SMEs adopt automation to take on global players

ksenia kondratieva Mumbai | Updated on December 23, 2018

Automating the loading system reduces time and manpower needed, says Shailesh Gupta   -  THE HINDU

HT Process Controls makes filling, loading of LPG cylinders efficient

When Shailesh Gupta, Director of Faridabad-based HT Process Controls, manufacturer of LPG and bitumen filling equipment, embarked on an automation project for one of the customers — Indian oil Corporation (IOCL) — the company’s revenue shot up by seven times in the next three years.

HT Process Controls, in collaboration with Wisconsin-headquartered Rockwell Automation and its Indian partners, has developed a solution for automating the process of filling and loading of LPG cylinders.

“The robotic loading system is a gantry robot. Its function is to fill propane bottles and load them on to the trucks. Today, it is a manual job and its efficiency cannot be constant, given the hot summer season and the possibility of accidents,” Gupta said.

Benefits of automation

“Automating the process helped to reduce loading time from 25 to 12 minutes and manpower from three people to zero,” he added. It also helped to reduce risk factors emerging from potential accidents in which both people and equipment can be harmed.

After completing the two-year-long tests of first such robotic loading system at one of the filling plants of IOCL, HT Process Controls is staring at a ₹500-crore opportunity.

Favourable period

“We see a potential of installing 200-250 more such systems only at IOCL. There is scope for installing at least 800 such systems in the entire industry. It could be a ₹500-600 crore opportunity,” Gupta told BusinessLine.

While Indian machinery builders are benefiting from various government schemes, they can also leverage technology to advance their offering to large OEMs and end-customers.

“The cost of automation quoted by large foreign players is 30-50 per cent higher than what Indian companies can offer, “ Gupta said.

While Industry 4.0, which stands for using automation and data analysis in the manufacturing processes, may not be on top of the minds of Indian SMEs, industry players believe SMEs will be the driving force for automation in the country, as they are trying to compete with foreign majors.

“SMEs involved in building machinery for various industries are competing with a few large global companies from Western Europe, China, and are able to win businesses from large customers in India because they have the ability to respond quickly,” Dillip Sawhney, MD- India, Rockwell Automation India told BusinessLine.

Published on December 23, 2018

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