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Smart: The future of manufacturing

The first edition of Smart Manufacturing Conclave served as a platform for IT leaders from the manufacturing sector to engage and learn how new-age technologies can transform the industry

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The Indian Express Group’s Express Computer magazine organised its maiden Smart Manufacturing Conclave, in Khopoli, near Mumbai at Novotel Imagica. The event was attended by more than 100 senior IT functionaries from manufacturing companies from across India. On the sidelines of the conference, the Smart Manufacturing Awards recognised organisations from the manufacturing sector, for their innovative use of new-age technologies.

The keynote session from Vinay Jammu, Technology Leader, Physical-Digital Analytics & Software, GE Global Research and Viral Gandhi, Group CIO, Piramal Industries, was followed by the conferring of the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Awards were the highlights of the one and a half day residential event. The first session by Vinay Jammu, touched upon the potential of digital twin, additive manufacturing and immortal machines. Vinay Jammu, Technology Leader, Physical-Digital Analytics & Software, GE Global Research defines digital twin as a personalised living learning model i.e business domain + AI = digital twin. The sensor based machines constantly learn from the machine behaviour and keep looping back the requirements, thus making the machines immortal. For example, the digital twin (DT) technology has enabled machines at GE to be used for many years at a stretch without much depreciation.

In the aviation industry, DT allows for predicting engine breakdown due to corrosion. This can be done when domain (material sciences) + AI can be combined. The data from worldwide map of dust particles is inspected alongwith the flight map and the data from NASA, and a DT model can be run to predict distress in jet engines followed by inspecting the ones, which have passed the threshold. This has saved millions of dollars for airline companies. It has also optimised the aviation operations using AI.
This can also be applied for the supply chain operations – the industrial suppliers, parts providers, assembly lines, etc.

Another use case is predicting boiler tube leakage with AI. The design, operational and inspection data from the boilers can be constantly monitored to predict erosion and accordingly predict the expected outages in the boilers.

GE is also working with two Indian aluminium companies for improving the efficiency of aluminium smelters. They guzzle electricity and even one per cent electricity cost saving can result in tremendous savings in dollar terms. In this case, the domain concerned is electro-chemistry + ML = to better pot leak prediction. GE has adopted the DT model, not only for products but also for processes, parts, and systems. There are about 1200,000 twins operational so far.

In his session titled, ‘Monetise your IoT data using multi-phase analytics’, Abhishek Deshmukh, Senior Consultant – Manufacturing and IoT Practice, SAS India pointed out that a lot of investment is being made to create IoT and Industry 4.0 ecosystem, in the manufacturing sector. He said, “IoT is spread across different areas – digitisation of factories, connected mobility, telemetrics, smart homes, smart appliances, etc. This will generate lots of data; for instance, connected factories create 1.0 PB of data every day, whereas, connected cars create 4.0 TB of data every day.”

Citing these statistics, Deshmukh emphasised on the need for multi-phase analytics amidst growing adoption of IoT in the manufacturing sector. He also spoke on some of the key challenges facing AI and IoT together – non-availability of data, multiple forms and shapes of data and holistic data management.

Smart practices
A panel discussion was organised on Smart Manufacturing – best practices for taking manufacturing efficiencies to a new level. The participants included Piyush Chowhan, CIO, Arvind Lifestyle Brands; Ketan Karkhanis,Head – IT, Clariant in India; Jagdish Lomte, CIO, Thermax; Nabuath Khan, Practice Head – Manufacturing & IoT, Analytics, SAS India and Ranjit Metrani, VP- Sales & Chief Revenue Officer, ESDS.

Cloud and Industry 4.0 technologies was the highlight of the discussion. Ranjit Metrani said, “In India, on an annual basis, over US$ 90 bn is spent on IT out of which about US$ 4-5 bn is on the cloud. Cloud will be the enabling technology for all Industry 4.0 technologies.” Piyush Chowhan felt that cloud was still costly. It is the stepping stone for IT transformation, but not the answer to all questions. Jagdish Lomte gave an example of how accessing engineering data was difficult from the cloud, but there are absolutely no hassles in getting transactional data. Nabuath Khan agreed that cloud was costly. He explained the benefit of cloud in R&D. Hitherto it took months for getting the desired results in the R&D department but now, cloud enables parallel computations and the results can be achieved in days.

On the point of Industry 4.0, Ketan Karkhanis informed about the demand from the plant managers in his company to go for predictive maintenance solution. In response, a PoC will be kicked off soon. Jagdish Lomte informed that, as far as the concept of Live enterprise is concerned, Thermax is 15-20 per cent live and is already using IoT for chillers. The boilers will soon be IoT enabled.

Nabuath explained how a manufacturing company has saved US$1.1 mn in six months by adopting the SAS analytics solution. The maintenance person is regularly informed about the trend shifts in the machines. This results in predictive and proactive upkeeping of the machines.

