5G has become a need for today’s business. From handling the large amount of data to making a normal home to smart home, everything is only one button away. With 5G, employees will be able to work with the technologies anywhere on the factory floor. They will be able to use it for activities like training, machine maintenance, data visualization and designing. It helps manufacturing companies to be more flexible and adjust the network based on their needs. There was a time when for a single work company require huge manpower, time and money, network and communication was far away. But, gradually technology and network system upgraded, which made our life much easier than before. For running a business, network connection plays a huge role. Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, President – Aeris Communications, Chairperson of The Institution of Engineering and Technology – IoT panel for India while explaining anecdotes with Nitisha Dubey from BISinfotech says, 5G technologies have the potential to amplify and accelerate the ongoing transformation, and to unlock a next level of efficiency gains in manufacturing even for the vast community of manufacturing MSME sector in India.
- What is a connected factory and technologies which are empowering it and the role of 5G?
In this highly competitive world, harnessing the latest technology can lead to differentiation, better customer experience and a definitive competitive advantage. For manufacturers, automation of repeated tasks enables much-needed gains in efficiency, profitability and process innovations.
Industry 4.0 is what results in smart factory and it includes the internet of things, cyber physical systems, cognitive computing and cloud computing. A Smart factory is based on, logistics automation, process and equipment automation, factory automation, product development, factory energy management, supply chain management, collaborative information management system and ERP implementations using ICT technology. The goal of smart factory is to make production system intelligent, optimized and efficient, thus reducing the manufacturing cost, raising manufacturing rate and realizing a manufacturing company that actively responds to customer demand in fast changing and advanced environment. Technologies such as 5G for the speed it brings and IoT for connecting objects, are critical to functioning of a smart factory as they offer real-time, on-demand visibility into performance across the production chain, refine processes and production using advanced analytics, offer flexible, adaptive, and on-demand production, as well as stronger end-to-end integration with suppliers and customers.
- Trends, Technologies and future of Connected Factories with the power of 5G?
In an era of intense volatility due to shorter business and product lifecycles, and now the supply chain disruption due to Covid-19 pandemic, manufacturing companies worldwide are under extreme pressure. Margins are being squeezed more than ever as components increasingly become more varied and now more complex and costly to produce outside China. In addition, demographics also poses a problem in certain countries with aging workforces or unskilled workforce which becomes costlier to maintain.
Competitiveness is everything to manufacturers, and much-needed gains in efficiency and profitability will have to be achieved through new process innovations. This includes, for example, the continued automation of robots and warehouse transportation and cutting cables to become genuinely flexible. 5G and IoT will be vital in enhancing and enabling these advances in manufacturing. According to the Ericsson study, ‘The 5G Business Potential’, the expected addressable market in 2026 will be USD 113 billion, a substantial 7 percent potential revenue growth from current service revenue forecasts. Also, the IIoT market is expected to grow from USD 77.3 billion in 2020 to USD 110.6 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 7.4% during the forecast period. The growth of the IIoT industry is driven by factors such as technological advancements in semiconductor and electronic devices, increased use of cloud computing platforms, standardization of IPv6, and support from governments of different countries for R&D activities related to IIoT. 5G networks offer manufacturers the chance to build smart factories and genuinely take advantage of technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality for troubleshooting, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
- Challenges and Scopes of 5G connected factories?
Manufacturing with 5G technologies opens up a plethora of opportunities to automate and streamline the manufacturing of products. 5G provides the exact characteristics essential for manufacturing. Low latency and high reliability are necessary for supporting critical applications. High bandwidth and connection density make for secure connectivity. All of these characteristics make for essential features needed as part of the future of manufacturing.
Manufacturing companies currently rely on wired network connections for these features. However, 5G allows for a higher frequency, lower cost, and shorter lead times for factory layout changes and altercations.
Although India scores high in the sheer size of its workforce, there are several challenges manufacturing companies must overcome to adapt to smart factories. Primarily, manufacturers worry on foregoing the investments done in old factories and the huge capital required to build new smart factories. Th good news is that companies like Aeris bring the technology to India to help convert their brownfield factories into smart and connected units, thus, protecting their earlier investments. Another impeding challenge is the requirement of a skilled workforce that is experienced and equipped to create and manage intelligent systems. Equally crucial is the willingness of senior leadership, other stakeholders, and investors to invest in new technologies. And additionally, the need to address fears of security breaches that can occur anywhere along the entire value chain of manufacturing is open, interconnected, and networked.
