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Ericsson To Support Malaysia’s Digital Transformation

Ericsson to support Malaysia’s digital transformation

Malaysia and its economy are poised to benefit from a 10-year 5G partnership between Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) to drive the nationwide deployment of the next-generation wireless cellular technology in Malaysia.


Ericsson enters 10-year partnership with Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) to deliver a nationwide 5G single wholesale network for Malaysia.

5G’s speed, low-latency, and large-data-handling capabilities will digitally transform the nation, while creating a 5G ecosystem that will power innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and automation across a range of enterprise, industry and multi-sector Internet of Things (IoT) use cases.

By utilizing the capabilities of 5G and accelerating the deployment of Malaysia’s nationwide 5G network and ecosystem, DNB will provide access and services to mobile service providers and others licensed by the regulators, to enable a world-class 5G experience and make Industry 4.0 a reality in Malaysia.

Ralph Marshall, Chief Executive Officer, DNB, says: “DNB is committed to delivering the best technology and innovation opportunities for Malaysians, businesses and government to ensure that Malaysia takes its place at the forefront of the global digital economy. We identified Ericsson to offer the best next generation 5G technology and professional services available to suit DNB’s specific and unique requirements.”

Ericsson’s participation in the national 5G project will see direct and indirect socio-economic contributions in areas such as job creation, partnership with Bumiputera and other local contractors and ecosystem players, and knowledge and capacity building in Malaysia.

David Hägerbro, Head of Ericsson Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, says: “5G is a platform for open innovation and is becoming the cornerstone upon which a country’s competitiveness is built. Malaysia’s and DNB’s commitment to accelerating the deployment of 5G is to be congratulated, as it will speed up the adoption of 5G nationally, bridge the digital divide and transform the nation. 5G will help to facilitate the government’s ambition to promote Malaysians to become technology creators through development of 5G applications and use cases.”

He adds: “With a 56-year legacy of contributing to Malaysia’s development, we are excited to be extending our commitment to the nation. Ericsson is confident that with our global 5G leadership and strong deployment capabilities, we will meet the deployment targets set by DNB.”

DNB’s exclusive partnership with Ericsson spans delivery of energy-efficient Ericsson Radio System products and solutions, including Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, a software for wide-area 5G coverage.

The scope also includes cloud-native 5G Core and 5G Radio Access (RAN) nationwide. Ericsson will also manage the unique requirements of a single wholesale network with its leading Managed Services offering, Ericsson Operations Engine. The solution will enhance the performance of DNB’s network using AI , automation and cognitive software to predict and prevent issues.

Ericsson’s end-to-end scope also includes operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) solutions.

DNB is tasked with helping Malaysia to achieve its digital aspirations as outlined in the government’s MyDIGITAL blueprint, which plans to transform Malaysia into a digitally driven, high income nation and a leader in digital content, cyber security and digital economy in the Southeast Asia region.

DNB also supports the modernization of the nation’s mobile networks as part of the national digital infrastructure plan, Jalinan Digital Negara (Jendela), to ensure every Malaysian has quality internet connectivity.

DNB aims to launch Malaysia’s first 5G network in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya in the initial phase. Ericsson’s local presence and deployment expertise are key to meeting DNB’s target of 80 percent 5G nationwide population coverage by 2024.

This information was brought to you by Cision http://news.cision.com

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Cobots Lead The Future Of The Global Industrial Robots Market

Cobots Lead the Future Of The Global Industrial Robots Market

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis finds that the global industrial robotics market will reach revenues of $38.3 billion in 2024 from $22.2 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 12.2 percent. Although the industry was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty in the automotive business, rising demand from other high-growth sectors is expected to propel it over the next five years. Pharmaceuticals will be the fastest-growing segment, with a CAGR of 17.2 percent from 2019 to 2024, reaching $3.33 million by the end of the forecasted period, followed by food & beverage (F&B) and electrical and electronics, expanding at 15.8 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively.