Industry Internet of Things, also referred to as IIoT, is garnering attention of manufacturing organisations across the country. Let alone the talks surrounding this technology, the manufacturing sector has started witnessing real use cases. In a session on IIoT and emerging technologies, Dr Rajeev Papneja, Chief Growth Officer, ESDS Software Solution, while citing an industry report, said that the IoT market is expected to reach an estimated valuation of US$ 14.4 trillion. Of this, 25 per cent will be aimed at reducing time-to-market. While referring to a book on China’s re-industrialisation, Papneja affirmed that these trends will lead to re-industrialisation in India as well.

He said, “IIoT is not just about sensors. It is about enhancing business analytically and operationally by use of IoT, cloud and software, thereby leading to increase in efficiency. IIoT will not exist without cloud infrastructure.”

Responding to concerns about cloud being perceived as costly, Dr Papneja added, “Cloud seems costly, but it also brings huge savings. For instance, reducing even one per cent of inefficiency can result in significant savings.”

Digital culture
The next session was by Viral Gandhi, Group CIO, Piramal Enterprises. He spoke about ‘How do we create a culture of digital transformation’. Its paramount to bring about a cultural shift in the context of digital transformation because over 50 per cent of the energy is spent in getting the business ready for the technology upheaval.

The steps initiated at Piramal Group as a part of culture hacks program includes Piramal Techfest. It involves encouraging and taking the employees / top management to startups and business leaders to understand more about the potential of IT in bringing about business transformation. An IT Academy has been launched and the technology team is undergoing programs for upskilling.

He also briefed on a set of cultural hacks, which are as follows: Think big, start small and scale fast; push but don’t pull; from know it all to learn it all; short wins (quick PoCs and celebrate wins). Gandhi defines a healthy culture with a glue / grease example. In a healthy culture, the togetherness of shared values acts as a glue and the grease is resiliency, fresh thinking and innovation. Even if an employee / teams fails, they are rewarded.

The Piramal Group has demonstrated success in digital initiatives. The Robotic Process Automation (RPA), chatbots; Real Time Manufacturing Intelligence (RTMI), analytics and AR / VR adoption has delivered good results for the group.

In this increasingly data-centric world, supported by technologies such as IoT, data management has gained equal importance. Speaking on ‘Simplifying data management – The SaaS way’, Bakshish Dutta, Country Manager – India & SAARC, Druva, provided a brief on Druva’s journey. Bakshish educated the audience about Druva Cloud Platform and its unique approach – no hardware, no software, no complexity.

Pharma perspective
The second panel of the day discussed the potential of technology in the pharmaceutical sector. The topic was, ‘Lessons from digital transformation: The Pharmaceutical Industry Perspective’. The Panelists include, Gyan Pandey, CIO, Aurobindo Pharma; Naga Prasad Vaitla, Vice President – IT, Granules India; Suryamohan Surampudi, Sr. Director & Head of GxP IT Administration & Assurance, Dr Reddy’s Labs; Avadhut Parab, Global CIO, Wockhardt. Parab informed about the initiatives taken in the last one year on the digital front. The idea of making the medical representative as a super representative (rep) was initiated. The rep was empowered with a chatbot, that has a 360 degree view about the doctor. A Zoom software is being tested, which will lessen the travel time of the rep. Creating stock intelligence for the rep and the stockists is also underway. The company is exploring to use AI in biotechnology, to increase yield by over 20 per cent; the plan is also to use AI in capacity forecasting too.

Vaitla informed about using technology in the area of training. VR is being used for employees to be trained on various apparatus because all the equipments to be used cannot be bought separately for training. It provides a look and feel of the equipment without actually using it. A curriculum has been created for the said purpose. Design thinking method has been used for process changes. It has resulted in changes in SOPs.

Aurobindo is also running various projects enabled by IT. In the field of logistics, technology adoption has resulted in efficiency in the movement of goods. The adoption of IT is slow but regulation is kicking in faster technology acceptance and serialisation is an example to demonstrate and so is electronic batch records, because auditors are doubting the integrity of the manual record. Downtime is a major issue and predictive maintenance tool is providing the answer. PoC is also on to digitise the log books. The company is also automating the laboratory and R&D.

At Dr Reddy’s, the company is into its third year of the digital journey, which began in 2016. The senior management was taken into confidence before taking up the digital roadmap. It had three pillars: data availability, centralisation of data and data analysis.

lData availability: Data acquisition systems were implemented. So far, 70 per cent of the systems have become paperless.

lCentralisation of data: Involves formation of data lake and pooling in a uniform repository. Data from all the 20 plants is getting congregated.

Qlik did a power discussion with select attendees and gave an overview, about data analytics and the associated challenges and opportunities. What Qlik customers have done right, is they have articulated the business requirement around the right data models. The company which fail to do so, cannot extract the best out of their investments in data analytics solutions.

Data analytics have a deep impact on the organisation’s decision making, if used in the right manner and with a business requirement in mind. Data literacy is paramount and the employees should be trained in the right skills. It’s also important to show the possibilities of how in varied ways, the data analytics solution can deliver results.

Qlik cited a survey on challenges of data analytics and established the premise of the discussion. The survey said, 44 per cent of the employees lack data literacy; 22 per cent said, lack of institutional sponsorship; 11 per cent felt lack of data ownership and another 22 per cent said, lack of understanding of data.

