Thyssenkrupp is a €40-billion annual revenue German multinational conglomerate and one of the world’s largest steel producers. As a pioneering member of Germany’s Industrie 4.0 working group, Thyssenkrupp is a leader in using AI, IoT and other emerging technologies in smart manufacturing, smart cities and buildings. Join Abhinav Singhal, Thyssenkrupp’s Head of Strategy, Markets and Development at TECHX Asia in Singapore this September to learn about how they are using AI system in industrial group control systems, with a specific case study on their application in manufacturing settings.
Ahead of the show, we caught up with Abhinav to ask him a few question.
Q: Could you please share with our readers little bit more about yourself?
Singhal: I recently joined Thyssenkrupp AG as Head of Strategy, where I am responsible for identifying and shaping business response to growth opportunities across all Thyssenkrupp companies in APAC.
Prior to joining Thyssenkrupp, I led the strategy team at Dell Technologies and was involved in identifying the next generation of technologies for growth. I also have several years’ experience in oil & gas and industrial businesses with McKinsey & Company across markets.
Q: What are the key challenges in using AI, IoT and other disruptive tech in heavy industry, and how can we potentially overcome them?
Singhal: While digitalization is disruptive, it also presents an opportunity to improve our work, products, and philosophy of doing business. We must be ready to “reinvent” ourselves and have the courage to change at any time. It might involve us disrupting our own business models before the competitor does. This is a matter of mindset and capabilities.
At Thyssenkrupp, we are undergoing the biggest change in our history. As an engineering leader, we are ready to embrace change and utilize digitalization to enhance our competitive edge.
What’s your vision of industry 4.0 and how do we get there?
Singhal: Industry 4.0 will digitalize our way of doing business, and continue to be the driver for us to propel industries into the future. In the last few years at the company, we have put in place a transformation strategy for which we aim to integrate digital processes along the value chain and the entire product life cycle across the verticals in which we operate, in partnership with companies that share our passion for digitalization. Despite all efforts to improve our cost positions, we increased our R&D spending year after year to ensure that we can build the basis for our future.
Q: What are few of Thyssenkrupp’s proudest achievements when it comes to building intelligent systems with the help of emerging technologies?
Singhal: We have collaborated with Microsoft to bring the industry’s first predictive cloud-based maintenance solution, MAX. This solution applies data analytics to reduce elevator downtimes, saving time and money, and ensuring building systems remain reliable.
As a part of the digitalized maintenance solution, we also introduced the use of HoloLens augmented reality to support technicians on site. This sounds futuristic – but is happening now.
In June, we also unveiled MULTI, the first rope-free elevator in the world. We believe that MULTI will revolutionize the way skyscrapers are designed and create more opportunities for city planners, as it allows for taller buildings by dispensing with cables, which take up a large amount of space.
Q: What advice do you have for companies looking to adopt emerging tech in their manufacturing operations?
Singhal: Digitalization is inevitable, it is the way the world is transforming, and the sooner the manufacturing industry embraces it, the better.
Technologies are available and we need to do our bit to leverage these technologies into viable business solutions. It’s important to think through the end business need we are trying to solve and whether the business case is viable or not before making any big investments. Partnerships are key – leveraging relationships and being open for new ways of engagement enable better understanding of business needs and developing the innovative solutions to meet those needs.
Digitalization is a journey that requires time, effort, and resources. As such, companies must be prepared for the long haul.
Q: What topics and who are you looking forward to hear/meet at TECHX Asia?
Singhal: I am looking forward to explore more examples of IoT and AI application in manufacturing and how companies are creating value out of this for themselves and customers.