CEFC (I4.0India@IISc) Smart Factory at IISc


Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been developing a ‘Smart Factory’ called I4.0India@IISc that will act as a Common Engineering Facility Centre (CEFC) under the SAMARTH Udyog Bharat 4.0 programme of the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI), GoI. The Smart Factory was inaugurated by Dr. A. R. Sihag, Secretary, DHI, and Professor Anurag Kumar, Director IISc, at the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM), IISc, during 1100-1300, on Friday 13 December 2019.

The CEFC builds on the earlier work at IISc that initiated India’s first smart factory R&D platform with seed funding from the Boeing Company, USA. The CEFC intends to develop two contrasting factory platforms. One is highly automated, with data-intensive processing machines such as 5-axis CNC, metal additive manufacturing, metal laser routers etc., that are handled by industrial robots, collaborative robots, automated guided vehicles, etc. The other platform is highly manual, with legacy machines with data layer, where handling is also carried out manually. The distinction is that all elements in both the platforms (people, process, parts, tools and environment) are to be connected via IoT based communication networks and data is stored and analytics carried out using cloud computing. The intent is to use the platforms as demonstration centres in which factories of the future will be explored to see their potential and challenges, and use the platforms for advancing research, innovation, training and support for practice. A major aim of this CEFC is to support Industry 4.0 in MSMEs of India by developing ‘advanced yet affordable’ technologies and solutions for their use.

The CEFC is supported by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Yaskawa, Faurecia, Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) and Ashok Leyland as industrial partners who contribute with fully funded research projects. The CEFC is also supported by faculty members drawn from 12 departments of IISc as collaborators. A variety of research-intensive technologies are being developed at the CEFC for the benefit of industry. The technologies under development include: smart resource bins for waste tracking, smart inspection systems, AR/VR-based digital twins and digital walkthrough systems, 3D printing systems for printing devices with embedded electronics, PCB assembly support systems, multi-modal robots, affordable indoor localisation systems, etc. The CEFC is should serve the following purposes:

  • Use of the factory with its two platforms as demonstrators for Industry 4.0. (development of platform should be completed in next 6 months)
  • Utilisation of the platforms for trying out new building blocks, technologies and solutions for their potential effects on KPI before committing investment on these.
  • Playing with various combinations of the two platforms for creating different variants of factories of the future and seeing their impacts on KPIs.
  • Using the factory as a springboard for supporting development of new innovations and start-ups for industry 4.0. (1 start-up initiated; 10 existing start-ups already supported as planned)
  • Creating indigenous R&D capabilities in the area for India’s Industry 4.0 by training researchers and developing deep tech knowledge. (11 PhD students & 20 researchers are being trained; over 20 technologies, tools and solutions are being developed with industrial significance)
  • Providing awareness, training and education, especially high-end training to develop future leaders in manufacturing. (over 500 people already trained, which is 2.5 times more than originally planned; a new MTech and PhD programme in manufacturing initiated at IISc; an international conference on Industry 4.0 and Advanced Manufacturing I-4AM’19 initiated).