Pandemic has hit us hard and has reset the entire manufacturing lookout. Thinking in the positive aspect, the pandemic has given us a chance to grow stronger, more resilient, and resourceful in terms of operation, maintenance, and sustainability. There was a point in time when people were perceiving Industry 4.0 as an opportunity for their businesses. The table has turned, and now, Industry 4.0 is a mandate as the concepts under its umbrella are the ones that will help in making manufacturing more resilient, stronger, and resourceful. AI is one of the core elements of Industry 4.0 and it encompasses machine learning, deep learning, and classical AI techniques.
The Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology, led by Professor Surjya K Pal, has been very proactive in this context from its inception. They have come up with a low-cost AI-based solution for product quality inspection. Professor Pal mentioned that they strived hard to make it low-cost so that it can be leveraged by the MSMEs. This sector is the “Engines of Growth”, and they need low-cost and effective solutions to energize their production scenarios. The solution incorporates a low-cost webcam for capturing images of the product; the quality of which is enhanced in real-time via AI techniques followed by machine vision analyses to inspect the dimensional features and presence of scratches and dents. The Centre has also developed an Industry 4.0 solution for real-time monitoring and control of weld quality, which has been filed as a patent, jointly with TCS. They have also developed an ML-based predictive maintenance software for complete diagnostics of the machine elements. This has been developed jointly with Tata Metaliks and Tata Sons.
Very recently, Professor Pal delivered a lecture on “AI in Manufacturing” to NIT Sikkim, where he mentioned that manufacturing is having a huge potential for implementing AI techniques. Robots and human working together on a job, sensor-driven real-time control of processes, AR/VR for operation and maintenance, etc. are the new paradigms, which the manufacturing industries are looking forward to. He also mentioned about customized training programme on “AI in manufacturing”, which they have been working on jointly with the Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence.