Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and Smart Factories all are concepts that are currently challenging the global manufacturing landscape. Companies need to progress with new technologies, and foster efficiency. But Industrial Automation is nothing new. Many companies in the Automotive Sector for example have implemented Automation in their factories, and now robots do good jobs in assembling automobile parts or welding. And there are other areas like Agriculture, where Automation is still on the move to grow. In 2014, 229000 industrial robots were sold worldwide, of those only 2100 in India, which still leaves room for growth. With 15% one of the large GDP contributors, manufacturing now looks for more Automation to increase productivity to reach the governmental goal which is achieving a 25% share in GDP by 2022. So how would Industrial Automation help Manufacturing grow?
Firstly, Industrial Automation ramps up productivity of a manufacturing company. Products can be assembled more quickly and also with better quality. Results are higher efficiencies in the production process. In middle to long-term views, this will save a company costs, as with increased outputs, the cost per unit decreases. Also, more capacities can be used without having additional investments as the machines are already there and can increase productivity if needed, and decrease output if less capacity is used. All in all, Industrial Automation in manufacturing makes manufacturing also more profitable, safe and creates more sustainable manufacturing processes, which is good for India’s competitive edge.
Another ‘thing’ in manufacturing is the ‘Smart Factories’ which companies are starting to use. These factories are connected so that real-time information is shared and eventually processes will be optimized. Those factories work with little or no human interference in production. A pioneer in this is Bosch, which wants to make all its factories ‘smart’ ones, including its Indian factory. And there are many companies in the technical, software and manufacturing area that can profit from Automation solutions. Opponents state that Industrial Automation costs a lot of jobs, which is partly true as less new workers are required for additional revenue. But it also creates new jobs for design, handling and maintenance of the robots and machines. Skilled workers in this sector currently are highly in demand in India, as the sector lacks skilled workforce.
India is also one of the pioneering countries in research for robotics. The first impetus for robotics was already given by an Engineer back in 1969. Since then, many degrees in mechatronics developed at Universities as the interest of young people in this topic grew. Now India contributes to the strong growth of Industrial Automation in the Asian region.
In the last years, Automation has also spread into other sectors like Healthcare, Agriculture (where more and more smart machines that can communicate data are used) and Logistics (i.e. automated warehouses). Also, the sector is expected to grow to $197 billion by 2020. This shows the importance of Industrial Automation in the current business scenarios. Experts state that for having a long-term stake in manufacturing, India has to invest more in Automation. It has already started to look more into the Industrial Internet of Things to reach global standards of manufacturing, which could help to get more FDI attracted in this sector. Important standards in future manufacturing will be speed, quality, flexibility, service and a global focus. It is important for India to adapt that, as it can’t rely on its cheap workforce forever, as some time another country could produce cheaper, faster and with better quality, so Automation will give India another competitive advantage by then to persist in competition around the world. In consequence, those investments can help to make India a more renowned manufacturing destination.
Thus, this sector is very interesting for foreign investors in India. New technologies are high in demand, which gives a positive outlook to the industry.
To read more about the Indian Industrial Automation Industry, click Industrial Automation Newsletter.