Robotic Automation Trends in Manufacturing
Published on : Wednesday 07-04-2021
Today, the automotive industry is the largest adopter of robotic solutions in India.
The VDMA Robotics + Automation Association of German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) organised Robotomation – A Symposium for Robotic Automation trends in manufacturing recently at Gurgaon. Despite the prevailing circumstances around the pandemic, more than 205 participants constituting mainly of the Indian Tier 1-Automotive, Tyre & Wheel Making Industry, Machine Tool, Food & Beverages and Water industry attended the prestigious event.
The new World Robotics 2020 report by International Federation of Robotics (IFR) states that in 2019, sales of new robots remain on a high level with 373,000 units shipped globally. Though this is 12% less compared to 2018, but still the 3rd highest sales volume ever recorded. Statistics show that the global operational stock of industrial robots rose by about 65% to 2.4 million units within five years (2013-2018). Employment in the automotive industry – the largest adopter of robots – increased by 22% from 824,400 to 1,005,000 jobs (2013-2018). The impact of automation on employment will not be, in any respect, different from the previous waves of technology-driven change. The average robot density over all robotised economies in the world was 113 robots per 10,000 employees in 2019. The highest is in Singapore with 918 robots per 10,000 employees followed by Republic of Korea with 868. Germany has 346 robots per 10T employees. In China it is 187, whereas in India it is only 6.
Therefore, it has become imperative for organisations to find ways to bridge the skill-gap to stay ahead of the curve. They can achieve this by either hiring the right people with the right skills; or helping their existing employees stay relevant by upskilling them. The gradual integration of robotics and automation in the workplace has begun, transforming the nature of roles and functions in its wake. Hence, with automation driving significant changes in the workplaces, employers realize the need to create a system capable of supporting humans and robots' interaction.
The Symposium focused on the global robotics and automation trends available for the manufacturing industry. The Symposium was moderated by Ms Jamly John, General Manager VDMA India, also responsible for VDMA Robotics + Automation in India. In his welcome address, Mr Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India, said “The passenger vehicle segment clocked a growth of 11.14% in January 2021 at 2,76,000 units, thus remaining in the positive territory for the sixth straight month, against 2,48,000 units in the corresponding month a year ago. Two-wheeler volumes rose in January 2021 by 6.63% to 14,30,000 units, compared to 13,41,000 units in January 2020. The total vehicle sales increased by 4.97% to 17,32,000 units last month as against 16,50,000 units in the year ago period.
“Today, the automotive industry is the largest adopter of robotic solutions in India. We are also seeing segments including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, electronics and the logistics industry starting to adopt automation and robotics at a much faster pace. It is worth bearing in mind that artificial intelligence, automation, IoT, and robotics are becoming more prominent. Naturally, the impact of automation is growing significantly in the workplace. This situation places immense pressure on the skills landscape. The pace of technological advancement and the rate at which professionals update their skills are already causing the skill-gap to become more expansive. Further the viral outbreak has further accelerated the digital transformation within the global business ecosystem.”
Mr Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director of VDMA Robotics + Automation and Member of the Executive Board of the International Federation of Robotics, gave a keynote address on “The global robotics and automation boom”. He said “India has made great progress in harnessing the benefits of robotics and automation technologies for its manufacturing sector. India saw dynamic growth of industrial robotics – CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of +15% p.a between 2014 and 2019 in installations! Therefore, the new VDMA Robotomation Symposium is a much-needed event – the place where users and vendors of automation technology can discuss the latest trends and applications on the highest level.”
Dr Joerg Polster, Minister & Head of the Economic Cooperation, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, New Delhi, gave an address through video. He stated how Make in India and Self-Reliant India (Atmanirbhar Bharat) will play a major role in the automation industry. He emphasised on the increasing importance of automation with the pandemic today and the world markets going more local in comparison to global trends in manufacturing.
The inauguration was chaired Mr B B Gupta, President Business Head Auto Components, JBM Group who made the address on “Emerging trends in the Automotive industry with the adoption of Robotics & Automation” and Mr Vinnie Mehta, Director General, ACMA on “Rebound of Automotive Industry Post Covid”.
During this event, well-known VDMA members, viz., Baumer India, Dürr India, FESTO India, Gudel India, KUKA India, Pepperl+Fuchs Factory Automation, SICK India and Zimmer Automation conducted application-oriented technology presentations.
The first round of technology-oriented presentation was led by Mr Manoj Yadav, General Manager, KUKA India gave insights on “Key Applications, Challenges and way forward for Robotic Automation in Auto OEM’s and Tier 1 Industry”. Mr Sunil Raibagi, Managing Director ASIA & Vice President Business Development & Strategy, Zimmer Automation gave an overview on “Smart Gripping Solutions for Tyre, Intralogistics in Automotive Industry”. Mr Pramod Parulekar, Head of Cluster India – Process Automation, FESTO India spoke on “Automation in Water & Wastewater industry”. Mr Vikas Anwekar, Product Marketing Manager – Vision Technology, Baumer India gave insights on “High Performance Machine Vision and Smart Sensor Solutions for Modern Manufacturing” and Mr Prashanth Alevoor, Head – Robotic Application Technologies, Dürr India updated on “Innovative Robotic Painting with Smart Technologies”.
The second round of technology-oriented presentation was led by Mr Ravi Agarwal, Managing Director, Pepperl + Fuchs Factory Automation gave insights on “Sensors for Smart Manufacturing”. Mr Ashish Kashikar, Market Product Manager – Industrial Safety, SICK India spoke about “Safe Robotics”. Mr Sheetal Deshpande, Chief Sales Officer & Mr Shailesh Bokil, Head Engineering from Gudel India gave an overview on “Intelligent Technologies for Motion”.
The panel discussion on “Role of Robotics + Automation for the Manufacturing Industry” moderated by Mr Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India. The panellists joining the discussion were: Mr Rajachandran Madhan, Director, Indo-German Science & Technology Centre (IGSTC); Mr Achintya Lahiri, National Head – Packaging Development and Engineering, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd; and Mr Rajiv Wahi, Chief Executive-International Business (EAM), Escorts Ltd.
The panellists highlighted the increased use of robotics and automation today in the manufacturing industry and even in their own factories and it being inevitable to avoid the adoption of technology in the fast-paced industry. The panellists also spoke about the increased use of robots and mainly collaborative robots in today's industry which is more economical and also viable for the SME and MSME industries. They also discussed that Indian workforce needs to be educated on the adoption of automation at workplaces and this should start with the re-orientation of our educational curriculum giving more focus towards AI, Industrie 4.0 and digitisation in the ITIs and other institutions.