Bhavin Pandya General Manager – Industrial Technique, ATLAS COPCO
Atlas Copco India’s Industrial Technique Division serves the needs of the domestic automotive industry and has been in the news recently for having introduced the Smart Connected Assembly under Industry 4.0. In this interview with Huned Contractor, the company’s General Manager – Industrial Technique, Bhavin Pandya, elaborates about how this new concept will benefit the engineering sector, especially the automotive industries
Atlas Copco India, the Rs 3,500 crore local arm of the Swedish major, which is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions, has launched ‘Smart Connected Assembly’ solutions to drive its vision of Industry 4.0 into the Indian automotive industry. The company is a popular name among vehicle manufacturers as one of the leading providers of the critical equipment deployed in assembly operations on the shop floor. As is known, the manufacturing industry worldwide is working towards digitizing operations under Industry 4.0. According to the company, its clientele in India are increasingly calling for high-quality products and new technologies, which can offer flexibility, data analytics, ergonomics and energy efficiency – in summary, a competitive advantage. Excerpts from the interview:
Could you elaborate about Smart Connected Assembly?
Smart Connected Assembly is about creating unique value by connecting together all the assembly-related processes. Assembly solutions are networked to each other and integrated into the production network. The data generated is the new raw material used when controlling and identifying improvement areas in and between the assembly processes. We are targeting the Indian automotive industry because improving standards across the industry are directly raising the benchmarks in manufacturing practices across the automotive value chain of vehicle makers and component suppliers in India. To ensure global quality benchmarks in their products, OEMs are taking up the best solutions available globally, to follow best practices, ensure transparency and traceability in the processes followed across operations, assemble data and get meaningful inputs from the recorded big data through analytics, and ensure continuous improvements in their overall operational productivity.
The new Smart Connected Assembly solutions will address these new challenges, trends and needs by offering a whole new level of technological solutions. We are launching this concept in India for the first time. This concept is good for companies that are into manufacturing and assembly operations. Within automotive, this would include four-wheelers, three and two-wheelers, trucks and buses, off-road vehicles, tractors and farm equipment. This is even relevant for the aerospace industry. For instance, we have solutions for specialized functions such as tightening and screwing. We have a lot of hardware-software solutions for the automakers. We are trying to put together all these solutions and offer one common environment, which we are calling as the Smart Connected Assembly. Our equipment can be deployed manually or they can be mounted on the robotic arms, or even on the cobots. They can also be used via the special purpose machines (SPMs).
What would be the benefits of this solution?
Smart Connected Assembly offers huge benefits such as:
Can you provide a case study of an industrial segment that has engaged this assembly concept?
There are several industrial segments which could benefit from this development. However, this is widely accepted in high-volume manufacturing segments such as automotive, off-road equipment, electronics, consumer durables, general assembly, etc. Almost all major automotive companies are looking into this area as the biggest opportunity either to gain or to defend their competitive advantage.
In particular, how will this assembly concept impact the engineering sector?
The engineering sector works almost in similar manner as other sectors, albeit at a little lower scale of volume. All the benefits listed above are as much applicable to the engineering sector as to automotive or other high-volume segments.
Has this assembly concept been tried in markets outside India? What has been the response?
Smart Connected Assembly addresses the some of the key needs of the new global industrial revolution. In Germany and other European countries, it is known as Industry 4.0; in North America, it is called IIoT or Industrial Internet of Things or simply IoT; China and South Korea are also working on implementing similar concepts, for example, Made in China 2025. Loosely speaking, this is similar to the way we invite global companies to invest in India in manufacturing and technology under our ‘Make in India’ campaign. The Smart Connected Assembly concept of Atlas Copco has gained a huge response globally. A large number of companies in automotive, electronics, off-road, aerospace, and other such domains are considering implementation of such technologies to stay competitive. We have implemented this concept either in full or in part at several places.
What would be the cost of using the assembly concept?
Smart Connected Assembly is a concept and not a ‘one-size-fits-all product. In fact, it is a system made up of several tools, hardware, software, their connectivity, etc. Each company will have its own need depending upon where they are currently. Hence, the investments could differ for companies. That said, customers usually look at the value it generates against the investments they make. We believe that the overall benefits, as listed earlier, outweigh the expenditure.
How does the company intend to market it across various industry verticals? Will certain sectors be particularly focused upon?
As I mentioned, this is useful to almost all sectors. However, the sectors that could benefit the most are automotive, off-road, consumer durables, electronics and general assembly, and very importantly, their tiers. Hence, they are the focused sectors.
Could you provide an overview of Atlas Copco’s India operations?
Atlas Copco (India) Ltd. started operations in 1960, and has over 20 offices across India, the registered office being at Pune. Atlas Copco (India) Ltd. had about 3,000 employees and revenues of Rs 3,500 crore as on March 31, 2017.
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