During B&R Innovations Day 2023 held in Pune, we had the opportunity to meet with Wlady Martino, global industry segment manager for packaging at B&R; and Dinesh Mungi, branch head, B&R Industrial Automation, Pune, India and packaging expert. Our discussions with them covered a range of topics, including B&R’s strategies for the Indian market, emerging trends in the automation industry, and the significance of adaptive technology.
B&R’s strategy for the Indian market is to deliver products meeting industry needs and customer demands. Dinesh Mungi highlighted, “Considering the unique characteristics of the Indian market, which is still in its developmental phase and characterized by a proliferation of machine builders striving to create world-class machinery while embracing cutting-edge technologies, B&R’s approach is clear. We are fundamentally an innovation-driven company committed to launching products that align with both industry needs and customer demands.
“Our primary objective is to usher in a new era of products for the industry, exemplified by the introduction of our ACOPOStrak machines equipped with vision-based technology. This innovation allows for comprehensive track and trace applications, catering to sectors such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, among others. Our core focus is to make this technology readily available to our OEM partners, fostering collaboration to ensure that the entire industry benefits from these advancements.”
Mungi noted the impressive rate of technology adoption in India’s packaging sector. He commended the evolution from mechanically driven machines to the current discussions about fully electric machines with advanced servo control technologies. Mungi was particularly encouraged by the industry’s readiness to embrace and implement these innovations. “I firmly believe that the rate of technology adoption in India is exceptionally high. This drive for adoption is not only industry-led but also user-driven. As the world increasingly focuses on sustainability and the need for enhanced productivity, the demand for machines that align with market requirements is on the rise. The OEMs are wholeheartedly embracing this paradigm shift,” said Mungi.
Meanwhile, Wlady Martino highlighted the global trend of increasing automation. He pointed out that the current era prioritizes personalized products due to market uncertainties, demand fluctuations, sustainability concerns, and labor shortages, all of which are driving the demand for automation.
Martino said, “Traditionally, across various markets, including packaging, productivity and quality were the primary driving factors. However, we now believe that these aspects alone are no longer sufficient. What the industry requires is a combination of flexibility and simplicity. This is precisely where adaptive manufacturing enters the picture and can effectively address these emerging trends. Adaptive manufacturing offers solutions that can swiftly adapt to new product requirements and market demands with minimal effort and a short time to market, providing a responsive answer to these evolving needs.”
Martino went on to elaborate on how B&R is gearing up for this evolving landscape. He emphasized that their approach is comprehensive, recognizing that it involved not only providing products but also supporting the adoption of this technology. “With a 25-year presence in the Indian market, we have built a strong ecosystem where it is seen as partners by their customers. We engage in discussions about projects and concepts, and our team collaborates closely to bring these ideas to fruition.
“When it comes to execution, we have a dedicated team with the expertise to build and program these solutions, assisting our OEM partners in achieving their current requirements. Furthermore, the world is more interconnected than ever before. Trends that emerge globally are quickly integrated into the Indian market. So, it is no longer a scenario where trends take time to reach India; it is more or less simultaneous with the global landscape.”
Providing insights into ongoing adaptive technology projects at B&R, Martino illustrated with a couple of examples. In the field of medical device assembly, a critical factor was to enhance productivity while minimizing the footprint due to substantial square meter costs. “Through our adaptive solution utilizing ACOPOStrak and ACOPOS6D technology, we achieved a remarkable 50% reduction in the machine’s footprint. This not only significantly improved flexibility but also yielded substantial benefits. In the realm of consumer packaged goods, we managed to reduce changeover times by a factor of 10 to 15 in some cases. The driving force behind this achievement was the need to accommodate smaller batch production. Streamlining the changeover process became a pivotal focus,” he said.
To emphasize the significance of these advancements, Martino concluded by mentioning a customer in Japan within the consumer goods sector. They produced batch size one, crafting individualized makeup products, including customized makeup powders, using 6D technology. This level of customization, he emphasized, was not only feasible but also profitable, addressing one of the key challenges in the industry – achieving profitability while meeting diverse consumer demands.