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Date: 28-02-17

2nd Symposium on Smart Manufacturing focused on benefits of making machine smart

India based manufacturing industry is getting prepared for implementing smart manufacturing. But the question to them is, how to do it? Return on Investment! and where to start it? They are keen to get educated and implement the smart manufacturing. The objective of recently held (24-25th Feb 2017) 2nd Symposium on Smart Manufacturing  organised by Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers Association (IMTMA) in Bengaluru, was to make its attendees understand the benefits in the Indian context and educate them on implementation, technologies, business benefits with topics such as "manufacturing plant integration", IIOT, robotics, data collection and big data analytics, virtual manufacturing and such trending smart factory topics.

If the Indian manufacturing does not upgrade to industry 4.0 (another name for smart manufacturing using IOT), India may end up losing close to hundred billion dollars worth of export market in the coming years. The time is running short. The manufacturing eco outside India including China is getting smarter faster  than Indian companies. Advanced robotics, 3-D printing are some of the key smart factory technologies making the manufacturing more efficient. A company in China is building 12 houses a day using 3-D printing. When the industry is already a lot automated , the smart manufacturing basically ensures even further automation by remote management and diagnosis of a production plant. Every data  is available on a smart phone or tablet app and updated in real-time.

Indian companies are quickly preparing to upgrade themselves to smart manufacturing. Many newly established manufacturing companies in India are already using smart manufacturing.

The basic questions by Indian company are, how much investment it requires, where resources are available and how to start. Most of the speakers including Pradeep S David from Universal Robotics suggested step-by-step/ incremental implementation of smart factory features.

Solutions include identify  painpoints and attend to them by prioritising each one. If someone is worrying about return on investment, the speakers gave examples of companies who could earn back in less than two years. More than 70% of Indian manufacturing industry is at various stages of smart manufacturing implementation, around 20% is at the advanced stage of implementation. The advantages of going smart factory include reduced  machine downtime, most rapid service, improve in process performance, improve in personal productivity. Even the presently running old-machines can be made smart by embedding IOT electronics to the machine/system.

However there is a shortage of human resource skills in repairing and maintaining that smart machines. Smart factory technologist need to have expertise in multiple areas such as core engineering, robotics, electrical and electronics, machine-to-machine  communications and embedded computers.

The good thing in smart manufacturing is, there is lot of embedded systems hardware, embedded software and communication technologies involved which basically takes the advantages of IPV6 protocol, which is now enabling Internet of things. India, particularly Bangalore has huge talent in IOT embedded systems hardware and software. The Indian electronics design services companies has huge opportunity in  helping Indian mechanical engineering/machine-tool manufacturers to get into smart manufacturing. So there is a huge domestic market opportunity for smart manufacturing and there is enough domestic resources to achieve that. What is really missing is, there is no world-class electronics hardware manufacturing eco including electronics components and semiconductors.

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