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Review: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Review: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), in conjunction with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS, Universal Robots, Markforged, NAMIC, and GlobalData held a two-part webinar on 24 Nov and 15 Dec 2020 aimed at helping manufacturers understand 3D printing better and gather insights on the way forward for additive manufacturing (AM) in Southeast Asia.

In the first session on 24 Nov with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS and Globaldata, we looked at where the pandemic has left the AM industry in 2020; key considerations towards successful adoption; case studies which showcased the flexibility and agility of AM in the fight against the pandemic. Click here to view its recap as well as watch the playback of the session. 

We picked up from where we left off in our second session on 15 Dec with Gary Tang, Regional Sales Director, at SLM Solutions Singapore; Li Chen, Application Engineer, APAC, at Markforged; James McKew, Regional Director, APAC, at Universal Robots; and Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (or NAMIC).

In a lively roundtable discussion, we addressed burning questions like how AM is a strategic differentiator in today’s manufacturing environment, how it presents unique opportunities and the future developing trends. Other discussion highlights include how to justify investments in 3D printing technologies, and the importance of partnering with the right companies or organisations, because AM is a very fast growing technology and no one company knows everything.

View the full webinar here!

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Recap: Additive Manufacturing Deployments In Southeast Asia

Recap: Additive Manufacturing Deployments In Southeast Asia

Amid the ongoing global health issue, additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is proving in real time that it is speeding production and bringing new ideas to the market at a lower cost to deliver the needed healthcare equipment and devices the world desperately needs.

In market research released earlier this year, Grand View Research Inc. reported that the overall additive manufacturing industry is projected to reach $35.38 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 14.6 percent over the same forecast period. However, the 3D printing industry still has its share of challenges, such as efficiency that the process yields, the machines, and materials.

In line with this, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), in conjunction with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS, Universal Robots, Markforged, NAMIC, and GlobalData held a two-part webinar aimed at helping manufacturers understand 3D printing better and gather insights on the way forward for additive manufacturing in Southeast Asia.

In the first installment of the two-part webinar on 24 November 2020 with SLM Solutions, Siemens and Globaldata, we covered the different AM deployments in Southeast Asia, the process challenges, and the key considerations toward successful adoption.

Watch the round table discussion during the second session held on 15 Dec with SLM Solutions Singapore, Markforged, Universal Robots NAMIC here! 

Where has COVID-19 left us in 2020?

Opening the session with a keynote presentation, David Bicknell, Principal Analyst, Thematic Research at Globaldata gave an insightful overview of where the pandemic has left the additive manufacturing industry in 2020. He discusses the impact of the pandemic, developments in AM and opportunities for ASEAN.

With the pandemic paralysing supply chains, David also highlights how 3D printing can be the solution to building more resilient supply chains and how more companies are embracing 3D printing. He also covered briefly insights from HP which examines the current perception of digital manufacturing.

3D printing has proved to be a source of optimism, and David rounded the session by sharing innovative feats during this challenging environment such as biomimetic tongue surfaces and printed door handles. Where would 3D printing bring us in 2021?

Key Considerations for Successful AM Adoption

Lu Zhen, Lead Application Engineer at SLM Solutions Singapore, speaks about successful AM adoption and projects worldwide—such as the 3D printed titanium brake caliper for Bugati race car—the different stages of AM adoption and market growth, and four key considerations for successful AM adoption: design, in terms of effectiveness and weight; material strength and compatibility; process scalability and repeatability; and economics or cost.

Lu also speaks about factors that would enable increasing adoption and industrialization of AM, such as systematic qualification processes and standards, specialised knowledge, IP, and having a mature supply chain.

Finally, he presents some of the AM projects in Southeast Asia, such as the anti-cavitation trim for EMERSON; core insert for plastic injection mould, for OMNI MOLD; impellers for maritime application, for ShipParts.Com; motor mount base and clutch for race cars, in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore; and a battery hull for submarine robots, developed in collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS).

3D Printed Face Shield

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has stalled manufacturing activities worldwide, it has, at the same time, highlighted the speed and flexibility of 3D printing to create and deliver the desperately needed healthcare equipment and devices.

For instance, it has provided Siemens and its Industry 4.0 partners an opportunity to combine their strengths to locally develop and manufacture a face shield designed by Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital using additive manufacturing. This fully local collaboration saw Siemens’ Advance Manufacturing Transformation Centre (AMTC), supported by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), HP’s Smart Manufacturing Applications and Research Centre (SMARC), and Mitsui Chemicals come together to design, optimise and manufacture the face shields in an accelerated product introduction cycle of under two months.

Benjamin Moey, Vice President, Advance Manufacturing, for ASEAN, at Siemens Pte Ltd, and also the head of Siemens’ AMTC, talks more about this in his presentation, as well as demonstrated the actual 3D-printed face shield.

Wrap Up

The webinar closed the session with a lively Q&A session between the three presenters—SLM’s Lu, Siemens’ Boey, and GlobalData’s Bicknell—with attendees asking questions on simulation technology related to 3D printing; 3D printing software; injection moulding versus 3D printing (in case of the face shield); availability of material base supply; best ways service bureaus can market themselves to attract AM clients; and whether AM will finally see the day it will be used for mass production.

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TAIWAN: Your High-End Partner For Your Smart Manufacturing Journey

TAIWAN: Your High-End Partner For Your Smart Manufacturing Journey

Taiwan companies have long been supplying machineries to manufacturers in the ASEAN region. The government’s thrust toward developing a much deeper cooperation with the industry in Southeast Asia through its digital media campaign for Taiwan machine tools, and a potentially new global supply chain pattern emerging post-pandemic, are expected to open up more opportunities for manufacturing cooperation between the ASEAN region and Taiwan.

In line with this, the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI), in cooperation with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), held a webinar on November 12 that highlighted the latest smart technology solutions from Taiwanese companies aimed at helping manufacturers on their journey towards smarter manufacturing. With the theme Taiwan: Your High-End Partner For Your Smart Manufacturing Journey, the webinar puts into spotlight Taiwan’s reliable, smart solutions for automated production, and why ASEAN manufacturers should consider Taiwan technologies for their manufacturing strategies.

