The Future of Industrial Automation in India
Sunny Wadhwa of V Design and Tooling makes a case for Low Cost Automation for SMEs in India
V Design & Tooling
Low Cost Automation
Every business aims to lower the manufacturing cost. Low cost automation eliminates or at least reduces labour cost and it brings down overall production cost. Low cost automation could be a boon to small manufacturing businesses and it will also increase product quality through improved accuracies and lead to developments in other fields of automatic control. Consider the following facts:
- Factory Automation in India has witnessed a really steep growth in past 4-6 years
- Mainly industrial automation in India has been available only to large-scale industries, the main reason being high cost of automation machines and equipment
- Currently only large scale industries are able to afford automation equipment because initial capital cost is very high which most small scale and medium scale industries cannot afford
- Yet, the small scale and medium scale industries too have to enjoy the benefits of factory automation, which consists of industries being automated wherever possible using PLCs and other control systems, and
- This proportion of the industry is yet to be penetrated and is very large considering the total number of industries in India. All this will require the services of Mechatronics Engineers.
Aspects for Automation Growth in India:
- Labour Shortage – Since the number of literate and educated population in India is increasing rapidly, it would to practical to expect less skilled or unskilled labour available in the years to come
- Sharp increase in labour cost: As the wages of labourers in India are going up, it is becoming hard to supply manufactured items at lower costs, and
- Tool Room/Machine manufacturers are shifting their focus seriously to Low Cost Automation.
Advantages of Automation:
- The initial cost for automation might be high but the overall cost works out to be cheaper, considering that it comes with minimal operation and maintenance cost
- Shortened production cycles with the need for more intelligent, faster and adaptable assembly and manufacturing processes
- Low cost automation ensures that the manufacturer survives in a competitive market with his pricing strategies. Scaling production up and down is a lot easier in an automated system than in a traditional production model
- Automated production systems can adapt to changing manufacturing environment results with regard to cost optimisation and increased production, and
- Low cost automation ideally allows scope for human intervention where there is a gap that needs human actions and functionality. Reliability of automated systems is better than with traditional production systems.
The scope for Mechatronics Engineers would be really great, especially in a developing economy like India, in the coming years. Several operations like spot welding, loading unloading, which require repetitive tasks, will be replaced with automated machines.
Example of Low Cost Automation
Recently one chain link fencing manufacturer visited us at V Design and Tooling just because he was frustrated with the manual knitting of GI wires after spiral forming. His grouse was while just one single person is enough to run the spiral forming machine, for knitting at least 4 workers are required. There are problems of leave, absenteeism or plain inefficiency. Production suffers as a result. In addition, due to intense competition, it is getting harder to manage the wage bills of these workers. So we designed and manufactured an automated machine for knitting the wire. He can now run the whole plant on his own without line stoppage due to manpower shortage. He is very happy nowadays.
V Design and Tooling is a Design Centre and Tool Room specialised in Press Tools, Jigs & Fixtures and Automation Machines (SPMs). The aim is low cost automation for SMEs and small business owners.
Automation and automated machines are going to be a booming business for the next 5-7 years from now. For SMEs, even an investment on simple robotic operation is a big chunk of investment. We wish to see government support to them, which will boost SME production and raise quality standards to the next level.
Sunny Wadhwa is Director – Design, V Design & Tooling, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, has attended the Manager Training Program for Entrepreneurs at Aachen Germany – a one-month onsite training program in Germany sponsored by the German government and organised by CII, India. He is also a recipient of the MSME Entrepreneurship Award 2016 – Indo German Tool Room Mobile: +91-99606-05115. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org