German auto component manufacturer Bosch is set to implement smart manufacturing at all its 15 manufacturing centres in India. This is in line with its global strategy of embracing Industry 4.0 or connected industry that combines manufacturing with Internet of things and technology.
“We have started the implementation of Industry 4.0 in Germany and in several parts of Europe. We will now begin in India as the country is aligned to our global strategy as well as fact that we want the entire organization embracing this. We did have some pilot projects in our plants at Nashik and Pune. The roll out will be across all the centres,”said Andreas Wolf, EVP, Bosch.
Globally the company has set a target to be among the state of the art companies by 2018 that aligns with smart manufacturing.
The fusion of the real and virtual worlds of production has ensured that man, machine and material are interconnected. Machines will be conversing with machines, people will be able to talk to machines and vice versa. It has brought about a highly individualised and resource optimised mass production, taking manufacturing closer to consumers. “Everyone and everything will be connected! Data and knowhow will be shared in real time. Connectivity is not only valid for manufacturing, it will also make way into all other business processes. We think that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices. Internet of Things and Service will helps us become a more agile company,” further stated Wolf.
For India to be complaint with Industry 4.0 Bosch India has a three pronged strategy. The company’s associates on the shop floor receive data in real time allowing them to take timely decisions. “Bosch India’s strategy is three ponged- first, we want to learn and transfer know how from our European counterparts, second we will develop customized solutions for India. Finally, Bosch India aims to lead the Industry 4.0 development globally and compete with the best in class,” he further commented.
Bosch India has a total employee headcount of 30,000 people, of whom 17,000 work with the IT unit of the company. “With the largest R&D presence outside of Germany, Bosch India is well prepared for the digital transformation,” said Wolf. The Group in India is pooling in the resources of all its entities, such as Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions, the Group’s engineering and services company in India, Bosch Rexroth India and the special machinery business unit to deliver on the needs of connected industry.
Bosch’s Chakan plant is a member of the International Production Network (IPN) for the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and the Electronic Stability Program (ESP). Each single machine for the ABS line is connected, not only with each other, but also with other ABS lines in the IPN. These lines are managed by a Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). Through this, Bosch’s Chakan plant has achieved a quality level close to zero defects. In the near future, the plant will look to implement Industry 4.0 solutions for preventive maintenance, energy management and even for the training of shop floor associates along with the possibility of linking factory systems to business applications. Bosch Chassis is doing pilots in the area of energy management systems among the others.
Wolf said that the investments that the company is making to adopt industry 4.0 will get its return on investments in a span of two years. While he declined to share any specific numbers on savings, either for India unit or globally, Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Board of Management at Bosch during the company’s 2016 annual press conference in Germany said, “By 2020, we expect connected industry to have saved us an aggregate €1bn ($1.14bn) in costs, and to have generated aggregate extra sales of the same amount.”
Wolf also added that the recent changes in the Indian regulations for the automotive industry is a welcome sign and Bosch will play a major role in the adopton of several of these regulations for users. Öne such initiative is the manufacturing of anti-lock braking systems (ABS) for two-wheelers.
“We are planning to start the manufacture of ABS for bikes here at our Chakan plant in Pune from April next year to meet the huge demand for such systems in the country in future," said Wolf.
The government has made it mandatory for all new motorcycles with displacement of 125 cc or more to be equipped with ABS from April 2018 and for all existing and new bikes from April 2019.
Bosch Chassis makes a million units of ABS and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) for four wheelers and commercial vehicles at Pune.
Wolf is also hopeful that in future the company will leverage its strong presence of 17,000 engineers in India as the company moves towards a software and solutions driven company.