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India offers a big opportunity for sensors & industrial automation

Sick is one of the world’s leading producers of sensors and sensor solutions for industrial automation applications. In this interview, Atul Dave, MD of SICK India Pvt Ltd, shared his view on Industry 4.0 and India as potential market for sensors.

Germany is one of India's most important trade partners. What are your views on India as a market?

India, as a market for industrial automation and sensors, offers a big opportunity. However, the potential for the same is not yet fully realised. The learning curve is bit slow for the industry to rapidly embrace technological advancement. However, we feel that this will change soon and when it happens the growth will be exponential.

How has been the performance SICK so far in India?

SICK India is doing reasonably good clocking double digit growth in last five years. SICK India is able to offer locally world class product and support the same. In fact local support for all the products, systems and service offering is one of the key growth driver and differentiator for us.

Kindly brief us about SICK business operations in India. Which end-user industries are the main demand drivers for SICK products & solutions in India?

SICK India is operating in all the three industry clusters - ie factory automation, process automation and logistics automation. We find that all the three industry sectors are showing pretty good signs of growth. However automotive, consumer goods and intralogistics industry are the main demand drivers. Power and cement industries are also driving the growth in infrastructure largely driven by stricter regulatory norms for emission and process requirement.

What is driving the demand for sensors in the country?

Industry have started using the sensors not only for the process or application requirement but also for improving the productivity and offer better end products. Customers are now looking at suppliers who can provide support at all the stages of product life cycle besides providing state-of-the-art products.

Use of automation is increasing across industries in India. What does it mean to SICK?

The more the industry leans towards the automation the more the potential for SICK to sell sensors. SICK is able to offer sensors which can be hooked up to all kind of communication protocols and can interface with various automation and MES/ERP platforms right up to Industry 4.0 or Internet of Things (IOT).

How is Industry 4.0 shaping up in India? Can developing country like India adopt Industry 4.0 technologies?

Interestingly, India is not behind when it comes to Industry 4.0. We hear lot of customers talking about implementing the same and it has been a buzzword in the industry circles. However, Indian industry is moving fast towards this direction and we see lot of industry players are on the verge of implementing the product/system which will be the precursor for such advancement. In fact, we already have few couple of success in this direction in local Indian market.

How is the factory automation helping automotive industry?

Automation is helping automotive industry to a great extent. Be it simple automation of powertrain line or assembly operation. Automation helps customer keep track of the movement of auto parts across the line in a real time and help them trace and track of each and every component. More and more robots and cooperation of robots with human is also made more productive and safe by safety products offering from SICK.

What are the emerging trends in sensor technology?

Sensors are now becoming more and more intelligent. This is what our tagline is - SICK Sensor Intelligence. Over the years, the intelligence is now getting shifted to sensors from the controller making sensors more agile and productive. Connectivity of sensors with different communication systems is also the new trends, eg IO link connectivity. This will definitely set a platform for all futuristic Industry 4.0 architectures in industrial environment.

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