“Human factor will be very vital for smart manufacturing”

Smart manufacturing, which uses production and sensor data in conjunction manufacturing technologies, enables multifold increase in productivity and efficiency of the plant.
“Human factor will be very vital for smart manufacturing”
Smart manufacturing, which uses production and sensor data in conjunction manufacturing technologies, enables multifold increase in productivity and efficiency of the plant. Today’s manufacturing environment is demanding as companies face challenges such as faster time to market, complex production processes, compliance issues and customer expectations for near-perfect quality. This leads to a paradigm shift from conventional production practices to more smart methods, says Nitin Lall, General Manager, Industrial Technique, Atlas Copco India. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, he explains how companies can adopt to changing manufacturing requirements with modern technologies. 
 
How are today’s manufacturing plants different from yesteryear? What are the reasons for these changes?
Increased productivity along with mistake proofing remains the key objectives of today’s manufacturing plants. Faster time to market and flexible production are also the need of the hour. Understanding market dynamics and realising business yields without compromising quality standards makes today’s manufacturing environment more challenging and demanding. This leads to a paradigm shift from conventional production practices to more smart methods.
 
Atlas Copco Smart Connected Assembly offers assembly solutions, complementing the needs under Industry 4.0 and digitalization of assembly manufacturing factories.
 
Where does India stand in terms of usage of smart manufacturing tools? 
Needs under smart manufacturing are varying as per the demands of each region or country. At present, India is standing at a door step of transformation of age old practices to adapt new practices fulfilling the market demands without neglecting effective use of human resource which is very strong and available in ample unlike other developed western countries. The smart manufacturing needs basic infrastructure at production levels which have started in many automotive companies.
 
What does Industry 4.0 means to SMEs in terms of challenges and opportunities?
Adaptation is the most import criteria for SMEs while entering in to world of digital factories. Automation is not everything under IOT/Industry 4.0. Mistake proofing and continuous improvement drives are equally important which can be effectively implemented rather than completely changing manufacturing processes.PLC free error proofing solutions coupled with process data traceability is an apt platform for SMEs to implement.
 
Could you suggest some practical tips to adopt smart manufacturing solutions?
The first step is to ensure if the factory equipment are capable of being managing smart manufacturing solutions and enhancing them. A key enabler is the emergence and use of new technologies for connecting people, equipment and machines. And with it, the improved capacity for integrated analysis and use of large amounts of data across value chains. We need to adopt to practices which will enable us to analyse the data for improvement in productivity and overcoming errors.Smart Assembly Manufacturing Solutions (SAMS) from Atlas Copco offers a multifold platform for process integration and improvement, achieving process traceability coupled with data analysis.
 
How new age technologies like 3D printing, AI, VR, IoT, etc are changing manufacturing landscape?
These technologies are bound to change the manufacturing landscape with paradigm shift resulting in more flexible environment and production lines becoming more lean. Time to market has shortened down and it complements with market demands of today’s digital fast world.
 
Why is data security important in connected, automated factory? 
Data security remains of prime most importance and this would enable new business opportunities in the data security front from manufacturing industry. Needless to say, the quality of network and the infrastructure needs to be assured for production uptime and overcoming uncertain possibilities of black out.
 
What is the significance of robotics in increasing productive of manufacturing sector? 
In automotive industry, robotics has dominated the body shop/paint shop areas and is very effective means of technology usage to work in hazardous unsafe environment. In addition to the same, a collaborative robot (Cobot) offers more productive and safe environment for operators. Human resource in India is the most powerful and, if effectively used with right approach of automation and robotic, will work wonders for the manufacturing industry.
Atlas Copco offers Cobot-based assembly solutions, amalgamating operator effectiveness with smartness and intelligence of robotic automation.
 
Why sustainability is a key aspect of smart manufacturing facility?
Significant reduction in energy use is possible by virtualizing control logic. Having one physical machine controlling multiple processes, the potential for saving is significant. In a typical industrial environment, much of the energy is consumed by production equipment in stand-by. Recent studies indicate that up to 80 per cent of this energy is consumed when the equipment and tools are in stand-by mode. For factories powered by wind and solar, reducing energy consumption is more than a cost reduction; it’s a necessity to meet environmental policies.
Multiple wireless assembly 
tools running on one assembly process controller is one of key initiative of Atlas Copco, continuing our promise of offering sustainable productivity solutions.
 
Will advanced automation lead to job losses?
Human factor would be still a very vital factor in the smart manufacturing industry. Hence, eliminating human resource would not be the solution. India is blessed with ample human resource, hence digital or automation initiatives are to be used for reducing operator risk and increasing productivity by introducing methods for reduction of errors and generating data with strong analytical power.
 
Why smart manufacturing is important for the success of Make in India initiative?
Make in India drive will lead to ample of opportunities for SMEs and large scale industries, to increase exports and preparing India to become a manufacturing hub. To complement, we need to implement solid practices which will assure we produce finished products without any quality defects, at the same time we are able to generate data giving us solid power of analysis and traceability. This is possible by implementing smart manufacturing practices. One of the key areas where Indian automotive industry can be successful with smart manufacturing would be in the area of making electric vehicles (EV) and becoming a manufacturing hub for a large market.
Atlas Copco cross-functional solution platform offers smart assembly solutions integrated in to work process control software based error proofing methods, with quality assurance practices by integrating production process information and quality assurance data.
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