Manufacturing Today|May 2020
Digitalisation is the way forward
OVER THE YEARS, AUTOMATION HAS remained a million-dollar question. How to go about it? What should be the right strategy? Now these questions are also applicable for robotics and digitalisation. To add into in to it pandemic has changed the perspective towards adopting new technologies.
Speaking about it, Sameer Gandhi, Managing Director, Omron Automation India says, “Definitely, pandemic will have impact on the way people will adopt automation and robotic solutions. Consumers may demand non-touched products henceforth keeping their safety in mind. In that case, manufacturers will have to align their processes accordingly. Also, this will be safer from the employees’ point of view as well.”
Manufacturing Today recently conducted a webinar on the topic of 'Practical Approach towards Adopting Automation'. Speaking at the webinar, Raghavendra Deolankar who heads Manufacturing at ZF India, added yet another point of view. “The difference between pre- and post-lockdown era would be social distancing. Each company will have to follow new norms in this regard. Aa a result, every company will have to identify processes where such norms are difficult to deploy. Accordingly, they need to work around and see which stations can be clubbed or processes can be automated. Apart from automating machines, AGVs can be looked at as an option to transport the parts/components within the factory to ensure they are not touched.”
Agreeing to him, Bhanwar Lal Bishnoi, Group Head -Embedded Design, L&T Electrical & Automation mentions, “In the pandemic situation automation and non-contact manufacturing will be helpful and safe from employees as well customers’ point of view. Now that we are looking at breaking the chain of spreading the virus, these things definitely will help and allow manufacturing to continue.”
It is easier for bigger companies to adopt such practices quickly where processes and systems are in place. However, for SMEs and MSMEs, the scenario is far more different. In this regard, Mukul Verma, Vice President Projects, JK Paper mentions that “Many a times SMEs do not have Level 1 automation or tracking systems in place. So, they should focus on what exactly their requirement is. Not all technologies have to make sense to every company. So, one needs to be careful while selecting the technology.”
SME AND START-UPS
Many a times, automation solution providers handhold SMEs in their journey of new product developments. In this regard, Lokesh Kaushal, Regional Segment Leader – Packaging Machinery Asia Pacific, Rockwell Automation said, “Creating a new product is a journey starting from an Idea and up to the delivery or what we call as D3 Design, Develop & Deliver. The goal is to build smart flexible plants which are able to adjust to required product changes and hence provide maximum throughput with reduced changeover time. Our latest Independent cart Technology products i.e. iTrak & Magnemotion series help customers obtain batch size of one. In addition, to support our customers on this journey we provide consultation and solution delivery along the journey. We have teams of domain experts who specializes in different industries and applications to provide insights to customers and help them create products better & faster.”
Robots & automation can help manufacturing in these difficult times.
COBOTS ARE BEING DEPLOYED BY SME, TO RETROFIT OLDER FACTORIES.
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