Asia-Pacific continues to dominate the global industrial robotics market, and revenues are estimated to top $25.08 billion by 2024, with China, Japan and South Korea driving progress. The European region is the second most important, propelled by the automotive industry and Germany—the fifth-largest country globally for industrial robotics. North America’s ongoing trend of production automation and keeping all manufacturing operations in-house puts it in the third position, with forecasted revenues of $6.19 billion by 2024.

“The global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a strong use case for industrial robots, which helped assure business continuity,” said Nandini Natarajan, Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan. “While 2020 witnessed reduced investments in robotics, the demand for industrial robots will rise sharply from 2021 on. The introduction of low-cost robots and innovative business models such as Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) are expected to drive demand from small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”

Natarajan added: “Collaborative robots (cobots) are experiencing rapid market growth thanks to their utility, ease of installation, and consistently decreasing price, making them an affordable and viable solution for a wide range of applications. It will be the fastest-growing segment by 2024, recording a CAGR of 32.8 percent (2019-2024) and reaching $1.78 million in global revenues. Advances in 5G and edge computing will be instrumental in equipping cobots with improved flexibility and easier implementation.”

For further opportunities, market participants should explore these strategic recommendations:

  • Embedded Vision and Machine Learning in Robotics: Embedded systems need to be lightweight, consume less energy, and be adaptable to be retrofitted/integrated with any robotic system. Manufacturers need to integrate advanced supportive technologies such as 3D perception and deep machine learning to enable new machine vision applications.
  • Smart Robot Grippers for Safe Collaboration with Human Workers: Robots have become more collaborative with human workforces instead of replacing them, as was the case before. Therefore, there is a need to design robot grippers that are more collaborative and safer. End-of-arm tooling (EOAT) providers will need to develop robot prototypes with advanced sensors that can detect human workers’ presence and movement.
  • 5G and Edge AI for Robotic Independence and Flexibility of Real-time Applications: While 5G will provide benefits such as low latency and on-the-go decision-making, edge-based AI will enable robots to carry out data processing on the machine without data traveling to and from the cloud. There will be a huge demand for secure local data processing closer to the robot.

 

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Hyundai Motor And Singtel Collaborate To Advance Singapore’s Smart Mobility Ecosystem And Industry 4.0 Journey

Hyundai Motor And Singtel Collaborate To Advance Singapore’s Smart Mobility Ecosystem And Industry 4.0 Journey

Hyundai Motor Company and Singtel has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on a range of ventures to support smart manufacturing, connectivity for electric vehicle battery subscription service. The MOU follows Hyundai Motor Group’s announcement in October 2020 that it is setting up a new state-of-the-art Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre Singapore (HMGICS) to conduct studies on future mobility and explore innovative solutions, services and disruptive technologies to revolutionise commuters’ transport experience.

Hyundai Motor will combine its expertise in developing innovative automotive and manufacturing solutions with Singtel’s capabilities in 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), and next generation info-communications technologies and solutions to develop Industry 4.0 advanced digital solutions to   transform the way vehicles are currently manufactured. The parties will develop and pilot a 5G-enabled smart factory use case for HMGICS’ intelligent manufacturing platform, and potentially scaling it up for deployment across Hyundai’s manufacturing plants globally.

“Hyundai is delighted to work with Singtel, implementing next-generation communication solutions that will enhance mobility experiences for our customers,” said Hong Bum Jung, Senior Vice President of HMGICS at Hyundai Motor Company. “We also hope to explore future innovative solutions and business opportunities with Singtel to help realise Singapore’s Smart Nation vision.”

Hyundai and Singtel will also work together on an IoT communications solution for the batteries powering Hyundai’s electric vehicles (EVs) in Singapore. The IoT system enables Hyundai to monitor the telemetry, or automatic data transmission, of the batteries’ real-time status and performance. The data-driven insights can enhance the EVs’ reliability, advancing Singapore’s EV ecosystem and Smart Nation vision of connected and sustainable mobility solutions.

