VDMA’s Robotomation symposium highlights trends in robotic automation
Robotomation symposium - hosted by German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) in Gurgaon on Feb 19, 2021 - brought the users and vendors of automation technology under one roof to discuss the latest trends and applications in the manufacturing sector in India.
The VDMA Robotics + Automation Association of German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) organised “Robotomation – Symposium for Robotic Automation Trends in Manufacturing” on February 19, 2021 at The Taj City Centre, Gurgaon. Despite the prevailing circumstances around the pandemic, more than 205 participants constituting mainly of the Indian tier 1-automotive, tyre & wheel making industry, machine tool, food & beverages and water industry attended the prestigious event.
The new World Robotics 2020 report by International Federation of Robotics (IFR) states that in 2019, Sales of new robots remain on a high level with 373,000 units shipped globally. Though this is 12 per cent less compared to 2018, but still the 3rd highest sales volume ever recorded. Statistics shows that the global operational stock of industrial robots rose by about 65 per cent to 2.4 million units within five years (2013-2018). Employment in the automotive industry – the largest adopter of robots – increased by 22 per cent from 824,400 to 1,005,000 jobs (2013-2018). The impact of automation on employment will not be, in any respect, different from the previous waves of technology-driven change. The average robot density over all robotised economies in world was 113 robots per 10T employees in 2019. The highest is in Singapore with 918 robots per 10T employees followed by Republic of Korea with 868. Germany has 346 robots per 10T employees. In China it is 187, whereas in India it is only 6.
Therefore, it has become imperative for organisations to find ways to bridge the skill-gap to stay ahead of the curve. They can achieve this by either hiring the right people with the right skills; or helping their existing employees stay relevant by upskilling them. The gradual integration of robotics and automation in the workplace has begun, transforming the nature of roles and functions in its wake. Hence, with automation driving significant changes in the workplaces, employers realise the need to create a system capable of supporting humans and robots' interaction.
Robotomation symposium was moderated by Jamly John, General Manager VDMA India, also responsible for VDMA Robotics + Automation in India. In his welcome address, Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India, said, “The passenger vehicle segment clocked a growth of 11.14 per cent in January 2021 at 2L 76 T units, thus remaining in the positive territory for the sixth straight month, against 2L 48T units in the corresponding month a year ago. Two-wheeler volumes rose in January 2021 by 6.63 per cent to 14L 30T units, compared to 13L 41T units in January 2020. While motorcycle sales increased 5.1 per cent to 9L16 T units as against 8L 72T in January 2020, scooter sales were up 9.06 per cent at 4L54T units from 4L17T units a year ago. The total vehicle sales increased by 4.97 per cent to 17L 32T units last month as against 16L50T units in the year ago period.”
Today, the automotive industry is the largest adopter of robotic solutions in India. “We are also seeing segments including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, electronics and the logistics industry starting to adopt automation and robotics at a much faster pace. It is worth bearing in mind that artificial intelligence, automation, IoT, and robotics are becoming more prominent. Naturally, the impact of automation is growing significantly in the workplace. This situation places immense pressure on the skills landscape. The pace of technological advancement and the rate at which professionals update their skills are already causing the skill-gap to become more expansive. Further the viral outbreak has further accelerated the digital transformation within the global business ecosystem,” added Rajesh Nath.
In his keynote address on “The global robotics and automation boom”, Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director of VDMA Robotics + Automation & Member of the Executive Board of the International Federation of Robotics, said, “India has made great progress in harnessing the benefits of robotics and automation technologies for its manufacturing sector. India saw dynamic growth of industrial robotics – CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of +15 per cent p.a. between 2014 and 2019 in installations! Therefore, the new VDMA Robotomation symposium is a much-needed event - the place where users and vendors of automation technology can discuss the latest trends and applications on the highest level.”
The Minister & Head of the Economic Cooperation, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, New Delhi, Dr Joerg Polster gave an address through video. He stated how Make in India & Self-Reliant India (Aatmanirbhar Bharat) will play a major role in the automation industry. He emphasised on the increasing importance of automation with the pandemic today and the world markets going more local in comparison to global trends in manufacturing.
The inauguration was chaired B B Gupta, President Business Head Auto Components, JBM Group, who addressed on the theme of “Emerging trends in the automotive industry with the adoption of robotics & automation”, and Vinnie Mehta, Director General, ACMA, who spoke on “Rebound of automotive industry post Covid”.
During this event, well-known VDMA members namely Baumer India, Dürr India, FESTO India, Gudel India, KUKA India, Pepperl+Fuchs Factory Automation, SICK India and Zimmer Automation conducted application-oriented technology presentations.
The first round of technology-oriented presentation was led by Manoj Yadav, General Manager, KUKA India, giving insights on “Key applications, challenges and way forward for robotic automation in auto OEMs and tier 1 industry”. Sunil Raibagi, Managing Director Asia & Vice President Business Development & Strategy, Zimmer Automation, presented an overview on “Smart gripping solutions for tyre, intralogistics in automotive industry”. Pramod Parulekar, Head of Cluster India – Process Automation, FESTO India, spoke on “Automation in water & wastewater industry”. Vikas Anwekar, Product Marketing Manager – Vision Technology, Baumer India gave insights on “High performance machine vision and smart sensor solutions for modern manufacturing” and Prashanth Alevoor, Head - Robotic Application Technologies, Dürr India, updated on “Innovative robotic painting with smart technologies”.
The second round of technology-oriented presentation was led by Ravi Agarwal, Managing Director, Pepperl + Fuchs Factory Automation, gave insights on “Sensors for smart manufacturing”. Ashish Kashikar, Market Product Manager – Industrial Safety, SICK India spoke about “Safe robotics”. Sheetal Deshpande, Chief Sales Officer & Shailesh Bokil, Head Engineering from Gudel India gave an overview on “Intelligent technologies for motion”.
The panel discussion on “Role of Robotics + Automation for the Manufacturing Industry” was moderated by Rajesh Nath and included panelists like Rajachandran Madhan, Director, Indo-German Science & Technology Centre (IGSTC); Achintya Lahiri, National Head- Packaging Development and Engineering, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd; and Rajiv Wahi, Chief Executive-International Business (EAM), Escorts Ltd.
The panelist highlighted the increased use of robotics and automation today in the manufacturing industry and even in their own factories and it being inevitable to avoid the adoption of technology in the fast-paced industry. The panelists also spoke about the increased use of robots and mainly collaborative robots in today industry which is more economical and also viable for the SME and MSME industries. They also discussed that Indian workforce needs to be educated on the adoption of automation at workplaces and this should start with the re-orientation of our educational curriculum giving more focus towards AI, Industry 4.0 and digitization in the ITI’s and other institutions.
The Robotomation symposium was powered by automatica, the leading fair on automation and robotics which is organised by Messe Munich in Munich every two years. Partners - Baumer India, Dürr India, FESTO India, Gudel India, KUKA Robotics, Pepperl+Fuchs Factory Automation, SICK India, Zimmer Automation, Cotmac Electronics, DiFacto Robotics and Automation, Fluro Engineering, Schmalz India & Wenzel South Asia - present their technologies to the delegates in B2B exhibition space at the symposium.
The symposium concluded with a Networking High Tea which provided a good interaction and networking opportunity for both the delegates, speakers and exhibitors at the event. The German companies operating in India are quite upbeat about the business opportunities in India and have been quite successful. They have established their strong presence over the years and with a stable government now in the second terms, they are only looking positively towards the new initiatives in the path of progress for the industry.