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Cobots – Revolutionising Businesses In Southeast Asia

Cobots – Revolutionising Businesses in Southeast Asia

Intelligent technologies, like robotics, offer great potential for businesses to get smarter and more efficient. This is an advantage recognised by Southeast Asian business leaders. By Sakari Kuikka, APAC Regional Director, Universal Robots.

IN A RECENT survey by McKinsey, 90 percent of business leaders in Southeast Asia agreed that new technologies will bring about improved performance. However, when it comes to adopting these solutions, awareness is not rising fast enough and uptake is low, except in the case of Singapore. According to the International Federation of Robotics, an average of 63 industrial robots were installed per 10,000 employees in Asia. Thailand and Malaysia registered robot densities of 45 and 34 units each. This figure is much lower in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Due to the region being been known for its relatively cheap labour, this may encourage companies to forgo innovation investment, which to some extent explains why uptake does not closely mirror the raging robot adoption growth seen in the wider Asia region, that has been led by China, Korea and Japan.

However, this may not be the case for long as manufacturers face rising operational costs, shortage of workers coupled with increasing demand for high quality products at competitive prices. Thus, companies must act fast and take steps in automating, utilising robotic solutions such as collaborative robots  or cobots to drive sustainability.

Sakari Kuikka, APAC Regional Director, Universal Robots

Cobot Adoption Drives Business Growth

Cobots are designed to work side-by-side with people and are valuable automation tools, helping businesses increase productivity and product quality. Concerns by SMEs regarding high integration costs tend to be largely unfounded due to the flexible redeployment and reassignment capability of a cobot used in combination with strong manufacturing planning.

Cobots produced by Universal Robots (UR), for example, are present in over 25,000 production environments, benefiting businesses globally across various industries. Cobot adoption is higher among Southeast Asian electronics players particularly, with forward-thinking leaders like PT JVC Electronics Indonesia transforming manual labour-intensive processes with automated operations to remain competitive. This has enabled greater productivity, improved safety and enhanced workers’ well-being.

Delivering Sustainable Growth And Competitiveness

The global cobot market value is expected to reach USD 3,268.8 million by 2020, up from USD 283.7 million in 2017, and will grow at a CAGR of 63 per cent from 2018 to 2020. Unlike bulky traditional industrial robots, cobots are lightweight and mobile, affordable, and can be modified for different applications. Cobots are also used in a wide variety of processes including handling, assembling, inspection & testing, packing, dispensing and even populating and coating circuit boards and other assemblies. The wide range of applications is part of the reason why the market is growing so fast, clearly marking a highway forward for works operated generally across all industries. The sector is getting smart, and it is cobot adoption that’s driving this new efficiency.

Cobots – The Agile Human Assistant, Improving Working Environments And Output

A single installation can handle multiple jobs, with production layout flexibility and excellent cost management available to the operator. Cobots are typically installed without drastic changes made to the workspace layout, and they support the use of various end effectors. This includes a wide range of metal cutting and forming solutions, grippers, soldering irons, screwdrivers, etc.

This allows production teams to customise cobots to undertake various tasks. Output quality is also more consistent, and with a move towards automation, operators find that manpower can be redeployed to higher-value processes.

Safety is an important contributing factor when purchasing cobots. Universal Robots (UR) cobots, designed with a patented safety system, allow employees to work in close proximity without the need for safety fencing, although this is subject to risk assessment. Moreover, cobots are highly effective at relieving workers from handling high risk tasks such as soldering and separating hazardous cut metal sheets, or in environments where the employee would be exposed to emitted fumes and/or dust particles.

Looking Forward To The Future, With Some Smart Assistance

To achieve success, automation is integral in a company’s business planning. Companies must take steps in automating with support from available resources and channels.

For example, the UR Academy offers free high-calibre robotics training, with nine online modules covering basic programming training for UR robots. So far, over 20,000 users from 132 countries have signed up. This training programme works in parallel with UR+ which is UR’s global ecosystem of third-party developers. The online platform offers a plethora of readily available resources from cobot end-effectors and accessories to vision cameras and software, saving system integrators and end users time and effort to source for compatible integration tools.

Speaking at the recent World Economic Forum on ASEAN, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that ASEAN is in “good position” to take advantage of the tech revolution which can deliver productivity gains worth USD216 billion to USD627 billion. Southeast Asia has no time to waste in adopting automation and robotics to ensure they ride the wave of Industry 4.0 and avoid being left behind.

Indometal 2018 – A Testament Of Indonesia’s Metalworking Innovations

Indometal 2018 – A Testament Of Indonesia’s Metalworking Innovations

The fourth edition of Indometal has concluded last month. Held at the JI Expo from 17 – 19 October 2018, the exhibition welcomed over 6,700 quality visitors from 25 countries, which is a 15 percent increase from its last edition.

This year’s exhibition also saw visiting groups from a diverse mix of industries across Indonesia including leading companies such as Barata Indonesia, Cikarang Perkasa Manufacturing, Epiterma Mas Indonesia, Growth Asia, Honda Power Products Indonesia, Hyundai, Isuzu, Inalum and more. While from outside of Indonesia, the exhibition also welcomed visitors from countries such as France, Germany, Japan, and visiting delegations that represent various metal and steel sectors from the Czech Republic, as well as the China Foundry Association.

