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Bharat Forge achieves complete realisation from its IIoT investments

In some plants, productivity has increased by more than 5 per cent and energy saving has gone past 10 per cent, informs Yogesh Zope, Chief Digital Officer & Sr Vice President, Kalyani Group

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In the manufacturing industry, the demand is volatile and not every time, the plants are running at full capacity. Thus cost optimisation is necessary. Moreover, the expectations on the quality of the products delivered are also increasing significantly; the variants of the various models, both in the consumer and passenger vehicle segment, are more and are being released faster than before because of intense competition. Fifty per cent of Kalyani Group’s revenue comes from the auto sector and so, the company has to respond to the requirements from the auto sector swiftly. “All these components put together measures the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) of the manufacturing plants. We have tight targets to deliver on the OEE. It also includes reducing the energy expenses, reducing the unscheduled downtime. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has the potential to deliver results in meeting the OEE targets and Bharat Forge is forging ahead with the IIoT implementation,” says Yogesh Zope, Chief Digital Officer & Sr Vice President, Kalyani Group.

There are multiple digital initiatives underway at the Kalyani Group. The biggest of all is Bharat Forge’s implementation of IIoT across the four manufacturing plants in Chakan, Baramati, Satara and Pune. The fifth plant is under construction in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh which will also be connected.

The company is approaching the rollout differently. “Apart from the technology aspects of sensorisation, connectivity, visibility and transparency, we are also stressing on change management, defining and setting up structures and providing the right resources for a smooth deployment. The employees are being re-skilled at the four IoT labs. Along with PTC, we have also setup a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Industry 4.0. PTC has coinvested in the CoE, which has a combination of all the technologies like Industry 4.0, Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality, Additive manufacturing, advanced software for simulation, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and further integrating it with the ERP, etc,” mentions Zope, adding that the team went to Fraunhoffer, Germany for a four-day program to understand the IIoT platform.

On the technical front, under the IIoT platform, over twelve thousand three hundred sensors are providing real time data from the manufacturing locations. “On a daily basis, more machines are getting connected. A new team has been setup and they are connecting machines and building dashboards. The forging lines are already connected and now the focus is on machining lines,” informs Zope. The operational analytics has been achieved. Alerts are relayed to the concerned person on the manufacturing floor, in case of any change in the vibration, temperature in the machines. Many other such alerts on multiple parameters are already set. Over the next one year, the five plants would be connected but that would only be a stepping stone in the IIoT journey. Later on, the Swedish and German subsidiaries of the Kalyani Group will also be connected.

The target set has been to enhance Productivity by 5-20 per cent depending on the line or plant. “In some plants, the productivity has gone up past the 5 per cent mark; energy savings of about 9-10 per cent have been achieved in some plants. Over the next one and a half year, it’s desired to completely eliminate unplanned downtime in hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics. The savings and efficiencies realised thus far is more than the total investments that went into the IIoT platform,” claims Zope.

How does that happen? Zope gives an example of an incident six months back at a manufacturing plant. An operator, at about 2 am got an alert in the night about an inconsistency in the vibration in the forging line. He stopped the forging press and found out that one of the bolts was broken. He immediately changed the bolt. In the absence of such an arrangement, three more bolts would have broken resulting in a halt in operations for at least three shifts. The press manufactures one crankshaft every eight seconds.

At times, the information is available, but interpretation becomes a challenge. Bharat Forge is working on maturing the vibration technology and signature them to link with what kind of problems are preceded with typical signature patterns. This will help in providing insights into the data flowing in from the sensors.


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