SKF’s Strategic Approach to Smart Manufacturing

#Digitalization #Lean #3Dprinting #SCM

Shailesh Sharma

In the digital era, organizations are moving towards revamping legacy systems. The end market and industries are now completely focusing on enhancing their process system for better efficiency and productivity. Mr. Shailesh Sharma, Director Of Manufacturing, SKF India Ltd., shares with Pro MFG Media team their journey towards digital transformation, which paved the way for a better future.

In the current environment, even the oldest organization acknowledges the value of digitalization for sustainable growth. SKF India Ltd, since 1923 has had a strong presence in the Indian market, and the company has been a leader in the bearing business. The Company commenced its digital journey in 2017 with six manufacturing locations, 12 sales offices, and 450+ distributors, and later expanded to other factories.

SKF India has implemented digitalization in three verticals - production, supply chain, and maintenance. They commenced with the production monitoring system known as the channel monitoring system (CMS), where the IoT sensors are placed on the machines to capture the data in the realtime. The ability to monitor and evaluate the plant and equipment from any location is one of the biggest advantages of digitalization. The hi-tech sensors installed in the equipment provide even the hourly data and analyze it to avoid any loss.

SKF has an inbuilt FTQ (First-time Quality) in its general monitoring system that monitors its machinery. Its unique system flashes different colored lights that indicate the current health of the machine. This unique notification system helps the team manage and maintain the machinery on a timely basis. Concerning the manufacturing aspect, they connected machines to machines for better connectivity and process control. Manufacturing maintenance can be defined as conditioning monitoring and health monitoring.

SKF’s rotating Equipment Performance (REP) is a unique combination of product supply and services that caters largely to the process industries such as cement, steel, or thermal power plants. The organization receives every minute details about the sensors placed in any equipment of the plant. Being a strong believer in planned maintenance rather than corrective maintenance, the Company created a Remote Diagnostic Centre in their corporate office. The center receives timely reports on machine health that help them manage the situation better. Such processes have reduced the downtime of the organization to almost 45%, benefitting the company enormously.

The entire process helps them to plan their time-based maintenance and condition-based maintenance. Condition monitoring does not only help the plant personnel reduce the possibility of a catastrophic failure, but it also allows them to order parts in advance, schedule resources, and plan other repairs during the downtime. The company has developed a maintenance cockpit that receives all the data from the machines and alerts the team in case of any downtime. This process helps them in planning preventive and predictive maintenance.

Currently, the organization is in the pilot phase of modernizing its supply chain with the help of a strategic integrated structure. In present times, it is essential to tap the requirements of the customers. Knowing customer needs eventually provides the data for achieving better production efficiency. The current framework has been developed internally to create a track that will monitor & trace the products from factory to warehouse and further destination. SKF India focuses on creating efficient supply chain management by using lean methodology. The organization has embedded Power BI dashboards that monitor the entire process and provides holistic information on every segment.

They are keen to work on the 3D printing projects and have planned an ambitious task to convert 40% of the spare part & tooling items into 3D printing in the future. As a result of its efforts to create a more agile and cost‐efficient supply chain, the company has decreased its supply risks while improving its value creation process and responsiveness to new customer demands and advancing its sustainability and social responsibility initiatives.