The new products which we are going to launch this year will strengthen our portfolio offering to the customers, says Sameer Gandhi,
Managing Director, OMRON Automation India.
What is your vision on the growth of automated manufacturing equipment in the auto industry of India?
The automotive industry, christened as the mother of innovation in the automation field, has been leading in the adoption of industrial automation technologies and solutions as compared to other segments in the manufacturing domain.
However, in the industrial automation domain, there is still quite a way to go if we compare ourselves with other countries. Automotive sector (component suppliers, OEMs and vehicle manufacturers) is constantly facing varied challenges in the form of competition, rising consumer demands for quality, increasing productivity, optimising energy, reducing the length of product life cycles, stringent environmental and safety standards, etc. These factors are continuously raising the bar and in order to meet these dynamic requirements, the sector has to enhance its pace and sincerity towards adopting industrial automation. Progressive concepts like Internet of Things, Traceability, etc can do wonders to the overall productivity and quality in the automotive industry and so they need to be integrated in their automation portfolio more effectively.
What are the new segments in auto sector looking for automated manufacturing equipment?
I would like to talk about some of the critical areas in a typical automotive manufacturing set-up. They may not be new but they hold a perennial importance posing challenges to the manufactures as well as the automation specialists in some or other way.
The first one is the Zero-Defect manufacturing. Considering one defective product can bring humongous loss and setbacks to the credibility of a brand, the area needs specific attention in terms of deployment of automation. This attains more significance for the automotive industry where assembling of multiple complex components needs constant checking at every step and product-recalls are witnessed quite often. OMRON caters to these issues by offering advanced Traceability solutions. It comprises sensors, switches, scanners, RFID tags, vision, etc, and can give the life history of a particular component, from the time it was melted and produced in a foundry till it is used in a vehicle. All the processes it has gone through, the entire sub-assemblies or the components that have gone into it and their history are recorded in a server, to be retrieved when needed. With the advancement in technology it is possible to mix the process data and the vision data and tag them all together.
Another challenge is Big Data management. Millions of terra bytes of data are getting generated in the manufacturing process. But the important aspect, is the industry needs to focus on how to make sense of all of these, how can they be used in a meaningful fashion? OMRON’s Programmable Logic Controller portfolio enables Big Data management ensuring its real time availability for the people on the manufacturing line who see many possibilities to use this data - for statistical analysis, quality control, quick identification of faulty parts, managing and tracing loss of components while processing from one plan to another - to name just a few.
With the advent of various Megatrends in automotives, use of non-conventional materials is on the rise. How does your equipment meet this challenge while retaining cost-effectiveness of the applicable solution?
OMRON caters to the multiple facets of manufacturing like fabrication, casting and forging. In order to provide the best solution to the customer while keeping the cost-effectiveness in mind, our sole approach is to understand thoroughly ‘What is the biggest challenge the customer is facing for productivity or quality? What would he like to improve in his processes?’. Once we know the challenge we can suggest solutions based on our experience since many of these challenges and solutions remain the same across different set-ups. Moreover, I feel, automation is a business investment. What is important is to look for the right cost rather than low cost. It ultimately boils down to the right cost, right design on the machine, right selection and the right vision for the future. This year we would be launching new products which will strengthen our portfolio offering to the customers, by giving comprehensive solutions as per their needs.