Andrew Lim, Managing Director, Government and Large Enterprise, Group Enterprise at Singtel said, “Our collaboration with Hyundai Motor is timely given the Singapore Government’s decision to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040 and the recent Budget announcement on new policies to encourage more Singaporeans to switch to driving electric vehicles. By pushing the boundaries of what is possible with 5G, IoT and other advanced technologies, we also want to build up Singapore’s smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 capabilities and strengthen its innovation ecosystem.”

 

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ABB To Supply Complete Electrical And Automation System For China’s Northern Copper Industry

ABB To Supply Complete Electrical And Automation System For China’s Northern Copper Industry

Northern Copper Industry Co., Ltd (NCI) – part of the largest producer of raw material copper stock in North China – has selected ABB to supply and install a complete electrical and automation system for its new cold rolling mill, which is scheduled for start-up in 2021.

Based on ABB Ability System 800xA distributed control system (DCS) with high-performance AC 800PEC master controller, the package integrates ABB Metals [email protected] Optimize cold rolling control solution and ABB’s Collaborative Production Management for Metals (CPM4Metals) system for the copper production process.

On completion, the mill will become a first-class high-performance rolled copper strip and foil production line with an annual output of 50,000 tons. As new-type material produced with state-of-the-art technology the products will be widely used in aerospace, 5G communications, new energy industries, smart manufacturing and other high-tech application fields.

ABB’s [email protected] Optimize solution incorporates alloy measurement and advanced thickness control functions, ensuring rolled products, including a hard alloy-bronze that contains tin elements, fulfill stringent requirements. It also ensures strict synchronisation between the roller surface and the copper strip foil to eliminate surface scratches caused by non-synchronised rotating of deflection rollers, and enables the customer to meet specific surface quality requirements. This is achieved through a range of proprietary drive control functions including static friction compensation, online controller parameter adaptation, dynamic compensation for acceleration and deceleration for deflection rollers.

“The 20-high finishing mill project is part of an important strategic vision of Northern Copper Industry to build a century-long copper enterprise,” said Zhenhua Zhang, ABB Metals Lead, North Asia and China.  “We will provide ABB Metals well-proven expertise to ensure the new mill meets expectations for producing high-precision and high-quality copper strip and foil.”

“We have built strong bonds with our NCI counterparts, demonstrating technical competence and stable product quality. This electrical and automation system will provide a foundation for growth and development in several high-tech material application fields.”

ABB’s latest drive system model ACS880, AXR engineering high-pressure cast-iron motor, AMI high voltage modular motor, ABB’s dedicated instrumentation Millmate Tensiometer System, and measuring instrumentation and sensors will also be installed.

The quality of cold rolled flat products is a decisive factor for the metals industry. The ABB process and power system, designed for cold rolling mills, offers advanced solutions for quality supervision and analysis to meet the needs of cold rolling steel in terms of thickness tolerances, flatness and surface characteristics.

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The Best Manufacturing Technology Trends From 2020

The Best Manufacturing Technology Trends From 2020

Trend is generally defined in one of two ways. Firstly, it might refer to a general direction in which something is heading or developing. Alternatively, it might be seen as synonym for fashion. Here, John Young, APAC director at automation parts supplier EU Automation, looks at some of the key manufacturing trends from 2020 and assesses which of these are mostly likely to play a more prominent role in 2021 and beyond.

Here to stay (at home)

By forcing businesses to facilitate remote working during lockdowns, the pandemic has encouraged a cultural shift. As the vaccine rolls out in 2021, don’t expect companies to return to previous levels of onsite working. Aided by digital technologies, manufacturing has experienced some of the benefits of remote working and greater flexibility.

Teleoperation can take many forms, but one interesting growth area in 2020 has been remote controlled vehicles in industrial settings. For example, a forklift truck can be equipped with cameras and sensors and controlled remotely by a driver working at the desk from home.

A helping robotic hand

Robot installations continue but the key growth area has been collaborative robots, or cobots. In comparison with more traditional industrial robots, cobots are smaller and are designed to be used safely alongside human workers. The uptake of this technology in metalworking and the automobile sector looks set to continue. Ford, for example, now uses cobots to install shock absorbers, freeing up human workers for more strategic tasks.

