Process automation is a key element of smart manufacturing

  • Industry News
  • Jun 29,22
Atlas Copco is a Swedish multinational industrial company that was founded in 1873. Started operations in 1960, and has over 15 offices across India, the registered office being at Pune. It has its presence in all sectors involving industry-level manufacturing and processing; automobile and automotive industries being no exception. Nitin Lall, General Manager of Industrial Technique at Atlas Copco, discusses how Covid changed the automotive and auto component industries.
Process automation is a key element of smart manufacturing

How is Atlas Copco serving Indian industries?

We provide advanced manufacturing solutions based on critical technologies for a broad spectrum of industries. As partners to the automotive, aerospace, electronics, and other industries, our central mission is to support them in their implementation of today’s connected Smart Manufacturing concepts. A central component of smart manufacturing is process automation, with high-resolution camera systems, software & cameras are the eyes of the robot, providing in-line quality checking, data collection and process control. With this technology, we are now also able to serve process industries as well.

Is the impact of COVID 19 on industries behind us? Have we resolved the supply chain issues facing the automotive & auto component industry?

While it is still unclear if we passed the pandemic, the manufacturing sector really looks upbeat & optimistic. Having said this each sector, industry, and function will have to reinvent itself to achieve maximum growth and sustainability. Sustainable, inclusive growth will require changing the workplace to maximize the contributions of all people.
The pandemic continues to disrupt the supply chain ecosystem with new and unforeseen barriers to both productivity and 
profitability. The biggest supply chain challenges include Material Scarcity, Increasing freight prices, difficult demand forecasting, changing consumer sentiments & inflation.

Post-Covid, what are the new challenges and opportunities for the suppliers in the automotive & auto component industry?

Some of the immediate short-term concerns for the industry are pandemic-related uncertainties, the global shortage of semi-conductors, rising commodity prices, upcoming fuel efficiency and BSVI Phase-2 regulations, shortage of shipping containers, import restrictions etc. to name a few. Having said this the opportunities are plenty with Focus shifting to electric vehicles to reduce emissions. India could be a leader in shared mobility by 2030, providing opportunities for electric and autonomous vehicles. The electric vehicles industry is likely to create five crore jobs by 2030. Rising middle-class income and a huge youth population will result in strong demand. Also, The Government of India expects the automobile sector to attract US$ 8-10 billion in local and foreign investments by 2023.

What is the significance of safety and security in automated high-precision manufacturing?

Prevention of safety hazards in the industry has become a common goal that industries aim to achieve, and accordingly, technological advancements are being directed to suit the goal. An effective safety process creates accountability, includes employee participation, and acts as an incentive to workers leading to improved efficiency and employee morale. With the latest technology such as robots, novel automation, AI, predictive models, etc., the future of hazard mitigation in the manufacturing industry looks reassuring and beneficial.

With the auto industry shifting its focus on electrification, what will be the impact of this shift on the demand for industrial tools?

Atlas Copco develops market-leading solutions for multiple joining technologies, including tightening, riveting, and glueing and hence we need to work closely with customers to develop assembly solutions and processes using these joining technologies and supporting control and analysis applications. 

With the advent of the EV era, it becomes imperative for us to work closely with customers, starting from the design conceptualization stage to the final roll out & then after-sales service. Our solutions need to be incorporated from the early stages to have a significant impact on the total outcome. All our solutions are future-ready and provide customers with much-needed flexibility & scalability of future operations.

How is Atlas Copco supporting the technological evolutions in the automotive industry?

We have the 6 Pillars of value that we provide to our esteemed customers: Increased uptime by having a comprehensive preventive maintenance program, reduction in defects by providing part verification & documentation, new product introduction by reducing installation costs & quick setup, improved productivity by ensuring first time right, human factors by reduction in training needs for new models or process changes and reduction in energy use by creating a lean setup.

What kinds of changes are you witnessing in manufacturing processes & technologies in the auto industry?

The Automotive industry is currently leading the development of manufacturing and assembly concepts and processes. The development is driven by environmental requirements, with the introduction of alternative drivelines, fierce market competition, with an explosion of the number of models and variants. Flexible manufacturing systems are becoming more popular due to their ability to change and adapt to both planned and unplanned changes. This is an important aspect of advanced assembly and smart manufacturing.

What are your growth plans for Atlas Copco in India?

Atlas Copco is both a challenge and an opportunity. Our solutions are focused on giving customers both tangible & intangible benefits. Tangible benefits include reduced floor space, reduced hardware & reduced power consumption. The intangible benefits include ease of use, operator friendly, flexibility & scalability for future expansions. Our solutions need to be incorporated from the early stages to have a significant impact on the total outcome. All our solutions are future-ready and provide customers with much-needed flexibility & scalability of future operations.

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