Smart manufacturing and industry 4.0 set to gain momentum

by Shahkar Abidi 30 Mar 2022

Smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 is the way forward to make India's automotive industry competitive in the global arena, industry stakeholders said during a virtual  'Smart Manufacturing Conclave' which was organised by Autocar Professional on March 29.

The panelists included 

-Ravikiran Pothukuchi, Sales Director, Manufacturing & Logistics, Dassault Systemes

-Anuj Kapuria, Founder & CEO, Hi-Tech Robotics Systemz

-Srikanth Bhadravathi, Operations Director, Faurecia

India emphasised the fact for sustainable growth, the adoption of Industry 4.0 has become imperative for the auto manufacturing industry. 

Further, the panelists said the government’s ‘Make in India’ program and PLI scheme has the potential to address many challenges faced by the Indian industry that hinder its global competitiveness such as perception of low quality, stiff competition on cost from other nations, low levels of innovation and limited agility to meet rapidly changing customer needs.

Dassault Systemes's Pothukuchi while speaking during the event explained that in today's age information is power and in smart manufacturing it comes from machines. " Shop floor to top floor, is how we call it, '' he said emphasizing that the smart manufacturing's role is thus to provide the information generated to the decision makers at their dashboard in real time for taking the quick decisions. Further elaborating on its benefits, Pothukuchi remarked that in addition to several benefits, the smart manufacturing process helps the industry to minimize their scrap/wastages by validation of a product or even a plant layout much before it gets on the production line. "Smart manufacturing using digital tools helps in validating the products, plant layout before it can be brought out in the real world. It thereby helps immensely as there is no 'un-do' in the real world as it can only be done in the virtual world,"  Pothukuchi continued noting that India itself has a large local market to cater to apart from the opportunities the export provides. 

Taking the discussions forward, Anuj Kapuria, Founder & CEO, Hi-Tech Robotics Systemz highlighted that 'Amazon-effect'  has brought paradigm shift in the way manufacturing industry functioned initially in comparison to the way it happens now.   Elaborating on the trend further in the context of the automotive industry, Kapuria said that the production life cycle has shrunk now as out of every ten cars rolled out today, about seven are different from each other, which was not the case earlier which is where smart manufacturing will increasingly play a crucial role in complex manufacturing processes. 

Srikanth Bhadravathi, Operations Director, Faurecia India said, "In terms of artificial intelligence, machine learning, preventive maintenance and productivity tools, we have seen many times that the more we measure, the more we can generate business intelligence report/dashboard showing the actual status at any given point of time". 

Talking about the challenges, the speakers during the discussions admitted that while a tier-1 auto component manufacturer may be forced to get into smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 due to the pressure from the industry ecosystem including OEMs, the tier-2 and tier-3 suppliers may find it rather difficult to implement in several cases due to financial or other limitations. 

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