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Smart Manufacturing Summit shows the way forward for manufacturing companies

The 4th Smart Manufacturing Summit 2019 was an eye opener in terms of simple learning solutions and solving problems at the root

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Smart Manufacturing Summit, Boeing India, Walchandnagar Industries, Westin-Velachery, R Varadharajan, Bosch, Abhinav Vashishth, Havells India, Jk Tyre & Industries, Tata Chemicals, AVTEC, Saint Gobain India, CUMI, AkzoNobel India, Rockwell Automation, Suresh Sankarakrishnan, Sunil Barkade, Konecranes, IAMPL, TATA Advanced Materials, TVS Motor, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, TAFE, Renault Nissan Automobiles India, Ceat

Smart manufacturing has become the industry buzzword. And not for nothing. With more companies seeking out avant garde methods of faster time to market, there must be methods to design and manufacture goods. For the 4th year in a row, Manufacturing Today has steadfastly continued to hold the Smart Manufacturing Summit and this time in Chennai. The idea was to look at newer markets and kindle more companies to relook at their manufacturing methods.

Held at The Westin-Velachery on June 28, Smart Manufacturing Summit sought to unearth in-depth details from our esteemed panellists and partners on some of the technologies and innovations happening in this area.

Welcoming the audience, Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Media Group (India), elaborated on the concept of the event and what lay in store for the day.

R Varadharajan, technical expert, Bosch India, set the tone for the day through a special address who spoke on Industry 4.0: Enabling Manufacturing Excellence through Digitalisation. "We have come a long way to make digital payments possible. Then came transaction based and there were some limitations. Digital is becoming a ecosystem. Data can be stored in small form factor and can be made mobile. With decreasing cost of computer resources, energy intensity of the mobile too has come down. Though data generation was happening earlier too, data asset building started much later and can be transformed to deliver value for customer."

R Varadharajan.

The address was followed by a presentation by Abhinav Vashishth, sr. product marketing manager, Havells who spoke on Technology & Innovation: Connected Lighting Industrial Application. The company adheres to some of the most stringent rules in manufacturing. "LED has allowed us to enhance the life expectancy for the fixture, improve safety, size reduction, and design flexibility. It helps save 50% of electrical energy. Our smart industrial lighting provides onsite RF integration of control, light and sensor. With low standby power and zero daytime consumption, it offers internet connectivity to monitor and load new applications."


Abhinav Vashishth.

The first panel discussion for the day, Plants of the Future, was moderated by KA Unni Nayar, unit head, JK Tyre & Industries. The panellists comprised Ashok Muthuswamy, AVP & plant head, silica, Tata Chemicals; Ganesan K, GM, manufacturing operations, AVTEC; Srinivasan K, team leader, technical services, Saint Gobain India; MV Sivakumaran, VP, manufacturing, CUMI; Anil Singh, South Asia lead, water coating stream, Gwalior & Hyderabad plant operations head, AkzoNobel India; Subrata Sen, business head professional lighting, Havells India; and Suresh Sankarakrishnan, channel sales manager, South, Rockwell Automation.


The plant heads panel discussion.

Nayar asked the panellists to express their views on the challenges they foresee in implementing smart manufacturing at the fastest. Sen said, "Services in a manufacturing plant should be the best only then can processes be best. IT plays a important role to ensure that people who work in the factory have high productivity. Source of lighting should be good then we can see zero mistakes."

Singh asked, "What are the skillsets required for people to do a particular job? World class manufacturing includes more than just everything zero (be it waste, inventory, defect, etc). Training in the conference room  alone is not enough. Each one should know what needs to be done only then can they make flawless products. For instance, our Gwalior plant rose up the ranks and this happened only through some key measures. One is action regarding the learning and we started learning on wheels. An MIS review was done when people were travelling. People started enjoying their work and this helped us. The second part was motivating people through identifying the root cause analysis of performance review."

Srinivasan said his company follows the principle of refuse, reduce and reuse, which is essentially sustainability. "It mainly means improvements in use of water, electricity. We need heat and water to run the plant. We conserve and recycle water for several days. Solar panels are used extensively," he added.