High Precision Smart Manufacturing In SEA

James Kao, Project Manager at HIWIN Technologies Corp. opened the session by sharing their smart manufacturing solutions and successes in Southeast Asia (SEA). Automation and adoption of smart manufacturing is growing in the SEA, and HIWIN covers major industries across the region including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

James highlights HIWIN’s smart manufacturing applications, which includes automotive and auto parts manufacturing where 6-axis robots and hybrid robots are deployed from loading & unloading, to product inspection.

Staying Competitive

Next, we hear from Randi Tsai, International Sales Representative at Yeong Chin Machinery Industries co., ltd. (YCM) about how the company is helping its customers stay competitive ahead of the pandemic against industry challenges such as resource & environmental issues and labour shortage.

Randi showcases the company’s total machine solutions and how it tackles pandemic challenges, as well as the benefit of each solution. To find out about the new 5 axes machines which ensures efficiency, quality and cost competitiveness, watch this clip:

Precision Spring Manufacturing

Eric Cheng, Sales Representative of Ciangshuo Machinery Co. Ltd, presented on reducing cost and increasing efficiency in precision spring manufacturing. He discussed the company’s CNC spring formers, hook stations, servo spinners, and servo cutters, aimed at helping customers achieve automatic production for torsion springs, extension springs, wave springs, wire forming parts, strip forming parts, and air coil parts.

Hydraulic Press Outlook

Established in 1976, DEES Hydraulic Industrial Co. Ltd is one of the leading hydraulic press machine manufacturers in Taiwan for sheet metal forming in automotive and home appliance industries. More than 90 percent of its products, ranging from straight-sided, 4-post, and gap type systems with capacities from 30 tons to 6,000 tons, are exported.

Ale Lee, sales manager of DEES, discussed the outlook for hydraulic presses in Southeast Asia, key demand drivers, and markets where he sees growth.

Enhancing Cooperation in Southeast Asia

Founded in 1945 and with more than 2,900 members, TAMI is one of the most representative association for Taiwan’s machinery industry, and the organizer of international machinery exhibitions such as TIMTOS, TaipeiPLAS, and ShoeTech Taipei.

Jason Liu, product manager at TAMI, talked about key statistics from Taiwan’s machine manufacturing in 2019, key trade partners, and new strategies to further enhance Taiwan manufacturers’ cooperation with the ASEAN metalworking and machine tools industry.

Reducing Labour Costs and Downtime

Olivia Chen, sales representative of Gentiger Machinery Industrial Co. Ltd, gave a presentation on automation strategies to reduce labour cost and production downtime. She also discussed Gentiger’s latest machine, the GT-H2517F, and its applications and target markets; as well as their Smart Machine Industry 4.0, which was presented at TIMTOS 2019 and features status monitoring, production history, and mail notification, among others.

Taking Your Production to the Next Level

Stanley Yeh, Director for ASEAN Markets at TOYO Automation Co. Ltd, talked about how smarter manufacturing solutions can help take your production to the next level. He showcased the company’s solutions integrated in a COVID-19 RT-PCR test machine; in a USB assembly line; and the AGV application in an electric motorcycle production environment.

Forming Technologies for Lightweight Materials and Composites

Michael Wang is the vice president of Lien Chieh Hydraulic Industrial Co. Ltd (LCH). Established in 1947, LCH is said to be the most famous hydraulic press manufacturer with the longest history in Taiwan.

Wang discussed forming technologies to address the unique requirements of lightweight materials and composites. He talked about their tandem, deep drawing, trimming, hemming, die spotting, tryout, forging, and hydroforming presses, for applications in bicycle, automotive, home appliance, motorcycle, and aerospace manufacturing, to name a few.

Wang also highlighted LCH’s focus on reducing energy consumption through its innovative technologies, as well as how they are helping handle composites.

Smarter Bar Feeding

The last presenter was Edward Tsai, Overseas Sales Manager of GIMCO Giuliani Iemca Machinery Co. Ltd (IEMCA). Established in 1961, IEMCA is one of the leading manufacturer of bar feeders. It has four production plants—in Italy, Taiwan, China, and the United States—and has over 100,000 installations in more than 90 countries.

In his presentation, Tsai talked about smarter strategies to bar feeding for next-generation automotive manufacturing, and how bar feeders help manufacturers in their production.

Tsai also presented their first Industry 4.0 Bar Feeder, and its key features, including remote monitoring, control, and assistance; backup and restoration of machine parameters; and telecontrol by OPC-UA clients, among others.

 

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The Future Of Manufacturing: Impactful Tech On The Horizon

The Future of Manufacturing: Impactful Tech on the Horizon

The future of manufacturing is brimming with opportunity—it is full of new technologies designed to reduce waste and maximise process efficiency and flexibility through software and hardware capabilities. Article by Rahav Madvil, Simulation Product Manager for Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Noam Ribon, Senior Business Consultant at Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Industrial manufacturing as a sector has been an early adopter of robotics and other forms of technological improvements for decades. Robotics have been one of the best options to increase production efficiency for large and often highly repetitive manufacturing processes. But the era of producing large quantities of just a few products with low mix is coming to an end, giving way to increased product personalisation requiring a more flexible production process with less waste than ever before.

Fortunately, the future of manufacturing is brimming with opportunity. It is full of new technologies designed to reduce waste and maximise process efficiency and flexibility through software and hardware capabilities. Almost all of this promise is built upon a foundation of digital transformation – and the digital twin. Everything from raw material tracking to process optimisations to hardware selection stem from insights gained from the digital twin and a closed-loop optimisation of entire facilities.

The most difficult aspect of any change to operation are the inevitable changes to process—they are expensive twice over, because nothing is being produced and resources are still being consumed. An autonomous transport initiative squarely addresses this, relying on a few, key technologies to make it happen.

