B&R – the brain behind new automated machines

 

B&R is an automation solutions provider for different industries, including textiles. Special motion and industrial PCs have been developed for spinning, wrapping, sizing and weaving solutions.

Mr. Praveen Vaidya, Manager – Key Accounts, B&R Industrial Automation Pvt. Ltd.

In this era of tough competition every industry is trying to move up to the required standards, and given the uncertainties of events keep driving all the players towards automation.

B&R provides solutions for control systems that take care of the logical operations performed by the machines and deal with the machine builders. In the Indian textile industry, machine manufacturing is primarily in the spinning wing and the rest of the machinery requirements are met by importing.

In India B&R is involved with the producers of spinning machines and two major sector players. The company develops controlling mechanisms for such customers and also produces sizing and related fabric preparation equipment for many smaller customers. They are, however, small in number and size as this industry has not yet developed in India.

B&R is an experienced group, and since its entry into the textiles market in 1998, the company has kept its focus on developing and providing automation solutions for machine manufacturers. All industries, including textiles, are facing a lot of problems related to economic changes, technological upgradation and the switch from natural fibers to man-made fibers. All these factors hinder growth, especially of the machine manufacturers. Although the market is moving upwards, there is no substantial growth, according to Mr. Praveen Vaidya.

Imports from China are another factor affecting the growth of machinery manufacturers in India. Also, Indian machinery exports have been affected too as the manufacturers are exporting to countries like Africa.

Of greater significance now is the latest trend in automation and factory transformation which could be summed up as Industry 4.0 where all the focus would fall largely on transformation and automation of the machines employed and the reduction in manpower requirements.

As Mr. Praveen Vaidya points out, not all the manpower will be dismissed. In fact, the amount of manpower required might not change drastically. Even in an era of automation there will be a significant requirement of manpower. The skill requirements will be very different in the coming decade. There will be people working offline. They will be required to analyse the data, record it and cross-check the quality, etc., which will be provided in the office as feedback.

To fulfill such requirements of the future, B&R’s focus is on development of latest solutions for material handling as the industry is much disconnected in that area. The company has products which can handle complete factory automation requirements.

The B&R product range is focused on dealing with control systems for machinery and have not yet diverged into production of inverters and UFDs. However, the company was recently acquired by the ABB Group. Currently the company is also developing and providing I/O programming solutions along with control management and automation solutions.

The company is also working with some large manufacturers and a lot of OEMs and small textile machinery manufacturers as well. The main focus is on the various big OEMs for developing and providing material handling solutions for the textile industry. The new product in this area will be launched by the company in January next as confirmed by Mr. Praveen Vaidya. This product will serve as a solution for the transportation requirements of the industry, “As we witness the coming of Industry 4.0, machine connectivity would be a major requirement, and here material handling will come into the picture”, he said.

As for automation, the company focus will be on the ‘brains of the machinery’. It is accomplishing this task not only by providing such solutions but also by training the engineers of the associated OEMs to develop their own solutions on the hardware side, whereas the software solutions are provided by B&R.

The company provides solutions for web-based technology, and for the new as well as existing machines, it can employ such technology which will enable tracking of the performance and form of the machinery without manual testing. It will also provide feedback of cross-examination of the performance standards.

As around 70% of the textile machinery requirements are met by imports, B&R’s vision is to be the solution providers for the India-manufactured machinery to enable development of domestic technology. With the increase in the number of OEMs in India this vision would be hopefully accomplished. Also, the assistance provided by the Government will play an important part in the increase in domestic production of machinery.

B&R India has grown year by year, although the target of 30% growth set by the executives could not be accomplished due to various factors. The company is of course, growing at an annual rate of 10-15%. It has good expansion prospects and a good amount of funds available globally, especially with the emergence of the ABB Group.

As confirmed by Mr. Praveen Vaidya, the group plans to expand its workforce in order to cater to the Indian customers more efficiently. With the upcoming projects and expansion, the company can hopefully achieve the targets set.

 
 
 
 
 

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