April 23, 2019
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Industry 4.0 Benefits Not Only for Large Manufacturers.

Logo | Mrashall Machines

The fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 is successfully reducing inefficiencies in traditional manufacturing practices. More and more industries are adopting these new technologies to boost their growth. In a few years, companies will totally depend on Industry 4.0 technologies for their survival.

The introduction of Industry 4.0 has proven to be beneficial to production lines as it offers:

  • Improved Productivity
  • Improved Efficiency
  • Machine-to-machine and System-to-system Automated Knowledge Sharing
  • Improved Flexibility
  • Cost Reduction
  • Opportunities for Innovation
  • Better Revenue
  • Better Profit
  • Faster ROI on Capital Investments

These huge benefits come at a cost. While large corporations have immense resources which can be deployed for implementing Industry 4.0 (I 4.0) technologies, how can SME’s reap the benefits of I 4.0 with their limited investment capacity and lack of managerial resources? Or are they destined to watch helplessly as the Fourth Industrial revolution passes them by?

The emphatic answer to these questions is: SME’s can start implementing I 4.0 solutions today, with a limited budget with existing human resources, as a pilot project on one machine or a product line, see the clear benefits, and then extend the implementation of I 4.0 to other machines/product lines in a phased manner. Let us understand this with a case study of M/s Infinity Engineers, Nagpur.

Infinity Engineers (IE) is a vendor of AAPL that supplies Hydraulic assemblies to various Tractor OEMs. Products manufactured by IE include Hydraulic Spools, Valve Bodies, Fittings, etc. IE was facing quality, tooling cost and delivery issues in the hydraulic spool line. The major culprit was the Hard-Turning CNC Lathe. Mr Satish Sharma, Prop. of IE, was informed about the availability of ‘Closed Loop’ Hard-Turning machine with I 4.0 technologies by VP of AAPL and decided to implement in the most critical HS 304 line.

The Hard-Turning CNC Lathe came with a ‘Plug & Play’ Gauging Station that measured machined jobs and auto-corrected tool offsets in the CNC Lathe, thereby eliminating operator errors. In addition, the I 4.0 package installed in the CNC Lathe performed the following functions:

  • Calculated insert edge wear and retired tools when life was over and replaced with ‘Sister Tools’.
  • Carried out daily 15-second ‘Mechanical Health Check’ of the machine.
  • Used data from sensors in the machine (vibration, thermal, flow & pressure) to monitor vital functions and initiate actions when required.
  • Monitored productivity and presented data in a format that allowed corrective action to be taken promptly.

Mr Sharma did not need to hire any specialist to implement and monitor all this. As suggested by the machine manufacturer (and the total I 4.0 solution provider, Marshall Machines), he assigned Sr. Engineer Mr Ram Prasad to attend to the instructions given by the system and made his production manager – Mr Anil Dubey – to be the overall I 4.0 implementation head.

The results delighted the entire IE team: Rejection reduced from 0.2% to 0.03%, Tool Life increased by 17%, OEE up from 78% to 89%, No line stoppage in 3 months, No call from AAPL for segregation of defectives from their assembly line, and no debt notes. Mr Sharma estimated that the Return on Investment on entire I 4.0 package for the Hard-Turning machine is less than one year. The Bonus was increase in the share of HS 304 business from 45% to 80%. He plans to take a loan, for modernisation, from a Bank and implement I 4.0 on three product lines in the current financial year and entire factory in the next financial year. He will be selling off old machines which cannot be interfaced with I 4.0 technologies and replacing them with new machines.

As the above story illustrates, SME’s need I 4.0 solutions even more than large companies because they are more vulnerable to threats and need to TRANSFORM their machine shops quickly. And being small and, hence, more agile and less bureaucratic, they can implement I 4.0 in one project, machine or line, see the benefits and then gradually extend the implementation of I 4.0 to other machines as well.

Being a small manufacturer or a large manufacturer, you can benefit a lot from Industry 4.0. And the best thing is that “You Can Start Your Journey Today”. To get started, get in touch with Marshall Machines today.

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