Filter by:  


Industry 4.0: A must to gain global competitiveness

If Indian manufacturing sector has to win against global competition, there is no escape from integrating principles of Industry 4.0 with the Make in India initiative. India can learn from Germany about how to adopt Industries 4.0 in manufacturing sector successfully. India has a unique opportunity to innovatively pave its own road to Smart Manufacturing, says Rajesh Nath.
The complete manufacturing ecosystem is undergoing a phenomenal shift with technological advancements happening at a fast pace. The need to understand and adopt the advanced manufacturing techniques is the need of hour. In current times, Industry 4.0 is talked about at various levels. 
The Government of India’s push to manufacturing through the Make in India initiative has garnered considerable attention from the industry and brought the spotlight back on the manufacturing sector. It is now formulating a National Policy for Advanced Manufacturing, which would be one of the key tools to attain its objective of increasing the contribution of manufacturing output. Consideration is being given to the framework for introduction of ‘Industry 4.0’. There will be tremendous impetus towards modern manufacturing including advanced materials, advanced robotics and 3D printing, among others. 
Industrialisation started with steam and the first machines that mechanised some of the work that our ancestors did. Subsequently we had electricity, the assembly lines and the birth of mass production and then the third era of industry came in with the advent of computers and the beginning of automation when robots and machines began replacing workforce on those assembly lines.
Now we are expected to enter a new world of Industry 4.0, in which computers and automation will come together in an altogether a new way, with robotics connected remotely to computer systems equipped with machine learning algorithms that can control the robotics with minimum human support.
Industry 4.0 has highly intelligent connected systems that create a fully digital value chain. It particularly is based on cyber physical production systems that integrate communications, IT, data and physical elements and wherein these systems transform the traditional plants into smart factories. Here the objective is that the machines talk to other machines and products and information is processed and distributed in real time resulting in profound changes to the entire industrial ecosystem.
VDMA has coined a six dimensional model to assess the readiness of the enterprises, wherein VDMA experts and some industry representatives served in an advisory capacity in the development of the study. The potential, especially for Germany´s mechanical engineering industry and plant engineering sector, is indeed great, both for providers and for users of technologies across the spectrum of Industry 4.0.
A key point in this understanding is that the first two dimensions (smart factory and smart products) relate to the physical world, while the other two dimensions (smart operations and data driven services) represent the virtual representation of physical dimensions. According to this concept, Industry 4.0 can be called as the fusion of the physical and virtual worlds. The six components of readiness model are given below -
  • Strategy and organisation
  • Smart factory
  • Smart operations
  • Smart product
  • Data driven services
  • Employees
Industry 4.0: The concept
Industry 4.0 has many facets to it including the upcoming trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing and lot more. It creates what has been called a “smart factory”. In smart factories, machinery, storage systems and production are capable of carrying out complex tasks, exchanging information and giving instructions to each other, without the need for human involvement.
Industry 4.0 is a means for companies to respond to changing customer preferences (unique personalized, smart and connected products) and market demands (global markets and localized services). Industry 4.0 plans to achieve this by integration of value chains, digitally integrating enterprise processes and integration of manufacturing processes from shop floor to top floor - thus transforming the way products are conceived, engineered, manufactured, delivered and serviced.  This seemingly daunting task is now possible largely due to the confluence of Digital technologies and emergence of Cyber Physical Systems enabling the transformation to Industry 4.0.
Big Data, Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) with the power of Analytics can enable a connected shop floor to help companies monitor and control their assets, and move them from costly periodic maintenance to predictive models, thus improving operational efficiency.Similarly, through such technologies, real-time feedback from the products in operation can help build Digital Twins of the physical products. Digital Twins can be used to optimize product performance, provide additional services throughout the life of the product, thus enabling new revenue streams and business models (eg product as service). Such real-time feedback is also valuable in understanding the product usage patterns and improving the products. 
Collaborative platforms enabled by Block Chain technologies can help companies securely transact data and improve supply chain visibility and traceability. Emerging Additive Manufacturing technologies add flexibility to manufacture in small batches to cater to individualised products at an optimised cost.
Mixed Reality technologies can help faster manufacturing ramp-ups, and safety-critical operations, through visual work instructions. Such technologies can also be leveraged during the life of the product for service engineers, safe use of products and provide augmented services.
Industry 4.0 is transforming three markets namely – B2C, B2B and B2B2B. The latter two have more to gain from its implementation through optimisation of complex value chains. Industry 4.0 implementation is most beneficial to asset driven companies, where costs and outcomes are heavily interdependent With several industries in the throes of transformation, Industry 4.0 is taking shape and delivering initial results. Around 1/5th of industrial companies in the world have already digitalized their key processes. In a few years it is estimated that 85 per cent of industrial companies would have followed suit. Companies are starting to make strategic strides towards the next evolution of business and the key to that futuristic leap could be Industry 4.0. 
Prospect in India