In its power discussion session, the SAS team showcased SAS’ IoT use cases and informed the attendees on the areas where the company is working in – transport, smart cities, insurance, healthcare, etc. The SAS team was of the view that IoT, without analytics, can’t provided dividends; and IoT can’t be implemented by a single provider.

On a query related to end-to-end implementation, a spokesperson from SAS pointed out that IoT implementation can’t be done by a single solution provider; it has channel partners’ play. “IoT is an ecosystem. If you have to successfully solve a problem, there has to be an ecosystem play. We, at SAS, work with our partners to connect you to machines,” the spokesperson said.

An interesting part of the discussion was around the stages of IoT implementation in India and globally. Through graphical representation, the spokesperson said that Indian organisations are currently at level 3 and level 4. However, the industry is now moving into level 5 and level 6. To this, the audience opined that levels of implementation depend on industry verticals.

Powerful deliberations
Day 2 began with a breakfast power discussion hosted by Druva, the cloud data backup provider. The company spoke at length about ‘Backup as a service, simplifying data management, the SaaS way’. The company primarily provides two products – ‘Insync’ for end user data and ‘Phoenix’ for server data. Phoenix provides a visual description of the trend of the data generated. The long term retention of data is separately priced. The Druva application is written on Amazon cloud. The data is uploaded based on the network speed of the enterprise.

lCloud ranger: Helps customers to orchestrate snapshots on EC2 and data copies are also made available in other availability zones in case of accidental deletion of data in the host country. The company provides test services to check whether systems in other availability zones are functioning normally in case if the host region is down.

Druva is actively working with IT, ITeS and pharmaceuticals as they are heavily regulated.
Themed, ‘Building the application that drives your business’, the power breakfast session by ESDS Software Solution delved into the application development offerings by the company, since most of its customers know of ESDS as a cloud service provider. Sharing more, Ranjit Metrani, VP – Sales & Chief Revenue Officer, said, “The biggest chunk of our application development business comes from the government sector – around 45 per cent – but we do business across verticals.”

Metrani also emphasised on ESDS’ patented vertical scaling model, which provides cost-effectiveness, driving benefits and value. Furthermore, Metrani educated the audience about its work done with various government organisations across India.

Qlik addressed a session on the four fundamental ways in which data analytics is changing the face of manufacturing. Three quick case studies were discussed to put the point across. Godrej Consumer Products reduced their time to analyse the reports using the tool from Qlik, which can slice and dice the data at will. Hitherto, the decision making was a time consuming process because of traditional reports.
Lupin could get a single source of truth at the HQ, which was not the case before implementing the Qlik tool. Before, the legacy SAP and BI tool could not provide the data as required. AstraZeneca was accused of selling a drug for the wrong disease. A hefty fine was levied on the company. Qlik provided a solution that streamlined adherence of norms for AstraZeneca.

Tech-enabled manufacturing
Deliberating on the importance of RPA in the manufacturing sector, Richard Dsouza, CEO, Mahindra Integrated Business Solutions, Mahindra & Mahindra, informed, “The key technologies under RPA include Screen Scrapping, Business Process Automation and AI.”

He further elaborated on how each of these technologies work and how is Mahindra & Mahindra leveraging them. He added, “RPA and AI go hand-in-hand. We have used AI to interpret dashboards, ensuring that users understand analytics.”

In another session, Sathyanarayanan A, GM – IT, Ashok Leyland, spoke about the 3D Experience Platform at Ashok Leyland. He also shared an array of use cases. For instance, in supply chain function, some of the use cases include quality reporting, inventory management, order scheduling and tracking, supply chain risk and management, master data management and production routing.

Day 2 also saw a panel on ‘Enterprise security vulnerabilities on the shop floor’. It was Moderated by Keyur Desai, CIO – Essar Ports & Shipping, Head InfoSecurity, Network & Communications – Essar. The panelists include Swaminathan Venkatachalam, CISO, Godrej Industries; Beena Nayar, IT Head, Forbes Marshall; Ravikiran S Avvaru, CISO, Toyota Kirloskar Motor.

Swaminathan began with reasoning, on why the manufacturing industry is targeted. The information security team is involved later in the implementation cycle rather than in the beginning. The departments are working on the IT projects without taking the CISOs office into confidence.

Another major reason is timely patch management in the OT systems on the shop floor. The refresh cycles in the OT machines are less than the IT and thus patch updates are missed in the OT machines. For example, the legacy systems continue to use Windows XP, for which Microsoft has announced to discontinue support.

Beena Nayar said, “The human factor remains to be the weakest link in cyber security. IT security should be a part of the organisational culture. Companies should invest time in organising IT security awareness programs. Employees who report the security flaws should be rewarded. Forbes Marshall is running similar programs for the employees.”

Avvaru stressed on conducting training on the shop floor. He said, at Toyota Kirloskar, at the divisional level, the security teams visit the shop floor for training. The classroom training is very theoretical and doesn’t have the capacity to build scenarios. Srinivasan spoke about following the security hygiene, for example, a company cannot have an email system and the SCADA system on the same network.


If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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