Industry 4.0 Market

Cobots much smarter and productive in automating tasks assigned: Rajeev Sharma, Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. is a leading Japanese multinational electronics and electrical equipment manufacturing company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is one of the core companies of Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi Electric manufactures building systems, communication systems, industrial automation, medical systems, power systems, semiconductors and devices, transportation, visual information systems, etc.

Rajeev Sharma, Chief Strategy Officer, Mitsubishi Electric India, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

Mitsubishi ElectricDQI Bureau | DATAQUEST

DQ: What are the solutions being offered in automation?

Rajeev Sharma: Mitsubishi Electric offers wide range of automation and processing technologies, which includes controllers, drives, industrial robots, visualization products like HMIs and SCADA, low-voltage switchgears and computerised numerical controllers (CNCs), etc.

We have solutions to build Smart Machines and Smart Factories. Our solutions enable faster production, higher quality control with higher degree of traceability and lower cost of production. The solutions like Production Management, Process Control, Traceability, Predictive and Preventive Maintenance, to name a few, are sought out by industries like automotive, pharmaceuticals, F&B, etc.

We also have pre-engineered software development packages called iQ-Monozukuri, which in Japanese is called, “The Art of Manufacturing”.

The iQ Monozukuri packages are specifically developed for processes like packaging, handling, converting, etc. These solutions help reduce the development and deployment of industrial automation solutions to the industry, and enables faster production, reducing the time to market and increase efficiency.

Mitsubishi Electric has been revolutionizing IIoT solutions through the e-F@ctory, delivered through an alliance that is capable to serve all the digitization needs. It serves the best automation technology for the best possible complete solutions. The components are added to provide a specific experience to the customer basis the market trends. The customer can choose from the categories of edge computing, IT systems and shop floor technologies and automation solutions.

Mitsubishi Electric will continue working to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and bring greater efficiencies and integration in manufacturing industry by promoting its Smart Manufacturing concept — e-F@ctory, along with the Edgecross technology.

DQ: How is Mitsubishi Electric viewing the Indian automation market, going forward?

Rajeev Sharma: We were in an accelerated growth period, till a few months ago. However, in the recent times, we have hit few roadblocks due to slowing consumption across various sectors. However, we have been focussed in taking our products and solutions across the varied industrial sectors.

Going forward, we will continue to adapt with the changing industrial environment and strive to provide cutting-edge solutions to our customers. In keeping with this ideology, we think that advances in industrial robotics and smart manufacturing solutions like e-F@ctory will drive the factories of tomorrow, which is why we have concentrated on three key features: “Intelligence, Integration and Safety” for our MELFA-FR Series industrial robots. They are capable of handling virtually all the automation needs. We plan to develop more functions in these three areas.

Also, next-generation intelligent functions make it simple to carry out work that has always defied automation. Safe, collaborative work applications allow robots and people to work together with high levels of safety. Mitsubishi Electric’s e-F@ctory concept helps in integrating factory automation (FA) and IT functions, thus supporting the next generation of smart manufacturing.

We offer solutions that use FA technology, and along with an IT interface, it helps reduce total costs in everything from development, through to production and maintenance, supporting customers to continuously improve their business operations and achieve truly cutting-edge manufacturing.

DQ: What are the solutions being offered in power semiconductors and devices?

Rajeev Sharma: Mitsubishi Electric’s insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) and intelligent power modules (IPM) are used in many products, such as the industrial inverter and servo drive application to induce motion control. They are preferred for converting wind energy into power, which is then utilised for commercial purposes and for maintaining power supply in UPS etc. These power modules help in low power losses and ensure quality with reliability.

Our dual inline package intelligent power modules (DIPIPM) are used to control the compressor motors, fan motors, and drum motors in air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, and other small motor application. It is the solution for most of the home appliances on which we are dependent in our day-to-day lives. Furthermore, the high voltage insulated gate bipolar transistor (HVIGBT) modules of Mitsubishi Electric are used for railway traction inverters and power transmission.

DQ: How is Mitsubishi Electric viewing the Indian power semiconductors market, going forward?

Rajeev Sharma: Mitsubishi Electric is receiving a strong support from its customers in the areas of traction and utility solar. We are consistently working upon the opportunity to ensure a better experience. We have strategized the business development activities in two phases, i.e., short-term and mid-term phase. In the short-term phase, we will continue to focus on traction, utility solar, solar power and consumer durables.

For the mid-term phase, we are channelizing our best efforts in getting the Design for emerging segments of EV charger, EV traction and high voltage direct current (HVDC)in the areas of power and healthcare, data display unit (DDU) for thin film transistor (TFT), and space for high frequency (HF) and optical devices (OPTO).

The areas which will remain on our regular checks and development will be thin film transistor (TFT), industrial insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) and most importantly, consumer durable applications.

DQ: How is the IoT business doing right now?

Rajeev Sharma: The IoT sector is emerging well and we are moving towards digitisation. Mitsubishi Electric is offering wide range of solutions for the IoT business to ensure responsiveness to customer needs, better transparency, agility, and cost savings. We have many solutions and some of them are listed below:

e-f@ctory: At Mitsubishi Electric, we have developed solution called it as e-F@ctory – it enables Digital Transformation of the manufacturing industry. The key to digitalisation is integration of IT & FA/OT systems. For this, all our FA Products like PLCs, HMIs, inverters, AC servo systems, NC controllers, industrial robots, IPCs and low voltage switchgear are equipped with advanced technologies for communication. e-F@ctory offers greater visibility of the production processes.

