Robotics and process automation will accelerate the digital transformation in the manufacturing sector

Cybernetik is among the top industrial automation and robotics companies in Pune. Established in 1989, when robotics and automation was in an elementary stage in India, Cybernetik successfully integrated automation and robotics in manufacturing to deliver customized, turnkey solutions using latest automation technologies. Mr. Mahesh Wagle, Co-Founder & CEO, Cybernetik share more insights on the same


  • What has been Cybernetik’s journey so far and how have you seen the industry evolve over the last decades?

We established Cybernetik in 1989 to design and manufacture powder processing equipment after noticing the gap that existed in the country concerning process verticals, mainly in the agriculture, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Accordingly, the company began manufacturing equipment to cater to these industries, especially the pharmaceutical and chemical segments, given their strict compliance rules that require dust-free operations. As a result, the process group was the first vertical to be set up. The robotics manufacturing unit was established later around 2007.

Today, however, we are an integrated solutions provider, which is our USP. Cybernetik is a single-source solution for all automation requirements with a mission to offer excellence through technology, vision and hands-on experience. The company blends innovation and experience to design, build and install end-to-end, turnkey automation systems to serve the Food, Chemical, Pharmaceutical and other manufacturing industries while operating via three verticals – Automation, Process and Extraction.

Considering our presence in a broad range of industries from wind to pharmaceutical packaging, we can cross-pollinate a wide range of ideas and concepts to deliver out-of-the-box solutions for tech problems that aren’t addressed by standard machines.

The automation industry in India has evolved from simple operational mechanization to intelligent automation. The latter uses technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data track-trace, cyber-physical systems, internet of things (IoT), poka-yoke, digital twins and the like for smart manufacturing that presents actionable data insights for continuous improvement.


  • Do you think that industries in India have made the best use of robotics and process automation to support their digital transformation efforts?

At present, Indian industries are seeing a common trend where they are seeking to optimize their assets. The increasing demand for quality products is also a contributing factor to this trend, given that quality and automation go hand in hand. Manual processes involve a higher degree of risk to the labour force, prompting companies to opt for automation processes, which can ensure error-free and safe operations.

One measure of the degree of automation is robot density. At four robots per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing sector and 99 per 10,000 in automotive, India’s robot density is low. Nonetheless, this indicates massive potential for expansion, particularly in sectors other than automotive with low automation density. Food is one such segment. Our experience demonstrates that by reducing the labour count, automation decreases the bacterial load and, thereby, the chances of contamination. Hygiene is a paramount consideration for the food industry where recalls remain the biggest profitability killer. The role of automation in food quality control, boosting productivity and improving quality is also significant.

Fortunately for the industry at large, robot prices are falling. Moreover, robots are inherently flexible and can be reprogrammed to operate with different products.


  • What roadblocks according to you industries in India face to adopt automation and be digitally transformed?

High capital expenditure and the anxiety on whether it will fetch returns is a major roadblock. Then there is a deficit of expertise for the transition to automation. In the absence of authentic experts to consult, plant owners may implement piecemeal automation as opposed to integrated solutions. Over the long term, this makes automation costlier and less effective.

Availability of compatible hardware is another challenge. The shortage of experts only aggravates this issue.

However, digital transformation has now emerged as more than a necessity to keep businesses afloat. Companies can no longer ignore the fact that they need to develop a digital transformation roadmap.

Automation at the workplace is a reality now across most industries, as companies are working to develop technologies that would equip employees to improve productivity and work more efficiently.


  • What initiatives can be taken to expedite the journey of digital transformation and any steps that the government can take to accelerate the process?

Steps that directly or indirectly promote automation can help. Take for example EV battery assembly. India has witnessed some accidental fires in EVs a couple of months ago. Making and enforcing stringent battery manufacturing-assembly standards will prevent such mishaps. Only purpose-built automation can maintain high production levels while adhering to strict standards.

Indigenous robot manufacturing can further reduce the cost of robots and, therefore, the expenses in transforming to robotic automation. Also, addressing the skill deficit will require greater and sustained collaboration between industry, policymakers and academic institutions.


  • What kind of customers do you have and share details of the work that Cybernetik has done for its customers?

Cybernetik serves clients from the food, pharmaceutical, chemical, manufacturing and environment industries. All our solutions are customized to specific client requirements, some of which are unique.

For example, we developed and deployed a Continuous Mixing & Extrusion System (bhujia maker) for a reputed player in the snack food industry. Among other requirements, the client needed the automation to produce snacks of handmade flavour and aroma. We delivered the best of both worlds via careful control over process sequence and parameters.

Continuing with the food industry, we automated the industrial cooking process – from raw material feeding to packaging – for a major Ready-to-Eat/Heat (RTE/H) snack food manufacturer with drastic upgrades in quality, hygiene and productivity.

Some of our other ground-breaking projects include:

For multiple wind turbine manufacturers, they replaced special purpose machinery (SPM) with our robotic sawing and drilling system, achieving a 35-45% reduction in cycle time. Improved accuracy virtually eliminated rework. The robotic solution is flexible and can deal with different blade sizes vis-à-vis the rigid capacity of the SPM.

For an ammunition-making company, Cybernetik developed multi-station automation for the high-speed assembly of artillery shells. The solution first assembles various parts of the shell followed by checks to ensure the correct relative position. A process for ammunition cartridges that was only possible through manual operation is now fully automated.

For Green Mountain Firewood, we successfully integrated a cooling tunnel in the processing line to help eliminate bottlenecks, while simultaneously automating key processes such as packing and palletizing, to produce more than 4,000 logs an hour.


  • Tell us about your future plans and what trends do you see shaping the industry

Manufacturing will be more data-driven than before. As Industry 4.0 technologies such as AI, ML, Virtual Reality (VR), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), predictive data analytics and Augmented Reality (AR) become more sophisticated, manufacturing will move from automation to autonomous. The data-driven model will streamline manufacturing as well as supply chain processes, consequently improving resource utilisation with associated efficiencies.

Hyper automation, which facilitates a seamless data flow between automation systems in various streams (departments, units or organizations), will assume greater importance.  Waste reduction and streamlined production will acquire more significance in all industries, thanks to their links with the broader themes of resource depletion and climate change. The same topics will demand greener technologies and methodologies.

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