Rajkumar Munot, GM, R&D – FAID, MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC INDIA, on why innovation is important.
In the last year or so, what are some of the advancements in factory automation systems?
Industry 4.0 is commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. It is the current trend in automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, Cloud computing and cognitive computing. Industry 4.0 fosters what has been called a “smart factory”. Within modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralised decisions. Over IoT, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real-time, both internally and across organisational services offered and used by participants of the value chain. The six design principles of Industry 4.0 are Interoperability, Virtualisation, Decentralisation, Real-Time Capability, Service Orientation and Modularity.
Mitsubishi Electric has identified this market need in advance and developed e-F@ctory platform.
In process manufacturing, considering that multiple devices speak to each other, how do you help customers connect legacy equipment to modern control systems?
It is very important to provide legacy equipment connectivity to end-users or customers.
Mitsubishi Electric PLCs offer multiple options for FIELDBUS network connectivity as well as Cloud connectivity. It is possible to connect other legacy equipment to Mitsubishi Electric PLCs over a variety of FIELDBUS network options for horizontal integration of control systems and at the same time PLCs can play the role of IoT gateway for vertical integration with Enterprise Resource Planning [ERP] or Manufacturing Execution Systems [MES]. In such configuration, PLCs can play the role of smart gateways which can process the data acquired from different equipment before sending it to other controllers or to cloud storage for more advanced data analysis by higher systems.
Could you give a glimpse into how you look at R&D for the manufacturing sector?
Manufacturers with constant R&D investments have a higher chance of succeeding in the global market. To attain the best professional advantage, investment in R&D comes hand-in-hand with processes such as market development and new business processes.
The most successful businesses are always innovative in developing and adapting new technologies and trends. They are always finding new ways to build up their competitive advantages.
There is a strong relationship between the amount of effort put into research and development and the way a company performs. Companies that use R&D investment as the main driver for progress are inclined to achieve better outcomes and overall be more innovative than their competitors
Cloud is a great facilitator. How does automation systems help in terms of forecasting, quality and asset analytics applications?
Yes, cloud is great facilitator. Forecasting, quality & asset analytics applications requires data collection from production site and data modelling, analysis and sharing to ERP system or cloud
1. Automations systems helps to collect data using various FIELDBUS Network such as CC-Link IE, Ethernet /IP etc.
2. Automation system can do data modelling and Data Analysis by edge computing.
3. Automation System can communicate with ERP (IT) System including cloud
How do you incorporate transparency that will allow different divisions to adapt production plans to demand variations and also juggle supply chain performance?
Under the e-F@ctory platform we provide FA-IT Open platform which incorporates four major functions –
a. Data Collection at Production site
b. Data Model Management of site
c. Various Applications of Productions site
d. Collaboration with IT System, including cloud
This will help to realise optimisation of procurement, manufacturing and logistics by connecting the production site and supply chain.