Make in India initiative seems to be bearing fruit

Rising application of electronics in sectors such as lighting, automotive, communications, etc and favorable government policies are aiding demand for electronic components and products.
Make in India initiative seems to be bearing fruit
Rising application of electronics in sectors such as lighting, automotive, communications, etc and favorable government policies are aiding demand for electronic components and products. However, to unlock the full potential of the Indian electronics industry, it is imperative to create a supportive ecosystem to facilitate manufacturing competitiveness, believes Manoj Dunung, Managing Director, Weidmuller Electronics India Pvt Ltd. In this interview, Manoj Dunung focuses on the changing manufacturing scenario and how Weidmuller, as a partner for industrial connectivity, is playing an essential role in shaping the future of the industry.
Could you take us through the journey of Weidmuller? 
Weidmuller is considered a pioneer in connectivity. Over the years, we have helped shape an entire industry with our inventions. Here we can look back on a long tradition dating back to the year 1850, when Weidmuller was founded as a textile company. The shift to technology occurred some 100 years later: in 1948 Weidmuller produced its first modular terminal blocks and has been ever-present in the industrial and technology sector since then. 
The big leap finally began with the production and sale of the first plastic-insulated terminal block. It all started out modestly. In 1952, the company was represented for the first time at the Hannover Messe for Industry or HMI, Europe’s largest technology trade fair. Over sixty years later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama visited Weidmuller’s stand at the same trade fair and marveled at our innovations. Whether the PUSH IN connection system or tried and test clamping yoke technology, Weidmuller has developed pioneering innovations in the field of connectivity over the years.
How is the changing industrial environment driving the demand for your products? 
Digitization, Modulization and decentralization are having a major impact on the automation industry.Today, the interaction of automation and energy technology, intra-logistics, IT platforms and artificial intelligence forms the driving force behind the Industry 4.0, IIoT and digitalization at large.
At the smart production solution (SPS) 2019, exhibitors presented not only their solutions, but also various products and example applications for the digital transformation. Topics such as 5G, artificial intelligence and IoT platforms are increasingly coming into the focus of companies. For implementation, they are increasingly working with partners, including IT companies, which is also something we saw at SPS.
Connectivity and automation technologies are the keys to interlink all production and logistics processes, whether of power, signals or data, of demands and solutions or of theory and practice.
What is plaguing the growth of India’s electrical and electronics industry?
The ‘Make in India’ initiative seems to be bearing fruit. Favorable business policies for the domestic electronics sector have undoubtedly played their part, in addition to the wide scale application of electronic components and products in sectors such as lighting, automotive, communications, etc. However, to unlock the full potential of the Indian electronics industry, it is imperative to create a supportive ecosystem to facilitate manufacturing competitiveness, and this should be backed by strong domestic R&D. The market will also see significant demand from emerging application areas like automotive electronics, including electric vehicles and connected mobility related applications.
India’s electrical equipment industry is expected to play a critical role in improving its power infrastructure. Undoubtedly, the health of the Indian electrical equipment industry is of prime importance. The industry faces challenges both domestically and internationally. Low capacity utilisations, especially in the transmission & distribution (T&D) segment, and the growing threat of low cost imports are some of the key challenges. A key challenge for the domestic manufacturing ecosystem is the low cumulative value addition in the production cycle, which is far lower than the global average. This can be attributed to a limited domestic components manufacturing ecosystem, the high cost of finance, power and inefficient infrastructure. For domestic manufacturing to flourish in the electronics industry, India needs to focus on critical enablers such as large scale demand creation, cost competitive domestic manufacturing and ease of manufacturing.
Ease of manufacturing can be achieved by providing easy access to skilled manpower, providing better connectivity through roads and railways to reduce transit time and logistics costs on key industrial corridors, and by creating a strong intellectual property rights framework for IoT, among others.
How is rise in electrification in industries (like railways, automotive, etc) aiding growth?
A Roadmap for Digital Railways published in collaboration between CER, CIT, EIM and UIC specifies that the main areas of deployment of digital technologies in rail transport are:
  • Offering connected railways by providing reliable connectivity for safe, efficient and attractive railways
  • Enhancing customer experience by offering better and added value for customers
  • Increasing capacity by enhancing reliability, efficiency and performance of railways
  • Boosting rail competitiveness by making the most of transport data
The use of digital data processing is revolutionising maintenance of infrastructure and rolling stock. Based on millions of data points captured from sensors on critical train components, analytics can detect impending part defects, ensuring maintenance is only done when required, but before a defect occurs. Reliable knowledge of which parts are likely to fail in the near future allows for close to 100 per cent availability, as faults are fixed when units are not currently in service, avoiding breakdowns. This improves the reliability of the system as the typical operational fleet reserves of 5-15 per cent kept as back-up in the event of faults can now be reduced, thus increasing the effective capacity. 
By consolidating volumes of maintenance data with business processes and IT systems and using cloud computing, manufacturers of rolling stock are now able to offer a number of new digital services, such as: Fault Detection as a Service; Predictive Maintenance as a Service (PMaaS); Simulation as a Service; Remote monitoring of location and condition of all vehicles in real time remote diagnostics; Root cause investigations of faults; and automatic data visualization algorithms for preventive fault analysis.
How do you intend to tap some of the emerging trends in the electrical and electronics industry?
As a partner for Industrial Connectivity, we play an essential role in shaping this development with our products and solutions. Besides intelligent and communication-capable components for the panel, as well as on the device and field level, Weidmuller also increasingly offers automation and digitalisation solutions. We want to consistently pursue our strategy of generating added value from data and enabling new business models.
At the same time, we are investing more heavily in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) field in order to become a recognised player in the future. With our u-mation portfolio, we have already established a good basis here.
In the future, we intend to invest even more in the development of IIoT solutions for data collection. With investments in industrial infrastructure, automated switch cabinet construction and services, we see ourselves well positioned for the future.
What are your plans for Elecrama 2020?
The event has the potential to contribute change for India as manufacturers from around the world showcase their technology and ideas providing the insight on the future. It also gives a platform to showcase innovations, changes in market dynamics and an enabler for technology. We will be focusing on the new developments in the space of Industrial Analytics as an application based solution provider for the manufacturing Industry and also introduce some new concepts/ products like the PV Next a compact, modular combiner box for residential solar applications.
What are your growth plans for the company?
Considering the domestic potential and growth forecast of the country, we intend to grow faster that the market growth by focusing on innovative products & technology, solutions, value add, project engineering and expansion of our sales & distribution network.
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