AI in manufacturing: Why companies need to upskill and reskill their workforce as the AI ​​revolution sweeps the industry

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Sanjeev Sharma has seen the automation story up close in his 30+ year career at ABB. While various automation technologies have been disruptive in their own way, he believes AI is much easier to adapt. Perhaps believe it or not, Sharma, country head and managing director of ABB India, says relative effort is lower when results are clear. He said, “It’s a lot different than when you buy the software or start the software configuration process. AI insights are quick and deep.”

Whether it’s Industry 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, or now 5.0 with cobots (robots that can work with humans), the themes underlying each stage of manufacturing have one thing in common: increased productivity. I have. According to Sharma, the big moment for AI came around 2016 when he first started to go digital. “We saw technology in Google Maps, search engines and databases harnessing insight into the future, and it was powerful. Now that the data exists, the challenge is to put it to good use,” he explains. By querying the database, you get answers that improve your ability to make better decisions at the engineering and manufacturing levels and increase your overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

The pace of AI-driven change is expected to be so rapid that the need to adapt can never be overstated. In that sense, if Industry 4.0 is all about efficiency, then 5.0 could be its neutralizer. “Efficiency is good, but effectiveness cannot be sacrificed. AI should be employed in a responsible way, with both humans and technology coexisting,” said Tata Jayanta, CIO of his Steel Group. Mr Banerjee said. Humans will never be replaced by AI, he said, and the question is how to make the most of the technology.

Great benefits have been achieved throughout the manufacturing industry. Jayant Acharya, Deputy Managing Director of JSW Steel, explains how the industry is on a sustainable path today to improve operational efficiency and productivity, reduce costs, enhance quality control, Talk about how you can improve the customer experience. His company aims to increase its production capacity (from 27 million tons per year today to 38 million tons per year by 2025). “This leverages his three key strategic pillars of our company. [innovation, sustainability and partnerships]It is supported by the end-to-end digital transformation of steel manufacturing operations,” says Acharya. The plan will deploy innovative advanced technologies such as AI/ML, robotics, standard and advanced analytics, edge computing, cloud deployments, as well as robotic process automation (RPA)/bot-based interventions and intelligent digital Introducing video analytics. “These technological interventions will enable JSW Steel to build a network of digitally connected smart steel factories in India.” , creating a smart steel zone, and developing a smart milling zone.

Not many people are hiring because of fears that AI will take jobs. ABB’s Sharma predicts that a different kind of jobs will be created during this period. “From a business perspective, companies must have high expectations and be patient. [the] The approach should be one of patient capital,” he explains. Sharma likens it to a bamboo tree that grows very little for five years and then grows rapidly. JSW Steel’s Acharya says AI will change the dynamics of work, especially for those who are ill-prepared. “The advent of digital transformation requires specific skill sets and talent, which can be achieved through a judicious combination of digitally-skilled external recruitment and upskilling of the current workforce base,” he said. points out. At the group level, the company will employ a multidisciplinary team of high-potential employees comprised of more than 50 data scientists (with future expansion to 100) to drive digital transformation across the business. created a task force.

On the issue of reskilling, Banerjee of Tata Steel has an interesting take. “We used to have rear-view mirrors in cars, but now we have dashboards. It takes very talented and skilled people to put it together,” he says. Elaborating on this point, Banerjee believes a co-pilot will always be a big help. “But we need pilots, and they are humans. Technology will never overtake humanity in this transition.” In that sense, disruption will come in the form of reeducation. His company chose to invest in the cloud and then in data. “All technologies are important and need to be put to good use. You will see AI as well. In a world where agility is the buzzword, how they achieve it will separate men and boys. The story is just beginning.


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