Sumit Mitra, Director for Industrial Business, SKF India
With constant digitalization, businesses have now realized the significance of technology and are revamping their strategy to drive competitiveness and innovation, improved productivity, and higher efficiencies.

Sumit Mitra, Director for Industrial Business, SKF India

Industry 4.0 and India

Industry 4.0 enables increased flexibility, faster speed to market, along with accelerated quality production. Conventional resources are converted to intelligent objects so that they can sense, act, and behave within a smart environment. In fact, world over, there is a shift from selling products to selling measurable outcomes like machine hours or price-per-user, rather than just products. Manufacturers can remotely monitor the condition of equipment and look for indicators of imminent failure – for example, vibration, temperature, or pressure outside normal limits. For the customer it means less disruption, increased uptime, incremented factory yield and ultimately higher satisfaction.

Being the early adopters of Industry 4.0, countries like Germany are witnessing these significant benefits. However, for emerging economies like India, a more constructive reassessment and reorganization of the existing technological base must be explored. A tailor-made, robust version of Industry 4.0 created with intense research, analysis and agility can undeniably lead us to the path of a brighter than before future.

While India boasts of a strong IT sector with a well-trained workforce, the country faces challenges such as the need for high investment outlay, inadequate skills, lack of infrastructure and lack of adequate cybersecurity norms. Furthermore, the government needs to play a crucial role in enabling India’s Industry 4.0 story. Given India’s vision to position itself as a global manufacturing hub, it is an opportunity for India to leapfrog and maximize its growth with the help of a custom-made plan that would suit its prevalent working environment while addressing criterions for economic growth.

Segments that have adopted Industry 4.0
Smart Agriculture: Increasing demand for food, climate change, and water scarcity, are some of the challenges that impact agricultural production. To address these challenges, the agriculture industry in India is gradually embracing digital solutions. Technology is creating a positive virtual cycle focused on making food products readily available to consumers, minimizing the impact on the environment, thus resulting in sustainable farming practices.

Healthcare 2.0: This is one sector that is witnessing a faster adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence, VR/AR, 3D-printing, robotics or nanotechnology. In fact, apart from saving lives and providing preventive healthcare, technological advancements have played a key role in making healthcare affordable and available in remote locations. By seamlessly combining data on a patient’s medical history and monitoring real-time health to improve patient health, technology is reshaping the medical field of the future and rechanging how patients are treated.

Manufacturing 4.0: Factories of the future will be more digital, virtual, and resource-efficient - an environment that is more connected, both regarding information availability and flow, with machines speaking to, directing, and collaborating with each other. Tangible value is being created through the adoption of the ‘Future Factories’ paradigm. Industry analysts report that global manufacturers have reported increased efficiency and reduced costs by as much as 30% across the entire value chain, powered by improvements in overall operating efficiency, lower inventory levels, reduced energy and water costs, and a significant reduction in incidents involving safety. A faster adoption of Industry 4.0 will play a crucial role in India emerging as a global manufacturing hub.

Monitoring data through REP Centre
Over the years, SKF has acquired and developed capabilities that extend far beyond bearings. Today, SKF boasts of a rich portfolio of seals, lubrication systems, housings, and condition monitoring, apart from bearings.

As the world is continuing to evolve, and with greater technology adoption, we have gone a step further. We have started combining our multiple products and engineering capabilities through a unique offer known as Rotating Equipment Performance (REP). This means that instead of selling a product, we are now focusing on helping our customers solve their core needs of increased machine reliability and availability. Through REP, we focus on improving the equipment MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) and decrease downtime and maintenance costs. In short, we increase our customer’s Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE).

Globally, our engineers are leveraging latest technologies to remotely monitor the condition of the equipment and providing expert guidance. For example, at our REP Center in Pune, we remotely monitor hundreds of equipment of our customers across multiple industries in India. We have a network of such REP Centers across the world to ensure continuous learning for our team. Strict confidentiality is maintained with the data of each customer. Current technologies enable us to create digital models of the equipment. By feeding these models the historical failure data and learning from the corrective actions being proposed by SKF engineers on the new issues, the AI is becoming more intelligent and can predict potential problems even quicker. More importantly, it ensures that no anomaly will be missed out when dealing with thousands of equipment. Over the last few years, SKF has built significant capabilities in the AI and Analytics space.

Looking ahead
Manufacturers will experience a sea change around plant reliability. The advent of digitalization and AI will change the way we monitor our assets and plan their repairs and maintenance. The trend of the product as a service will accelerate. Companies will need to deliver to the customer by partnering with them for their plant reliability requirements and continuously providing value. The future is reliable, digital, and sustainable.
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