Mr. Anurag Pandey, Executive-in-Charge, Global Wires India – Tata Steel, presents a run-through on the various innovations, their perspective towards integrating upgradations, and some industry 4.0 initiatives undertaken.
“We have invested in a fully automated line for making Induction Hardened & Tempered (IHT) wire. We are deploying effluent recycling units to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge status for our manufacturing units. We are at an advanced stage of deploying the ‘Digital Twin’ concept for remote operation of the plants.”
Wire & Cable India: Please highlight technology and quality development or up-gradation that recently took place at Global Wires India – Tata Steel.
Anurag Pandey: Our technology journey is anchored to our strategy of moving into high technology products, making wire manufacturing more sustainable and leveraging digital technologies for simplification of processes to become agile.
Accordingly, we have invested in a fully automated line for making Induction Hardened & Tempered (IHT) wire. We are deploying effluent recycling units to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge status for our manufacturing units. We are at an advanced stage of deploying the ‘Digital Twin’ concept for remote operation of the plants.
On the quality front, we are striving for zero defect manufacturing for which we are adapting the best processes from the auto industry. We are also exploring on-line preventive process controls using IoT so that we can graduate to predictive quality control. ‘Zincometer’ developed with NML is an example.
WCI: What have you been doing to foster innovation and R&D at your workplace?
AP: Our innovation culture thrives on the ‘Freedom to Fail’ afforded to young minds. We are going deeper into our core processes of steelmaking, rolling and wire processing through our central R&D (e.g. high tensile wire rods for super tensile spring wires). At the same time, we are embracing open innovation to collaborate with start-ups and subject matter experts so that we leverage rapid progress in other fields to improve processes & build differentiation in our products. Secondary coated ‘Wiron Aayush’ is an example of this. Besides, we are seeking to apply concepts of electro-coagulation in removing pollutants from treated water, ultrasonic for acid-free cleaning of wire and acoustic emission for monitoring die wear, which could lead us to breakthrough improvements.
Our strategy also focusses on down-streaming into fencing products (fixed knot fence, 3D welded fence) that will change the landscape of fencing in India.
WCI: Kindly elaborate on some of the Industry 4.0 initiatives undertaken by Global Wires India – Tata Steel.
AP: Tata Steel Global Wires has initiated to building a process digital twin for its specific manufacturing units under Industry 4.0 Initiative. The objective of Process Digital Twin is to use mixed reality, artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing to optimise not only equipment but the entire manufacturing process.
The approach for deployment is to use ready-to-deploy AI apps, which can be integrated with specific IoT platforms to streamline the manufacturing process end to end, deliver higher ROI and improve product quality. This is being done by creating process digital twins that connect and mirror the manufacturing life cycle, revealing cause-and-effect relationships between components, raw materials and processes. The apps then provide predictions and actionable recommendations using machine learning and AI.
We have also implemented end-to-end traceability in all our own plants to get better visibility of material and provide a firm commitment to the customers against their orders. It is also helpful in tracing a particular consignment that has been sent to the customer and taking any necessary actions as and when required. This has helped to improve customer sentiment towards our brand.
We are also working on data analytics and visualization to improve our processes and systems. Under visualization, we are using Tableau dashboards for the majority of our reports and we are using insights gained from the same to take necessary steps towards achieving our goals.