Destination-oriented allocation system (DOAS): Mitsubishi Electric’s DOAS smartly channelizes multi-car elevator systems by allocating cars efficiently according to the floors that passengers’ input, while waiting in the hall, helping to reduce both wait and travel times. The system eliminates the need to press buttons upon entering the car.

Smart meter systems: The smart meter systems from Mitsubishi Electric are introduced to visualize the power usage and automate meter reading. It is helping in maintaining high data collection rate. It gives the access to choose the optimal communication, which yield the highest economic efficiency related to the design tool.

Building management systems: Building management systems and controllers are some of the most important devices within an air conditioning system. They provide a platform to minimise running costs and conserve energy. We consider both a new build and refurbishment, Mitsubishi Electric’s control systems readily integrate with industry standard BMS protocols.

DQ: How are the collaborative robots’ business doing right now?

Rajeev Sharma: Increasing investments in automation of manufacturing processes is boosting the demand for collaborative robots or cobots. The cobots are designed to ensure collaboration with humans at workplace to do efficient operations. The cobots are made to provide more exact movements, faster delivery in less time and maintaining high precision without compromising with performance or safety of humans.

It is expected that demand for the collaborative robot is to increase in the next few years, due features like flexibility, safety and productivity. This will mark a sustained growth, which will be visible over the next decade.

The main advantage that the collaborative robots have over the industrial robots are that they are much smarter and comparatively more productive in automating the tasks assigned and pushing the bar for automation capabilities. This is a rising segment for the automation industry as the future of collaborative robots holds striking innovations. In the coming times, we will see advance forms of interactivity and collaboration which will lead to driving the long-term market growth.

DQ: How is the Industry 4.0 business doing right now?

Rajeev Sharma: IIoT, or Industry 4.0 is changing the landscape of the manufacturing industry in India. While technologies such as robotics, AI, ML, cloud computing and big data analytics exist in the manufacturing sector, their integration with one another will transform the way we do business. In India, IIoT is still in the early stages, but it is already transforming the manufacturing sector in terms of responsiveness to customer needs, better transparency, agility, and cost savings.

At Mitsubishi Electric, we call it e-F@ctory. It enables digital transformation of the manufacturing industry. The key to digitalisation is integration of the IT and FA/OT systems. For this, all our FA products like PLCs, HMIs, inverters, AC servo systems, NC controllers, industrial robots, IPCs and low voltage switchgear are equipped with advanced technologies for communication. The e-F@ctory offers greater visibility of the production processes.

Factory automation is becoming more and more digital with the advent of smart manufacturing. The fact that India is a preferred manufacturing hub, it becomes imperative to increase competitiveness and build efficient value chain.

DQ: What are the future prospects of Mitsubishi Electric and its growth strategy?

Rajeev Sharma: Mitsubishi Electric is focused on making goods specifically to support Indian market needs. Our MSY-GR (T) series air conditioners provide high cooling performance with a guaranteed operating range up to 52 degree celsius, which is suitable for the Indian climatic needs to beat the heat in hot summers.

The inputs on having such a product for the Indian market was from our dealer and business partners who are our eyes and ears in the market. We were able to deliver a product as per their expectation and within the 1st year of its launch the product has become a success.

In factory automation systems, the graphic operation controller (GOC) has been designed, developed and manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric India for mid-segment users, and is aimed to meet the optimal automation needs of the Indian market.

We supply our variable frequency drives (inverters) to various industries across India, to cater different sectors like automotive, textile, tyre, cement, etc. Most of these sectors required rugged products due to the strange environmental conditions.

Mitsubishi Electric India offers as standard Humiseal coating on certain PCBs. The polyurethane coating material is applied to the circuit board used in the inverter series FR-D700 and FR-E700, except for some non-coated parts, such as connectors, terminal blocks etc.

Since, the FR-D700 and FR-E700 series has substrate coating as standard, the special code “-E16” is attached to the model name. These coatings can have a positive impact by improving performance in corrosion resistance and UV durability.

We have several types of metering devices. Out of which one variant is 7-segment LED display type Multifunction Meter. In July 2018, this variant was manufactured under the Make in India initiative, along with power and energy parameters, it can read total harmonics as well. Thereby, we are supporting the Indian market needs.

We will continue to provide products and solutions to our Indian customers to match their needs and ensure quality experience across businesses.

DQ: What is Mitsubishi Electric’s upcoming business and client-focused initiatives?

Rajeev Sharma: We at, Mitsubishi Electric ensure services and solutions to upgrade business and maintain long-term relations with our customers and business partners. Some of our initiatives are as follows:

Extended warranty scheme: Mitsubishi Electric India has announced a new warranty scheme on key components of their room air conditioners at no hidden cost. Effective from 1st April 2020, all inverter and non-inverter type of room air conditioners will come with 5 (1+4) years warranty on controller/PCB for repair/replacement and compressor for 10 (1+9) years for any kind of manufacturing or operational defect.

On-site support for factory automation: It ensures support for the day-to-day comfort. Through our site engineers, we provide prompt responses, solid technologies and user-friendly supports. We make sure that our solutions are running in efficient manner.

Training to business partners: We consistently organise training session and Webinars for our business partners and sales team. The sessions are about products, solutions like e-F@ctory, iQ platform, automation and smart manufacturing etc. During the pandemic conditions, we have organised 30+ webinars on our products and solutions. Such sessions help to explain our solutions and understand customer needs.

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