We have come a long way from 1961.
And we promise to keep going.




It’s not been an easy or painless road but over the years manufacturing has evolved. The journey from Industry 1.0 to 4.0 has taken time but it promises to redefine productivity, quality and many more aspects integral to manufacturing. A quick recap of the stages tells us how far we have come. The first industrial revolution started in the 18th century with the introduction of water and steam power for powering mechanical production facilities. Roughly thirty years after the first industrial revolution came the second industrial revolution when the first electricity powered assembly line was developed. The era of mass production had begun. The third industrial revolution (Industry 3.0) started in the late 1960s when automation came into the picture in the form of the first programmable logic controller (PLC) Modicon 084. This was the beginning of production automation through the use of electronic and IT systems. Industry 4.0 refers to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, Cloud computing and cognitive computing. It represents a far more efficient, smart way of manufacturing. In India, we have seen all these stages and need to prepare ourselves for large scale adoption of Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 operates with a few key premises.

The first is the ability of machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP). There is a new kind of advancement in terms of interface between machines, humans and machines and this is vastly helping the manufacturing industry. The second is optimum usage of data. Collecting and analysing data to enable smart decision making. This involves predictive analytics, visualising of data, etc. Big Data has made its way into manufacturing, maybe a little later than in other industries but it will play a valuable role. The third is the usage of Artificial Intelligence for machines to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible. Unmanned machines, automatic course corrections all are a part of what is the new normal. While this kind of smart factory offers many benefits, Indian manufacturers need to gear up for it. There are many implications of Industry 4.0 for the Indian market and contrary to public perception money need not be the biggest hurdle in moving forward. Industry 4.0 requires an understanding and appreciation of the inevitability of omniscient technology, the power of data and importance of decentralised operations. This understanding is required across the enterprise and not just at a senior management level. This level of consciousness will lead to successful evolution to Industry 4.0 and yield the desired results.



This collective consciousness is hard to find and needs to be created. While change may be driven by senior management there is a lot required to be done to train and reskill employees for their new role in smart connected factories. New roles and new skills take time to get used to. Data scientists who had no place in a factory before may play a large role now. With the onset of Industry 4.0 there is no greater platform for shopfloor innovation. As operators find themselves playing a mixture of new and old roles they will gain the perspective to look at old practices with new eyes. They will be able to identify opportunities for innovation whether it is through better practices or the infusion of technology. Shopfloor innovation is very powerful because it operates at the very heart of the factory and can provide multiple benefits. IRIS from BFW is an example of shopfloor innovation combining with Industry 4.0.


IRIS is a revolutionary new offering from BFW that offers real time monitoring of machine shopfloor performance. IRIS is a connected factory solution with a control panel that is compatible with leading CNC brands - Fanuc, Siemens and Mitsubishi. The system monitors the data generated by the machine and gives alerts and reports that enable timely decision making. Some of the ways in which IRIS helps is by assessing operator productivity, quality, reporting on cycle times, energy consumption, machine efficiency and alerts on maintenance. IRIS helps assess operator productivity in a variety of ways from identifying whether they are following the machine program set by their supervisor, excessive time taken to load/unload the components, reasons for machine idleness and many more. To monitor quality, the system will send emails and SMS alerts in different important pre-programmable situations such as machine in breakdown mode or override high/low mode for more than 30 minutes. Production managers get data on cycle times, energy consumption, machine efficiency and tools and consumables consumption that is vital for accurate costing of jobs. By determining performance, availability and quality, IRIS identifies Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) of each asset. Additionally a variety of reports are available that enable important management decisions. Lean and fast maintenance is possible through IRIS because of an operator friendly control panel that allows easy diagnosis. Real time alarm information is available to production supervisors for quick action. IRIS works not just on BFW machines but any machine that uses Fanuc, Mitsubishi and Siemens CNC machines. IRIS is expected to provide a real breakthrough in terms of decision making and performance for companies employing machine tools. This is the beginning of many more such initiatives that are expected to contribute to Industry 4.0 in India. Indians have shown a natural flair for innovation and a keen understanding of IT and technology. It is a matter of time before some companies really provide stellar examples of Industry 4.0. It is important that Industry 4.0 is not adopted by a few companies but by the industry as a whole. To this end, it is important that any mental barriers to the concept should be dismantled sooner rather than later. As the government sets the ambitious target of manufacturing contributing to 25% of the nation’s GDP there is a huge need for the manufacturing industry to step up. The Government has shown its support for the manufacturing sector earlier with ‘Make In India’. The influx of international automobile companies into India to set up manufacturing units shows that India is gaining popularity as a manufacturing hub. As manufacturing operates in eco-systems, it is important that the entire eco-system evolves together. Industry 4.0 is the direction in which these eco-systems can develop together for greater productivity and flexibility.




  • Feb - 2016
    Inaguration of BFW’s Dr. Kalam center for Innovation
  • Feb - 2016
    Make in India Week
  • December 2015
    BFW’s Machines at Intec 2015
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