includes how printed material for manufacturing can be reduced and in turn, digital designs can be reused for downstream manufacturing applications. Malvadkar further took over to talk about Additive Manufacturing, where he pointed out what are some of the problems likely to arise in the design phase before one applies Additive Manufacturing and how those problems can be solved.
Some of the other elements touched upon during the presentation were compare tools, Solid Edge Rendering, digital simulation tools, harmonic analysis, flow simulation under Solid Edge, data management solutions, module of requirements management, reverse engineering techniques, auto scale sketch, manual creation process, Solid Edge Modular Plant Design, Electrical Design, Solid Edge P&ID Design and Solid Edge Nesting.
India at an advantage in the digital world
Following this, Parakramsinh Jadeja, CMD, Jyoti CNC Automation gave the chief guest address. In his gripping address, Jadeja emphasised on innovation and the digital future. “While we talk about the digital future of the world tomorrow, India is the country that happens to be at an advantage because of the required skills available here,” he cited. Speaking on innovation, Jadeja asserted that, given the way innovation is opening up, one needs to innovate every day. “Most of the creativity is going to happen in the years to come; it is going to be a disaster for someone who has slept and a wonderful thing for someone who has awakened,” he informed.
It was soon time for the most awaited session of the evening, the panel discussion on ‘How Indian industrial equipment/machinery manufacturers can target global market by leveraging digitalisation’. The discussion was moderated by Shekhar Jitkar, Publisher & Chief Editor, EM, and the esteemed panellists fielding the questions were Tejas Dudakiya, Executive Director, Dowel Machinery; Sachin Nagewadia, Director, Minimatic Machines; Deval Gorecha, Director, Accurate Machine Tools; Sandip Patel, CEO, Suncad and Ketan Gajera, Director, Accord Engineering Corporation.
Jitkar began the discussion by raising the question - When one develops a new product, how can one analyse that the design for that product will be applicable in the market or not? In response to this, Nagewadia mentioned that today, software has made the designing process of a product much easier. “We do a market survey and validation in order to try to evaluate how our design will be suitable for the market requirements,” he enlightened.
Where Rajkot stands
Moving on, Jitkar shot his next question at Dudakiya, that what are the challenges specific to Rajkot region while making a machine. Zeroing in specifically on the business in Rajkot, Dudakiya replied that the businesses in the city have been running through generations, therefore, the same design is being used throughout these generations. “So, it is up to the newest generation to adopt digitalisation and latest technologies in their factories and train the workers’ systems while also convincing the older generation about adopting it,” he opined.
It’s been observed that the same range of products have been manufactured in the region for years and probably the businesses are not growing as per the market needs. “We have to introduce the product according to the changing market needs, if you want a consistent growth,” Gajera expounded.
Digitalisation is unavoidable
This made it quite clear that change is, undoubtedly, a must. “One has to alter his old methods and adopt digitalisation, be it for traditional machines or a new model, in order to bring out productivity and growth,” divulged Gorecha, seeing eye-to-eye with Dudakiya’s former response.
Jitkar then went on to ask whether the current factory set-up is efficient in order to adopt new technologies. Responding to this positively, Gajera cited that this depends on the product to be manufactured & technology to be used; in some cases, we may have to change the entire set-up while in other cases only in a few phases. “If the work is done with a specific timeline and proper effort, then returns are inevitable,” he explicated.
A change in mindset
As it turns out, another area that requires change is the mindset. “The mindset, today, is that as long as the job is getting done, why make any additional investments?” Patel put across and went on, “Rajkot may have the biggest number of BMW or Mercedes users, but if we calculate the total implementation of CAD/CAM technology or CAE users, we see that they are only a few. So, with a focus on change in technology and mindset, there will definitely be a reduction in price and increase in margin.” Further giving his opinion on this, Nagewadia added that if one does not willingly change, the global industry is bound to compel one to change, irrespective of anything else.
Later, Jitkar popped the question, that with the change in mindset and adopting new technology, how can one decide which is the right application suitable for one’s operation? Patel returned, “If one is manufacturing a machine tool, for example, CNC lathe, milling, etc, then the first thing that comes into aspect is 3D design. Any layman can learn these kinds of technologies in maximum 15 days. So, the industries need to understand the technology and its application areas. I feel these technologies are cost-effective to invest in, the ROI for which can start within 2-3 months of time.”
The roadmap for digitalisation
The discussion soon came close to its end with having the panelists pondering over the final question: What should be the roadmap for adopting digitalisation in operations and the parameters to consider?
Gorecha remarked that we first need to have a fixed tenure for a specific project and plan on paper in how man phases it will happen. “Then one needs to find a suitable vendor and the right skill-sets needed for adopting the technology in the organisation,” he explained and went on, “Next, one should allocate a proper budget and investment plan according to the expansion one is planning for the future and the turnover.” Adding to this, Nagewadia said that we first need to do a gap analysis to see what is lacking and decide the roadmap based on this report.
It’s time to act now
The discussion turned out to be a candid one, with Jitkar rounding it off by voicing that there is a readiness to adopt new technologies and take risks to move in that direction. “If one is adopting digitalisation, then it is a wonderful opportunity to flourish in both, the domestic and global markets. But if not, it can prove to be disaster in a few years. So, it’s time to act now,” he concluded.