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Robot Ingress

Robot Ingress
Move over Humans, ‘Robots are here’ is the worldwide message as the era of robotic domination worldwide begins. A new type of Robot has begun slowly entering India – albeit through Universal Robots – a Danish manufacturer that pioneered ‘collaborative robots’ (cobots). Esben Østergaard, Chief Technology Officer,  Universal Robots, Denmark, while unveiling these cobots in Mumbai, said around 10,000 robots have been made since 2009 and half of them sold in 2016 itself with the sales set to double annually in exponential growth.


“We have tried making cobots – with shorter life cycles – for India’s smaller industries, but then also noticed big industry eyeing robots for their own staff use in factory processes,” he said while describing cost of each cobot between Rs 12 lakhs and Rs 25 lakhs. 

“Our robot is actually a robot ‘ARM” only made for universal use in a wide variety of work including even assisting in hospital surgery. R&D took us three years and Rs 15 million to develop this robot,” he told Millennium Post.

Pradeep David, General Manager, Universal Robots, India, said robots have been around for the past 40 years and industrial robots operated at high speeds in safety cages for human safety. “But you will never hear about cobots injuring humans because they are safety-oriented. 

Mercedes booted out robots from their assembly line, but a study conducted by MIT researchers at a BMW factory found that teams made of humans and robots collaborating efficiently can be around 85 per cent more productive than teams made of either humans or robots alone.

Also, the cooperative process reduced human idle time by virtue of its pace-setting ability.’
Noting that robots are now assisting in women’s empowerment and skills India, he said 50 per cent of women found it easy to use cobots on the assembly line, which also took away fatigue  from activities including physically challenging work like tightening nuts and bolts. 

Recent studies show humans and robots working together – because of quality being a need to stay competitive in the market. 
“This cobot has changed the paradigm of manufacturing and witnesses huge potential in India. We are using our own robots to make more robots at the UR, Denmark factory and users have described them as having ‘no repairs or breakdowns whatsoever’, 14 hours daily running and incredibly stable, remotely configurable and even used in Chinese acupuncture in Singapore,” he said.

David observed that 2,600 cobots were sold in 2015 in India and this sales is expected to rise to 6,000 by 2018 in applications where traditional articulate robots would operate.

As huge applications open up, people become competitive in high-wage countries and statistics show that markets are growing for us upto 50 per cent, he added.

The company has witnessed the evolution of robot arms from the UR3, UR5 and UR10, which are built for respective payloads of three kg, five kg and 10 kg respectively, in scientific, pharmaceutical, agriculture, and electronics and technology facilities. 

“The Universal Robots UR10 is our largest industrial robot, designed for bigger tasks where precision and reliability are still of paramount importance such as: packaging, palletising, assembly and pick and place are all well suited to the UR10. 

The global collaborative robots market was valued at $128 Million in 2014 and is likely to reach $1 Billion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 50.88 per cent. 

About 80 per cent of the UR robots worldwide operate with no safety guarding (after risk assessment) right beside human operators and the safety system of UR robots are approved and certified by TU¨V (German Inspection agency), David added.


Robots are taking over the colleges in India. “Space Exploration” is the theme by the IIT, Mumbai in promoting robotics through its 5th edition of ‘e-Yantra Robotic’ competition 2016 with participation of over 1,000 teams (4,000 students) from colleges Pan-India. 

Last year, the competition registered 19,568 students from 589 colleges from 28 states of the country. A unique feature of this competition is that it emphasises “learning” more than “winning.’ 

The competition format is such that every participating student learns concepts in Embedded systems and Robotics in a step-by-step manner during the course of the competition over a period of 4-5 months.

“This competition is used to impart Project Based Learning (PBL) through hands-on experiments on a robotic platform where students don’t pay any registration fee or money to buy the robotic kit. 

In addition to learning concepts related to micro-controller programming, students also learn soft skills such as teamwork, video-editing and presentation skills,” informed Prof Kavi Arya, Principal Investigator, e-Yantra project, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), under the National Mission for Education through ICT (NMEICT) to provide hands-on learning infrastructure to students who have limited access to labs and mentors. 

The e-Yantra project domains range across manufacturing, defence, smart homes, city maintenance and service industries. Rapid economic growth implies a huge need for automation and related skills especially in a world dominated by the “Internet of Things” and other such technology. 

The goal of the IT-based e-Yantra project is to, in a scale-able manner, help create a cadre of engineers that can address the problems that a rapidly growing economy such as India so sorely needs, Prof. Kavi Arya, said. 

Oil is necessary for greasing machinery, even robots, and the hunt for this precious resource continues even as the Indian Government moves into top gear to turn the country’s potential oilfields into financial prosperity for the nation. 

The Government recently began the process of auctioning 67 discovered small oil and gas fields – organised into 46 clusters – over 9 sedimentary basins located onshore and offshore that were commercially undeveloped and had been given on nomination basis to national oil companies (NOCs), ONGC and Oil India Ltd, but could not be monetised for years due to isolated locations, small size, prohibitive development costs, technological constraints, unfavourable fiscal regime etc. 

