Microverse is now investing heavily in developing AI/ML predictive models
Published on : Thursday 07-09-2023
Sameer Pikale, National Sales & Marketing Head of Microverse Automation.
Microverse Automation with over 3 decades of legacy is among the pioneers of automation among home grown companies. How did this story begin?
Microverse Automation was founded with a nationalistic mission of designing and manufacturing complex technology-related solutions like Distributed Control Systems, PLC and now IIoT for Process Industry in India. For far too long India has been dependent on foreign companies and importing automation technology in India.
When India can be a leader in Software Services, why can’t India be a leader in Automation Technology? The industry is proud of ‘using’ foreign products; shouldn’t we take pride in developing and manufacturing these solutions in India?
These were the questions that came to my mind when we started on our mission to Make DCS in India in 1989 said, Mr Girish Mehendale MD of Microverse Automation.
“You might have heard stories of Apple and Microsoft being started in a garage. We are proud that our journey too started in a similar fashion. All the founders quit their MNC jobs when they were possessed by this mission to Make In India 34 years ago! Microverse was started from my balcony in Pune. We have grown over the last 3 decades and now operate out of a best-in-class manufacturing facility in Pune.”
What are the highlights or advantages of Distributed Control Systems customised by Microverse Automation for its clientele? What is the USP?
Microverse has never relied on imported technologies to produce automation solutions. Our engineers have worked tirelessly to ensure that all feasible hardware and software solutions are indigenously developed and manufactured in India.
Microverse is a solutions company. We have a process expert who provides consultation on enhancing operational efficiency, throughput, and safety. “Plant operators are not looking for generic automation solutions providers. They are looking for solutions that address their problems. Companies usually try to force fit products onto specific problems that plants face. Microverse Automation instead designs customised solutions for every project. Additionally, since we do all the development in-house, we provide customised solutions at cost-effective prices,” explains Siddharth Mehendale – Director Projects, Microverse Automation.
The company is competing successfully with global automation giants. To quote a cliché, is the company doing different things or doing things differently?
At Microverse Automation we are very serious about 3 key aspects, Technology, Quality, and Customer Support, said Sameer Pikale National Sales & Marketing Head of Microverse Automation.
Our R&D happens right here in India and the design IPs for both hardware and software lie with us. We don’t have to look at some COE in the US or Europe for our technology.
We are an honest company. Our peer automation giants are charging exorbitant amounts for upgradation, and revamping. We do not believe in any such hidden charges for the entire lifetime of our products. For example, we offer Windows upgrades free of cost. We also offer crucial features like conformal coatings, protections, and isolations as default rather than separately charging for them.
What is the nature of your association with Hitachi? What are the products that are an outcome of this association?
Our association with Hitachi High-Tech has been established for joint R&D in the fields of automation, DCS, IIoT, MES, and predictive analytics and diagnostics. “With Hitachi, we have ensured that our electronics manufacturing and software development practices meet global standards. However, through the entire process, we have ensured that the electronics are still 100% manufactured in India – and proudly so,” says Abhijeet Roy, Regional Head – East India Division.
What are the companies that form the bulk of the clientele? What segments of the market? Any more projects like the one with Total Energies?
Our DCS/PLC systems have been implemented for power plants, oil and gas, chemical ferro alloy, pharmaceutical, IIoT applications, etc.
In the power plant sector, we have been working with the Dept of Atomic Energy’s Heavy Water Board for the past almost 20 years. This is a supercritical DCS for a super critical application and we have offered triple redundancy. We are quite proud DAE has approved and is running its plant on our Indian technology.
The majority of our clients are from the Chemical and Specialty Chemicals verticals. We have worked with most of the major chemical companies and our solutions have been implemented at these companies for over 20 years. We are working on a project with Gharda Chemicals for a complex DCS with 16,500 IOs in completely redundant architecture.
In the ferroalloy segment, we are proud to have worked with Tata Steel for submerged arc furnace plants. Our ferro alloy solutions are implemented not just in India but in other neighbouring and Gulf countries as well.
O&G is a controlled market. We are proud to work with world #5 O&G company Total Energies. After successful implementation at their Mangalore plant, we have implemented DCS for 3 plants in South Africa.