The Power of Virtual Commissioning

Creating a comprehensive digital twin of your production process can greatly reduce downtime for new machines, new processes and new products.  Let’s say you need to install a new CNC station. What if the processes for this new machine could be validated before it ever arrived on the production floor by using the digital twin of the production line? Less time could be spent integrating the new component into the overall production lines through line integration as a part of virtual commissioning.  Available today, virtual commissioning is the critical underpinning to an efficient production environment enabling a closed-loop iterative optimisation of the entire facility.

Virtual commissioning is vital, not only for testing software controls, but for adding insight to the efficiency of the controls strategy. It is also essential for embarking on the advanced robotics journey, laying the groundwork for implementing greater process automation and flexibility needed to efficiently implement tomorrow’s manufacturing technologies today.

Simulate Everything Upfront

One of the best options to minimise risk when updating an existing process or making a new one is to simulate the new operations. It nearly eliminates upfront investment in machinery before knowing whether the new process will operate as expected on the shop floor. For new digitalisation efforts, this is where a digital twin should be established for the process. Without a comprehensive study of the actions within a plant new equipment could be under-utilised leading to lost investment.

Just as important is the implementation of IoT devices, that serve to close the loop between the digital twin and the physical processes once the new processes have been initiated. Although these devices are often embedded in new production equipment, but it is important to consider how to best maximise the voluminous data they generate to gain crucial insight into the production process.

Next Generation Programming

Another route to maximising production time even when supporting a high product mix is to expedite the reprogramming of the robotics in use on the factory floor. Without integrated robotic control, updating a robotic arm for a new task can be incredibly time-consuming. It needs to be taken offline, reprogrammed, validated and restarted, for each robot that will handle the new processes.

In a partnership between AtriMinds and B/S/H/, Siemens Digital Industries Software helped bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products.

Siemens Digital Industries Software bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products.

All that changes by integrating the programmable logic controllers for these robots into the comprehensive digital twin. Much of this process can be streamlined. Does a bolt spacing on a phone need to be shifted slightly to accommodate the latest 5G wireless antenna? If the entire fleet of robots working on that production line could understand the change, that would save many hours across multiple engineering and production teams. Engineers simply need to let the robots know of the change and any differences in manufacturing tolerances can be accounted for with closed loop sensing through visual or force feedback. With force feedback within the robotic arm, any force exerted over a defined threshold can initiate a pause to the robotic arm’s actions and readjust positioning to address the perceived problem.  Instead of shutting them down for reprogramming, all the robots working on the project can adjust independently to subtle changes.

Although this might sound like some futuristic scenario, task-based programming has already been tested in the real world. In a partnership between AtriMinds and B/S/H/, Siemens Digital Industries Software helped bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products. Previously, one of the largest hurdles to automating assembly was how to work with flexible components. Traditional robotics rigidly follow predefined movements, so if something were to inadvertently shift, the whole assembly could be destroyed. But by implementing force sensing on the robotic arms, there is an almost intuitive understanding of the parts and how the robot is interacting with the workpiece at its station. If a hole is slightly out of place on a panel, the input from force sensors can help the robot redirect its movement and thread a screw through without complex, preprogrammed instructions for misalignment scenarios.

Optimising Production with Autonomous Robotics

Simulation, virtual commissioning and advanced robotics programming lay the foundation for a fully flexible production floor, but automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) weave it all together and bring it to life. Historically, conveyor belts acted as the material flow paths on a shop floor. They efficiently move product from point A to point B but require semi-static positioning. Even mobile conveyor systems, common in logistics work, take time to move and to ensure a safe path for product.

Heatmap from simulating AGV and AMR activity on a manufacturing floor.

In contrast, AGVs and AMRs can change their path during transit. This saves time that would have been spent readjusting existing features, this is critical for a flexible production environment. Imagine a production floor, making two distinct version of a product. For version one, the bolts need to be added before the secondary assembly is added, while in version two bolts cannot be added until after the sub-assembly has been mounted. In a static conveyor facility, this could be completed given enough conveyor length and a sorting mechanism. Beyond a couple variations to the production sequence the factory would fill up with conveyor loops that only transport a few products at a time, defeating one of the  main goals of the technology But with a fleet of AGVs or AMRs moving materials and work pieces throughout the facility, products can be rerouted and the sequence reordered to another machine. Or, in the case of highly customised consumer products, components could be routed to the best machine for the task. It can account for how much time is required to switch over to the new process, how many units can it produce compared to other machines, and even the impact of a re-route on other processes on the shop floor.

Reaping the Benefits of Tomorrow’s Robotics Today

Achieving all this requires a highly integrated production process. To guarantee a product is still made correctly during an automated process change, it needs to be simulated beforehand using a digital twin. To certify the product can be made in the new location, the production machine needs to be validated for the task using virtual commissioning. And to ensure the slightly different parts don’t produce errors in the process, the machines themselves need to be flexible to adapt to in real time to changing conditions with AGVs and AMRs.

Properly managing all these variables can have an incredibly positive effect on process performance, in fact it can produce up to a 40 percent improvement in labour productivity, according to a 2020 McKinsey study. Understanding the shop floor is an invaluable proposition and will continue to net savings and improvements through the life of the facility, even making it last longer by reducing maintenance overhead and costs with the improved condition monitoring of extensive IoT and the comprehensive digital twin.

Learn more of how Tecnomatix brings the tools of tomorrow’s factories to the factories of today with Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio with free trials for the Process Simulate and Plant Simulate tools.

 

Check these articles out:

Would You Trust The Algorithm?

Ensuring Manufacturing Safety Using Digitalised Production Design

Empowering Manufacturing Transformation

Siemens Workplace Distancing Solution Helps Manage ‘Next Normal’ Manufacturing

Siemens Connects Healthcare Providers And Medical Designers To Produce Components Through AM

[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

Siemens Improves 3D Printing And Scanning Workflows

ABI Research Names Siemens A Leader In Manufacturing Simulation Software

Siemens Opens Additive Manufacturing Network

 

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Would You Trust The Algorithm?