When Germany launched a project under the name ‘Industrie 4.0’ to digitalize manufacturing at the Hannover Messe in 2011, the government officials, industry leaders and academics who were working on the project probably had no idea that Industry 4.0 and specifically that fourth industrial revolution would become such a widely used concept.
Although the term Industry 4.0 and the reference architecture model behind it originate from Germany (hence ‘Industrie 4.0’) and there is major key focus on production and manufacturing, it’s clear that the vision – and reality – of the fourth industrial revolution has caught the attention of organizations across the globe.
According to IBEF, the Government of India has set an ambitious target of increasing the contribution of manufacturing output to 25 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025, from 16 per cent currently. There is no escape from integrating principles of Industry 4.0 with the Make in India initiative, if Indian manufacturing has to win against global competition. IoT, being one of the most important aspects of Industry 4.0 for India, is expected to capture close to 20 percent share in global IoT market in the next five years. According to IBEF forecast, the IoT market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 28 percent during 2015-2020. 
India has a unique opportunity to innovatively pave its own road to Smart Manufacturing. It can skip several steps that other countries adopted in their evolution from an agrarian society to their current stage of development. Industry 4.0 is expected to transform manufacturing in India by bringing operational efficiencies to manufacturing industries like automotive, electrical and electronics.
The major area of focus shall be the technological advancement across various industries. IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things), 3DP (3 dimensional printing), 3D sensors, social software, augmented reality, location awareness are considered to usher in the next era of smart production. These automation technologies collectively are moving the manufacturing industry towards the next phase of technological advancement.
Various Indian companies are increasing their focus and partnering with other companies for developing new IoT and M2M solutions, the Digital India initiative from the Government of India is expected to enhance the focus on IoT in tackling the domestic challenges.
Industry 4.0 could offer a prime platform for strategic cooperation that could help them realign their global positions to maximum advantage. The Department of Electronics & Information Technology of India published the IoT policy estimating that the industry will grow to Rs 940 billion by 2020. Focus areas include agriculture, health, water quality, natural disaster, transportation, security, automobile, supply chain management, smart cities, automated metering and monitoring of utilities, waste management, oil and gas. 
Cisco estimates that all IoE (Internet of Everything) pillars – Internet of things, Internet of people, Internet of data, and Internet of process – for India have a value at stake (VAS) of Rs 31.880 trillion (about half a trillion US Dollars) for the next ten years. Of this, Rs 7.263 trillion is in the public sector and Rs 24.616 trillion in the private sector.
Opportunity for MSMEs
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME sector) are the backbone of India’s economy. They constitute about 80 percent of the total number of industries in India and produce about 8,000 value added products. MSMEs make up for 37.33 percent of the total manufacturing output. 
To achieve the defined goals the “Make in India” initiative has been launched. Its aim is to bring in increased foreign investment in terms of finance and technology into the manufacturing sector. The initiatives include activities to foster the adoption of Industry 4.0 in India’s manufacturing industry. The Government has initiated a series of steps to correct some of its past policy and regulatory climate that 
deterred investment and technology upgradation. 
The Industry 4.0 vision stretches beyond technologies and looks at the end-to-end chain, including, for instance, warehousing, logistics, recycling, energy, workers, security and transportation. Industrie 4.0 is not only a topic for large-scale industry but must also be feasible for small and medium-sized companies as well. 
By using Industrie 4.0 technologies, companies can rise to the global challenges of increasing customer requirements and volatile market developments. When products and processes are interconnected, and data is available in real time and is transparent, the foundation for decentralised production control is laid. This allows greater flexibility in production and thus increases competitiveness. 
Through the interconnection of intelligent measurement technologies in production, data becomes available which together with automation solutions can be used for self-optimisation, self-configuration and self-diagnostics. In this way, the state of machines can be continuously captured and monitored from anywhere in the world. Thus, the conditions for predictive maintenance and services are created. 
Industry 4.0 will revolutionise manufacturing around the globe, as did the first three industrial revolutions. With global supply chains and highly interactive markets, this revolution will be vastly different from the previous ones: being much faster and generating results that were heretofore unexpected. It will highlight the fact that small changes in one area of the manufacturing ecosystem will create significant ripples throughout the ecosystem, due to connectivity throughout the supply chain and the speed at which information propagates.In closing, it is appropriate to quote Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), a 20th century American philosopher: “In times of change, learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” This statement was true in the 20th century and is certainly true today. However, with the ever accelerating pace of technology innovation, it will become increasingly pertinent in the future. India stands ready for that future: not only to participate, but also to lead!
About the Author:
Rajesh Nath is the Managing Director of VDMA India. The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) represents more than 3,200 member companies in the SME-dominated mechanical and systems engineering industry in Germany and Europe. In October 2017, Rajesh Nath was conferred the ‘Cross of the Order of Merit’, the highest civilian honour awarded to individuals for their services to Germany. He can be contact on email:


Advertise Here