Much of this trend is in fact being driven by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The size and startup costs of industrial robots shut out these companies from taking advantage of this area of automation. Cobots are small enough to be deployed in factories where space is at a premium and they require less initial investment, allowing businesses to increase their investment incrementally.

Smart learning about your suppliers

In a year where global values chains have faced unprecedented uncertainty, those companies that were quickest to embrace digital technologies in their supply chain management have braved the storm more readily.

Machine learning algorithms and their use in predictive maintenance is not an entirely new phenomenon, but its application continues to grow. As a supplier of automation parts, one growth area that has stood out for me is the use of machine learning algorithms to analyze supplier behavior, predicting when to expect a part from a supplier based on past patterns. This can improve inventory management and cash flow.

Let’s get personal

Increasing customization is being driven from both demand and supply side forces. On the demand side, customer behavior is showing preferences for greater levels of customization and personalization. The shift toward products-as-a-service business models and the ability to access and analyze large volumes of data about customer behavior is allowing manufacturers to understand this demand better.

On the supply side, there are many technological innovations that are allowing nimble manufacturers to incorporate greater customization. For example, ABB has implemented a manufacturing facility that revolves around cells of automation, in contrast to the traditional, linear production line. Instead, robots move from station to station for higher levels of customization.

Intelligence on the edge

Edge computing involves locating computer processing of data as close to the source of the data as possible. According to research by Gartner, around ten percent of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside of traditional centralized data centers or the cloud. It is estimated that this figure will rise to 75 per cent by the middle of this decade.

Deployed intelligently as part of a blended or hybrid data architecture, edge computing can enhance predictive maintenance capabilities. For example, smart sensors deployed on industrial motors and pumps can enhance monitoring in real-time, alerting plant managers when it is time to contact a reliable parts supplier like EU Automation.  By locating the AI in the sensor itself, manufacturers save on cloud subscription services, enhance their cyber security and protect their operations from power outages.

5G rolls out and rolls on

5G is being rolled out, but its full potential will continue to roll on as it enables more and more manufacturers to transition to Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. 5G, one hundred times faster than 4G, is not just a trend in itself, but a key enabler of many other technological innovations and something that will profoundly impact manufacturing over the next decade.

Here in Singapore, an interesting early application is a project involving IBM, Samsung Electronics, Singaporean telecommunications company M1 and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority. The collaboration is designed to pilot 5G manufacturing use cases, as part of the country’s Smart Nation Initiative.

To give just one example from this project, 5G is facilitating the use of augmented reality (AR) for factory field engineers carrying out preventative maintenance. Without the speed of 5G, these engineers would lose hours of productivity in downloading the right AR model or require several technicians on site to resolve and issue that could be tackled remotely.

Fashion trends come and go but some trends are here to stay. 2020 has seen the increasing use of many technological innovations in manufacturing that will become increasingly prominent over the next few years. From 5G to cobots, companies large and small across the APAC region are leading the world in their adoption of Industry 4.0 and automation technology.

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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.

 

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Cloud-Edge And 5G Set To Propel Post-COVID-19 Value Creation

Cloud-Edge And 5G Set To Propel Post-COVID-19 Value Creation

More than ever, cloud compute and intelligence platforms should be as close to the source of data at the outer ‘edges’ as possible. The importance of cloud-edges is further highlighted in their relationship with 5G, which forms a symbiotic association with cloud-edge as a technological evolution of the cloud. Cloud-edge implementations promise new growth for the telecom industry. Revenue from cloud-edge AI chipset sales is set to grow from US$2.6 billion in 2020 to US$12 billion in 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36 percent , finds global tech market advisory firm ABI Research.

The synthesis of cloud-edge and 5G presents an opportunity for communications service providers (CSPs) to provide complete end to end solutions for enterprise verticals. For example, with their robust connectivity and 5G assets, the likes of AT&T, Telefonica, Verizon, and Vodafone could move up the value chain to service enablement layer for IoT, analytics, and other horizontal capabilities. “A combination of cloud-edge compute and 5G ultra-reliable low latency connectivity is going to be the bedrock to propel post-COVID-19 growth. This growth is not just for telecoms, but also for a multitude of asset-heavy industries as they embrace digital-first processes and operations,” says Don Alusha, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.

At present, there is no “right” business model for cloud-edge deployments. A key strategy for vendors like MobiledgeX, Ericsson, and Nokia is to target their products at the circumstances in which enterprises find themselves, rather than to enterprises themselves. In other words, the critical unit of analysis must be existing operations and associated commercial circumstances, not the customer. There is a mass of enterprise requirements that must be satisfied with cloud-edge implementations that do not fit the ‘one-size-fits-all’ profile. The ability to deploy edge-clouds across dispersed sites and supply chains in a uniform fashion is bound to be the defining feature to accelerate edge-cloud diffusion. This is particularly significant in a post-COVID-19 world where local compute, 5G, and fiber will continue to be the foundation for continued innovation and value creation.

As telecoms look closely at current market dynamics for cloud-edge opportunities, the key is to understand where it stands in terms of existing assets and complementary control points. The market for cloud-edge deployments promises growth, but it is composed of a plethora of players and technologies which must be intimately understood. At present, the industry does not have all the answers but should realize the choke points in the near term to obtain growth in the long run. For example, CSPs need a clear sense of the industry or industries) they currently serve and what additional opportunity falls within the boundary of cloud-edge as they take the lead to rejuvenate the global economy post-COVID-19.

“Lastly, hyper scale providers like Amazon and Microsoft are taking advantage of their lean operations to launch their cloud-edge offering. They have the vision to build capabilities close to the edge, but they do not necessarily have the penetration and distribution of network capabilities that CSPs have. Clearly, there is an opportunity to be addressed by somebody, but the jury is still out on who captures what parts of the emerging cloud-edge and 5G ecosystem,” Alusha concludes.

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5G Integration In IIoT Systems Accelerates Industry 4.0 In The Wake Of Pandemic

5G Integration In IIoT Systems Accelerates Industry 4.0 In The Wake Of Pandemic

The integration of 5G in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems will accelerate the realization of Industry 4.0 with high-speed, low-latency, and large-volume data transfer. This, according to latest research from market analyst Frost & Sullivan. In its report, Frost said while the application of 5G-enabled IIoT is currently limited to quality inspections, supply chain management, and generic machine control, key system manufacturers are actively exploring other areas in industrial operations where the benefits of 5G connectivity can be leveraged for process optimization and increased automation.

“Incorporating 5G in IIoT devices will enable low latency, increase data throughput, and reduce operation time, thus leading to improved overall process productivity,” said Mogana Tashiani, Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights Research Analyst. “Apart from enhancing the automation of industrial operations and control, 5G-enabled IIoT devices can also minimize the complexity of supply chain networks and warehouse management, helping businesses to efficiently operate in dynamic business environments.

“5G will play a key role in ensuring the sustainability of businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The low latency will aid in managing the high traffic to e-commerce by improving network accessibility at a faster pace, accelerating online purchases and order placements. Furthermore, 5G-integrated IIoT devices have the potential to disrupt traditional on-site job functions through remote working and virtual meetings. COVID-19 has led to a massive shift to remote working to maintain business operations on par with on-site job operations.”

The automotive manufacturing industry is one of the key sectors that can leverage the growth opportunities from 5G’s integration into IIoT. 5G facilitates data transfer among AI algorithms, sensors, and mechanical parts to navigate self-driving or autonomous vehicles.

In addition, 5G-enabled vehicles establish a connected system in which real-time data transferring and receiving can be achieved conveniently and effectively. Apart from vehicle-to-vehicle communication, interaction with traffic system is possible with 5G technology, which enables data transmission beforehand to achieve practical navigation for certain road conditions.

