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Role Of Industry 4.0 In Manufacturing & Foundry Industry

Manufacturing will have to compete with Industry 4.0, which is the fourth industrial revolution and is about synchronizing physical world with virtual world with never before opportunities for improved productivity and efficiency

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Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing

Indian Government’s campaign regarding “Make in India” is well meaning slogan and with good intentions. In true sense it is possible to realize the goals only if we can compete globally in terms of quality, pricing and ability to deliver on time. Going forward, we will see competition due to rapid emergence of Industry 4.0 in all spheres of manufacturing in various parts of the world.

Manufacturing will have to compete with Industry 4.0, which is the fourth industrial revolution and is about synchronizing physical world with virtual world with never before opportunities for improved productivity and efficiency.

The future will throw open opportunities for optimization at all levels of production including foundries.

Digital transformation is taking place in all spheres be it governance, delivery of various services, smart cities, smart homes or transportation. Industry 4.0 is the digital version of industry. The essential parts of industry 4.0 are 6Cs i.e. Connection - sensors & networks, Cloud - computing & data on demand, Cyber - mode & memory, Content – meaning & co-relation, Community - sharing & collaboration, and Customization - personalization & value.

Industry 4.0 may not be the need for one and all. But it can be a boon for industry that is operating in highly competitive environment. It can be used for single processor for complete transformation which can be customized and will depend on individual case.

The main factors for success are - having a vision or idea, digitization has to be a focus of management and of strategic importance, changing the workflows to transform the way we do things, and workforce and partners.

There are number of aspects to consider. It is very important to analyze return on investments (ROI). In digital world nothing is impossible but without proper ROI, these technologies may not have significant relevance. There has to be a business case suited to individual operation.

There is new challenge of security. As soon as machinery is connected to outside world, it gets exposed to security threats. There may be several ways to handle the security risk but most go with restricted access. New security risks will emerge for which adequate software update mechanism will have to be in place. This normally does not exist for machine control system.

In 4.0, there is need to include sync with industrial network of companies. In this situation, the definition of ownership of data becomes difficult. Who owns the data on the clouds remains a question mark. Such issues cause the companies to be skeptical and hesitant to use such technologies.

As we go forward, we will see machines will communicate with each other and able to operate without human intervention restricting human role which will change from operation to supervision and maintenance.

Industry 4.0 is just in infant stages for the foundry industry. Basic machine to machine communications and remote service over VPN have been in use for quite some time already. More and more people are wanting to explore such technologies. Lot more needs to be done both on supplier and customer side to fully use the potential of Industry 4.0. On supplier side right technologies and expertise has to be built and customers have to understand expected value of 4.0. The 4.0 technologies in foundries will start with localized solutions and moving to cloud applications gradually resulting in improved connectivity between foundries and suppliers.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


AK Anand

The author is Director of The Institute of Indian Foundrymen (IIF)

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