Artificial Intelligence is the most adaptable technology for autonomous manufacturing
Published by : Industrial Automation
What is the kind of impact emerging technologies are having on industrial automation?
Emerging technologies are helping industries to address problems related to quality control with image analytics, improve supply chain efficiencies with use of trace and track solutions, robotics, drones and wearables for warehouse and stores management, video analytics with wearables to increase safety of people, helping in prognostics, automated controls with machine integration and artificial intelligence based solutions to prevent failures and overall enhance experience of all stakeholders with information on finger tips with chatbots or omnichannel access.
How is Artificial Intelligence helping the cause of fully autonomous manufacturing?
Autonomous manufacturing requires ability to understand the present situation or predict the near term future and able to take decisions – that is what a human does in normal manufacturing. Artificial Intelligence has capability to understand or predict market demand, predict supply chain failures leading to production loss and not able to meet the demand and accordingly optimise supply chain planning, predict machine failures and hence decide on re-routing of material flow. With these capabilities of AI powered by strong decision making capability at every stage makes it the most adaptable technology for autonomous manufacturing.
Despite the many advantages, there are trust issues when it comes to Cloud Computing. Are the fears exaggerated?
Cloud computing is provided as a service/solution by several well-known service providers. We need to understand they are catering to several clients globally and this is their line of business. Reputed cloud providers will not compromise on the information security and compliance
requirements of their clients. Since this is their product, unlike any other non-IT organisations they will spend heavily to make their product/service offerings robust. So personally I believe, while an in-house hosted solution might have several security measures taken, it might be still inadequate as non-IT organisations view it as a cost and try to optimise while reputed cloud service providers view it as an investment for future revenue and hence its always more robust and secured.
Can a technology like Blockchain reduce the inefficiencies in manufacturing operations, especially in supply chain?
Related to Blockchain, it requires multi-party concurrence. My views might differ from others as personally I feel most of the problems being addressed by blockchain can also be addressed by existing IT solutions, maybe handling it differently. Blockchain requires massive investments vis-à-vis traditional IT solutions. While blockchain might look to be more secured today, as the concept is new, few years down the line hackers might have a solution in place to hack such systems. If not, then traditional IT systems with high encryption is also secured. So to my mind inefficiencies in supply chain can be addressed through AI based IT solutions even without blockchain.
Is the pace of technology too overwhelming for most enterprises, especially MSMEs?
The pace of technology is not only overwhelming for MSMEs but for all types of organisations. The speed of change is so fast that people are struggling to keep themselves updated. As a result by the time you understand the capability of the technology it has already moved to next level with new capabilities. Even before you get the RoI of new technology investment something new has come up.
What should be the roadmap companies should follow in adopting these technologies?
I suggest companies should not chase technologies. Companies should have understanding of capabilities of the emerging technologies but choose to pick those, which can add value to the organisation either through solving problems or generating new streams of revenue or enhancing stakeholder experience. The roadmap should be prepared for organisational needs and emerging technologies being mapped against those needs.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are my personal views and in no way reflect views of my organisation.
Dr Pradeep Chatterjee is Head – Digital Transformation, Change Management and Customer Experience at Global Delivery Centre in Tata Motors. He has setup a Digital Shared Services model for Tata Motors and Tata Motors group companies to provide low cost digital transformation solutions. He is an Electrical and Electronics Engineer with a Ph.D in Artificial Intelligence in Electric Drives from BIT Mesra. He has 25 years of experience across industrial automation, IT and emerging digital technologies while working in organisations as Tata Motors and Cummins Inc.