Microverse Automation builds technology indigenously or rather uses indigenous technology. Is too much emphasis on merely Making in India inadvertently hampering investing in our own R&D?
Microverse builds technology indigenously. That’s our mission from day zero. We strive to ensure the maximum percentage of components used in our systems is manufactured in India. We supply these components to other companies to ensure we build an ecosystem of Indian products.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Until all companies cut imports and emphasize using only Make-in-India we won’t be able to establish the ecosystem and drive up the quality. Sure, there is a lot of scope for improvement but the public and private sector companies need to rise up to the challenge and commit to developing an Indian ecosystem. It is time we take pride in Indian technology and only then can we expect the technology to rise up to our expectations.
Apart from pure automation projects, Microverse Automation has also worked in developing complex engineering solutions for diverse industries and critical installations. Please elaborate on this aspect.
We believe in developing innovative customised solutions that actually solve plant specific problems. Automation has to be people oriented and compliment organisational vision. As an example, in the past for a plant where the operators were non literate, we modified our SCADA to the local Devanagari script.
Similarly, for manual steps of the chemical batch process we developed voice-based SoP digitisation solution. A simple voice alert recorded in the voice of the shop floor supervisor to help the worker carry out their jobs perfectly and in line with laid down Recipes and SoPs. This not only improved plant productivity by almost 24%, but also ensured safe operations.
We have done high tech research to improve out-dated technologies and enable the industry to leverage the latest. After thorough research in wireless technologies, MAPL has implemented numerous wireless protocols that transmit data over kilometres, reducing wiring and connecting remotest of plants assets. This data integrates with Microverse cloud platform that has advanced analytics, monitoring, predictive maintenance modules, etc., which can be made available over web as well as mobile applications.
Cell voltage monitoring systems have been around for decades but are still employing age-old wired mechanisms. Microverse implemented the latest wireless IIoT principles and developed devices that can wirelessly bring entire cell house data to the palm of the hand.
Microverse is now investing heavily in developing AI/ML predictive models and Advanced Process Control to integrate analytics with automation. As said earlier, we at Microverse Automation strive hard to give custom solutions based on cutting edge technology to all our clients. This principle always propels our growth.
How is the vendor/system integrator ecosystem evolving in India, especially when it comes to serving the smaller industries or MSME segment?
First and foremost, there is a tremendous advantage to locally Made-In-India automation. As we manufacture in India, we are able to supply large systems within 4 to 6 weeks. This ensures that the smaller as well as large industries see a faster turnaround for their projects.
For other companies, most automation hardware is imported from China. During the Covid pandemic and border issues with China, the import supplies for these companies greatly suffered. However, Indian-manufactured products were able to keep our country running.
We understand that providing on-time services and support to our clients with their plants in really remote locations in India is a challenge. We have now created a Solution Partner ecosystem to address this geographical challenge. Not just in India we have established such partners who are trained on our DCS systems even in the Gulf and South Asia regions. Murphy’s Law says that things go wrong when you expect them the least – if a breakdown has to happen it most probably will happen in the dead of the night! At Microverse Automation we are geared up to support our clients by either remote support local resident engineers or local solution channel partners 24-7 and 365. We are proud that 90% of our clients have been with us for the last 20 years and that is not just because of the technology but because of the support we offer.
Especially with our MSME partners, support is the key to ensuring they get the maximum RoI from the least possible investments. We are there for them.
How do you see the growth of Microverse Automation in the near term and mid-term?
We believe growth for our DCS is inevitable as we have just scratched the surface in terms of market capitalisation. With support from our Indian Industry and the Government of India’s narrative for Make In India, the growth will be exponential in both the short and long term.
However, we always say that Microverse is a mission and not a business. We do not measure our success in terms of projects but on the technology that we are able to manufacture 100% in India and the extent to which we make India technologically self-reliant!
Sameer Pikale is Passionate about Digital Technologies, IoT, Analytics, Big Data, Cloud, SaaS & PaaS technology solutions. He has 24 years of extensive experience in Industrial Automation (DCS & PLC), Manufacturing & Infrastructure IT Solutions Sales, Business Development, Advance Analytics and Asset Performance Management Solution Sales.