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast in its “India Energy Outlook 2015” report in November 2015 that domestic consumption would increase to 10 million barrels of oil per day by 2040, compared to 3.8 MMbopd in 2014. 

India is expected to surpass Japan as the world’s third-largest oil user this year with energy consumption projected to grow strongly over next 25 years due to rising incomes, population, urbanisation and industrialisation. 

The Government is offering incentives like simple permits, tax sops and freedom from pricing restrictions. The $2 trillion Indian economy imports about 77 per cent of its crude and gas needs, while foreign explorers like Canada’s Niko Resources Ltd and Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy Plc have grown their businesses in India after starting with smaller fields.

Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, during a related roadshow in Mumbai, said the auctions intended encouraging industry players to participate in developing these contract areas which held 625 million barrels of oil and equivalent gas in-place volumes spread over 579 miles in onland, shallow water and deepwater areas.


Describing Mumbai as the pioneer for hosting hydrocarbon industry events and providing India’s energy security, he said the last two years governance under Prime Minister Narendra Modi were ‘watershed’ years leading to improved overall scenario and making India the world’s centre-stage with 10 global destinations and Greenfield FDI inflow of $31 billion, besides the KG Basin likely to get $20 billion investment in next few years.


“Our 67 oilfields hold 89 million metric tonnes of gas and 36 of them are located offshore. The hydrocarbons industry has witnessed significant improvements, and we are trying to facilitate, maximise and de-risk the existing process in these areas where both young Indian entrepreneurs and big sectors are welcome.

Financial experts have predicted oil prices rising to $20 per barrel and this auction bidding will be a new revolution in the hydrocarbons industry. That Big and Medium players are the answer” should not be the view as we want to create a new set of entrepreneurs through this bidding initiative fo0r small oil fields.”

 To a question, the Minister said “The doors of our Ministry are always open to bidders anytime to provide clarity. We got a “messy” situation as our legacy in this sector and now, over two years, we are bringing positivity to this sector. 

We need to create “synergy” with new entrepreneurs’ intellectual skills and hardcore economic activities. We are talking to Saudi Aramco and the Maharashtra Government is also partner in this project (where we know the concerns affecting the Konkan Coast in Maharashtra). 

The Indian Hydrocarbons sector is maturing and we have developed this new revenue model in which the ONGC will handhold the bid-owners of newly-discovered fields.

“India’s current petroleum products pipeline network is around 15,000 km and natural gas pipeline network around 17,000 km with expansion plan of another 15,000 km, existing LNG re-gasification capacity mor than 20 MMTPA, 235 MMTPA refining capacity and private joint venture companies owning about 40 per cent of total capacity. 

“To reduce dependency on imports, we are focusing on new small and deepwater areas, besides reforms in existing ones and clarity with speed in oil and gas production through which the Government’s 10 per cent target will be filled up by production augmentation.”


To a question about the changes occurring in his Ministry over the past two years, he said this included a ‘New Confidence’ being ushered in through different stakeholders; and ‘Energy Security’ (we bought the ‘Imperial’ oilfield at $2 billion investment and are now getting point five million metric tonnes production. Our Prime Minister went to Qatar – from whom we were getting gas at $14 per barrel earlier – and renegotiated this deal to $6 per barrel today.”  

A P Sawhney, Additional Secretary, MoPNG, said India still continued to rely heavily on energy imports while a large part of India remained unexplored. 

So to accelerate domestic production of oil and gas, the Government introduced many reforms and policy measures to reignite this industry and also Make in India for enhancing oil and gas production, he said. 

Atanu Chakraborty, DG, Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons, highlighted the 46 contract areas on offer, including 27 in Mumbai offshore and 15 in Andhra Pradesh that specified a 20-year contract or life of the field with free pricing and revenue-sharing regime.

 The bid would be put in between July 15 and July 31 for opening on October 31, 2016 comprised 80 per cent revenue sharing, he said, while describing past oilfield successes as: Ravva ($0.91 billion investment and $14.6 billion production revenues), and Hasira ($0.33 billion investment and $1.5 billion).  

"Cobots have changed the paradigm of manufacturing and witnesses huge potential in India. We are using our own robots to make more robots at the UR, Denmark factory and users have described them as having ‘no repairs or breakdowns whatsoever -  - Pradeep David, Universal Robots

"This competition is used to impart PBL through hands-on experiments on a robotic platform where students don’t pay any registration fee or money to buy the robotic kit. In addition to learning concepts, students also learn soft skills such as teamwork, video-editing etc - Kavi Arya, e-Yantra project
 
 "Our 67 oilfields hold 89 million metric tonnes of gas and 36 of them are located offshore. The hydrocarbons industry has witnessed significant improvements, and we are trying to facilitate, maximise and de-risk the existing process in these areas -  Dharmendra Pradhan, MoS, PNG
 

Dominick Rodrigues

Dominick Rodrigues

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