Automation is a worldwide process in the manufacturing sector.  A recent international survey ranked India one of the top three countries in the world to implement Robotic Automation in core business processes. The Automation Industry has come a long way and certainly plays a major role in enhancing efficiency and accuracy of businesses in India. It started with simple process automation and developed to artificial intelligence and Robots being almost human-like machines interacting with humans. Factory Automation has been the fastest emerging sector in India’s Industrial Automation Industry. The Automotive Industry plays a big part in this growth. Automation in this sector is now being an essential part of a company’s success and ability to keep-up with new developments and international state-of-the-art technologies. However, the Process Automation sector has been the major contributor to the market share of the Industrial Automation Industry in India with the Pharmaceutical sector being the major demand driver. Another sector in India where Automation is being increasingly adapted is Logistics. How is Industrial Automation affecting different Industry sectors in India?

One of the major growth driving factors for the Industrial Automation Industry in India is the need to comply to manufacturing standards of productivity and quality to enhance competitiveness on a global level. In India, Industrial Automation has already started enhancing efficiency, adaptability, agility and optimization across industries and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 10-12% from 2015-2020.

One industry in India evolving with Automation is Logistics, with Automation at warehouses, distribution and fulfillment centres. With the growth of E-Commerce in India and the rising competition, the need for efficient Logistics has significantly increased in order to improve the brand experience for customers. Especially during peak times, such as festive seasons, companies have to handle large amounts of orders and traditionally, they used to employ more people. Now, companies instead have started investing in Automation for handling packages. Flipkart for example experienced that manual sorting of packages with different pin codes, dimensions and weights during these peak seasons led to costly inefficiencies. Afterwards, it implemented “Linear Sorters” across its fulfillment and transportation centres in a way that the automated machines picked, sorted and moved packages to designated picking stations. This led to smooth warehouse processes and made them more efficient as compared to manually finding and sorting. Most big Logistics and E-Commerce companies in India are now moving to Intelligent Automation technology.

India’s Pharmaceutical sector is comparatively ahead in Automation. Currently, many large Pharmaceutical companies in India like Zydus Cadila, Torrent Pharma and Cipla are focusing on automating their production process of drugs, especially in areas where complete integration of machines and equipment is required. Pharmaceutical factories require tablets to be sorted based on colour, shape, and size, picked and placed accurately in the right containers. Automation using digital image processing through cameras can be used in this process for such tasks. Another process in the Pharmaceutical sector deploying Automation is weighing & dispensing of raw material to reduce risk of contamination, human error, and in turn reduce batch cycle times and improve data integrity by minimizing manual process.

The Indian Automotive sector has been increasingly adopting Automation ever since the beginning of Automation practices.  Automation is an integral part of assembly lines of Automotive manufacturing plants, particularly in processes that require high precision. A company which has successfully implemented Automation is Tech Mahindra, which has seen higher efficiencies and less manual errors, while reducing delivery time and utilizing workers to perform higher value tasks. Other large players like Bajaj Auto have also implemented Robots in their manufacturing facilities across many processes including welding, deburring, machine tending, bolt tightening, sealant application, etc. in man-less cells as well as in collaboration with human workers.

Some industries are also moving toward fully automated manufacturing facilities. Battery manufacturer, Exide Industries has reportedly started a project to manufacture batteries using only Robots to eliminate inconsistencies in quality caused by humans in the production facility.

The advent of Intelligent Automation and Robotics in India has also created some apprehension among private sector employees who fear machines will now take over their jobs. In the labour intensive Textile Industry, companies are now considering Automation for processes like spinning. However, many industry experts feel Automation is not an option but a necessity. The industry should get over this apprehension and work towards re-skilling and up-skilling their existing workforce to undertake higher profile jobs, as well as new Automation related jobs that will be created in the coming years as artificial intelligence and Robots complement, but do not replace a human worker.

Industrial Automation in India is evolving and getting implemented across several sectors in the country. Additionally, intelligent Automation is pushing industries towards training their workforce to take up more high-end jobs which will not only save their jobs but also up-place them in the long-term. With further developments in the different industrial sectors, India can leapfrog other competing countries like China in manufacturing with the adoption of advanced Automation & Robotics.  Companies with innovative, advanced Automation technologies will be at the forefront of automating India’s manufacturing processes. In regards to the increasing emphasis on the Governments “Make in India” campaign and the need for meeting global manufacturing standards, huge opportunities for foreign players arise, as Robotic Automation is in the process to be commonly implemented in India

To read the latest News about the Industrial Automation Industry in India, click Industrial Automation Industry Newsletter.