With the concept of Industry 4.0 gaining rapid momentum, disruptive technologies that come out of digital innovations has been progressing and has reshaped the way things are viewed in the manufacturing segment. India has not been an exception to this trend, but has been an active participant, contributing to the global manufacturing GDP.

Industry 4.0 is even more expected to transform the manufacturing sector in India, by bringing operational efficiencies to various industries such as the automotive, electronics, electrical, aerospace and others.

It was fitting, under the involving circumstances, for VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen und Anlagenbau – German Engineering Federation), to organise a symposium on the topic, “Industry 4.0 – The Future Concept of Manufacturing” in Chennai.

Ms Karin Stoll, Consul General, Consulate of Federal Republic of Germany, Chennai,  inaugurating the symposium by lighting the lamp, alongside (L-R) Mr Dietmar Goericke, Managing Director, Forum Industry 4.0, VDMA Frankfurt, Mr Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India

VDMA, a network of more than 3200 engineering companies in Germany, riding on the success of last year’s symposium and also to create more awareness, build strategies, road maps to build business towards Industry 4.0, this international symposium was organised, in Chennai and Ahmedabad.

“Germany is known globally for it’s engineering technology. The German manufacturers are internationally well positioned in a broad range of sectors and is also the largest country in terms of share of machinery. In India, it is critical for industries to digitally transform and be ready, to keep up with the fast changing business and technology landscape”, said Mr M Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India, in his welcome address.

“Industry 4.0 is not only a topic for large-scale industry, but must also be feasible for small and medium sized companies. Implementation strategies are necessary, that show for example how the harmonisation and integration with existing production technologies, IT systems and databases should occur”, he added.

Dr Seshu Bhagavathula, Chief Technology Officer, Ashok Leyland Group, delivered a special address on Industry 4.0 and the digital transformation of the automotive industry in India. He believes that Industry 4.0 will trigger the focus on making “Intelligent products”.

“With the process of creating products via non-intelligent processes coming to an end very soon, Industry 4.0 will focus on more intelligent processes and products. Cyber-physical systems, are the foundations of enabling an intelligent factory. In the future, products and materials are going to be so intelligent, that they would begin interacting with the manufacturing equipment”, Dr Seshu added.

Ms Karin Stoll, Consul General, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Chennai was the Guest of Honour on the occasion, spoke in depth about the development of Industry 4.0 in Germany, where she said, “Big companies in Germany have started to digitize manufacturing lines in factories and these rapid technological changes have begun reshaping the industry.”

“The fusion of physical and virtual world, into a physical system will have a huge impact on every element in the automotive sector, which is particularly strong in Tamil Nadu. In comparison to Industry 3.0, a traditional way which we have got used to, will now see an unprecedented disintegration and we will see a lot of smart technologies taking over the manufacturing lines.” she said.

The inaugural session saw Mr Dietmar Goericke, Managing Director, Forum Industry 4.0, VDMA Frankfurt, addressing the state of play in Germany in the view of VDMA. “The goal in Germany for the next few years, is to participate in a fair competition, create a flexible network to improve operability and achieve sustainability, which is one of the key goals of the German society”, Mr Goericke said.

Dr Seshu Bhagavatula addressing the gathering.

“India is a key market for us and new challenges like 5G coming up, tackling them would be the key, to successfully establish Industry 4.0. The promise (of VDMA) is to bring a better value for your company, by assuring quality, minimised time to market the productivity and also create new business models. There is big potential growth for the market”, he added.

Technical Sessions

The day long symposium witnessed intellectual technical discussions and presentations from representatives of German companies such as, Bosch Rexroth, BECKHOFF, Siemens, Schaeffler, SAP, Pepperl+Fuchs, Schmersal India

The sessions saw top ideas and innovations of the companies, who shared them with the audience, actively participating in the successful exchange of intellect, promoting the concept of Industry 4.0