Q. What do you think can be done as far as making engineers ‘Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing ready’ is concerned?
A.From personal experience, I can state that our engineers have the greatest level of interest and are ready for skill enhancement as far as working in manufacturing companies having adapted Industry 4.0 technologies is concerned.
We must bring in awareness, this is applicable to the business leaders of today (like RBEI) as well.
After awareness, technology infusion is mandatory. Promotion of technologies is also vital. There is also a new ecosystem called cyber-physical systems. These are industrial machines connected to internet. Engineers should be more exposed to these aspects.
Q. How do you think that industries can start adaptation of smart technology?
A. This typically begins from assessment of the current standing of a company. Architecture for assessments thankfully exists for industries to evaluate themselves technically. Internet must be brought in at the factory processes level. This allows engineers to obtain real-world idea about the next technical processes.
Therefore, once engineers are exposed to new ideas, smart technology platforms becomes easy to adapt and integrate.
Q. Any illustrations on the adaptation of smart manufacturing technology?
A. Yes, there is the energy analytics. Electrical energy usage at plants, if left unchecked, could potentially lead to disasters. Analysis of electricity usage is done using Big Data and Data Mining. With this accomplished, industries should witness savings of up to a whopping 10% per year (on the annual electric energy bill). I think that this is definitely achievable.
Q. Finally, any thoughts on the societal impact of smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0?
A. A really interesting question. Myths related to job losses due to Automation would be busted to a great extent. However, there are fears that the low-hanging jobs may go. However, there will be new jobs created; these require higher degree of expertise (in smart technology related skillsets).
This would make our workforce more skilled. Newer jobs created would be comparatively higher, than the jobs lost. The new opportunities would serve as boosters to governmental initiatives viz. Make in India, Digital India, and many more.
Written by Rahul R, Senior Technical Journalist at EFY