How automation is boosting manufacturing in India

  • Articles
  • Jan 31,24
With the integration of cutting-edge technologies (like robotics, AI, and IoT) becoming crucial for global competitiveness in the fourth industrial revolution, India's manufacturing sector has undergone a significant paradigm shift due to automation, says Sougandh K M.
How automation is boosting manufacturing in India

In today's world, automation has become deeply ingrained in our daily lives, revolutionising various aspects, from mundane tasks like mopping floors to the operation of driverless airplanes. Over the last two decades, there has been a significant paradigm shift in global automation, with the primary objective being to reduce human workload and delegate tasks to machines. This transformation has brought about a wide range of robots and machines capable of performing tasks ranging from simple activities like picking up a pencil to complex undertakings such as constructing underground tunnels.

The roots of automation can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution, which sought to replace manual labour with machines, marking the transition from an agrarian. Labour intensive to a machine-led manufacturing economy worldwide. Initially referred to as mechanization, the term 'Automation' emerged in 1946 within the automotive industry, describing the increasing use of automated machinery and controls in mechanized manufacturing lines. Coined by D S Harder, an engineering manager at Ford Motor Company, the term has since expanded beyond manufacturing to encompass systems where human labor and intelligence are replaced by mechanical, electrical, or computational action.

As time progressed, automation became synonymous with the mass production of goods in manufacturing factories, distributed through various channels to local stores. The advent of the internet ushered in a new phase for automation, enhancing speed and efficiency. The combination of the internet and automation facilitated easier prediction of outcomes, increased machinery uptime, and streamlined fault detection and error resolution, thereby improving operational efficiency. With continuous technological advancements, automation has extended its reach beyond manufacturing, becoming an integral part of diverse industries.

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) in recent years has further expanded the scope of automation, integrating it into everyday processes across various sectors, including marketing, operations, and software development. According to Markets and Markets, the industrial automation market is projected to reach $ 218 billion by 2027, reflecting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.2 per cent from an estimated $ 147.9 billion in 2022.

Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution, is a direct outcome of automation, enhancing business productivity by allowing humans to focus on more value-added tasks while robots handle repetitive and monotonous work. This shift has made businesses more competitive, encouraging the hiring of highly qualified workers.

India's manufacturing sector has undergone a significant paradigm shift due to automation, with the integration of cutting-edge technologies like robotics, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming crucial for global competitiveness in the fourth industrial revolution. Automation in India has provided various benefits, including increased productivity, quality, cost-effectiveness, and overall economic development.

Increased productivity and efficiency: One of the main advantages of automation in manufacturing is the boost in productivity and efficiency. Automated systems can work round the clock without breaks, ultimately reducing production cycle times. This not only accelerates the manufacturing process but also ensures consistent output quality. The implementation of robotic systems and smart machines optimizes resource utilisation, minimises downtime, and enhances overall operational efficiency.

Quality assurance and precision: In order to guarantee precision and high-quality products during the manufacturing process, automation is essential. Real-time monitoring and control are made possible by advanced sensors and machine learning algorithms, which reduces the risk of human error. Strict quality standards can be regularly met by automated systems in the production of high-quality goods. This not only helps manufacturers gain more credibility abroad but also establishes them as trustworthy participants in a range of industries.

Cost reduction and competitiveness: Automated systems minimize waste, cut labor expenses, and streamline production processes although there may be a significant upfront cost associated with automation technologies. However, there are indisputable long-term cost savings advantages. Additionally, the increased accuracy and efficiency help to lower errors and rework, which further reduces expenses. Consequently, Indian producers can sell goods at reasonable prices on the international market, which helps them stand out from foreign rivals.

Skilling the workforce for the future: Automation in manufacturing requires employees with the necessary skills to design, operate, and maintain automated equipment. Upskilling and reskilling the current workforce is essential to utilizing automation to its greatest potential. The skills gap can be closed by government initiatives, educational programs, and industry experts' participation, guaranteeing that the Indian workforce is prepared to prosper in an automated manufacturing environment. For instance, Indian government has launched various programs for upskilling of current workforce under its initiative of Skill India or the National Skills Development Mission of India.

Sustainable manufacturing practices: In addition to increasing productivity, automation supports environment friendly production techniques. Systems for smart production can reduce waste, maximise energy use, and have very little adverse effect on the environment. The implementation of automation is in line with the objectives of global sustainability, rendering Indian manufacturing more eco-friendly and attracting the interest of global markets and environmentally aware consumers.

Automation: The game-changer
The widespread use of automation in manufacturing is not without difficulties, despite its many benefits. It is necessary to address issues with employment displacement, initial capital investment, and the adaptability of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). In order to guarantee inclusive growth and enable a seamless transition to automated production, strategic policies, financial incentives, and support networks are crucial.

Automation is certainly a game-changer for the manufacturing industry in India. Due to its revolutionary effects on quality, cost-effectiveness, productivity, and sustainability, Indian manufacturers are now major players on the international scene. A cooperative effort involving the government, industrial players, and labor is necessary to fully fulfill the potential of automation. India is able to use automation to drive its manufacturing sector into a new phase of growth and competitiveness by implementing the necessary regulations, making the investments in required fields, and prioritising talent development.

About the author:

Sougandh K M is the Channel Development Manager of India for Universal Robots, having experience of more than 12 years in sales and marketing. He has expertise in handling diversified sectors such as robotics, technology, automation, retail and fashion. Over this period, he has mastered control over the South Asian market. His knack in the technology, automation and robotics sectors makes him stand out among all.

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