India’s manufacturing industry has emerged as one of the fast-growing sectors due to numerous government initiatives, easing of trade policies and technology knowledge sharing among companies. In FY19, the manufacturing industry’s annual production growth rate was pegged at 3.9%.
Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi welcomed global conglomerates during the launch event of new sectors addition in previously announced PLI scheme in February 2021 to make the most of Production-linked Incentive (PLI) schemes worth Rs. 1.97 trillion (US$ 26.4 billion) in 13 sectors and boost manufacturing in India through the coveted ‘Make in India’ campaign.
The three stated goals of ‘Make in India’ (to be achieved by 2022) are the following:
- Improve the manufacturing sector’s annual growth rate to 12-14%
- Create >100 million manufacturing jobs
- Increase the sector’s contribution to the GDP to 25%
On July 02, 2021, the Government of India announced the launch of six technology innovation platforms to boost the domestic manufacturing sector and develop innovative, indigenous technologies to put India at par with the global counterparts.
The six platforms launched are as follows:
- ASPIRE (Automotive Solutions Portal for Industry Research & Education): Developed by the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT)
- SanRachna: Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)
- TechNovuus: Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)
- HMT TechPort: Hindustan Machine Tools Limited (HMT)
- KITE (Knowledge Integration for Technology Enrichment): IIT-Madras
- DRISHTI (Design, Research and Innovation by Harvesting Science and Technology for Industries): Central Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI)
These platforms are likely to aid in converging India's technical resources on one platform and serving as a common point for varied industries to kickstart and expedite discovery and crowdsourcing of technological challenges faced by them.
These platforms will help develop indigenous manufacturing technologies by organising ‘challenges’ or ‘contests’. Key sectors covered by these platforms are manufacturing, capital goods and mobility, core mechanical manufacturing, advance materials, additive manufacturing, smart material manufacturing, robotics & automation, electric mechanics and drive, mechatronics, sensor control and power electronics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The platforms will also help OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), start-ups, Tier 1-3 companies, raw material manufacturers, domain experts/professionals, R&D institutions and academia in delivering suggestions, technology solutions and opinions on issues looming the manufacturing industries.
Knowledge exchange between stakeholders on R&D and technological aspects will be further enhanced by these platforms. Currently, >39,000 students, professionals, institutes, industries and labs have already enrolled owing to cash rewards for winning challenges posted by the platforms.
The fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) has brought about hi-tech advancements in the manufacturing sector. These advancements link cyber-physical systems, i.e., smart machines can exchange real-time information for decision-making through the industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). The Department of Heavy Industries (Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises) introduced Samarth Udyog Bharat 4.0 (Smart Advanced Manufacturing and Rapid Transformation Hubs)—India’s initiative to augment implementation of Industry 4.0 (by 2025) by extending technical solutions to manufacturing units through steps such as creating demo centres and conducting awareness campaigns and training sessions.
Samarth Udyog Bharat 4.0 and these tech platforms are likely to be the game changer for the Indian manufacturing sector in the near future.
Following are the six technology innovation platforms developed under the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI), Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises:
ASPIRE – ICAT (Automotive Solutions Portal for Industry Research & Education)
The programme is for enhancing technological capabilities of the Indian automotive sector by sharing knowledge and experience and making the industry self-reliant. The sector's growth will further boost India’s overall socio-economic progress by bringing the experts to exchange knowledge on a single platform. The platform has been developed by the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), a quality certification and R&D services provider for the automotive sector set under NATRIP.
ASPIRE will facilitate the Indian auto industry (including OEMs and Tier 1-3 companies), R&D institutions and academia (colleges & universities) to collaborate on R&D and technology development, and get expert comments on resolving tech issues and gauging progress.
SanRachna – BHEL
BHEL, a Government of India undertaking and an engineering & manufacturing company, has rolled out a technology innovation platform—SanRachna. It is an open technology platform developed to identify inadequacies in the current technologies used in India. The programme will achieve this goal by organising ‘challenges or contests’ for industry experts on the platform.
The objectives of this platform are as follows:
- Boost creation of innovative networks for generation of indigenous technologies or solutions to help the industry overcome challenges and increase efficiency & production.
- Bring together young people, manufacturing specialists, academic experts, industries and MSME manufacturers on a single platform to brainstorm about current technological difficulties encountered by local producers or anybody seeking a tech solution.
- Collate challenges to be solved and invite thinking minds to contribute to solutioning.
TechNovuus – ARAI
ARAI, a renowned automotive R&D organisation under the Government of India, built a platform—TechNovuus—for cross-domain collaboration. The platform will provide a medium to intellectuals to contribute their knowledge on development of new technologies and innovations and shape the future of mobility.
The objectives of this platform are as follows:
- Promote a collaborative approach to R&D and technological development.
- Create a culture of open inventions to help bridge the gaps between the industry and academia.
- Provide a single platform for posting all challenges and solutions.
- Establish a platform for better expert-to-expert communication and technology transfer.
- Foster an entrepreneurial mindset through open innovation
HMT, a Government of India undertaking and a machine tools manufacturing company, introduced a technology innovation platform—HMT TechPort. The platform has been created to boost the machine tools industry by aggregating technology and innovation ideas through collaborative approaches. It will assist users in accomplishing new initiatives, resolving various manufacturing challenges faced by the industry and delivering business results more quickly.
Boosting the machine tools sector’s competitiveness and empowering the manufacturing sector are key goals of this project. Consequently, the platform will assist the government in achieving its goal of generating 25% of the GDP from manufacturing in the near future.
KITE - IIT-Madras (Knowledge Integration for Technology Enrichment)
The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development Centre (AMTDC) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, launched a manufacturing technology eco-platform—KITE. The platform will focus on enhancement and implementation of smart manufacturing, digital manufacturing, Indigenous manufacturing and process and discrete manufacturing in the manufacturing sector. The platform has developed features to cater to these focus areas:
- KITE Knowledge Exchange Forum – A connectivity platform for all stakeholders to discuss, integrate, develop, and deploy technology
- KITE Skill Development Forum – A group for enabling enthusiastic learners (across all domains) to develop and hone skills and continue gaining knowledge
- KITE Collaborative R&D Forum – A challenge forum for solution seekers and problem solvers to stay connected and address challenges and discuss indigenous technology development
- KITE Knowledge Repository – A knowledge base that expands and advances with continued input and curation by knowledge providers
- KITE Intelligent Chatbot – An intelligent route guide bot, which provides users with the necessary guidelines for navigating the platform and offers easy access and a user-friendly experience
- KITE Knowledge Integration – A virtual assistant that provides instant information on user queries
DRISHTI – CMTI (Design, Research and Innovation by Harvesting Science and Technology for Industries)
The Central Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI), Bengaluru, developed an online platform—DRISHTI, which brings together innovators and manufacturing companies to address complicated problems.
Currently, the platform has listed the following topics as challenges:
- Mechanical, Civil and Allied Engineering
- Manufacturing and Allied Engineering
- Smart/IOT, Robotics, Vision and Allied Engineering
- Nano Technology, Nano Materials and Allied Materials Science Topics
The six technology innovation platforms were introduced at the backdrop of the Production-linked Incentive (PLI) schemes (announced in 2020) to help India become a global manufacturing powerhouse. These platforms have been expertly designed to eliminate sectoral barriers and provide economies of scale to help India develop healthy manufacturing eco-systems and become self-reliant.