Discussing the impact of Industry 4.0 on metal forming:
Industry 4.0 basically means smart factories, integration between inter-disciplinary departments and processes, and highly advanced artificial intelligence system that can self-correct, trouble shoot and even redefines or re-configures processes and systems for seamless manufacturing. Metal forming industry wouldn’t be largely impacted by this. Traditional metal forming processes such as forging, rolling, stamping, extrusion, bending, deep drawing and shearing would continue as they are.
The radical transformation will happen at the OEM or multifunctional and large sized Tier 1 level. Metal forming companies are the suppliers or Tier 2s. They will have to manufacture based on the demands and requirements of the OEMs.
According to Dr. Laxminarayan.K, Regional Manager Technical, DesignTech Systems Ltd, There would be transition in the data and knowledge sharing mechanism. He adds, “Everything would be integrated in the suppliers’ management systems, which even today some of the companies follow and practice with PLM software, based on which deliveries and commercial settlements are managed. The entire products assembly, quality check, inventory management, data and resources management and integrated communications with the suppliers and vendors would be managed digitally.”
Industry 4.0: The next big Industrial Revolution
Industry 4.0 basically is complete digitalisation of processes, advanced automation and robotics, self-monitored and guided systems through artificial intelligence that would manage the day-to-day working of the factories. This is predicted to be the next big Industrial Revolution. Laxminarayan feels that the human interface would be minimum as regular processes would be largely governed, managed, and executed through artificial intelligence.
The human interface component would be limited up to defining standards, providing logics and deciding the key boundaries and parameters within which the artificial intelligence subsystems would operate and would be allowed or given liberty to make independent decisions.
Industry 4.0: Helps in making decentralised decisions
Sameer Kelkar, CEO and R&D Head, Grind Master Machines Pvt Ltd says, “Industry 4.0 or the fourth Industrial Revolution is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It uses cyber-physical systems and cloud computing. Machines are meant to improve quality productivity and cost efficiency.”
He adds, “With Industry 4.0, machines are becoming smarter and users are able to interact with these smart machines in similar way we interact with smartphones. There machines communicate and cooperate with each other and humans in real-time which helps in making decentralised decisions. Industries with scattered manufacturing plants can now coordinate in much better way due to this.”
Self-diagnostics is another feature which helps in preventive maintenance which eventually helps in increasing productivity and quality. Kelkar informs, “Machine tools industry is working on adopting Industry 4.0 by developing smart machines for metal forming industry which are able accessible over cloud.”
Kelkar feels that most of the troubleshooting work can be handled remotely. It is helpful from smaller companies where plant managers or owners are able to track the production and maintenance data on single click over his smartphone or PC. Grind Master is leading this front with its latest NanoSmart control system which is showcasing Industry 4.0 in real sense.
It’s time to upgrade the technology
According to Vivek Nanivadekar, Executive Director, FIBRO India Precision Products Pvt Ltd, Industry 4.0 has become the buzzword in engineering industry but honestly, we are too far from that. He adds, “One way it is interpreted as predictive maintenance. To reach to that stage we need very large data like characteristics of each and every component used in the system and then derive the characteristics of the complete unit as a single piece.”
Nanivadekar comments, “In the first place we need to answer whether we really need Industry 4.0? And can we afford it? If yes, then we think of 2nd step.”
Secondly, he opines, “We need to upgrade our technology and be at a par with the global practices. Then only we can think of Industry 4.0 for metal forming. It is more relevant when we adopt the total automation using transfer press and allied technology. As such it is too early to foresee the impact of Industry 4.0 on Metal forming industry in India.”
Industry 4.0: A step closer to reality
Maulik Patel, Executive Director, Sahajanand Laser Technology Ltd, says, “Technology is transforming business models. As challenges for the manufacturing industry are growing, manufacturers need to transform. Industry 4.0 is a significant step closer to reality, paving the way to profitable plants with high availability. It takes transformation – digitalisation solutions to realise innovation, performance, thereby realising their own digital enterprise.”
He adds, “Industry 4.0 is leveraging for efficiency, adaptability and productivity. There are other areas that need special focus including good quality products, alignment of jobs, skilling, perfect supply chain and innovation to benefit the economy holistically.
Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution integrates the digital and manufacturing world. Technologies moving from electrified to automated, to digitalised manufacturing, such as big data and analytics, autonomous robots, IoT, cyber security and augmented reality are transforming the manufacturing landscape.
However, Patel informs, “This can be the fulcrum to catapult Indian manufacturing to make India a truly global hub. The transmission will require significant economic and social change along with political and institutional frame work.”
Right product to right people, at right price
Pradeep Patil, Managing Director, TRUMPF India (P) Ltd, says, “The industry has been evolving. It has been responding to the challenge of ensuring the delivery of right products at the right price to the right person through a process of improved sophistication.”
In this context, Industry 4.0 is the buzzword being talked about in manufacturing industry for couple of years now together with “smart” controls and sensors, “connecting” the devices.
He adds, “In matured markets, where the infrastructure required for leveraging the benefits of technology are in place, we see that the benefits have already being reaped, but the share is still in single digit.”
Patil observes, “For us, here in India, we have begun to adopt the machine technologies, but the infrastructure and knowledge that overlaps manufacturing and digital world are yet to reach the levels where we see the implementation of digitalisation in full effect. “
Digital transformation is rapidly recognised to be driving change in the manufacturing industry, and no geography can afford to ignore its merits. The company feels that India is uniquely poised in this aspect and believe the adoption rate would be much faster than the rest of the world.
The human interface would be minimum as regular processes would be largely governed, managed, and executed through artificial intelligence.
Dr. Laxminarayan.K, Regional Manager Technical, DesignTech Systems Ltd
With Industry 4.0, machines are becoming smarter and users are able to interact with these smart machines in similar way we interact with smartphones.
Sameer Kelkar, CEO and R&D Head, Grind Master Machines Pvt Ltd
We need to upgrade our technology and be at a par with the global practices. Then only we can think of Industry 4.0 for metal forming.
Vivek Nanivadekar, Executive Director, FIBRO India Precision Products Pvt Ltd
Industry 4.0 is a significant step closer to reality, paving the way to profitable plants with high availability.
Maulik Patel, Executive Director, Sahajanand Laser Technology Ltd
Ensuring the delivery of right products at the right price to the right person through a process of improved sophistication.
Pradeep Patil, Managing Director, TRUMPF India (P) Ltd