Would You Trust The Algorithm?

Imagine if you could automate some of the day-to-day operational decisions in your organization, so that your employees could focus on strategic projects, like developing new product lines or expanding the business. How good would an artificial intelligence (AI) model need to be, before you give it control? Would it, for example, need to equal the performance of human engineers, or demonstrate better performance? What if an error could cause significant financial losses or even human injury, how would this change your response?

A survey put scenarios like this to 515 senior leaders from the industrial world (including the energy, manufacturing, heavy industry, infrastructure and transport sectors) as part of a research into the uses, benefits, barriers and attitudes towards AI. Their responses offer a unique insight into the future of AI in industrial enterprises.

Heavy industry and heavy consequences

In these industries, many use cases for AI are expected to help avoid disasters and make workplaces safer. This is important because while AI methodologies are similar across industries, the consequences of failure are not. In many industrial organizations, bad decisions can leave thousands of people without a train to work; millions of dollars can be lost if machinery overheats; slight changes in pressure can lead to an environmental catastrophe; and innumerable scenarios can lead to loss of life.

It is therefore significant that a large set of respondents (44%) believe that, over the course of the next five years, an AI system will autonomously control machines that could potentially cause injury or death. Even greater numbers (54%) believe that AI will, within the same period, autonomously control some of their organization’s high-value assets.

To give AI such responsibility, industrial AI will need to become more sophisticated, and often this will be driven by new approaches to the way data is managed, generated, represented, and shared. For example:

  • Contextual data and simulations: Already today we see AI applied to data sets created and organized in new ways to enhance insights and understanding. Examples include knowledge graphs, which capture the meaning of – and relationships between – items in diverse data sets, and digital twins, which provide detailed digital representations and simulations of real systems, assets, or processes.
  • Embedded AI and big picture insights: Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge technologies are giving rise to diverse machine-generated data sets which can support new levels of situational awareness and real-time insights in the cloud or directly in the field.
  • Data from beyond the walls: Improved protocols and technologies for sharing data between organizations could support the development of AI models that simultaneously draw from the data of suppliers, partners, regulators, customers, and perhaps even competitors.

Context changes meaning

To take one example from the above, there is enormous potential in using industrial knowledge graphs to enhance AI models by combining different datasets. “Knowledge graphs add context to the data you’re analyzing,” explains Norbert Gaus, Head of R&D in Digitalization and Automation at Siemens. “For example, machine data can be analyzed in the context of design data, including the tasks the machine is made for, the temperatures it should operate at, the key thresholds built into the parts, and so forth. To this we could add the service history of similar machines, including faults, recalls and expected inspection outcomes throughout the machine’s operational life. Knowledge graphs make it much easier to augment the machine data we use to train AI models, adding valuable contextual information.”

The survey explored the kinds of contextual data that leaders believe would be most useful today. Data from equipment manufacturers came out on top, with 71% rating this as a major or minor benefit. This was followed by internal data from other divisions, regions or departments (70%), data from suppliers (70%) and performance data from sold products in use with customers (68%).

A company that uses knowledge graphs to bring different kinds of data together – such as product history, operational performance, environmental conditions – would be able to create a single AI model that drives better predictions, useful ideas, new efficiencies, and more powerful automation.

Building faith in algorithms

Ever more powerful applications will no doubt raise new challenges. It will require trusting AI with responsibilities that were only ever given to humans. In these cases, AI applications will need to win the confidence of decision-makers, while organizations will need to develop new risk and governance frameworks.

To explore these issues, the survey asked respondents to imagine several scenarios like the one at the start of this article. For example, 56% decided to accept the decision of an impressive AI model over an experienced employee (44%), where the decision would have major financial consequences. Is 56% high or low? One might think it is low considering respondents were told that the AI model had outperformed the organization’s most experienced employees in a year-long pilot. It suggests that the other 44% could have a bias towards human decisions, even when the evidence favors AI. You can read more about these and other important issues in the next-gen industrial AI research report.

Challenges aside, the research suggests an optimistic outlook for AI. As AI grows more sophisticated, leaders expect fewer harmful cyberattacks, easier risk management, more innovation, higher margins, and safer workplaces. Overall, with the promise of such a diverse and important range of positive impacts potentially on the horizon, there will be no shortage of motivation to overcome all challenges on the path to next-gen industrial AI.

 

Check these articles out:

Ensuring Manufacturing Safety Using Digitalised Production Design

Empowering Manufacturing Transformation

Siemens Workplace Distancing Solution Helps Manage ‘Next Normal’ Manufacturing

Siemens Connects Healthcare Providers And Medical Designers To Produce Components Through AM

[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

Siemens Improves 3D Printing And Scanning Workflows

ABI Research Names Siemens A Leader In Manufacturing Simulation Software

Siemens Opens Additive Manufacturing Network

 

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Ensuring Manufacturing Safety Using Digitalised Production Design

Ensuring Manufacturing Safety Using Digitalised Production Design

Digitalisation at the enterprise level has proven to be critical to bringing production back online safely, quickly and with greater resilience in preparation for crises of the future. By Nand Kochhar, vice president of Automotive and Transportation Industry Strategy for Siemens Digital Industries Software.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put exceptional strain on manufacturing facilities in the automotive industry. While all parts of the automotive enterprise have been impacted, manufacturing facilities have proven especially vulnerable because of the crucial link that human operators form in the vehicle production chain (Figure 1). Taking action to protect the health of these employees is challenging.

Human operators perform critical tasks in the vehicle production chain, making automotive production facilities especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Figure 1: Human operators perform critical tasks in the vehicle production chain, making automotive production facilities especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s production lines were designed and optimised for a pre-pandemic world. Operators often worked in close physical proximity and shared tools, parts bins and other resources to complete their tasks. The measures necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, of course, invalidated many aspects of these production designs and optimisations.