 

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LVD Discusses Challenges And Opportunities In Thailand

LVD Discusses Challenges And Opportunities In Thailand

Joshua Tan of LVD talks about the company’s Thailand market, the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in the region, and how they are helping customers move to Industry 4.0. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

LVD Discusses Challenges And Opportunities In Thailand

Joshua Tan

Established in 1952, LVD Group is a sheet metal machinery company, producing laser cutting, punching, and bending machines, as well as software. Founded by Jacques Lefebvre, Marc Vanneste and Robert Dewulf, the family owned company is now being managed by the second generation of the three founding families. Based in Gullegem, Belgium, the company has production facilities in Belgium, United States, France, Slovakia, and China, and is active in more than 46 countries around the world.

In Thailand, LVD has been present for around 35 years now. The company currently has about 12 employees covering sales and marketing, as well as service support for customers in the region.

At the recent METALEX 2019 trade exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News spoke with Joshua Tan, general manager of LVD (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, about the company’s Thailand market, the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in the region, their latest innovations, and how they are helping customers move to Industry 4.0.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR OPERATIONS IN THAILAND.

Joshua Tan (JT): We have sold around 1,100 machines now in Thailand, for which we continue to provide service and support. Right now, Thailand is a bit flat because of certain situations such as the US-China trade war, and then the government infrastructure projects have not been really benefitting the local fabricators or local companies. Our customers are not seeing a lot of projects that are needed for them to invest in more machines.

Nevertheless, Thailand remains a huge market, and a very competitive one. Apart from the European brands, we are now also competing with a lot of Chinese manufacturers who are coming in. Although some are touch-and-go, others are being represented by a lot of different agents.

So, in terms of the competitiveness of the market, I would say it is quite challenging in Thailand. But LVD has been present here for a long time, and we will are still seeing the market on a stable growth mode.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN THE REGION?

JT: In terms of opportunities, the government is still putting investments in infrastructures: ports, airport expansions, highways, and others all over Thailand. With all these investments, we are seeing there’s a demand for machineries to support these kinds of projects. These are opportunities—but we hope this will not be only for a specific country or a specific contractor to benefit from; it should benefit the local players in Thailand.

Secondly, I would say automation. Even though automation in Thailand has already matured, especially in the automotive sector, it is still rather new when it comes to sheet metal machinery. There are still a lot of opportunities for us to get into the automation area—this is also in line with Industry 4.0, where customers actually want to upgrade themselves to this vision. But they don’t know where to start and what to do, so we need to actually go in and make some proposals, and offer them our solutions into Industry 4.0 machines and software. 

The third is probably in the telecommunications area. We are now moving from 4G to 5G. When it comes to telecommunications, you need towers and communications boxes—these have to be made by sheet metal machines. With this migration to 5G, I would say there’s an opportunity for the local players to get these kinds of projects, and this will help increase the production for this type of products in the market.

WHAT ABOUT CHALLENGES?

JT: We often encounter customers looking into their budget to invest. Most of the time, they probably do not understand fully what machines can do for them—they would rather look into how much they have and how much they can afford to buy.

In reality, at that kind of budget, they probably won’t get the production capacities that they really need—so they will end up spending more money than if they bought a more-expensive machine that can actually commit to the productivity or efficiency they require. So, this is more about the education of customers, how much information we can provide them, and of course, how much they are willing to invest. And it is understandable—many customers are buying cheaper machines so that they can charge lower for their parts, because it is also a competition between customers. Therefore, when it comes to initial capital investment in machines, it is a very critical decision, and critical cost calculation for them.

To continue reading this article about LVD ‘s journey and the outlook for 2020, head on over to our Ebook!

 

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Automation Trends For 2020

Automation Trends for 2020

As we move into a new decade, what will 2020 mean for automation? John Young, APAC director at EU Automation, takes a look at the trends set to shape automation in the year ahead.

