Here’s the interview snippet from the interaction with Mr. Ankit Jain, IT Head, WIKA India.
Saumya: How is technology transforming manufacturing industry?
Ankit: Industry 4.0 is a technology led disruption that is transforming the way production processes, manufacturing and services industry are changing. In manufacturing industry interconnected network of machines, communication mechanisms, computing power, data analysis capacity are the factors that are transforming shop-floors into smart factory.
In an economy powered by technology, where computers, back offices, data centers and even machines are turning smart, it is imperative to have strong instrumentation and control technology. Sensors, meters, gauges are all needs ultra-accurate measurements and are generally reinvented to fit in industry requirements. Individual customization for manufacturers renders control technology all the more sophisticated and irrefutable requirement.
Saumya: Take us through the journey, how IT helped WIKA in growing till now?
Ankit: Innovations has helped WIKA to bridge the expectation of Industry 4.0. WIKA too has embraced automation and upgraded the products. Pandemic has only boosted the speed of upgradation, leading us to growth.
Industrial IoT (IIoT) is essentially an interaction between people, machines, information technology, and also the industrial process and thus it has played a crucial role in transformation of routine business. Today, IIoT would connect industrial things such as sensors, robots, actuators, to computational machines imbibed in internet-based storage and analytics. To keep up with the trend of IIoT based machine tools WIKA has also launched IIoT based tools and has extensive plans to transform product lineup to automation.
IIoT disruption trend in industry and manufacturing has helped WIKA to formulate the next steps of expansion, including the engagement with different industrial verticals like EV transportation, oil and gas, HVAC sector, 5G and others. WIKA has also embraced automation and AI to transform from a conventional machine tool manufacturer to a smart machine tool manufacturer.
Saumya: What are the challenges Industry is facing due to Smart IT?
Ankit: WIKA is future ready with smart instrumentation. Challenges of a ‘Smart’ industry is that the demand for solutions become unique to each establishment. WIKA India today has enough capacity and wisdom to deal with exclusive demands. As WIKA firmly believe that Quality of products, Customisation for each industry requirements and Service after sales, we have been able to keep up with the demand of each industry.
IIoT delivers the following services to all industry and as machine tool suppliers we need to have our service planning accordingly.
- Machine utilization is optimised through IIoT, thus having more wear and tear as well as efficient production.
- Predictive maintenance is a must in IIoT enabled production floors as downtime will be very less and machines are working on schedule.
- Lesser scope of human error leading to minimum human interference in process
- Safety in workplace is ensured as IIoT enabled machine tools need minimum human interference.
- Operational efficiency is increased in connected environments as data is transformed and analysed seamlessly.
- Reduction in production cost happens as both machines and equipment work efficiently with minimum downtime and maximum maintenance.
Saumya: How is IT technology helping WIKA for wide variety of industries?
Ankit: WIKA deals in all major segments like Oil Gas, Chemical and Petrochemical, Food and Pharmaceuticals, Transport and Infrastructure, Power Engineering and Machine OEMs and other process-oriented manufacturers. While all the mentioned segments are essential in core GDP growth and will have its own business demands, the year of 2022 – 23 will belong to Electric Vehicles (EVs), Automation, Communication and Health sector.
India is at the cusp of embracing 5G and electric vehicles—both need precision engineering, affordable OEMs and smart instrumentations. According to research by Frost Sullivan, Indian market for general-purpose electronic TM instruments alone will touch US$ 300 million by 2022. Apart from that personal healthcare, cold chain and automation drive in every industry will increase the expectation out of TM market.
WIKA definitely aims to be a part of this market along with furthering the cooperation that we already have with established machine-building companies across a wide range of industrial sectors. IIoT enabled tools has made WIKA future ready for Smart Industry.
Saumya: What are the manufacturing strengths of WIKA for an IIoT enabled market?
Ankit: As discussed before, WIKA is already in the process to transform its products into smart tools to assist the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Apart from identifying the products and the process, WIKA has substantially invested in research and development to assist the process. In India also, WIKA has invested in factories and specialised production facilities to enable smart machine tooling.
WIKA India manufacturing plants are present in four states—Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana. WIKA started its journey in India way back in 1997 with establishment of WIKA Instrument, India in Pune. It had its first calibration facility in 1999. In 2002, it expanded its facilities in Pune and added new factory buildings. The Pune facilities was further strengthened with new factory for level, calibration and SF6 gas. Inauguration of new factory at Ghaziabad happened in 2021 with the new calibration centre added this month itself.
Meanwhile, WIKA acquired two companies in 2014—Micro Precision located at Faridabad and Switzer Instruments India Pvt. Ltd., with brand ‘Switzer” and “Indfos” with manufacturing locations in Chennai and Ghaziabad respectively.
The Indian operations are supported by the WIKA Research Development Centre at Klingenberg, Germany — a state-of-the-art concept representing the values of WIKA, while reflecting the company’s dynamism and potential for innovation, glass and aluminium stand for precision, longevity, and transparency. Research and Development is a continuous process and WIKA focuses on market requirements and evolve according to demand.
Saumya: What are the emerging trends in this field?
Ankit: The future of test and measurement market growth will be catering to a connected world with safe equipment while leveraging advancements of the technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M) interaction, 5G and millimetre. These trends will predict the future growth of TM industry globally and worldwide. Primarily, there will be a need for embedded/portable TM solutions, IoT test solutions with remote troubleshooting capabilities and solutions that can support the latest interfaces and protocols.
a. In addition, the demand for multi-functional and multi domain testing will be on rise as the engineers will be looking for one stop shop with future precision engineering to avoid mistakes.
b. Further, smart testing facilities within limited time will be the demand of the day. Predictive maintenance to avoid downtime will also be important for process driven industries.
c. Given the trend of unique solution requirement; WIKA foresees a demand for more customised plans specific to each industry. This will need advisory on best solution and best implementation strategy to the customers along with efficient after-sales service to maintain the efficiency of the machines.