The world is defined by its cycle of industrial revolutions. It began in 1784 when steam engines made distance irrelevant. Electricity arrived around 1900 and changed the role of the operator. Then computers were built in 1969 and simplified complex tasks. Today we are fortunate to be in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. At the heart of it is IoT and it’s all about digitization, connectivity and smart manufacturing. The internet has already transformed the retail market, banks, even our homes but it first entered the quintessential factory and has since turned it on its head.
For more than a century, Bosch has excelled at building things. Now in order to ace the digitalized world it needs to connect these things. How? That’s what Pravin Pathak, Project Leader for Industry 4.0, Bosch Limited, and his team are working towards. Fueled by the idea of ‘Lean Manufacturing’ – less of everything – this team is heralding the age of Industry 4.0. It all begins on the factory floor of the 21st century where every tool, machine, material, process, command and person is connected and works together flawlessly.
Pravin firmly believes that Bosch India is uniquely placed to turn the vision of a smart factory into reality because “The power of Industry 4.0 is more obvious than ever.” Whether it’s as simple as marking assets with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to reduce inventory by 30 percent or repurposing a complex integrated Transport Management System (iTMS) to manage elements of transportation like network design, monitoring, freight cost clearance, performance and analytics, the team at Bosch Limited is making this transition dynamic and profitable. At the heart of all this is data of two types – “Long-term production planning data and real-time dynamic data.”
Mining and mobilizing this data is critical for Bosch India’s move to smart manufacturing. With more than 50 full-time data scientists hard at work, dozens of projects have been successfully completed across domains to generate millions of dollars in cost savings. For instance, a data mining and parametric modeling initiative that resulted in 50 percent reduction in testing cycle time for a single-cylinder PF51 pump at the Bengaluru plant. The data analytics team also supports global initiatives across plants such as Homburg and China RBCD to save millions of dollars.
Bosch’s vision for 2020 entails that every product is connected via the Internet of Things (IoT). At Bosch India, several legacy assembly lines have been restructured to achieve higher efficiency and increased productivity while having a lower payback time. Through networked manufacturing and instantaneous connectivity, manufacturers can collect, analyze and process data that offers a whole new world of opportunities.
Another key development is the imminent 2019 shift to a state-of-the-art plant in Bidadi. The futuristic center will optimize space by 30 percent and streamline smart manufacturing in terms of production, connectivity and quality. This is a key part of Dr. Andreas Wolf’s, joint managing director, Bosch Limited, plan that was formulated in 2015 to roll out Industry 4.0 across all 18 Bosch manufacturing plants in India. The company is generally aiming for a payback period of less than two years for these projects and is focusing on areas such as digitalization of shopfloor management, usage of machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity, energy management, and implementation of manufacturing executing systems (MES). This will enable Bosch India to not only improve the productivity, but also create best practice solutions that can be used across diverse locations. For instance, the MES Pro Master implementation at the Chakan plant (part of Bosch Chassis and Systems India Private Limited, sister company of Bosch Limited), has led to an increase in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) by a significant percent, thus solidifying its status as a benchmark for OEE productivity among plants with manual lines.
Supriya C. says, “Through smart manufacturing, we are trying to realize the ‘lean concept’. Our continous improvement process (CIP) approach enables us to set global benchmarks and profitable targets for every function in the value chain. This helps us achieve and ensure cost competitiveness. Lastly, the numerous time studies we undertake at critical moments of implementation help us to improve our realization of automation.”
The concern about the loss of jobs may not be as widespread as previously thought. The truth is that as smart manufacturing and automation spreads further, new jobs that look nothing like previous ones might be born. This has been the case with every major industrial transition and the fourth industrial revolution will be no different. The associates need to be prepared for this change. An intensive training program called the Industry 4.0 Academy has been launched.
Bosch has also implemented an intensive System CIP process for the end-to-end mapping of value streams. Herein, every member in the value chain is given a predetermined set of targets to meet and this contributes to the complete alignment of a process with the best possible outcomes. With this as a blueprint, the restructuring and reduction of supply lines has made value streams even leaner. The manufacturing of A-pumps – a 90-year old legacy product is one of the best example for this continuous improvement process.
Dr. Andreas Wolf resolutely feels that the Bosch Production system under this roof of I4.0 will definitely lead to disruptive improvements in terms of quality, cost and delivery, in other words higher competitiveness.
Industry 4.0 leads to clearly measurable benefits such as higher efficiency, easier inventory management and significant workload reduction through the intelligent and relevant application of specialized technology and smart automation. By this approach Bosch expects a further boost for growth.