Karsten Mueller, Senior VP – Manufacturing and Quality, Bosch India, in an interaction with Industry Outlook, shares his views on the opportunities and challenges in factory automation, and how manufacturers can empower themselves for smart manufacturing.
How do you see the current evolution of factory automation in India? What are the major factors driving the growth of this market?
Cost optimization through productivity and high performance is the need of hour to stay relevant and competitive. With the geopolitical developments in India today, there is a favorable ecosystem and push for manufacturing. For India to a become front-runner in manufacturing, it needs advanced manufacturing
supported by higher degrees of automation.
The major factors driving growth for this market come from a conducive ecosystem in manufacturing with initiatives like Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Production linked incentives, etc. With the adoption of new age technologies in manufacturing such as robotics, IoT, and AI, the push for automation
will go up by leaps and bounds.
Which are the major technologies emerging in this segment? How are they transforming the way factories operate?
The emergence of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) have shown great potential to create a platform between Information Technology (IT) and actual physical operations. Our Bidadi plant would be a prime example. End of line visual inspection is managed in 3 shifts manually.
Any manual operation is prone to errors and we have received customer complaints regarding the same in the past. We have additionally introduced camera-based visual inspection station with AI, which detects errors related to assembly. Going forward, we will be having a close looped mechanism to inform us about the origin and timing of defect.
These are examples of advanced, data-driven high-class manufacturing yielding a range of benefits in terms of quality and productivity while enabling cost competitiveness. India’s industry ecosystem is primed for a major transformation. Bosch in India directs its focus on such innovation jointly by technical functions in plants and its software division RBEI.
How do you see the research and development being done for factory automation in the Indian industry?
I can only speak on behalf of Bosch in India. Bosch is a unique consultative digital transformation partner. Through RBEI, which is also an expertise center for AI having competent team of data scientists, data engineers, and visualization engineers work towards innovation.
The innovations are tested and tried out in our factories as proof of concepts before arriving at a business case. We have our own machine building division called ATMO-6IN, which specializes in industry automation. Bosch factories are immensely benefited from the internal expertise in software and machine building to create a perfect platform for industrial automation.