Discussing the impact of IT on productivity and efficiency in industrial manufacturing.
India’s manufacturing sector is on a high growth trajectory. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Make in India’ program to place India on the world map as a manufacturing hub and give global recognition to the Indian economy. The next generation of manufacturing will be driven by connectivity. It is happening today in modern plants: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is enabling manufacturers to embed assets with the capacity to communicate with each other. This allows manufacturers to continually measure and improve optimal performance, opening up new possibilities for safety, productivity, reliability, organisational responsiveness and, ultimately, profitability. “IIoT is the industrial revolution of the 21st Century. In this industrial system, all processes such as product design, manufacturing, services, and refurbishment are completely integrated and will exchange information in real time. The keystone of the IIoT is productivity,” says Rahul Khare, Regional Business Leader (India & South Asia), Honeywell Connected Plant.
“In the world of oil and gas, where plant owners have one eye on capital expenditures (CAPEX) and another on falling oil prices, the biggest driver of IIoT technology is the promise of greater output. This revolution will transform the manufacturing process by allowing manufacturers to adapt to changing customer needs in a short amount of time,” he adds.
IIoT improves key operational processes
Countries around the world are rapidly moving integrating digitisation. “The IIoT is not only driving advancements in distributed energy and grid communications, but it is also helps improving key operational processes, including remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, advanced control, and safety and security. This has facilitated in the development of a new concept- ‘smart manufacturing’. From smart pipelines to smart meters and the smart grid, every aspect of energy generation and transmission is being made safer, greener, more dependable and efficient through IIoT,” says Sudhir Dembi, General Manager (Plant Solutions) Schneider Automation, Schneider Electric India.
Sustainability and efficiency
Ensuring efficiency with sustainability is the key to development and advancement today. To address this, Schneider Electric has developed innovative technology such as EcoStruxure which involves innovation at every level including IT, buildings, grid, power, machines etc. It is an interoperable and open platform which is IoT enabled that improves operational profitability in a measurable, safe and sustainable way.
Smart industrial automation
Schneider Electric’s Ecostruxure can turn industrial automation into a profit engine of the business. Company’s technology and real-world IIoT expertise help in shifting from managing business, to controlling it. With an empowered workforce and optimised industrial assets, one can maximise not only process efficiency, but also safety, reliability and even profitability of the operations, in real time.
The EcoStruxure Profit Advisor enables industry to control real-time profitability applying big data analytics and patented real-time accounting models to identify potential profitability improvements area. Also, the EcoStruxure Control Advisor Software diagnoses, prioritises and improves control-loop tuning and process optimisation which leads to energy savings and increases production capacity driving operational efficiency and profitability.
Understanding the power and influence of technology
The power and influence of technology will increase as much in the next 12-18 months as it has in the last three decades. Clearly technology cycles, and the pace of technology adoption, have begun to outpace business planning cycles. “Manufacturers today need to learn to manage not for stability, but for disruption. In a manufacturing context, change may come from many directions. Innovations in advanced manufacturing technologies are breaking the traditional paradigms of assembly and ‘subtractive’ manufacturing. Embedded Artificial Intelligence (AI) will allow collaborative business ecosystems not only to connect, but to learn and improve, creating the potential for outcomes we can’t even yet predict,” says Anand Bhade, President of Asia-Pacific Sales & Global Head for Corporate Marketing, Tata Technologies Ltd.
It is important to understand how technology is changing a business. For that one needs to decide which technologies to use to gain business advantage and should build new business models and offerings that use technology to match the ways in which the customers are changing. Perhaps the most significant problem faced by manufacturers today is that of bandwidth; not data bandwidth but human-capital bandwidth.
With disruptive innovation, and the pace of change constantly challenging competitive positive, how can any manufacturer maintain and evolve current product, and invest sufficient time on the next generation of products? Bhade feels it is unlikely that any business can sustain the incremental resource cost to manage both old and new technologies during the transition period. Instead, manufacturers must be disciplined about what is really “core” and what can be considered “non-core”. The answer will be uncomfortable for many, but it is relatively straight forward that manufacturers must partner with suitable external manufacturing sources, and engineering services partners alike, to release critical internal resources to develop the products that will ultimately sustain the future of their business.
IIoT brings significant improvements in productivity
According to Sameer Gandhi, MD, Omron Automation India says, “Some of the key outcomes of IT based solutions (IIoT) are reducing downtime, improvement in efficiency of product changeover and up time, predictive maintenance etc. These all are linked to each other and work in a collaborative manner to bring significant improvements in productivity which is one of the key objectives of any manufacturing operation.”
Total Traceability: The key concept in identification technologies
One can look at one such IT based technology or solution such as Total Traceability – to exemplify the kind of benefits IT has on the manufacturing industries. Gandhi informs, “Total Traceability is the ability to trace and verify the history, location or application of an item by means of documented recorded identification. Considering one defective product can bring loss and setbacks to the credibility of a brand, the solution holds a lot of importance to ensure zero-defects manufacturing system. It also enables big data management – images collated together with process parameters. This data (together with images) can be used for statistical analysis, quality control, quick identification of faulty parts, managing and tracing loss of components while processing from one plant to another.”
Gandhi opines, “Companies adopting traceability can not only actively participate in developing a sustainable and safe production process but also witness significant growth in their profitability while delivering higher customer satisfaction.”