The Challenges of Redesigning Production Facilities

Automotive companies had to quickly modify and adapt their production facilities to ensure the safety of their employees. While these changes are necessary, they can dramatically impact efficiency and output in a production facility. For example, production stations have to be redistributed across a production line to ensure that human operators remain at least six feet apart at all times during the performance of their duties. In addition, each operator must have their own tools and parts bins to prevent the spread of the disease via mutual contact with a surface or object. While seemingly small, these changes can greatly influence how human operators perform their duties, often slowing them down. Just the increased spacing between production stations can slow production down.

The changeover of employees between shifts also presents safety challenges. Manufacturers will need to ensure that workers are healthy when they arrive to work, and allow extra time between shifts to thoroughly clean stations and tools. These extended shift changes result in more production downtime and potentially could require plants to reduce the number of shifts they run in a day, further impacting productivity.

These and other effects of the pandemic have pushed companies to turn toward advanced manufacturing technologies to mitigate the shortcomings of socially distanced production lines and stations. Novel applications of technologies such as virtual reality, advanced robotics and additive manufacturing are enabling safer and more productive manufacturing facilities. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs), for example, can replace shared parts bins, delivering materials to production stations quickly and efficiently while facilitating physical distancing among human operators (Figure 2).

AGVs can help maintain physical distance between human operators by automating material delivery and other logistics tasks.

Figure 2: AGVs can help maintain physical distance between human operators by automating material delivery and other logistics tasks.

While these technological innovations have provided some relief, integrating them with existing facilities can create additional challenges. The implementation of new production processes or technologies can be costly. The redesigned production lines also must be tested, verified and validated to avoid issues as production comes back online. This is especially true at the junctures where old and new processes interact. Any problems that occur can lead to schedule overruns, delays in production ramp-up and increased cost.

It is not just original equipment manufacturers (OEMS) conforming to the new constraints of operating in response to a global pandemic. As OEMs determine how to modify their production design and strategy to account for social distancing measures, their suppliers, including Tier 1 and 2, are engaged in the same exercise. As all these companies adapt, digitalisation at the enterprise level has proven to be critical to bringing production back online safely, quickly and with greater resilience in preparation for crises of the future.

Digitalisation Enables a Smarter Way Forward

Digitalisation has helped companies to adapt their production facilities quickly to ensure social distancing and protect employee health. Modern software solutions enable production engineers to virtually plan and design production stations, lines and even entire facilities before physically implementing any changes (Figure 3). The virtual copy of a station, line or facility, known as a digital twin, can then be simulated to verify, validate, troubleshoot and optimise production designs for safety and efficiency before any machinery is commissioned or facilities reorganised. Virtual production planning and design solutions can even simulate human operators, enabling the production design to account for ergonomics and physical distancing requirements.

Digital manufacturing engineering solutions enable production facilities to be re-designed virtually. Recently, Siemens announced a new solution that helps manufacturers to simulate and manage employee exposure risks while enabling productivity throughout their facilities.

Figure 3: Digital manufacturing engineering solutions enable production facilities to be re-designed virtually. Recently, Siemens announced a new solution that helps manufacturers to simulate and manage employee exposure risks while enabling productivity throughout their facilities.

As facilities come back online and production ramps up, digital manufacturing operations management solutions have helped companies monitor and optimise the operation of their facilities. These solutions can gather production data from multiple sources and aggregate it into useful, contextualised reports. This data can then drive production scheduling optimisations, quality enhancements and more.

A robust digitalisation strategy, however, should extend beyond production design and management. Integrated solutions from product and production design through product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing operations management (MOM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) create a complete digital thread from product design into the supply chain. Such a comprehensive digital thread can help companies turn complexity, whether from operating during a pandemic or from the requirements of next generation products, into competitive advantage by streamlining operations and improving collaboration throughout their supply chains.

Nand Kochhar

Nand Kochhar

In particular, enabling more frequent and effective collaboration throughout the supply chain will be critical as OEMs and suppliers continue to recover production output and prepare for unforeseen future disruptions. Better communication among partners also will help enable OEMs and their suppliers to coordinate the ramp-up of production capabilities with market demand to avoid both excesses and shortages of product. Collaboration also facilitates the sharing of experiences and key lessons learned while adapting to the pandemic. These experiences can help inform disaster recovery plans, allowing companies to incorporate a realistic estimation of how they will react to emergency situations.

Building in Resilience Through Digitalisation

The COVID-19 pandemic has automotive manufacturing facilities and employees under particular strain. As the pandemic has progressed, automotive OEMs and suppliers have been challenged to reorganise and redesign their manufacturing facilities to keep their employees safe and healthy. Redesigning a production facility, however, is extremely difficult, and this is especially true under the pressure of responding to a major crisis.

Throughout the ongoing process of redesigning and restarting automotive manufacturing facilities, digitalisation has proven key to achieving safe and efficient production environments. Digitalised production design and simulation solutions enable engineers to quickly design and verify new configurations for production lines and stations, while MOM, PLM and ERP solutions enable greater insight into facility performance and supply chain logistics. Digitalisation has also helped automotive companies come together in a time of crisis to improve collaboration and learn from others’ experiences. As the industry continues to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lessons learned from these new partnerships will help the entire automotive industry become more resilient as they prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.

 

Check these articles out:

Siemens Workplace Distancing Solution Helps Manage ‘Next Normal’ Manufacturing

Siemens Connects Healthcare Providers And Medical Designers To Produce Components Through AM

[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

Siemens Improves 3D Printing And Scanning Workflows

ABI Research Names Siemens A Leader In Manufacturing Simulation Software

Siemens Opens Additive Manufacturing Network

 

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FOLLOW US ON: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter

 

 

Empowering Manufacturing Transformation

Empowering Manufacturing Transformation

Through its suite of advanced and leading-edge technologies, Siemens not only helps companies digitalise to meet the needs of the new economy, but also empowers them to carry out smart innovations to succeed in the Industry 4.0 era. However, manufacturers should also focus on upskilling their workforce to fully realise the benefits of a digital factory. While new technologies possess great autonomy, humans must provide direction and control—and apart from overseeing technology, they are needed to gather, compare, analyse and apply data. Implementing Industry 4.0 technologies without knowing how to interpret, manage, and act on the insights leaves businesses with just a buzzword that has no real applicable value. There is a need for organisations to develop talent strategies, as well as build up staffing and training plans to meet the changing needs in terms of skills, job description and organisational models of the companies.

