2012 Robotics & Automation Special: Interview - Naresh Kantoor
Two decades ago, in India, the buzz word was ‘cheap labour’ and hence in most of the plants the word ‘automation’ was a no-no.
Globally, industrial automation, particularly in manufacturing, has matured to a great extent wherein man-less operations are very common. There are factories in several countries where the whole plant is automated to such an extent that robots and other automatic equipment carry out all the production and assembly operations. These factories are referred as ‘No Light factories’ as robots do not need light to work. This trend is expanding and remote monitored factories with e-manufacturing concepts are becoming popular.
How does the Indian auto industry compare with the rest of the world?
Two decades ago, in India, the buzz word was ‘cheap labour’ and hence in most of the plants the word ‘automation’ was a no-no. Then industrial automation also involved a lot of proprietary knowledge and expensive skills, making it unaffordable to medium and small industries.
Today, automation product costs have gone down substantially and manpower costs have risen. Therefore, we see a lot of growth in automation not only with lead manufacturers but also in Tier 1 and Tier 2 industries.
In which areas of the auto industry do you see the maximum potential for your products?
The automation solutions would fit in almost all areas. Hazardous and welding operations, paint shops and press shops are some of the segments where automation solutions can be readily adopted.
How is the Indian robotic and automation market pitted to grow?
As India’s automotive sector grows, many large players are shifting their global manufacturing operations to India. As the market grows, so will the numbers of solution providers. We have introduced some low-cost Cartesian robots which can be effectively used for pick and place systems.
What are Encon Systems' growth plans?
We have innovative automation solutions for the manufacturing sector and have established ourselves as a major player in the automotive sector. We have tied up with many world-class automation companies such as Rockwell Automation, IAI Corporation, ABB and Cognex to provide complete automation solutions.
How do EnconSystems' automation products help save costs or increase production?
With the increasing cost of manpower, the justification of implementing automation has become easier. In addition, the demand for quality, consistency and safety is increasing by the day. The only solution to all these three factors is automation. Once an operation is automated, the system does not require any tea breaks and thus utilises all the idle time. Thus, the increase in production results in lower aggregate costs.
What is the scope for further automation in OE factories in India for EnconSystems?
The scope of growth is enormous. Since EnconSystems is already a known automation systems integrator, it has an advantage of expanding its presence in OE factories. In particular, our solutions for ‘e-manufacturing’ with on-line monitoring of production and maintenance efficiencies are fast finding favour with OEMs as well as with component manufacturers.
What is the extent of automation in the Indian auto industry?
All the automotive manufacturers in India are automated to some extent or the other. Almost all the car and two-wheeler manufacturers have fully automated facilities for welding operations and paint shops all over India. Several companies are in the process of upgrading their facilities for machining, press shops and assembly operations.
How cost effective are your automation solutions?
EnconSystems provides cost-effective solutions based on the principles of Low Cost Automation. We look into various aspects of the manufacturing processes, optimal solutions, management objectives, adaptability to change before proposing any solutions. This makes it cost effective with faster payback and return on investment.
Do you have plans to introduce new automation products in the auto sector?
We have recently launched Automation Training Kits. With increasing levels of automation in the industries, it has become imperative that the skills of the existing operation and maintenance teams are honed regularly. Our Industrial Automation Training Kits are priced between Rs 8 and 20 lakh depending upon the modules. The kits are popular in industries where the focus is on manpower skill development and in engineering colleges for technology training to students. It also enables technicians to learn hands- on various aspects of industrial automation.
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