Muthuswamy pointed out that plant heads play key roles to ensure efficiency and effectiveness on the shop floor. "Ability to harness data cells is important. Plants generate big data. They should not be used only to monitor but also do predictive analysis. Companies should act on the data and ensure that they take steps to make their products better. As the world's third largest maker of soda ash, we have used technology and dynamic course correction of processes to help us. We are blessed with data and that is helping us change faster as and when need be," he added.

Sankarakrishnan spoke about how companies need to analyse the changes that are driving the digital revolution across every industry vertical that we operate in.

Sivakumaran said that they cannot afford wastage and need to process faster than normal. "There's timely maintenance and we ensure that everything works in clockwork order. Many of our plants are certified and we focus mainly on how we make the PPM real. Self inspection status of the machines is what we do frequently. We pick up critical issues and start working on them. There's a healthy innovative approach to identify the defects and correct them as fast as possible," he added.

Ganesan said that most plants follow TPM. So there is little wastage. "The biggest advantage is that any materials we use or discard can be reused. This is with reference to materials and we look at the efficiency of the closed loop cycle we have created. We have a very robust system that allows us to consider maintenances faster with least downtime. Our materials are expensive and we cannot afford to waste time," he added.

Suresh Sankarakrishnan.

The panel discussion was followed by a presentation by Suresh Sankarakrishnan, channel sales manager, South, Rockwell Automation. As the largest, dedicated industrial automation company in the world, Rockwell Automation brings connected enterprise reality for customers. "We integrate the control in a safe and sustainable manner. Whoever is embracing the latest technologies from raw material sourcing to the finished goods are reaping the benefits. The feedback mechanism is almost real. Everyone has physical assets that are machines and people, and then there are processes. The ability to extract information across each of these is what makes companies stand out."


Sunil Barkade.

After lunch, Sunil Barkade, sr. manager, sales support and marketing, Konecranes, spoke on Smart Safe Digital. "Last 100 years we have been dedicated to provide safety solutions to our customers. We have customers who have a lifting need form 50kgs to 2000 tonnes. We have developed products that have smart features such as safety, reliability, offer ease-of-use and cost-efficient. Our smart products are adaptable, predictable, process-aware and offer connectivity. The smart systems offer optimised performance, AI-ready, are machine-to-machine integrated and end-to-end efficient. We have made touch points that connect the user and the machine," he added.

There's more
The second panel discussion was led by a some leading CEOs who spoke on Leading with Success: Exploring the Future Trends in Manufacturing.

Moderated by Rahul Mishra, principal, AT Kearney, the panellists comprised GK Pillai, MD & CEO, Walchandnagar Industries; Seenivasan Balasubramanian, CEO, IAMPL; SR Mukherjee, CEO, TATA Advanced Materials; S Devarajan, sr VP, TVS Motor;
Bala Bharadvaj, MD, Boeing India Engineering & Technology Center; and Subrata Sen, business head professional lighting, Havells India.
Mishra asked the panellists to recall some of the milestones that the manufacturing industry has seen in the last few years.


The CXO panel discussion.

Bharadvaj of Boeing India Engineering & Technology Centre said Boeing India has come a long way from what it was building in India till a decade ago. Several Indian companies are interested in manufacturing for aerospace but few know the drill. "Aerospace manufacturing is a lot more complicated because of the materials used and the expectations on quality, etc. We work with 40 different suppliers in India directly and make a fundamental part of the 787. The critical parts that we make for this is made in Nagpur. This is a great example of what has happened in the last 10 years. Some of the companies that we work with were relatively unknown earlier and are now doing marvellous work."

Devarajan said that in the last few years the maximum growth to the GDP has been contributed by the automotive industry. "The two-wheelers that we make today are designed in India, made in India and sold in India and the world. We are beating China in manufacturing two-wheelers last two years and they also contribute to the mobility in India. The growth we see now is a starting point and there are much more opportunities. Products that are designed here meet the criteria for Indian roads and are well wanted all over the world," he added.

