‘Brownfield machines and factories are a major challenge’

Ninad Deshpande, Head of Marketing, B&R Industrial Automation, India, responds to a few questions from Industrial Automation about the industry’s readiness for implemenation of Industry 4.0

Ninad Deshpande, Head of Marketing, B&R Industrial Automation, India
  • Client

    B&R Industrial Automation

  • Services

    Machine and factory automation, motion control, HMI and integrated safety technology

  • Technologies

    Industrial automation

  • Dates



Is the industry ready for this revolution?

Indian manufacturing units, factories and machine builders for the past few years have been talking about Industrial IoT and digitisation. Today, we are witnessing the steps taken towards implementation. Globalisation brought the world closer. This has drastically reduced the time between technology and knowledge transfer from western countries to Indian continent. Technology adoption in order to make India a true innovation and manufacturing hub has become the need of the hour. Indian manufacturing, factories and machine builders are embracing advanced next generation technologies to be globally competitive and staying ahead in competition. It is no longer a choice for Indian manufacturers to be ready for the revolution, technology adoptions but it is a necessity. Non-adoption of new technologies will lead Indian manufactures to obsolescence in global market.

Will a piecemeal approach work, or does it call for total revamping of the business model?

Industry 4.0 is a broad term involving various enhancements in different areas of the industrial ecosystem. It is impossible to implement a few features and say one is ready for the future and is Industry 4.0 ready. The business value indeed with Industry 4.0 is huge and needs a different mindset and approach. It could even demand modifications in business model and skills. However, to move ahead Indian manufacturers need to take a systematic approach. The main objective would be to identify challenges and structure their solutions for Industry 4.0 around these challenges. This will make them ready for future introducing new technologies in their processes as well as solving persistent issues and overcoming challenges.

What about implementation in brownfield projects?

Indian manufacturing industry has been operational for decades having legacy systems with fieldbuses. There are incompatibilities in machine-to-machine connectivity and systems, devices are not interoperable. Industry 4.0 provides immense opportunities, but brownfield machines and factories are a major challenge for the Indian manufacturing. It is impossible to replace these systems with newer devices for digitalisation as it needs enormous capital investment. The RoI cannot be justified over the perceived benefits to such high capital investments. In such scenario, B&Rs Orange Box is an ideal and cost effective solution for brownfields sites to achieve greenfield benefits. Orange Box solutions enable machine connectivity, ease of machine-to-machine networking and cloud connectivity. This is coupled with open source networking, predictive maintenance, energy monitoring and calculating the Overall Equipment Effectiveness.

Are the issues of security of the data adequately addressed?

Cyber security is of prime concern to manufacturing units and factories. Data is the new gold and securing it is very important. Using open source and middleware solutions is a way forward for securing data. Open source solutions such as OPC UA provide all the necessary security mechanisms in place for ensuring data security from machine to cloud. OPC UA is a vendor independent networking solutions and is already available in many cloud platforms making communication easy and secure. Middleware such as Orange Box and APROL factory automation solutions help is isolating the machines and factory devices from the network yet providing a secure networking to the cloud for data exchange. This isolation protects data and machines from attacks.