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Intelligent manufacturing

Use of new age technologies is increasing in the field of manufacturing

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Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Contiental India, Cobots, Tejpreet S. Chopra, BLP Industry.AI, Indian Institute of Technology of Madras, NVidia, German Research Centre for AI, COVID-19, Prashanth Doreswamy

The use of new age technologies such as artificial intelligence has proved to be beneficial for many companies in their variety of areas. Prashanth Doreswamy, Country Head of Continental India and Managing Director, Continental Automotive India opens discussion with the company’s approach towards the technology. “Continental, being a technology company, strongly believes in the use of smart and automated services - be it in the products we manufacture or in-house processes. Globally, we are implementing Industry 4.0 processes across all our plants, which includes Artificial Intelligence (AI) in product development and process automation.”

Continuing further, he said, “On the R&D side, AI is being used in a variety of scenarios, for instance, to develop simulations and test cases for safety and automated driving functions. For certain functions, we need to analyze post-crash behavior, where we need hundreds and thousands of test runs of the system to ensure 100 percent accuracy. AI/ ML helps in virtually creating such simulations and thus plays a crucial role in developing better safety systems.”

Doreswamy further elaborates it with an example, “In India, at our Bangalore plant, we are using AI for better optimisation of the processes and productivity. AI is being used for facial detection of quality inspectors. Continental has also collaborated with various research institutes like the Indian Institute of Technology of Madras, NVIDIA, German Research Centre for AI, etc., for product and process development in artificial intelligence.”

Post pandemic situation
Doreswamy adds, “In the near future, we might also see the implementation of Virtual Reality and Connected Technologies in product planning, quality designing, solving frequent shop floor problems, and much more. The possibilities are infinite.”

He further says, “Newer technologies are also addressing the inhibitions raised due to COVID-19 through less human-to-human contact and need to travel, etc. This, in turn, will lead to a higher acceptance rate of such technologies.”

It is predicted that such technologies’ demand will be higher on the post lockdown era, when social distancing will be the new normal. Speaking about it, Tejpreet S. Chopra, CEO, BLP Industry.AI. mentioned, “There are many manufacturing companies which are taking help of technologies such as artificial intelligence to maintain social distancing on the shopfloors and factory premise. This enables compliance to not only to social distancing norms but also to the safety regulations such as use of gear, etc. It can be done through existing cameras installed in the factory.”

Seconding the same, Doreswamy adds, “As mentioned in the above reply, the new norms related to social distancing, etc., will undoubtedly drive the implementation of AI and VR in the manufacturing industry. We are already using some new-age technologies on the shop floors, and with the new regulations coming in, these technologies will find more and more relevance in the manufacturing plants. For instance, the VR we are using for remote support and maintenance at our Bangalore plant reduces the need for traveling and human contact. Another ex - ample could be Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) being used within the plant for material movement on the shop floors. This reduces the need for un necessary human movement and thus reduces the risk of unnecessary physical contact. The regulations have created an opportunity for developing and deploying new-age technologies to create a safer and advanced shop floor ecosystem.”

Changing manufacturing practices
“New technologies will increase the scope and quality of work, turn the manufacturing practices more sustainable, flexible, and cost-efficient, and will require smart leaders to manage them. It will change the industry overall in terms of better customer satisfaction and enhanced ecosystem,” Doreswamy says.

“One of the examples is the use of collaborative robots or Cobots in manufacturing. The cobots can handle a minimum of three testers in the area functional test, which leads to efficient production, thus allowing the business to keep pace with the global competition,” he adds

Adding another angle, Chopra says, “People’s mindset towards maintenance is changing. The industry is gradually moving towards proactive maintenance from reactive maintenance. In this changed mindset, artificial intelligence plays a key role in this change. A failure of a small component can shut down the whole machine or even worse damages the machine. On the other hand, the technology helps in predicting the failures in advance and save from huge losses.”

Similarly, the technology helping supply chain management too. Elaborating on it, Doreswamy says, “In SCM, we are implementing technologies like AGVs, automatic replenishments, Manufacturing Execution Systems, cloud, and big data analytics to help in optimising the processes. For instance, the use of cloud and big data analytics help in deriving analytics on quality, productivity, etc., this data is used to better the products and quality, thus giving a competitive edge in the global market.”

Artificial intelligence has emerged as the most potent technologies over the past few years, that is transitioning the landscape of almost all industry verticals. Although enterprise applications based on AI and machine learning (ML) are still in the nascent stages of development, they are gradually beginning to drive innovation strategies of the business.

A research done by Meticulous Research suggests in the supply chain and logistics industry, artificial intelligence is gaining rapid traction among industry stakeholders. Players operating in the supply chain and logistics industry are increasingly realizing the potential of AI to solve the complexities of running a global logistics network. Adoption of artificial intelligence in the supply chain is routing a new era or industrial transformation, allowing the companies to track their operations, enhance supply chain management productivity, augment business strategies, and engage with customers in digital world.

It further says, the artificial intelligence in supply chain market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 45.3% from 2019 to 2027 to reach $21.8 billion by 2027. The growth in this market is mainly driven by rising awareness of artificial intelligence and big data & analytics and widening implementation of computer vision in both autonomous & semi-autonomous applications. In addition, consistent technological advancements in the supply chain industry, rising demand for AI-based business automation solutions, and evolving supply chain complementing growing industrial automation are further offering opportunities for vendors providing AI solutions in the supply chain industry. However, high deployment and operating costs and lack of infrastructure hinder the growth of the artificial intelligence in supply chain market.

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