One way that Siemens is doing this is through its newly-launched Advance Manufacturing Transformation Centre (AMTC) in the Jurong Innovation District (JID) in Singapore. The AMTC is the first of its kind competence centre that provides guidance and support to manufacturing facilities in ASEAN on their journey of adoption, transition and transformation towards advanced manufacturing.

AMTC showcases state of the art Siemens digital enterprise solutions that will enable companies to create digital twin models of envisioned advance manufacturing plants. It also helps simulate, optimise and evaluate manufacturing operations before constructing the actual manufacturing facility.

Furthermore, AMTC houses Siemens’ first Additive Manufacturing Experience Center (AMEC) outside of Germany, where companies can experience an advance end-to-end additive manufacturing production line with their technology partners. Companies will be able to carry out prototyping and low-volume production with the support of on-site additive manufacturing experts, enabling a smooth transition and transformation to in-house advance manufacturing.

Aiding the Fight Against a Global Pandemic

Since the beginning of the year, the world has been grappling with a pandemic that has had an unprecedented impact in the global manufacturing supply chain, and each and everyone’s lives. However, despite its negative impact, the COVID-19 pandemic has given Industry 4.0 a booster jab—proving the necessity of innovation and digitalisation, as well as bringing down the resistance to change and collaborate, reducing the fear of new technologies, and accelerating the adoption of digital technologies.

This challenge has provided Siemens and its Industry 4.0 partners an opportunity to combine their strengths to locally develop and manufacture a face shield designed by Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) using additive manufacturing. This fully local collaboration saw the AMTC, supported by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), HP’s Smart Manufacturing Applications and Research Center (SMARC), and Mitsui Chemicals (Japan) come together to design, optimise and manufacture the face shields in an accelerated product introduction cycle of under two months. TTSH provided feedback during this process to ensure that the face shield provides comfort wear and allows ease of cleaning.

Through Siemens’ in-house additive manufacturing expertise and local network, the face shield design was optimised and printed using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D technology with proprietary polyamide material, that is certified biocompatible by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Mitsui Chemical’s polyolefin coating that is approved for medical use.

In a statement, Benjamin Moey, Siemens’ Head of Additive Manufacturing, APAC, said, “This face shield project has proven the capabilities and benefits of additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0 technologies. It is exactly why Siemens set up the AMTC—we want to help companies to adopt advance manufacturing so as to be agile and competitive in today’s fast-changing economy.” According to Moey, Siemens’ strong and diverse ecosystem of partners allow industries to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 without the necessity of engineering from scratch each time, thus saving time and money. This is especially crucial and valuable during challenging times, such as the current COVID-19 situation.

Siemens will contribute in-kind the pilot batch of face shields to TTSH for internal use and evaluation so that TTSH can suggest any refinement, before the face shields will go into production.

Apart from this collaboration, Siemens has also opened its global additive manufacturing network to enable the efficient execution of design and printing requests by doctors, hospitals and suppliers of medical equipment in response to the ongoing global health crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

Helping Skills Enhancement

Another issue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was the loss of jobs due to stalled economic activities driven by falling demand due to lockdowns, quarantines, and movement control orders in all markets worldwide.

Singapore has been no exception. Entering a technical recession after its economy shrank by 41.2% in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter, employment is expected to be impacted. In line with this, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) has launched the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme in July as part of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. The programme aims to provide traineeships and training opportunities for mid-career jobseekers impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19.

Under the programme, Siemens is partnering with SSG to launch the Advance Manufacturing (Additive Manufacturing) Learning Programme, an enterprise-based course package designed to provide trainees with up-to-date skillsets to stay relevant and better support the current wave of industrial companies undergoing digital transformation, with focus on industrial additive manufacturing (3D printing).

The course is organised into four block modules: the first three are component trainings looking at providing the basic foundation on key skillsets, namely, PLC programming, 3D design fundamentals and post processing basics;  which will prepare the trainees to undertake the final project module that could be supporting the implementation of an actual industrial project alongside Siemens specialists.

The focus topics were filtered in advance from Siemens’ 14 Corporate Core Technologies and taking into account the company’s priority ‘Make Digitalisation Work’:

  • MindSphere
  • Data Analytics & Artificial Intelligence
  • Simulation & Digital Twin
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Cyber Security
  • Blockchain Applications

The six-month programme aims to equip the trainees key areas of know-how in understanding industrial digitalisation and the factory of the future, and provide the unique opportunity to apply these new skillsets to real industrial projects alongside Siemens experts.

Empowering the Future

The COVID-19 situation has forced industries to expedite manufacturing processes and programmes that otherwise would have taken more time to plan and execute in the past.

As the world faces a new normal, more businesses are expected to examine their operational set-up, explore areas that urgently require improvement, and embrace digitalisation to reshape their manufacturing and supply chains to be more productive, competitive, resilient and sustainable, while at the same time initiating programmes that would upskill the workforce to keep them up with these technology innovations. And Siemens will be along the way, empowering every stakeholder towards a better, digitalised future.

 

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[WATCH] Siemens Discusses Initiatives, Outlook Amid COVID-19

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Manufacturing Industry In A Post-Pandemic World

Manufacturing Industry In A Post-Pandemic World

Now that markets are slowly opening up and manufacturing activities are gradually restarting, many are wondering how the manufacturing industry would look like, what the new requirements will be—for customers and suppliers alike—and what the manufacturing industry should do in this ‘new normal’. In this Outlook special, six industry leaders share their thoughts on what to expect, and how to navigate through the challenges in a post-pandemic environment.

