We, in the field of automation, are going through a very interesting period, where there are many changes happening in the industry, of which some can be very disruptive. There are new fields like, Industry 4.0, which are being seriously thought of and implemented in India. Large as well as medium scale manufacturing companies are considering the concepts to be implemented at their shop floors.
On the other hand, there is also an ongoing debate about why a country like ours needs more automation, as there are many unemployed youngsters looking for jobs. But as several experts have analysed this debatable point, we must have more automation in order to create more quality jobs.
In order to provide our massive Indian youth with manufacturing jobs, we must have manufacturing jobs. To do this, we should be able to take India’s manufacturing GDP percentage to 25 per cent by 2025, for which we need a huge investment in the manufacturing field. To sell the produce from this large manufacturing investment, we also must be able to export, as there isn’t a market big enough at home for such a huge production. Further, we must deliver these exports at world-class quality and at a reasonable price within committed timelines. And this will be nearly impossible without automation.
Industry 4.0 is a means to connect the shop floor to the management information system in real-time, so that real-time measures can be taken by the management for manufacturing operations to become more efficient. The only challenge that our industry in India, particularly MSMEs, faces is that we mostly do not know where to begin this journey and the requirements needed to start this journey towards Industry 4.0. It will be key to start with the right kind of people/team or re-skilling the existing team in the company towards this journey. Typically, the team should know the manufacturing process, machine operation and maintenance, automation on the shop floor and software skills. We must also be aware that it will take some time to upskill the team in these areas.
With these kinds of skills, we must further be prepared to invest in systems, step-by-step. The first step should be to equip our manufacturing machines with requisite devices to give us data of operating parameters of the machines, which affect the operational reliability of machines as well as the quality of work pieces produced. This, in short, will help us to improve the OEE of the machines.
I am sure that with this journey towards new concepts being embraced in India, almost concurrently with the rest of the world, we, as a nation, can be a much bigger economy with quality jobs for our large young population.