Pillai said, "The manufacturing industry does not comprise only of the large companies, but there is a large chunk of smaller companies that cater to the larger companies. Last 10 years, everyone suddenly realised that if India can lead the way in the world, it can only be in the realm of manufacturing. As Indians, our skills are high, though we may be low in technology. Our output is still low as compared to what we expected. There are pockets of excellence but as a country we have yet to reach the excellence in manufacturing. So many companies have yet to adopt Industry 4.0."

Balasubramanian of IAMPL said that though much has been achieved in the past, it is industrial output that matters and only manufacturing can contribute to this. "Safety, quality and competitiveness has vastly improved last 10 years. Many global companies have set up in India and their contribution has helped Indian companies scale up. Energy efficiency has improved and much more compliances is seeing an improvement. Systems are now in place and zero defect is the norm," he added.

Mukherjee said, "We have prestigious customers and supply the latest composites to them. Much research is being done in aerospace. The Tata Group was the first to start on composites. This could not have been imagined a decade ago. Machine technology and automation has seen a drastic improvement especially in the automotive industry. The shop floor has undergone several changes. It is not what it was a few years. Focus on safety and timely delivery along with quality is being taken seriously."

Sen began with saying that he has never worked on a shop floor, which evoked a laugh from the audience. "I realise that products that we manufacture must be the best quality considering the competition in the market. Zero defect is what we need and seem to have reached. Ten years ago, when we sold lighting products, there was little knowledge of the feel. Consumers used and replaced lighting because they needed to. Same goes for shop floor. There was little need to replace lighting even if some of the lights did not function."

The last panel discussion for the day was on The Importance of Technology and Supply Chain for Business Growth. Moderated by Anil Singh, South Asia lead, water coating stream, Gwalior & Hyderabad plant operations head, AkzoNobel India, the panellists comprised Senthil Kumar KK, national manager, supply chain transformation, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages; Rajeev Chopra, GM, strategic sourcing, supply chain & tooling development, TAFE; Radhakrishnan Padmanaban, GM, supply chain, Renault Nissan Automobiles India; and Jayasankar Kuruppal, VP, operations, CEAT.

The panel discussion by supply chain heads.

Singh started with saying that companies are adding resources to their supply chain and asked the panellists to respond on ways they create an agile supply chain.

Senthil Kumar said, "Long back we had few SKUs. With growing customer expectations, our SKUs have gone up tremendously. It puts more pressure on the manufacturing line to produce multiple products on the same line on the same day. Transportation network continue to be dismal in India. So we use multiple modes of transportation to supply our products. The simplest answer to manage is being more agile. In all this, we have not lost our focus on TPM. We cannot afford to miss out on delivery and that's why we need a robust manufacturing and supply chain model."

Kuruppal pointed out that CEAT produces close to one lakh tyres per day. "The sizes vary from 2kg to 1.2 tonnes. So many variations and the procurement and demand management is quite complex. We work on a 5-year rolling plan and considering that OEMs come up with new models we need to plan much early on. Quarterly, half-yearly and yearly plans are made and then we boil it down to the monthly plan. Then there is a weekly schedule and that is to adhere to our just-in-time manufacturing policy. Since our procurement comes from domestic and foreign locales, we need to work out the math accordingly," he added.

Padmanaban said, "The industry has seen a dramatic change in the last three months. In May, the automotive industry saw a 23% drop in volumes as compared to the previous year. All OEMs are struggling. When volumes drop, there is much obsolescence in the industry in terms of raw materials and finished goods.  So we follow a three-pronged strategy. We coordinate with our supply chain partners and create a flexibility plan that benefits all in case of drops in volumes. There is a systematic risk identification and mitigation plan in place that suits all, which is very necessary."

Chopra said that the strategic sourcing works the new product development, sourcing and product quality assurance. "All three responsibilities are important to make the product leaner and ensure profitability. We have plans in Bangalore and Madurai as well Bhopal. With more than 15,000 components and 600 suppliers, we need a strong strategy in place. That is what we have achieved and it is a continuous process. Smart manufacturing technologies is what helps us make products right on time, with zero defect and supply timely. Augmented reality is playing a very important role. So we make changes based their feedback."

Bibhor Srivastava thanked the audience for being a part of the Smart Manufacturing Summit for the day and he hoped that they will be taking home  many learnings.

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