Bystronic

Norbert Seo
Senior Vice President, Market Division Asia & Australia
Bystronic

We are yet to see the breadth and depth of the impact of COVID-19.  Economies are slowly opening, but there is an overhung of the second wave.  We are still in a quagmire of uncertainties, but after more than six months of descent, data shows that we are seeing recovery slowly play out.   

Recently, we see a changing outlook wherein business owners are deciding to invest in new machines in order to have full control of their manufacturing processes and minimize reliance on third party providers.  

Additionally, we are anticipating a shift from worker-dense shop floors into automated processing wherein production continues unhampered while lightly manned/operated.  Coronavirus has advanced the need for automation in factories.

We are living a new normal.  Companies who are most agile and able to adapt will eventually thrive in these new circumstances and I am determined that this will be the case for Bystronic. 

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

Lim Boon Choon
SVP Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence
Korea, ASEAN, Pacific, India

 

The COVID-19 crisis has underscored the important role of technology in helping people and companies rapidly adapt to fast-changing and unforeseen circumstances. Most of us have personal experience of relying heavily on cloud-based communications and data transfer during lockdown to continue collaborating and doing business remotely. At Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, for example, we moved swiftly to provide our customers with the online support, training and software they needed to remain productive as they adopted new work practices driven by the need for social distancing, as well as changes to supply and demand within their industries. 

As manufacturing operations pick up again around the world, there is a clear desire among a growing number of our customers to accelerate their automation and digitalisation journey. Workplaces may look very different post-COVID-19, both on and off the shop floor. Among the changes we’re discussing with customers is a shift from on-premise systems to secure, automated, cloud-based systems that facilitate remote data analysis and exchange. 

At the same time the economic situation means manufacturers have to weigh up any capital expenditure plans extremely carefully. Technology will play a key role in helping companies remain competitive during challenging times, but businesses are only ready to invest in automation solutions if they demonstrate a clear business benefit and can deliver results quickly. The other message we’re hearing is the importance of providing open, scalable technology systems that give our customers the flexibility to evolve in line with new market requiremets. 

igus

Carsten Haecker
Head of Asia Pacific 
igus

Optimism for the year 2020 was surrounding our thoughts before the global COVID-19 impact brought several businesses to a standstill, selectively today fighting for survival. Optimism and motivation are what drives igus in the post-COVID-19 environments.

No doubt, the crisis has also impacted our global business outlook and order intake across various industries. However, it has taught us very valuable lessons and generated ample opportunities. The crisis will not end globalization. Rather, it will lead to the questioning of some of its assumptions. In particular, it highlights the need for shorter supply chains in critical areas and the relocation of some activities closer to ‘home’.

We learned from the crisis that the supply chain can be disrupted at any time. Now, we are learning that for other critical resources like pre-materials for medical supply, we also need to stockpile in case there is a cut in supply. This was demonstrated when we witnessed the global shortage of surgical masks and other medical essentials that were taken for granted during normal times. We have learned how vulnerable they are, how concentrated the supply capacity is, and how critical these products can be. Globalization will continue because it is of common interest.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis has been accelerating the push to invest in new, labour-substituting technologies. Here, in particular, 3D printing technologies, cobot support, and factory automation with smart condition monitoring will see an accelerated demand to reduce dependency on humans.

igus motion plastics products are today used in several of these applications and will continue to play a major part in all motion and moving energy demand. We accelerated product development, we managed to change our way of working, we adapted quickly to changing needs, and we never stopped investing in growth, be it space or technology.

Our online tools are readily available and our products can be completely configured via our homepage and delivered within 24 hours. Our virtual booth, showcasing our latest 2020 innovations is online and the team is ready to welcome you. Any crisis generates opportunities—we are convinced to manage this for our customers!

Mastercam/CNC Software Inc.

Ben Mund
Senior Market Analyst
Mastercam/CNC Software Inc.

As developers of Mastercam CAD/CAM software, we talked with shops directly as the impact of COVID-19 began taking hold. Our global manufacturing community generally sees the post-pandemic process in three stages: assessment, refinement, and expansion.

The ‘assessment’ stage moved very quickly. Shops stopped most major (and even minor) expenditures, evaluated what business they could maintain, and worked with their partners as things started to go on hold.

Many shops we speak with have moved past assessment into the ‘refinement’ phase. This is where shops say they expect many lasting changes as they aggressively re-evaluate their processes. Examples include deeper looks into their machine and software capabilities to maximize existing investments, training up staff, and refining jobs they maintain during the crisis to ensure they are as efficient as possible when new work starts coming in.

When the ‘expansion’ phase begins, it is likely the efficiency and creativity shops built up during the crisis will mean smarter capital expenditures, broader skillsets, boosted productivity and more business flexibility. These are certainly lessons we as a company have also learned as we work with our manufacturing community to help prepare shops for the next steps.

Siemens ASEAN

Dr. Thai-Lai Pham
CEO
Siemens ASEAN

COVID-19 has given Industry 4.0 a booster jab—proving the necessity of innovation and digitalization. It has also brought down the resistance to change and collaborate, reduced the fear of new technologies, and accelerated the adoption of digital technologies.

For Siemens, our investment in digitalization in the last few years have allowed us to be in a position to contribute to the community during this crisis:

  1. In March, Siemens opened the Siemens Additive Manufacturing Network for hospitals and health organizations worldwide. This digital platform brings together suppliers and customers in the field of additive manufacturing to help print spare parts for medical devices.
  2. In Singapore, we helped a hotel group to build isolation rooms for guests tested positive for COVID-19. Our team supported with HVAC optimization, ensuring proper circulation of air to avoid any risks of virus-spread.

Both of these instances would probably have taken more time to plan and execute in the past. But the COVID-19 situation forced us to expedite the process.

Moving forward, I’d expect more businesses to examine their operational set-up, explore areas that urgently require improvement, and embrace digitalization to reshape their manufacturing and supply chains to be more productive, competitive, resilient and sustainable.

VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association)

Dr Wilfried Schäfer
Managing Director 
VDW

In 2019, the ten-year boom phase in the global machine tool industry had already come to an end. That was long before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Expectations for the development of the machine tool industry were characterized by a sharp drop in international demand for 2020. A decrease in production of 18 percent was forecast for Germany. 

