Automation major B&R organized its Innovation Day in Mumbai at Hotel ITC Maratha on 22 June. The event, which also celebrated B&R’s 20 years in India, was attended by B&R customers, members of the industry and media. This was the first Innovation Day that B&R hosted outside of Pune, where the company’s India headquarters are located. During the half-day event, the company talked about topics such as efficiency of machine design, benefits of technology for building efficient machines, Edge architecture and shop floor communication. B&R officials also outlined the company’s investment plans in Austria as well as in India.
Peter Gucher, chief sales officer, B&R Austria in his presentation highlighted the stupendous growth B&R India has achieved in the last two decades and said that the company now has presence in seven cities across the country, which include Pune (headquarters), Mumbai, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Coimbatore. “We have focused on strong partnerships with customers across the world, including India. Other reasons for our success are that we have focused on establishing a very talented team across locations and have regularly offered innovative solutions to our customers,” Gucher said.
Throwing some light on the numbers, Gucher said that B&R supplied 270,000 PLC systems, 240,000 industrial PCs and panels and 285,000 drivers in 2017 to industries such as packaging, robotics, bottling, plastics and textiles, among others.
Filling historic gap in ABB’s portfolio
ABB acquired B&R in July 2017. Today, B&R is integrated into ABB’s Industrial Automation division as its global Machine & Factory Automation business unit. According to Gucher, B&R is playing an important role in ABB’s portfolio.
“B&R is fulfilling a historic gap in ABB’s portfolio. ABB’s industrial PCs and PLC business was limited,” he said.
EUR 100 million investment planned
As part of its 2018-2020 expansion plan, B&R is planning to invest EUR 100 million in Austria to build a state-of-the-art innovation and training campus at the home of B&R in Eggelsberg, Upper Austria. The new innovation and training campus will develop technologies for the “factory of the future,” in which production will be undertaken autonomously by smart and cloud-connected machines and robots. The new research and development campus will cover 35,000 square meters and will be home to a significant number of ultra-modern facilities. Alongside futuristic R&D laboratories, which will develop and test new automation technologies, from industrial control systems up to machine learning and artificial intelligence, there will be an Automation Academy to train and educate customers, partners and employees in these technologies. The ground-breaking ceremony is planned for this summer, and the new campus is expected to be up and running in the course of 2020.
Expansion in India
After Gucher, managing director of B&R India, Jhankar Dutta delivered his talk and thanked all the customers who, he said, are an important reason for the company’s success in India. He said that in Pune, B&R is building a new headquarter which will be spread across 16,000 square foot. This will have a customer experience center where customers can see live demonstrations of B&R automation solutions. It will also have a training facility.
Talking about some trends, Dutta said that customers are now realizing that data is the new gold and are looking to store, analyze and use that data to their advantage. Another trend he talked about was that of popularity of seamless communication between machines which can increase efficiency on the shop floor.
He concluded by saying that B&R India is looking to double in size in the next three years. “It will not be a cake walk but with support from our customers we are sure to get there,” he said.