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Cover Story | April 2019

B&R offers perfect tools for Industry 4.0 demands

B&R is an innovative automation company with headquarters in Austria and offices all around the world. As a global leader in industrial automation, B&R combines state-of-the-art technology with advanced engineering to provide customers in virtually every industry with complete solutions for machine and factory automation, motion control, HMI and integrated safety technology.

Jhankar Dutta, Managing Director, B&R Industrial Automation, speaks on the distinguishing characteristics and features of the company’s products.

The textile accessories/parts manufacturing has undergone changes in recent times. How has this changed in the segment your company represents, with regard to products and also production processes globally and also in India in order to keep in tune with changing times?

B&R Industrial Automation is a recognised automation player in the textile industry and has a lot of experience in automating machines and lines. Leading machine builders in the industry, place their trust in the innovative and technologically advanced solutions from B&R. Our portfolio for textile segment includes a wide range of products and solutions not only for individual machines, but also for the entire production line. With innovative, trend setting machine and factory automation solutions, we provide our customers with next generation technologies helping them achieve maximum performance on the factory floor. We fulfil the demand of modularity and flexibility of software and hardware with a guaranteed long-term availability of our products. Textile industry worldwide is undergoing changes with customer demands for improved speed, complexity, flexibility, integrated safety, energy savings and reduced environmental impact, diagnostics and predictive maintenance etc. growing by the day. We see ourselves as the perfect match for these rising customer demands. Our experienced team works with exciting, challenging and future-oriented technologies in all areas of automation.

How is your company meeting the challenges of markets demands today? If any upgradation/expansion has happened, please give details.

Changing consumer demand and behavior is forcing companies to invest more on R&D, develop state-of-the-art tools to produce better products, increase throughput, and reduce wastage, cost and time to market. Every years, B&R invests nearly a fifth of its revenues in R&D activities. We are also expanding production in Gilgenberg, which is just a few kilometers from our headquarters in Eggelsberg. On July 6, 2017, B&R became a business unit of the ABB Group. By pairing B&R’s innovative products, software and solutions for modern machine and factory automation with ABB’s world leading offering in robotics, process automation, digitalisation and electrification, we have expanded our position in industrial automation and are uniquely positioned to seize growth opportunities resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

What are your major products for the industry? What are the distinguishing characteristics and features of your major products?

We offer most advanced automation technologies for production management, yarn production, fabric production, finishing and making-up to achieve maximum performance not only for individual machines, but also for the entire production line. We provide complete automation solutions for the textile industry. Our product range includes everything needed for machine and factory automation. In order to operate with maximum efficiency, a textile factory floor must work together as a single, coordinated unit – like a closely-knit piece of fabric. For individual machines to function as a unified unit, you need open standardised communications between supervisory systems and the production floor. B&R provides automation platforms that can be perfectly tailored to integrate machines with different MES and ERP systems. APROL, our factory automation solution enables systematic analysis of recorded operating and process data coupled with business intelligence. Users can gain valuable information for the decision-making process with the help of standard reports, personalised interactive reports and ad hoc reports. Customers growing demands of energy savings and reducing environmental impact is taken care by APROL EnMon solution. It is integrated energy measurement module, which supply all electrical values and quality assurance data from all energy sources to provide complete and automatic collection of all energy usage. The machine and system manufacturing industry demands, 24/7 availability. As an expert textile partner, we offer intuitive diagnostic functions, remote diagnostics and open interfaces, which ensures unobstructed production without unnecessary downtime.

B&R Automation Studio 4 is the ultimate tool for machine building and systems engineering. Through its sustainable and efficient approach to software development, it help machine builders keep the quality up, engineering costs down and time-to-market short – even in the face of ever-increasing product complexity. B&R continues to advance the integration of OPC UA in the B&R Automation Studio development software. With POWERLINK, openSAFETY and OPC UA, B&R offers its customers the perfect tools to meet the high connectivity demands of Industry 4.0 from the shop floor to the IT or cloud. Automation Studio supports OPC UA client and server directly on any controller and therefore allows vertical communication with SCADA, MES and ERP systems as well vendor-independent communication from PLC to PLC. With new PLCopen-compliant OPC UA client function blocks, this communication can be easily implemented in the application software regardless of the hardware being used.

Are similar but cheaper products hurting your industry?

Give some details. Do you think Government intervention is needed to stem cheap import? What are the other measures that you think are necessary? Textile industry is cost sensitive and many factories still are semi-automated or manually operated. To meet the rising demands it is essential for factories to focus on higher productivity with efficiency. Around 70% of the textile machinery requirements are met by imports. At B&R India, our vision is to be an automation partner for Indian machinery manufacturers to enable development of domestic technology. We are proud of the fact we are already working with market leaders from textile market. In addition, the assistance provided by the Government will play an important part in the increase in domestic production of machinery. We could also urge factories in the textile industry to encourage the domestic machine manufacturers rather than trusting on machinery imports.

Make in India is progressing well in many segments. How has it made strides in your company’s production? What are the specific quality measures you have adopted/installed to take care of this?

Our economy is experiencing rapid growth and Make in India campaign as expected is further fueling this growth. Make in India and Digital India have come timely with the fourth industrial revolution, which is increasing the need for advanced automation concepts and best manufacturing practices. This campaign along with Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 is tremendously influencing machine manufacturing in India. Best manufacturing practices together with next-generation automation solutions paves the way for Indian machine builders to leapfrog in industrial development and achieve global leadership. Through careful analysis and selection of all components used, we ensures that all our products meet highest technical standards for quality, reliability and long-term availability. Our scalable and interoperable hardware provides a solid foundation for reusability.

Does your company have any future plans to expand or diversify into other related products? Give some details, if so.

Today, the growing industry demand is resulting in stronger and ever-expanding automation portfolios; it has become increasingly vital to differentiate through technology expertise, industry expertise, after-sales service and support. B&R is renowned for consistently bringing innovative solutions, shaping the market and providing the best-in-class service to its customers. In India, we are now taking customer service to the next level with “World Class Support” – a dedicated support hotline +91 83 80 800 008 that serves as a single point of contact for our customers all across India. Our nationwide customers are enjoying the reduced response times and experiencing an enhanced customer support. This is enabling faster service and reduced machine downtime. In order to provide our customers with a unique advanced technology experience, we are coming up with a Customer Experience Center at our corporate headquarters in Pune. This will help users understand, witness and experience the use of advanced automation and innovative manufacturing technologies live in action. It will help them to optimise their machines and factories and build a strategy for adopting these technologies in their own processes.

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