However, given the push that connected manufacturing is getting the world over, and the evident and considerable advantages it promises to bring, corporate leaders across industries will be encouraged to embrace the factory of the future. To make it a reality, they will have to think outside the box, prioritize upskilling and re-skilling of the workforce and emphasize considerable investment in R&D and technology as well as come up with relevant Data Privacy and Security Standards to ensure Indian manufacturing doesn’t merely survive in the new world but actively thrives.
- India as a market for Connected Factories?
The government of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative launched in September 2014 as a part of India’s renewed focus on Manufacturing, and post Covid 19 pandemic outbreak, the focus on Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) India with global integration are the key drivers for a booming market for connected factories in India. As per TechSci Research report “India Factory Automation Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2020”, factory automation market in India is projected to witness a CAGR of around 12% during 2015-2020. Upsurge in adoption of robots on factory floors for increasing efficiency, reliability and accuracy of the production processes, is driving the country’s factory automation market. Western and Northern regions are the major markets as they are the hubs of industrial growth, and have presence of Special Economic Zones and various automotive factories.
We already see smart factory implementations in full swing. Among the country’s first “self-aware” factory was established in Bengaluru at the Indian Institute of Science’s Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing with seed funding from the Boeing Company. The factory continuously collects and monitors data from both sensor-fitted machines and digitally connected wearables, to provide real-time insights into every movement and process taking place on the factory floor. Mahindra & Mahindra’s plant in Nashik has robots building car body frames as does the Tata Group’s Tata Motors’ factory in Pune. Godrej has started implementing preventive maintenance to understand why a particular machine line needs maintenance frequently using the IoT technology. Welspun run their factory floors with the help of an Intelligent Plant Framework and Manjushri Technopak’s manufacturing plant in Bidadi, Bengaluru has more than a dozen of its packaging machines connected to a network that relays monthly updates on maintenance issues. Piramal Group has deployed connected technology for ‘Real-Time Manufacturing Insights’ (RTMI) for 60 production lines across 4 plants, enabling real-time visibility into manufacturing operations for analysing production line losses at various stages. Hero MotorCorp adopted connected technologies which helps them brings out a motorcycle every 18 seconds. These technologies is helping them sustain as a volume player. Continental, the German automotive manufacturing company plant in India has also recently implemented Industry 4.0, which paved the way for achieving its goal of robust production processes with a zero-defect strategy and high utilization rates. IoT technologies have also been deployed across JK Tyre’s various manufacturing units to identify bottlenecks of a particular manufacturing line. This helps the company with insights such as which manufacturing unit is performing better or which shift of employees within a unit is underperforming.
- How connected factories integrated with 5G can bring value to factories?
Fundamental to the fourth industrial revolution is the implementation of a reliable communication layer capable of dealing with an increase in several orders of magnitude the number of assets, volume, variety of information and reaction times in future manufacturing systems. 5G promises to be a key enabler for Factories of the Future. It will not only deliver an evolution of mobile broadband networks, but also provide the unified communication platform needed to disrupt with new business models and to overcome the shortcomings of current communication technologies. As such, 5G technologies have the potential to amplify and accelerate the ongoing transformation, and to unlock a next level of efficiency gains in manufacturing even for the vast community of manufacturing MSME sector in India.
To manage a large amount of data and information from connected devices, manufacturing companies will need 5G’s capacity and speeds. From procurement to distribution, 5G will mean manufacturers can connect more sensors, devices, and assets through a single network giving them better visibility into the supply chain. The possibilities for these connected devices are nearly endless. For example, these connected devices could improve predictive maintenance and operational efficiency on the factory floor and prevent theft and quality issues within logistics channels.
- Your Expertise and solutions in this domain?
We see two major trends in manufacturing driving industry 4.0 having a significant influence on the future competitiveness of the manufacturing companies – The role of services increasing in manufacturing, and, Integrated global value chains. It is estimated that by 2025 manufacturers will get more revenue from services than from products with “servitization of manufacturing”, indicating a shift from solely selling produced goods to providing added value services together with either connected (smart) or non-connected goods. To help our clients transform and be ready for these disruptions, we have created a rich portfolio of connected technology solutions for the manufacturing sector. From several point solutions that can be deployed to boost efficiency, optimise cost and improve productivity to complete transformation of brownfield factories into smart factories, Aeris provides right sized solutions for manufacturers worldwide. We have very strong engineering, industry vertical expertise and IoT skills, and work closely within the well-established ecosystem of IIoT partners.