1. To start with, we know that 2020 has been a tough year overall for all of us. Kindly tell us how have you tackled this year?
For 2020 came as a surprise to us and caught us off guard. But it opened our eyes in terms of our readiness for such unexpected hurdles. With sheer determination and self-belief, we maneuvered through these hurdles. Our first priority was the safety of our employees. Both physical and emotional. We moved our IT assets to everyone’s home to allow them to carry on work, organized several training programs and most importantly assured everyone of the financial stability of the company and security to their jobs!
Jendamark India being a manufacturing based industry, all activities can’t happen from home. So, we had to get some of our guys to work. But we opened a dormitory for them so that they would not need to venture out. Their food, daily needs and accommodation were taken care of by us. Some of the improvisations that they had to do ended up being adopted by us for our mainstream use. For example, since it was practically impossible to meet with our customers, a halted design approval process during the initial stages of a project meant further delays in the project’s life cycle. It was during this time that our teams decided to implement Augmented Reality in the DAP with the help of which our customers could remotely approve the designs, and provide their feedback for the same. The results it has shown us have been very effective and Augmented Reality ended up being a part of our new and improved DAP. We also developed an Odin Health App to log and monitor Temperature and Oximeter readings. This decision paid off when our employees came back to work with a fresher mindset and refined skills.
2. Please help our readers to understand the automation services provided by Jendamark.
Jendamark is a one stop solution for our customers from concept to realization. We offer turnkey solutions in the field of automation for projects in powertrain assembly lines (engine/ axle/ differential), Catalytic converter assembly line, Electric vehicle assembly line, aerospace and Digital factory services. Our foray into the EV market includes battery pack assembly lines, motor lines, rotor lines, inverter lines and universal lines for VCU (vehicle control unit), MCU (Motor control unit and LDC. The unique feature of our lines is that all our lines are equipped with our latest. Own developed Industry 4.0 software solutions called ODIN Eco-system. (www.odinmanufacturing.io)
3. According to you, what technology trends are we likely to see this year? How is your esteemed company keeping up with the same?
The events from last year have exposed some really weak links in the manufacturing industry. This has enabled companies to rethink and redesign their manufacturing practices, and they are open to adopting new technologies to avoid experiencing these setbacks again.
Nationwide, we are expecting to see widespread implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions in the manufacturing industry. Fortunately, long before the pandemic hit, Jendamark had already mapped a clear path through the technological maze of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The addition of these solutions to our products helped us to be better prepared for these setbacks. The star performer from our ODIN Ecosystem was ODIN Workstation.
ODIN Workstation is a process security solution that consists of operator guidance, traceability, and production planning. When the pandemic hit, companies had lost a huge portion of their labor. It puts them in a very difficult position of hiring and training new workers and get their production back on track. ODIN Workstation’s operator guidance system, which is built to provide visual step-by-step work instructions to line workers, helped our customers achieve the confidence to put newly hired workforce onto the production lines. Its capability of tracing back the operations helped our customers to resume production right from where they had stopped. Due to this, our customers could sustain the ramp-up in production without facing any difficulties. Industry 4.0 solutions have really helped us face these hurdles without any hiccups, and we are confident about being able to navigate through any similar setbacks we might face in the future.
4. Could you give us some brief ideas about your unique assembly solutions?
Among the unique assembly solutions that we are using for assembling EV components, two particular solutions we can focus on, are the Sealant Dispensing Station and the Auto Tightening Station.
Sealants are used in the assembly of the battery case enclosure. The main objective of the sealants is to protect the module from any moisture intrusion or chemical leakages and preventing the inside of the battery from exposure to the environment. Thus, it is essential for us to ensure that the sealant fits the required standards like the correct weight of dispensed sealant, the right bead profile (thickness of sealant), etc. It may seem completely doable with a trained operator and a manually operated sealant gun, but there is a huge scope for errors, and that is what we are trying to prevent. Our Auto Sealant Dispensing Station is capable of dispensing 4 types of sealants (2 of which have to be mixed right before being applied), inspecting the bead profiles for any errors with the help of vision systems, and is completely automated.
Components like PCBs (printed circuit boards) that go into an EV have numerous minute components that are bolted to it. Traditionally, the bolting activity took place manually where an operator was given a rack full of (extremely) tiny bolts that he was then supposed to bolt to the board along with the required component. The operator had to be trusted with remembering the sequence of bolting, and their variable torques. For a component like the PCB, even a tiny loose bolt can eventually create a safety hazard, hampering the overall safety of the vehicle. Our Auto Tightening Station automatically feeds the bolts to the right location, in the right sequence, and tightens them with the respective torque.
