Smart Manufacturing in India: A Closer Look

 In Blog, Indian Market

A few weeks ago, we had published the first article in the Smart Manufacturing series where we presented a brief overview of smart manufacturing in the Indian context. We also discussed some policies which are crucial for driving the smart manufacturing in India. In this second article, we will be talking about what technologies are being used, what technologies are on the radar of manufacturers in India. We will also take a look at the possible bottlenecks.

The Make in India campaign has put forward a target of increasing contribution of manufacturing to India’s GDP from 16% in 2015 to 25% by 2022. To achieve this ambitious target, the manufacturing sector in India will have to grow from USD 300 billion to USD 1 trillion. As per a report published by the Confederation of Indian industry, Indian economy is growing at 5-7% annually. To achieve the required growth rate, Indian manufacturing companies will have to acquire greater shares of global market.

If we look at this ambitious growth plan, embracing smart manufacturing practices is an imperative for manufacturers in India. We have tried putting together multiple use cases of smart manufacturing technologies being put at use in India or that are on radar through study of publicly available information.

Components of the smart factory of the future:

Confederation of Indian Industry has been doing multi-level work on Smart Manufacturing. In one of their reports, they have listed down following components/technologies of a Smart Factory from Indian context. We anticipate a steady demand for these components in the near future by manufacturers in India:

Smart supply networks: For transparency over inventories, traceability, automation and optimisation of inventory related decisions.

Next-gen manufacturing smart systems: For automated and smart decisions regarding scheduling of manufacturing activities, machine intelligence, remote visualisation, control, and monitoring.

Data Analytics: This will need many other components in cloud storage, business analytics, cyber security and encryptions, cyber-physical systems etc.

Sensors and actuators: For gathering data for making automated decisions in the real-time and controlling machines and systems based on those decisions.

Mobility management: For responding to alerts and updates in realtime and taking manual decisions whenever required.

Additive manufacturing: For rapid prototyping, rapid printing of spare parts etc.

Robotics: Use of flexible robots for augmented intelligence and process automation.

Advanced materials: Nano materials and integrated computational materials engineering.

Responsive manufacturing: Designing customised intelligence methodology for responsive manufacturing.

Apart from the above, blockchain, ERP systems, big data analytics, augmented reality are some of the other solutions that will get traction.

What Smart Manufacturing Technologies are presently being used?

When it comes to smart manufacturing, there are quite a few companies in India that have fully functional smart factories. Reliance Industries complex at Jamnagar, Asian Paints facilities located at Mysore, Rohtak and Khandala, heavy engineering facilities of L&T at Hazira, Talegaon, Powai, Ranoli and Coimbatore, for defence, aerospace and nuclear industries, already conform to Industry 4.0 specifications. Hero MotoCorp’s Global Parts Centre is almost ready to be announced as a smart factory.

The Smart Manufacturing India website lists 46 case studies of smart manufacturing success stories across India. Out of these 46, the largest number of use cases (18) are from auto and auto ancillary section. Other sectors with highest number of use cases are engineering – capital goods as well as industrial equipment and oil & gas. From this data, one can easily conclude that when it comes to smart manufacturing, auto and engineering companies are going to be the early adopters.

If we look at the areas of implementation of these 46 use cases, more than half of them – 27 to be precise, are targeted around improving supply chain and production. Design, engineering, and process optimisation are the other most prominent areas. This data hints at what is going inside the heads of the stake holders at these companies. Solutions and components aimed at production, supply chain, engineering and design would be the first ones to get traction.

If we look at some actual use cases, L&T uses real time data of plant and machinery from its construction sites for performance optimisation and enhancement. Some of the actions on radar are digital engineering and design, satellite-assisted surveys, safety training with virtual reality, radio-frequency identification (RFID) to track manpower and material movement, etc.          

 Schneider Electric has launched second smart factory in Bengaluru. The smart factory is built upon the EcoStruxure architecture and related suite of offerings developed by Schneider. These are some of the reported results as an outcome:

The site is reporting the following results:

  • Up to 10% energy savings yearly through power monitoring.
  • Improvements in industrial efficiency of up to five percent.
  • Increased asset performance and reliability delivered through Augmented Operator Advisor, which have contributed to improved asset availability of 10% and driven a shift from reactive to predictive maintenance.
  • Real-time quality management to improve process robustness.

Mondelez India has deployed smart manufacturing technologies for  Cadbury plant in Andhra Pradesh. They have put to use a machine which quickly sends information if the moulds have too much liquid chocolate or if there is a quality rejection. A camera system in the tunnel monitors and checks for any abnormalities. This avoids wastage and helps in preventive maintenance. The factory also relies on robots to put the readymade packs in the boxes.

Possible bottlenecks:

Lower RoI: Some studies have claimed that the ROI  in smart manufacturing  is low and Indian manufacturers might be dissuaded by this fact. On the other hand, statements from companies providing smart manufacturing solutions, like Bosch for example argue against this point based on their experience and use cases. With the increasing penetration, the costs are expected to come down further. In fact, prices of robots have already fallen significantly.

Employment: Smart manufacturing will essentially mean loss of blue-collar jobs. Looking at the labour situation in India, companies might not be willing to cut jobs owing to multiple social factors. On the other side, proper training would lead to up skilling and might result in better jobs with better work conditions than the present blue-collar jobs.


In case of smart manufacturing in India, the ball has already started rolling and the support at policy level is already existent. As major players expedite their smart manufacturing initiatives, and the volumes grow the ROI will start becoming more and more attractive for SMEs and MSMEs as well. A huge opportunity exists for global suppliers who have relevant solutions to offer.

For more information on Smart Manufacturing in India, write to me at



Recommended Posts

Please submit your query and we’ll get back to you at the earliest.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt