India Auto Inc looks towards Industry 4.0 for future growth

by Shahkar Abidi 25 Sep 2019


Even as the industry slowdown is increasingly leading to more ‘no-production days’, thereby severely impacting the original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers, the situation it seems is compelling them to take their collaboration to a much deeper level for mutual benefit.

With the intent to take this collaboration on a broader canvas, trade body Confederation of Indian Industries (CII),  with support from auto major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) organised a ‘Smart Manufacturing’ summit at Igatpuri on Monday. Industry 4.0, Internet Of Things (IoT), Predictive Machine Maintenance, CBM, Quality Data Mgmt System & Traceability, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Real-time Safety Monitoring were some of the subjects that were discussed.

Industry 4.0, which represents the fourth industrial revolution, is said to have begun with the digitisation of manufacturing, whereby machines get connected with each other. The first industrial revolution happened with the mechanisation of water steam, followed by mass-scale production of products in the second phase. The third revolution came with the introduction of computers and their related activities. 

Vijay Kalra

Speaking on the occasion  Vijay Kalra (pictured above), chief of manufacturing, automotive division, Mahindra & Mahindra, said that the business environment has changed globally and the greatness of a company in one area will not allow it to survive. “So you have to collaborate,” said Kalra”. “Now, if we don’t do it, very clearly we will be left behind by somebody else,” Kalra opines.

Industry experts emphasised during the interaction that traditionally, the industry followed the past in order to devise solutions for the future. However, with connected technologies, which are increasingly getting adapted, decision making has now become real-time. As per the stakeholders, the collaboration between the OEMs, suppliers, dealers as well as customers on a single platform will end in reducing operation overheads, transport costs, product rejection and maintenance costs, depending upon the kind of initiative one is taking.

Explaining his observations about the adoption of Industry 4.0 tools in India, Sanjeev Kumar Singh, vice-president, powertrain solutions (Nashik Plant) , Head - Common Rail Injectors Manufacturing, Bosch, said that during his visits to some of the suppliers he found that adoption of Industry 4.0 or connected machines rate is  high which is contradictory to normal perception. “ If I put it that way, then the (adoption) is even better than any of the big companies,” said Singh, adding that India needs to grow at fast pace which can be  done by utilising the resources more efficiently and that is what is happening.

Talking about the apprehensions about misuse or theft of data sharing between different stakeholders on a platform, the experts opined that the fear is unfounded. Also, it will not be possible to successfully, bring flexibility and efficiency without the use of technology and hence, the industry should not miss the bus.

Adesh Muluk, deputy manager at Pune-based component firm Sogefi Engine System (India), which was one of the participants at the event said, “ Every company should adopt the Industry 4.0 tool, but only as much as it needs. This will surely help in improving quality, productivity, and bring effective work culture”.

Similarly, Amol Doshi, senior manager- Sales and Business Development of French global automotive supplier Valeo, said that the platform will help everybody in the long run. “ It will help in exchanging the industry best practices with other players which will be beneficial for all”