From today’s perspective, this will not be sufficient. However, due to the uniqueness of the crisis, it is currently not possible to foresee which result the industry will obtain at the end of the current year. The companies are now working intensively to learn their lessons from the crisis and prepare for a new start.

The machine tool manufacturers, for example, are systematically pushing ahead with digitization internally in their own production and in cooperation with their customers. Now that travel has been restricted nationwide, it has proven to be very advantageous for a company to access its installed machine base online. That could be necessary, for example, to ensure service and maintenance or to install software updates. With the universal interface umati, manufacturers can also offer their customers added value in order to optimize their production. umati now stands for machine communication in the entire mechanical and plant engineering sector and is meeting with great interest worldwide.

COVID-19 has also shown that the organisation of a resilient production is important in order to ensure the company’s own ability to deliver. After supply chains were interrupted worldwide when more and more countries went into lockdown, the establishment of robust supply structures is becoming increasingly important. This applies both to the supply of intermediate products and components and the ability to manufacture certain core components in-house.

Finally, customer contact has been interrupted by the cancellation or postponement of many trade fairs worldwide. Trade fair organizers, trade journal publishers from our industry and individual companies quickly made an effort to offer alternatives. The VDW was one of them. With the METAV Web Sessions in mid-June, we succeeded in offering exhibitors a platform that, at least, allowed them to make virtual contact with their customers. These formats will be further developed in the future.

These are just three examples of several areas that will change. They have not to be reinvented but, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, they are increasingly gaining momentum. 

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

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[WATCH] APMEN Speaks On The Impact Of COVID-19 On ASEAN’s Metalworking Industries

[WATCH] APMEN Speaks On The Impact Of COVID-19 On ASEAN’s Metalworking Industries

In a webinar hosted by Taipei International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS), Kenneth Tan, Publisher of Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) speaks about the impacts of the pandemic on ASEAN’s metalworking industries, including the automotive, and aerospace & MRO sectors and what we can expect in the post COVID-19 era.

Besides the ASEAN region, the webinar, organised by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), also addresses the impact of COVID-19 in the European and US markets. Other speakers include Gabriel Pankow, Head of Digital Editorial Office of mi connect and Michael Vaughn, Chief Consultant of Indiana Research Institute.

Watch the full webinar here:

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

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Renishaw Sees Continued Demand For Accuracy And Precision Driving Growth

Renishaw Sees Continued Demand for Accuracy and Precision Driving Growth

Steve Bell of Renishaw ASEAN talks about their activities in Thailand and provides his insights on the trend towards electric vehicles.

Steve Bell

Renishaw is one of the leading providers of precision measurement and sensor technologies worldwide. Based in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, the company has 4,500 employees located in the 36 countries where it has wholly owned subsidiary operations.

At the recent METALEX 2019 trade exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) sat down with Steve Bell, general manager for ASEAN at Renishaw, to talk about their Thailand market, and the industries they are looking at in the region.

READ: Renishaw Ramps Up Production Of Ventilator Components

“We’ve been in Thailand for over 25 years now,” says Bell. “During that time, there have been a lot of changes in Thailand, particularly economically and politically. But generally, through it all Thailand has maintained steady growth. The last couple of years have been something of an exception with the economy being a little flat, but we do now see signs of the market looking up again.”

At METALEX, Renishaw showcased a similar concept they did at the recent Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (ITAP) 2019 event in Singapore, where they highlighted end-to-end manufacturing of aerospace parts – from initial additive manufacturing, through machining to final assembly – with process and quality control built into every stage. For the Thailand show, the focus is on automotive, rather than aerospace.

READ: Sandvik And Renishaw Collaborate To Qualify New AM Materials

“We are showing automotive parts. Our aim is to show how Renishaw can provide end-to-end solutions—when it comes to Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing, we have the tools to contribute to that drive. Here at Metalex, we are showing the complete story of a component, starting from additive manufacturing, making parts lighter while retaining strength through metal 3D printing parts with a lattice work, largely hollow internal construction. Next up is a calibration station, basically illustrating that before you start the process of manufacturing, you have to ensure that the machines you plan to use are accurate, repeatable and fit for the purpose. Precision machining of critical tight tolerance features follows with on-machine probing and toolsetting being used to set up the part and set the tools to be used. The machine tool is hooked up to an Equator automated flexible gauge which inspects key features of the parts coming off the machine, analyses the trend of results and automatically updates tool offsets in the machine tool control to keep the process within tolerance levels. Lastly, we reach final inspection where we’re showing a CMM with the latest REVO five-axis system,” explains Bell.

Automotive Industry

According to Bell, the automotive manufacturing industry is currently rather flat in Thailand but it remains a key sector for Thailand. “Many of our customers are in Thailand are involved directly in the automotive industry –  that’s why we’ve chosen to feature automotive parts here,” he explains. “We are also beginning to a lot of discussion on additive manufacturing in Thailand. There are a number of projects that we are pursuing in that area. Another big growth area for Renishaw in Thailand is the Equator automated gauging line. We are seeing a lot of manufacturers — particularly Japanese high volume part producers — who have embraced Equator technology and are now using it quite significantly in their manufacturing processes.”

READ: Renishaw Shares Outlook On Vietnam And Philippines

Bell pointed out the maturity of Thailand’s manufacturing industry demonstrated the willingness to adopt and utilize Renishaw’s advanced solutions. “The market is of course driven by our end-user customers. There is a demand for high-quality products, for high-precision parts,” he explains. “And where there is that demand, manufacturers are looking for ways to achieve quality and accuracy … and to become more profitable as they do so. Therefore, products like the Equator gauge are absolutely right for the customers we deal with in Thailand.”

(Editor’s Note: This interview took place in November 2019—months before the COVID-19 outbreak caused a significant impact in the industrial manufacturing landscape.)

 

To continue reading about Thailand’s EV Vehicle development and the outlook for 2020, head on over to our ebook!

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

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