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Process Industry India "There is a Huge Scope for Energy Efficient Components" Farook Merchant on the Indian Process Industry

Editor: Dominik Stephan

India-based Messung Group, with its indigenous PLC technology, and as an authorized representative of Mitsubishi Electric’s range of products, offers plant automation products and solutions. In an exclusive interview with PROCESS India, Farook Merchant, Chairman & MD, Messung Group of Companies, focuses on the status quo of Process Automation in India.

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"In process industries, there is huge scope of replacing non-energy conscious components with energy efficient ones," says Farook Merchant, Indian automation pioneer and entrepreneur. (Picture: PROCESS India)
"In process industries, there is huge scope of replacing non-energy conscious components with energy efficient ones," says Farook Merchant, Indian automation pioneer and entrepreneur. (Picture: PROCESS India)

PROCESS India: How do you find the state of automation in general in the Indian process industries?

Farook Merchant: The advent of automation systems in the Indian process industry began with pneumatic control systems (stage 1). Then gradually it led to stand alone electronic loop controllers (stage 2). Thereafter, came the concept of centralized control systems (stage 3). The next stage was distributed control systems with local I/Os (stage 4), and the latest is with field bus I/Os. Now, even industrial Ethernet is gaining momentum (stage 5). The plants installed within the last five years or so are running with the latest technology (stage 5). But the older plants typically installed before the last decade or so are still operational with outdated automation systems (stage 3 or 4).

PROCESS India: What are the prominent growth areas?

Farook Merchant: Development in infrastructure defines the growth of a nation, and the focused areas of automation are always related to its growth. The power, oil & gas, steel & metals, cement et al, are the areas, which directly impact upon the infrastructural growth in India. The other important areas are water and waste water management, where huge potential of expansion is being seen in urban and municipal areas. The sugar industries are also one of the important verticals in process automation. The government directive now enforces them to have cogeneration power plants as a mandatory requirement. This has triggered the demand of automation systems and solutions for cogeneration power plants, apart from sugar process automation. Biomass power plants are yet another noteworthy area.

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PROCESS India: What kind of reliability of the automation components is sought for these days?

Farook Merchant: In an increasingly global and highly cost competitive world, the pharmaceutical industries especially need high levels of innovation, flexibility and cost efficiency in order to stay ahead. Apart from preventive maintenance and process optimization to increase production efficiency, these industries are looking for some of the features like – higher machine throughput, multi-shift operation and greater flexibility of equipment with regard to different packaging formats and/or materials etc. This directly demands for reliable and world-class automation solution that gives maximum uptime and minimum Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF).

Further, the most important challenge for the Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers is to have US FDA 21 CFR part 11 compliant electronic systems or control solutions to sell products into the United States. The regulation sets out the mandatory requirements for compliance of electronic systems used in the industries covered by the legislation. These industries include drug & pharmaceutical, food & beverage, cosmetics, blood handling processes etc. 21 CFR Part 11 provides criteria for acceptance of electronic records and electronic signatures by FDA – which assures that electronic records and electronic

signatures are considered being trustworthy, reliable and equivalent to traditional hand written paper records. The automation solutions compatible with 21 CFR part 11 can be provided by domain experts like Messung – with complete product and solutions range.

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