5. Please tell us about your pioneering partnership with Mahindra Electric.
Jendamark’s Journey in EV started when Mahindra electric awarded us to builds India’s first Prismatic cell Automatic Battery Pack Assembly Line with Digital Worker Instructions and traceability.
Jendamark’s philosophy is to always stay ahead of curve and with this approach, we in Jendamark conceptualized, designed and delivered State of art Assembly lines with Industry 4.0 solutions and process poke yokes. It was a unique challenge as such a concept did not exist and also the product was not conceptualized for automation. But our teams in India and South Africa put together a unique concept that was both technically and commercially well thought off. We got excellent support from the Mahindra Electric team who were with us throughout this journey. Since the 1 st project, the collaboration has grown significantly.
We have executed the following projects and a few more are in discussion with Mahindra Electric.
a. Battery Pack Assembly Line
b. Power Electronics Line
c. Universal Box Build Line for VCU / MCU / LDC
d. eKUV battery Module Line
e. Introduction of new variants in Battery Pack Line
f. Integration with Testing facilities
6. Could you tell us how Jendamark has ensured it is keeping up with the digitalisation trend with respect to its products and processes.
In the past whenever our customers requested for software solutions, being an automation company, our initial approach was to take assistance from IT firms having expertise in software development. But soon we realised that they lack domain knowledge and cannot provide exact solutions integrated with the manufacturing technology. Hence we decided to invest in our own Software division and formed a digital solution platform called Odin. Now 3 years and multiple solutions later we are completely self-reliant in creating state-of-the-art solutions to cater to our customers. Odin is aimed at providing solutions for all functions of a typical factory like production, maintenance, ME, HR, Top Management and truly making it a Smart Factory. Odin workstation guides operators for step by step assembly and provides traceability. Odin Maintenance is aimed at providing Service and Documentation support to production and Maintenance Teams. Design approvals are made easy with Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality. Predictive maintenance can be done by tracking and monitoring critical parameters remotely and avoiding sudden machine stoppage with the help of ODIN IoT. Employee health and security can be ensured with Odin Health.
For any management to make any important decision, accuracy of information is important and ODIN Insight exactly does that with Advanced Analytics, Conversational AI. In short, we have ensured to cover all nooks and corners of the Manufacturing industry by covering them with some or other digital solution.
7. What are some challenges that your company overcame on the journey to its current successful state?
The biggest challenge was creating our brand identity in the market and self-belief in our employees. We had strong support both in terms of technical and managerial from our Head office in South Africa. So we were confident that our solutions and strategy will be successful. But we needed to create an awareness of our expertise in the market. This was a challenge as the market has been crowded with several automation companies for years and it’s difficult for the customers to sometimes part ways due to the relationship they have with existing suppliers. The traditional approach would have been to enter with very little price and use costs as a tool to break the entry barrier. Our approach was different. Instead of reducing costs, we decided to add value. We also decided to focus on only specific areas in automotive marker (powertrain) and not be a general automation company. We forayed into areas where not many would indulge in. For e.g. Catalytic converter assembly lines, Electric vehicle assembly lines, Own software development team and a successful I4.0 ODIN eco-system, qualifying for Boeing for their defense programs. These amongst few other things set us aside and established our credentials as an engineering company with a strong technical understanding and offering innovative solutions. Also, we truly believe that success is not a ‘state’. it’s a journey and we have just got started.
8. What is your growth and expansion plan for the coming years?
We have a crystal clear roadmap for the future. But at the same time, we are also very flexible to adapt to any new challenging and exciting development that might happen and we are willing to alter our course to suit ourselves for it. ‘Change is the only constant’, this philosophy is strongly embedded in our DNA, right from the Board members and colleagues from South Africa.
The last 5 years have seen exponential growth in terms of our resources, floor space, revenue and most importantly our learnings of the market and our customers. In the next few years, we aim to disrupt the Digital transformation space with our ODIN ecosystem and continue our thrust in engineering and technological excellence. We are on the path already to establish ourselves as a strong partner for the EV business and we will continue to develop and provide unique solutions to suit our customers’ demands. A Lot of Research and development in this area will be our prime focus in the coming years.