Automation offers huge potential for SMEs

  • Interviews
  • Oct 30,21
Securing supply chains has gained prominence due to Covid 19 pandemic; thus, increasing the need for scalable infrastructure and high-performance communication networks. Digitalization has certainly received an extra boost from the Covid pandemic, says Manoj Dunung, Managing Director, Weidmuller Electronics India Pvt Ltd. In this interview, Manoj Dunung explains how Weidmüller is helping manufacturing companies to prepare for the future with its pioneering solutions.
Automation offers huge potential for SMEs

Securing supply chains has gained prominence due to Covid 19 pandemic; thus, increasing the need for scalable infrastructure and high-performance communication networks. Digitalization has certainly received an extra boost from the Covid pandemic, says Manoj Dunung, Managing Director, Weidmuller Electronics India Pvt Ltd. In this interview, Manoj Dunung explains how Weidmüller is helping manufacturing companies to prepare for the future with its pioneering solutions.

How is Weidmuller serving industries?
Weidmuller Electronics India Pvt Ltd is a 100% subsidiary unit of the Weidmueller Interface GmbH & Co, Germany. Weidmuller is the leading international provider of solutions for electrical connectivity, transmission, conditioning and processing of power, signals and data in industrial environments. Weidmuller provides solutions to different industries like machinery & factory automation, process, energy, transportation, device manufacturers, building infrastructure etc.

Weidmuller develops, produces and sells following products in the field of electrical connectivity, functional electronics, communication electronics and industrial automation:

  • Modular terminal blocks
  • Application-specific solutions
  • Device Connectivity (PCB) and field wiring solutions
  • Enclosures/ glands even for hazardous area applications
  • Electronics & automation products and solutions
  • Tools & markers
  • Network interfaces
  • Industrial anayltics
  • Energy management
  • What are the advantages of Weidmuller products & services? How do they help customers to increase their efficiency and productivity?
    Today, hardly any industry - be it automotive manufacturing, power generation, machinery or plant engineering - can do without electronics and electrical connectivity. Whether in the automotive industry, transport or energy sector, we develop innovative solutions for our customers' challenges with passion and in-depth know-how. Today, Weidmüller stands for much more than a simple terminal block. Weidmüller has developed into a specialist in Industrial Connectivity and offers a wide range of corresponding products. In recent years, the market's requirements for Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) have been added to this.

    Weidmüller has accepted the challenge and supports industrial companies with industrial analytics, connectivity consulting and the "Automated Machine Learning Tool". These are the right tools to identify concrete solutions and individual potential for our customers, to develop needs-based solutions and to successfully integrate them into existing structures.

    As the economy (global & Indian) recovers from Covid 19 pandemic, what are key challenges before the manufacturing sector?
    Digitalization, climate change, the energy transition or even electromobility are topics that not only move us privately, but also us as Weidmüller. We are thinking about new technologies that contribute to the reduction of electricity consumption and more efficient use. In this context, DC technology is seen as having great potential for improving the energy balance in industrial production, for example. An important step towards climate-neutral production.

    What kind of new opportunities are you looking to tap?
    As a pioneer and trailblazer, Weidmüller already offers concrete solutions that enable manufacturing companies to prepare for the IoT and secure production control from the cloud. We want to consistently pursue this path and offer our customers solutions from the sensor to the cloud. In doing so, we focus on solutions for data acquisition, data pre-processing, data transmission and analysis. Always according to the motto: The path to the Industrial IoT does not have to be complicated. Regardless of whether access to valuable data is required or new, data-related services are to be generated, Weidmüller offers components, services and, thus, enables simple access to the Industrial IoT.

    Do you think the need for automation has increased because of Covid pandemic?
    Digitalization has certainly received an extra boost from the Covid pandemic. The need for scalable infrastructure and high-performance communication networks has increased. The pandemic in particular has shown how important it is to secure supply chains. In particular, rapid market changes can be better responded to with the right automation strategy. Companies find it easier to adapt. Vertical integration in manufacturing, with fewer interfaces, plays a large part in this.

    How can SMEs adopt automation & digital solutions in their manufacturing and business processes? Can small (SMEs) become smart?
    Yes, there is a lot of potential in automation and digitalization processes, especially for SMEs. However, every company should be aware that digitalization makes the need to change certain processes inevitable. SMEs, in particular, can benefit from this, as they can initiate and implement changes more quickly and flexibly. The company must first clarify for itself where it wants to develop and how much change the company organization can handle - in terms of culture, know-how and technology. The basic rule is: many small steps are often easier than one big one and create more acceptance for changed working environments. To do this, the right products, tools or system solutions need to be found. A partner can also help to increase one's own competitiveness and develop sustainable business models. Weidmüller is taking the steps towards digitalization itself and also supports its customers from its own experience.

    Are automation solutions presently available in the market cost-effective?
    The answer to this question is a resounding yes. Automation solutions have been used in various forms for 30 years and are established technology. In addition, there are new tools with the expansion of IoT and AI. In this area, we are currently in the investment phase. The development of automation solutions towards IoT and AI is indispensable for Industry 4.0 and the IoT.

    Why is upskilling important for companies with the rise in usage of automation?
    The opportunities, but also the challenges, are becoming greater due to increasing automation and digitalization. For this, the topic of training is very important. Bringing your own employees along and introducing them to the new technology creates trust and acceptance, especially for the use of new technologies. We ourselves have an extensive training program for our employees. But we also support our customers who are going down this path with training courses, webinars and training sessions.

    Are you planning to launch any new products/services? If yes, please elaborate on it
    In particular, we will continuously expand our automation and IoT portfolio to offer an end-to-end solution from data collection to data analysis. For example, with the expansion of our u-sense components, the smart sensor technology for data collection or acquisition. In the area of data processing, our u-control web control system scores points, which with its newly integrated container technology stands for future-proof automation infrastructure. With the use of new, open communication protocols, Weidmüller convinces users not only at the control level, but also with IoT solutions, such as the IoT gateway. The trend towards communication-enabled solutions is clearly evident. The best example is our communication-enabled power supply or the IoT-enabled surge protection. For the further processing of data, the integration of ML and AI methods into further hardware and software products will be on the agenda.

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