Over 20 years since Kevin Ashton coined the phrase ‘the Internet of Things’ (IoT), the manufacturing industry continues to develop ‘humanity’s nervous system’. Buoyed by a fast-growing economy, the tech-savvy Asia-Pacific (APAC) region has already paved the way for adopting innovations such as 5G and robotic process automation (RPA).

READ: Industrial Control Robotics⁠—The Next Great Leap In Manufacturing And Automation

In fact, South Korea was the first market globally to launch commercial 5G, while a report by PWC reveals that APAC’s RPA market is expected to grow 203 per cent by 2021. So, where could automation take the region in 2020?

The Environmental Factor

If the past decade has taught us anything, it’s that we need to act fast if we’re going to protect our planet. The 2010s will go down as the hottest decade in history, with seven of our planet’s ten hottest years ever recorded taking place over the past ten years. But as our landscapes have transformed, so too must our attitudes towards consumption — an area where the manufacturing industry holds great responsibility.

READ: Six Factors That Have Changed Bending Automation

Currently, most facilities work following a linear model of make, use and dispose. This creates a lot of waste, as products have just one lifecycle, and leftover energy and materials are left to waste. A circular model allows manufacturers to keep everything in the supply chain in operation for as long as possible, including the goods they produce and the resources used to create them. For example, manufacturers can look at redirecting unused materials, such as wastewater from washing vegetables in a food manufacturing plant, for other tasks such as equipment washdowns.

As well as looking towards the future, manufacturers should also focus on their existing equipment in 2020. If a piece of equipment was to break down or experience wear and tear, manufacturers will be able to benefit the environment, their production line and their pockets by sourcing new parts from a reliable supplier, rather than getting rid of the entire machine.

Even More Autonomous

Back in 2016, MIT spin-off technology startup, NuTononmy, launched its robo-taxi driverless car service in Singapore. While many autonomous vehicle services remain in trial stages, there are a number of areas of automation that are beginning to step away from human control.

Collaborative robots, or cobots, took the robotics market by storm during the 2010s. Enabling human and robot workers to complement each other and carry out tasks in harmony, cobots relieve the workforce from manual, straining tasks without detracting from their own skillset. While cobots will continue to be a rising trend over the next decade, so too will automation with even greater autonomy.

READ: Flexible Gripping Delivers the Future of Automation Today

Autonomous things can include drones, robots, ships and appliances, which exploit artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out tasks in place of humans. Currently, autonomous technologies are mainly confined to controlled environments, such as ‘lights out’ factories. In these environments, autonomous machinery performs continuously with minimal human intervention. Robots are capable of carrying out a number of tasks, from picking and packing to even building fellow robots.

However, the presence of autonomous technology will continue to evolve in the public realm, as well as increasing on the shop floor. As AI allows automation to deliver behaviours that act more naturally with people, we can also expect to see more of autonomous technology in public spaces, just like NuTonomy’s taxi service.

Believe the Hype

While automating tasks that were once carried out by human workers has been a growing trend for a number of years, it’s set to experience a renaissance. One of Gartner’s top strategic technology trends for 2020 is hyper-automation, which takes automated processes to the next level.

READ: Automation To Take Center Stage In The Global Welding Equipment Market

Hyper-automation encompasses the totality of a business’s automation network under a single umbrella, meaning that not one, but many, automated technologies work in congruence to augment or replace human capabilities. These technologies could include RPA, AI, machine learning and business management software, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), which all work in sync to deliver a single solution. This approach refers to all the steps of automation, including the discovery, analysis design, automation, measurement, monitoring and reassessment.

The trend may have been kicked off with RPA, but Gartner states that RPA alone is not hyper-automation. While no single tool can replace human workers, hyper-automation’s belt of tools will allow better visualization of how key functions, processes and performance indicators interact to create business value.

As snappy social media videos and super speedy internet connections look set to dominate 2020, automation will also evolve. With environmental concerns at the top of many business’ agendas, it’s certain that material handling, asset management and maintenance will need to adapt. As automation continues to get smarter and technologies work closer together, we can also expect the evolution of a connected, hyper-automated production line to be on the cards for the future.

 

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