The 21st Fifa World Cup kicks off on Thursday. It’s the first World Cup to be held in Russia, and, despite political tensions in the lead-up, the excitement levels are reaching a high – like only it can before the start of the football World Cup.
Here’s a look at some of the stories from the sidelines of the tournament.
Cast a spell on you
With the help of two priestesses and a rain stick shaped like an ancient Mesoamerican god, Mexico’s “Grand Warlock” has cast a spell to help the national team.
In a public ceremony, Antonio Vazquez – better known as the psychic “El Brujo Mayor” – invoked the plumed serpent god Quetzalcoatl to help Mexico end their 32-year wait to reach the quarter-finals.
The Mexicans have lost in the last 16 in six successive World Cups.
“Quetzalcoatl, give me all your force and power to break through heaven’s doors,” he said, his long white beard standing out against his green Mexico jersey.
Up in the gods
People seated in the Yekaterinburg Arena’s now-infamous temporary stands behind each goal will certainly need to be fit.
Fans will have to scale 250 metal steps to reach the dizzying top rows and once they get there they will also need a head for heights.
They would be advised to pack a raincoat – the stands are open to the elements – and a pair of binoculars will also come in handy.
The two stands, which are each the equivalent height of a 14-storey building, were constructed specially for the World Cup to increase the stadium’s capacity to 35,000.
Australia’s Jackson Irvine laughed off suggestions that teammate Trent Sainsbury will “shave his (Irvine’s) hair off” if Irvine scores a goal. The midfielder stands out from the rest of the Socceroos squad because of his long locks.
“It came up last night actually,” he said. “Trent Sainsbury tried to convince me if I score, then he gets to shave my hair off after the game so... I haven’t quite agreed to that bet yet but it has become part of my trademark. I’ve become quite emotionally attached to it so I can’t see it going anywhere soon.”
A red-hot start?
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations has warned that “frosts are expected” on Thursday in the Leningrad region.
But it added that there would also be “extreme fire danger” in the western part of the region for the first three days of the tournament.
Keep calm, pass it to Christian
Danish fans have enjoyed poking fun at their team in the build-up to the tournament, even making a joke shirt that shows their “tactics” on the back.
The cunning gameplan involves always attempting to pass to Tottenham star Christian Eriksen, who scored a stunning hat-trick in the 4-1 play-off victory against Ireland.
But the Danes will be without Nicklas Bendtner through injury. A petition to postpone the World Cup until the much-maligned former Arsenal striker is fit has garnered more than 11,000 signatures.
Anger in Colombia
Fans in Colombia have been left incensed after Spanish magazine Panenka’s parody of their side ‘the XI of the Narcos’ depicted a team led by infamous drug traffickers such as Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder, Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela and Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha.
The magazine was forced to apologise after an outcry on social media, saying: “We have always wanted to treat the country with love and respect.”
“Maybe if Italy had entered the @federugby (Italian rugby) team, they’d have something to cheer about this #FIFAWorldCup” – World Rugby can’t resist a cross-code dig at the Azzurri’s failure to qualify for the finals in Russia as it tweets footage of Italy’s rugby players showing impressive round-ball skills.
The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes
Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.
The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.
This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.
Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.
The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.
Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.
Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry
The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.
There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.
The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.
The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.
The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.
The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.
Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.
Case studies for technology-led changes
An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.
Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.
In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.
In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.
The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.
Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.
The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.
This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.