Guest editor: Pragnesh Mori | Regional Sales Manager – North | Micro-Epsilon India Private Limited

The field of Industrial Automation deals with automation of manufacturing processes which helps to increase the productivity and maintain the highest quality of the end product. Different factors, such as stringent quality requirement of the end products, higher production quantities, high profit margins and shorter time to market pushes the Industrial Automation Industry to grow at a rapid pace. In order to meet these demands, the Industrial Automation Sector is on a lookout to implement latest technologies with smart integrated concepts. According to the latest trends, the Industrial Automation Market in India is expected to grow by 15% to 20% based on the present capacity.

Traditionally, Industrial Automation on a single machine line or assembly line would deal with robotic operations combined with sensors, controllers, inspection and measurement systems for quality & production control. The accumulation of the data is done at the last stage with help of data storage systems for report generation and evaluation. The important input parameters which would control the productivity and quality during the process would be generally an input of the human operator based on the readings of the sensors in the control room or production floor. As the production processes evolve and become more complex, the task of the human operator becomes even more daunting to react to the dynamic changes on the real time level. Companies also are trying to reduce the labor in the production processes and are in pursuit to achieve bigger profit margins together with reputation. These factors thereby create huge demand to integrate the machines, sensors, controllers, measurement and inspection systems and the central data storage to communicate and exchange information through a network giving advantage to the production cycle and quality and detect any unforeseen error in advance to avoid any sudden tragic events and optimize the performance.

The New Concept Industry 4.0 aims to achieve the smart production with the help of its design principles namely interoperability, virtualization, decentralization, real time capability, service orientation and modularity. These principles aim to leave behind the typical problems of the past and present day manufacturing facilities. The presentation of the Industry 4.0 Concept to the German government was done by a working group chaired by Siegfried Dais (Robert Bosch GmbH) and Kagermann (Acatech). Then later Industry 4.0 was also termed as or expected to be the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The design principles will help different companies to create a smart integrated network which will in turn form the guidelines for the future smart factories. Design principles will have multiple concepts which will make the smart factory function. First Principle, Interoperability will be implemented with the help of Cyber-Physical systems which will allow multiple products, assembly lines or humans to interact with each other through the concept of Internet of Things and Services. Second principle aims to create a virtual copy of the Smart Factory which is created by linking sensor data (from monitoring physical processes) with virtual plant models and simulation models. Thirdly, achieve decentralization to give ability to cyber-physical systems within Smart Factories to make decisions on their own. Fourth principle, aims to give Real-Time Capability to collect and analyze data and provide the derived insights immediately. Fifth Principle is offering of services (of cyber-physical systems, humans or Smart Factories) via the Internet of Services and Lastly, flexible adaptation of Smart Factories to changing requirements by replacing or expanding individual modules.

India with its new initiative” Make in India” should consider these principles and implement the same in line with the advanced economies of the world in order to create a sustainable future of smart production factories. Make in India should not only be about manufacturing, but it should be about smart and intelligent manufacturing with possibility of customization to manufacture different products.

It is expected that the future growth of the Industrial Automation on a long term will find its root in the New Concept of Industry 4.0 which will link multiple concepts together to deliver smart systems and smart factories. The growth could be expected at the root sensor level to controller level with new protocol/electronics forming the base which helps all the devices to communicate together with reliability, speed and high security. Wireless technology is also expected to find its importance increasing in this sector. Also indirectly the analyzing of data and creating new feedback algorithms should also give a boost to the Indian IT Industry which could well deliver its services to the manufacturing Industries and create a new segment for themselves. The ideas of smart future are already forming its root, days are not far when we see first of many smart manufacturing facilities running full time.

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