Atlas Copco is the market leader for assembly solutions
Published on : Sunday 01-11-2020
Nitin Lall, General Manager – Industrial Technique Business Area, Atlas Copco India
The challenges for Indian industry in general, automotive in particular, have magnified further by the Covid crisis. Does this call for more policy initiatives?
There are two outlooks to this. One, which was our contracting GDP even before Covid came, and two, the situation arising because of the virus. In India, as we experience the pandemic and the fact that our infection graphs still are growing, we expect it would need a couple of quarters at least before we can emerge out of this situation. On the policy front, if the government can look into the scrapping policy of commercial vehicles, it could spur demand in that area. Any short term reduction in taxation for passenger vehicle segment may also help in creating a pull from the market. Other than automobile industry, we do expect a government push in the infrastructure growth of India. There are various road projects, which have been planned, just to name one, the Mumbai to Delhi expressway. Launching the construction of this highway at various points along the route will help a lot generate employment in addition to the demand of equipment needed for its construction.
How effectively can the Atlas Copco Smart Connected Assembly 2.0 platform help the automotive industry?
Atlas Copco is a market leader in connected tools and has the largest service organisation of all tool suppliers. This gives the company a unique position where it can not only gather the data but also analyse it. Then, with its expertise in assembly and tightening, the company can give specific recommendations on how to improve a connected assembly process, or recommend maintenance based on prescriptive analysis. Atlas Copco’s proven solutions are now further integrated horizontally and share data seamlessly between all applications supporting the life cycle of assembly, from applications supporting R&D, through production to applications used in service and analysis.
The integrated loop includes a portfolio of tools, systems and services for smart connected assembly:
i. Process control system
ii. Operator support systems, operator guidance systems
iii. Quality control
iv. Service and maintenance systems
v. Data collection and data analysis, and
vi. Data driven services.
The integrated and modular architecture of applications give our customers two important benefits:
1. Scalable solutions where customers start with selected modules, and expand functionality or scale and grow by adding modules and capabilities as the needs emerge, or enable scaling to expand scope, and
2. Solutions easily integrate with other systems a customer may use and smoothly align with a company’s ecosystems. For example, a common platform for data analysis.
To support flexibility of the assembly line Atlas Copco tools can be positioned with high accuracy on the shop floor. The wireless tool includes full processing power and all control logic to operate advanced tightening processes. The tool can be reprogrammed automatically based on location, product model at the station, and material or component to mount.
In addition, all tool functionality can be managed remotely from the virtual control centre using a tablet or smartphone.
The development of data driven services for maintenance, quality and process optimisation has reached a level where failures can be predicted well before a problem arises, and potential quality issues detected even though the process has been performing within specification.
All components, even on the shop floor, can now be connected. This is a key requirement for the Connected Assembly. Once a design has been created in engineering, its data can be pushed to production, so that the production and assembly steps can be executed accordingly. Once the manufacturing step has been completed, confirmation can be provided automatically and in real time via MES or a station control system. It also allows machine tool manufacturers to perform remote maintenance on products being used by their customers thanks to the availability of cheap, high-volume data links.
The supply chain disruption is further complicated after skirmishes at the border. How can India become self-reliant with a robust domestic supply chain?
It depends on which segment of industry is your presence. Having said this, we should not have a knee jerk reaction to any situation when one is not prepared for an alternative. In due course of time, India can become more self-reliant than what we are today. This would need a lot of support from the corridors of power, including attention given to the change in labour laws for which the government is actively working to bring in the requirement changes.
Many experts see Covid as a catalyst for digitalisation in industry. Are things changing on the ground?
The implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts is a development and change journey for any company, even though the initial phase will have limited organisational impact. One key objective of the initial phase is the learning of new concepts, and companies should strive for an organisation and culture of collaboration and agility to prepare for the coming changes.
From a strategic perspective, the approach of newcomers should be to explore and learn the new technology and create a vision for how Industry 4.0 concepts can benefit the company. Use an agile approach where the solution is developed through iterations and a set of minimal viable products to demonstrate functionality and prove each part of the solutions stepwise. By the end of this roadmap companies should have a working solution for improving quality in an assembly process. In addition, the company must have gained knowledge and demonstrated results to determine the business value – an important input to plan the next phase of its Industry 4.0 development.
What are the solutions Atlas Copco offers to the process industries, especially the energy segment?
Atlas Copco Tools and Assembly systems is a global leader in tightening and partners with OEMs in Energy segment also to provide tightening/tensioning solutions by providing innovative products for some of their most complex of requirements.
We offer solutions like Hydraulic Torque wrenches in RT & RTX series up to 72,000 Nm torque values along with Smart Pumps where we can even store and retrieve the data.
Atlas Copco also has a wide range of tensioners available from ¾” to 4” in CTST standard models and we also manufacture customised tensioners which are all designed and manufactured in our Atlas Copco UK facility. Atlas Copco has launched a wide range of pneumatic, electric and battery operated tools for the Energy segment with data traceability and we can offer electric and pneumatic tools up to 8000 Nm.
Apart from that, we also supply Manual Torque Wrenches, Impact Wrenches, Flange Spreaders and Nut splitters to process industries in Energy segment.
What are the most promising sectors for Atlas Copco in the present scenario?
Atlas Copco is the market leader for assembly solutions in many industry segments. In the automotive industry with its semi-manual assembly processes Atlas Copco is the clear leader. In other assembly-intensive general industries, such as Electronics, Offroad, and Aerospace, Atlas Copco is one of the leading suppliers of assembly solutions. Atlas Copco develops market leading solutions for multiple joining technologies, including tightening, riveting, and gluing.
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, and fierce market competition, with an explosion of the number of models and variants, as a means of meeting the competition. These two trends call for increased flexibility in production with leading automotive manufacturers rapidly approaching the vision of ‘mass production one’. To produce multiple car models or even a mix of cars and motorcycles in one assembly factory is the new norm. For assembly production the vision of ‘mass production one’ is getting closer through new concepts where traditional moving assembly lines are replaced with new solutions based on AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) that enable multiple and flexible flows on the shop floor. The assembly is set up with a main flow and multiple paths or extra loops to handle the differentiation in models and variants.
Has Atlas Copco has taken any special drive to support the industry during these troubled times?
Atlas Copco has provided connected products for more than a decade. The company has, over many years, built up knowledge in connected assembly processes and has extensive experience of how to architect a connected ecosystem. The future of the Automotive and other industries is changing, and no one can tell how far the development will go. New solutions and standards will emerge. Atlas Copco is actively contributing to the development together with its customers, and is a trusted partner for support on the journey.
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