Industry 4.0 can be considered as a ‘Fusion of online world and the world of industrial production’. By adopting Industry 4.0, Niteen Inamdar believes that India can acheive operational excellence and become a global manufacturing powerhouse by 2020.

In today’s fast paced and ever evolving industrial world, it is important to see how the manufacturing world would be like in 2020. In recent past, with the advent of computerisation and digitisation supported by Internet, the industrial world has moved leaps and bounds.

The new buzz word is Industry 4.0 which is going to dominate the future manufacturing world. However, before we really dwell upon future let us look into past and present.

Present status of manufacturing in India

In India, the manufacturing sector has gained a kind of maturity which it did not had before Indian economy became global in early 1990s. Post-globalisation, the Indian industry, which was protected and had influence of ‘license Raj’, gained independence. Lot of global players entered India posing challenge to domestic industry and exposing our limitations. Primarily the limitations were on technology front; approach & attitude towards work (work culture); poor quality & productivity; dominance of unions having obstructionist approach; and high cost. All these had made Indian products unviable in the global market.

  • However, post-globalisation, almost all world class automobile manufacturers, both 2 wheeler and 4 wheeler, entered India and lot of joint ventures happened which enhanced the capabilities of Indian industry and the industry has progressed significantly on following fronts:
  • The work culture changed and Indian industry adopted global norms & practices
  • Quality & productivity improved significantly, but still shied away from global standards
  • Dominance of unions reduced and changed from obstructive to participative
  • Indian industry moved towards excellence and exports improved

Dominance of automotive industry increased in India. Today, we have 3 automotive hubs in India – while North India has presence of Japanese car makers, South & West India are dominated by German car makers

The Make in India drive of the PM has made India a manufacturing hub for global giants in various sectors like automotive, industrial and home appliances attracted by India’s market of more than a billion consumers. These global firms have either set up or in the process of setting up manufacturing plants in India, thus, bringing in latest technology, Now Indian manufacturing world is really poised to take off from here though with some challenges.

India to be powerhouse by 2020

India has faced the global challenges very well post-globalisation and adapted to global needs. Now we can say that India is on the cusp of becoming a global powerhouse by 2020.

Opportunities: For India to become a force to reckon with, it will have to lay lot of emphasis on opportunities such as India’s huge human resource. The diverse demographic cultures existing together make India a good destination for innovations. After the burst of Y2K bubble, India has become a global powerhouse in the world of Information Technology (IT). This is going to aid tomorrow’s industrial revolution and for India to make a mark for itself. New government has shown a good resolve by coining a strategic term – ‘Make in India’. The new government policies are transforming India as a destination in ease of doing business. India is an important cog in BRICS which adds as a global advantage for the country. Presence of all global players has brought in technological and cultural revolution. However, along with opportunities there are challenges also.

Challenges: Infrastructure development of roads and electricity is one of the major challenges before India. In present scenario, we come to know about developments and advancements in new technology in various sectors. These changes occur in rapid pace and adopting them is a challenge due to reasons such as lack of technological expertise; creation of skilled labour; complex regulations & restrictions; challenges related to environmental compliances; and competing on cost point with other countries like China. At grass root level, improvement in governance at city, state and country level is desired a lot. 

Technology as an enabler in India’s success as industrial powerhouse: Today’s competitive world demands excellent products which are low in cost. This only can be delivered by top class technology. 

Indian manufacturing industry by 2020

India is an attractive hub for foreign investments in the manufacturing sector. Several mobile phone, luxury and automobile brands, among others, have set up or are looking to establish their manufacturing bases in the country.

The manufacturing sector of India has the potential to reach $ 1 trillion by 2025 and India is expected to rank among the top three growth economies and manufacturing destination of the world by 2020. The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will make India a common market with a GDP of $ 2 trillion along with a population of 1.2 billion people, which will be a big draw for investors.

With an aim on developing industrial corridors and smart cities, the government aims to ensure holistic development of the nation. The corridors would further assist in integrating, monitoring and developing a conducive environment for the industrial development and will promote advance practices in manufacturing known as Industry 4.0.

However, before we move on to Industry 4.0, it is essential to know how various industrial revolutions that have taken place till date.

First industrial revolution: At the end of 18th century the first industrial revolution was kicked off by moving from farming to factory production by using mechanically powered machines using water and stream.

Second industrial revolution: It started around 1850 and lasted till World War I. It began with introduction of steel and electrification of the industry which was a mass production one.

Third industrial revolution: This was a big change and industry graduated from analogue, mechanical and electronic technology to digital technology. It spanned from late 1950 till late 1970 s. There was an element of automation also in it but machines were physically interconnected.

Fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0): This has been a historic revolution as industrial world is taking all the steps to move towards a smart and digitised factory. The pioneers of this are the government of Germany. In 2013, the government released a strategy document outlining a plan to fully computerise the manufacturing industry without the need of human involvement. In one sentence, this is ‘Fusion of online world and the world of industrial production’. This is neither a new technology nor a business discipline. This is in fact a new approach to achieve results that were not possible 10 years ago thanks to advancement of technology over the past decade. In another words, it is ‘Cyber physical systems which monitor the physical process and make independent and decentralised decisions’.

The Industry 4.0 revolution is driven by four disruptions:

  • Astonishing rise in data volumes, computational power and connectivity
  • Emergence of analytics and business intelligence capabilities

New forms of human-machine interactions such as touch interfaces and augmented reality (AR) systems. This resulted in creation of smart human-machine interfaces

  • Improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world such as advanced robotics and 3-D printing

The above disruptions are going to take the manufacturing to a newer level by 2020. The factories in 2020 would be called as Smart Factories. 

This is something more than automation.

The IoT (Internet of Things) is going to play a pivotal role in deciding Manufacturing 2020. IoT means interconnection of the physical things which are embedded with computing devices and they would exchange a huge data.

Factories of the future in IndiaWith all the background discussed before, by tapping into the opportunities and advantages, which India possesses, the country is going to adopt to Industry 4.0 in an aggressive way.

Thus, the Manufacturing 2020 would be done in smart factories which are having fusion of digital & online world and industrial production. The factories would be very flexible to deliver state-of-the-art products with very less human intervention. We are going to have factories equipped with robotics and auto guided vehicles getting online commands from machines’ interface for handling and transporting materials. There would be huge data base available on clouds which would be analysed by using analytics for taking faster decisions. The material handling devices like bins and trolleys would be tagged with RFID enabling them to give online commands. The customer’s orders would be processed online and a car of his choice would be produced just in time as the production lines would be leaner and faster.

The factories and entire supply chain would be communicative making them lean and in the process taking India towards much desired operational excellence and becoming a global powerhouse in manufacturing.

Niteen Inamdar is the Chief Operating Officer - Global Operations at Sigma Electric Manufacturing Corporation. Inamdar has over 30 years of experience with leading Indian and global manufacturing organisations in the automotive and industrial segments. He has worked with reputed organisations like Bajaj Auto, SKF Bearings, Saint Gobain Sekurit India, and UNO Minda. His last assignment was with TDK-EPCOS a German-Japanese MNC as President. Defect Philosophy by adopting 0/100 philosophy.

Elements of Industry 4.0

Having discussed various facets of Industry 4.0 like – sensors, IoT, 3D printers, robotics etc - it is important to know how the factory would be like. Figure shows all the elements around which Industry 4.0 will revolve.