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It’s not just about Make in India, but it has to be to make world class products in India

With focus on the themes of quality, safety and environment, to support manufacturing innovation worldwide by unique sensing and controlling technologies, OMRON Industrial Automation is a global leader providing complete automation solutions for industrial applications. It brings innovation to manufacturing sites through automation with integrated, intelligent and interactive concepts.

OMRON showcased its innovative, futuristic and advanced industrial automation solutions, including lloT and robotics, at the Automation Expo 2017 held in Mumbai from August 9-12, 2017. As Managing Director, Omron Industrial Automation, India, Sameer Gandhi is in charge of expanding the organisation’s footprints in the country by steering the conceptualisation and execution of all key strategies related to sales and business development. In this conversation with Shashank Chaurey, during the exhibition he expresses how India is a vital market in automation, holding potential for multiple opportunities.

Could you elaborate on the product line up that is being exhibited?

Our basic strategy is ILOR+S. I is the input part, so sensors including smart sensors in vision systems has been displayed here. We have vision systems, smart systems including the IoT concept. L is for logic, so we have the PLCs, we have our standard NJ PLCs, the mid range solution PLC which is NX. PLC for multiple axis interpolations NC, CNC, G-code, N-code requirements are also displayed. O is for output, which consists of servers and the drives under display. R is the robot with pick and place as well as mobile robots on display and then we have the Safety which is right at the entrance. Besides this we have also displayed the new panel products with some new panel solutions.

What are the segments Omron is currently engaged in and those which it expects to do business in future?

We are focused and we continue to be focused on automotive and the infrastructure segments. These segments we are directly addressing to end users via the OEMs and etool suppliers that is, their supplier base and these sectors. We are also watching digital manufacture because digital is big for us outside India and as the digital industry picks up in India we will start to cater to that as well.

What is your take on Make in India initiative?

I think there is lot of positive ground swell in the market. For us, Make in India is very important because we consider ourselves as enablers to Make in India. I believe that it’s not just about Make in India, but it has to be to make world class products in India. So if we have to make world class means we have to make products which are globally competitive and even though we may not export them but we still have to make them globally competitive. So if we have to make world class in India, we need world class and the latest automation which is where Omron comes in.

For a new startup under SME/MSME sector, do you think production through automation is feasible?

I would say its even better. Consider an existing chips company and a new company which has come in, now the existing company has already invested two years back, it started small and it bought smaller machine which is probably not automated. But the new company saw the existing company’s machine and it decides to plan bigger and buys a state-of-the-art machine.

The new company invests a little bit more but it gets a machine which is twice as fast and comes with automation. Now to catch up with this, the existing company has to chunk its old machine and upgrade its facility. Thus, for the existing company the investment is even higher. So for a new entrant I would say it’s actually better because they can get the latest and the cost you know is not going up because at the same price point they are getting something better. So for a new entrant it perhaps is a little easier.

On an average basis how much time does it take for ROI from the Omron product lineup?

It varies widely. If it’s an embedded automation nobody even bothers about the ROI, as it doesn’t have them. In the sense, the machine cannot run without it, so you need the ROI of the machine and not the automation there. But in case of a robot it’s about 2 years on an average.

Talking about IoT, which was the product with which Omron started implementing the concept and how it has been since then?

We have the advantage of being a ground level company. We are right at the bottom with our sensors so that’s the first place that we started because IoT if you see, the concept is about gathering the data and you need to gather this data from this ground zero. Since we are into sensors, we have the advantage of being able to collect that ground level data, as sensors are at the bottom of the pyramid in automation.

So if your solutions here are based on the sensors then the sensor data is aggregated. The data can be retrieved from vision systems, PLCs, etc., which is relatively easier as compared to gathering data from sensors because the sensors are hundreds or thousands in a line and that’s where is the critical part. This is because, for an FMCG company with 170 meter long conveyer for finished goods, if there is a failure in a particular sensor, it needs to be detected. Otherwise about 70 per cent of the time gets spent to find where the fault is and not repairing it which comes much later. So using smart sensors they are eliminating this 70 per cent because now they know where the problem is, what the problem is.

Also, the sensors are able to predict where the failure is likely to happen. If there is dust accumulation on the light source or the emitting source is weakening or the ambient is very high because of which probability of failure increases, all of this data is getting captured. So you are now actually using that data to reduce your downtime.

How would you describe the import and export of technology or services with respect to Omron?

We don’t have manufacturing here, we basically are importing the products whereas the solutions we are developing here. Thus, we are not just selling products we are actually selling solutions to our customers. So when we are selling solutions many of these are being exported, in again embedded with our customer’s machines, so to that extent yes we are exporting. Usually packaging is where it is happening most, basically machines like packaging machines or plastic machines or moulding machines. Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe are the three main hotspots right now.

How is the Indian market from Omron’s perspective?

I would say the market is growing, the automation market is growing. We see a growth of about GDP plus 3 per cent points and we see this growth pace will pick up further as the pace of manufacturing picks up. Since the share of manufacturing has to be about 25 per cent of GDP up from the 16 per cent that is now. This acceleration means the automation will start to follow the manufacturing acceleration curve. From Omron Japan’s point of view, India is a focus market due to combination of factors like demographic dividend – India is expected to be a huge consumer country and hence the manufacturing has to keep up the pace. The political push now to increase the manufacturing base is even more, so that’s positive for us. The ingenuity that Indians already have, the entrepreneurship the Indians have means that we are going to probably do a lot more in manufacturing than what we are doing now. So if you put all of this it looks, here’s a country to watch out for, this is where the growth is going to happen.

What are the service support offered by Omron?

Our standard service portfolio basically starts from conceptualisation. So when the customer is conceptualising it we get involved and then we help develop the solution and once we have delivered it we provide after sales support. After sales support includes onsite service, offsite, basically repair services that we provide in India and it includes training services.


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