Driven by the expertise of GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS and NEWCAST by the Messe Düsseldorf Group, the exhibition had presented showcases in foundry technology, casting products, metallurgy and thermoprocess technology. It also hosted 203 exhibiting companies from 22 countries, including national pavilions and country groups from China, Germany, Indonesia, Italy and Taiwan. This enabled the industry to leverage on the vast knowledge presented and enhance their manufacturing and processing capabilities.

Indonesia: A Marketplace Of Opportunities For Companies

During the keynote address at the opening of the seminar by Mr. Doddy Rahadi, Director of Metals Industry, Ministry of Industry, Republic of Indonesia, emphasis was placed on the significance and importance of steel as a raw material in infrastructure projects and many industrial sectors. Mr. Rahadi also reiterated Indonesia’s need to continue growing its steel industry in order to meet the demands of the domestic market. This reflects  the  recent government focus  on  Indonesia’s Making Indonesia 4.0 initiative and the country’s enhanced upstream investments, which has led to the government to target investments on oil and gas projects which is expected to reach US$17.04 billion this year according to the Energy Ministry. Commenting on Indonesian’s strong market potential and prospects was Ms Sherry Liu, Chief of Marketing Department from Sinomach Foundry and Metal Forming, who said: “In China, the foundry and metal forming equipment market is already at its optimum, we want to explore more markets along with the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative. The market in Indonesia is booming, so indometal is a good opportunity for us to seek more business to market our products.”

Her thoughts were echoed by the Korean inorganic binder producers, Dr Revotek, who shared that their company achieved the objectives that they had set out for their first-time participation at indometal. Mrs Park Jaepyeong, the company’s representative, said: “Throughout this exhibition, we have learnt a lot about the metal and steel industry in Indonesia and had a lot of meetings with buyers and companies. Indonesia is an emerging market and the future consumption of metal is great. In that perspective, the industry here has a bright future, and we will come back again to expand our market reach not only to Indonesia, but to the rest of the region. “

A Busy Show Floor Reflecting The Needs Of The Industry

The strong visitor attendance at indometal 2018 alongside the 70 percent participation of international companies to the exhibition, further confirmed indometal’s ability to be a trade platform that provides qualified leads and business opportunities for the metal and steel sectors. “We recognise the importance of cross-industry collaboration and discussion in today’s context, and along with it the ‘in-roads’ required for such strategic leverages. We are pleased to be that choice marketplace for new partnerships and dealerships to be formed between international and local businesses,” said Mrs Rini Sumardi, Director of Wahana Kemalaniaga Makmur, PT (WAKENI), which is a joint organiser of indometal.

Similar sentiments were gathered from visitors from the bustling show floor, and Mr. Ilangovan M, from RM Netra Exim, India, has said that, “This is my first visit to indometal, I found many good testing machines for my company, and at the same time, I am also happy with the wide range of products on the show floor.” His comments resonated with Ms Juliany, Sales Manager of CV Wahana Niaga Distribusi, who commented that, “Our main objective is to add new products such as galvanised steel. I am very interested in some of the products from Krakatau Steel and Gunung Steel Group, and I will bring this new information back to my company for further discussions with management.”

Thought-Leadership At Concurrent Events

The exhibition was also a platform for industry professionals to share best practices through the series of seminars and technical presentations. Mr.Wallter Doloksaribu, Junior Manager of Inalum (Persero), said: “I am from the smelting business and I learnt a lot from the technical seminar conducted by Wesman Thermal Engineering Processes, as I am looking for innovations in combustion and burners. They present a technology that is energy-saving of up to 15 percent, which is something that I will share with my company.”

As a knowledge promotion and sharing platform, the trade fair also featured a series of content-rich conferences by leading associations and organisations that were well-attended by over 200 participants from around the region. Beyond covering trending industry topics, new innovations, applications and technologies, as well as a comprehensive outline of market developments in Indonesia and the region, the conferences, also provided a beneficial forum for industry players to discuss and explore possible collaborations across the smelter, mineral processing, aluminium and motor vehicle industries, and even on manpower and workforce issues dotted by shifts in the demand and supply curve.

The next edition of indometal will take place in October 2020 at the Jakarta International Expo, Kemayoran. For more information, please visit www.indometal.net.

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NTT Com And AVEVA Launch Smart Factory Package To Spur Digital Transformation In Southeast Asia

NTT Com And AVEVA Launch Smart Factory Package To Spur Digital Transformation In Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE: NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) and AVEVA announced the launch of the Smart Factory Package in Singapore on 16 Oct 2018. The solution which is powered by AVEVA’s leading industrial software, Wonderware and the NTT Com cloud computing platform ‘Enterprise Cloud’, offers an effective, data driven and cost-efficient approach for manufacturers of all sizes to embark on their digital transformation journeys and aids in streamlining and simplifying operations.

The manufacturing sector in Southeast Asia and globally is undergoing a period of disruption, with industry players looking to exploit advanced technologies to improve productivity and transform business processes. McKinsey recently reported that 96 percent of manufacturing companies in Southeast Asia believe digital transformation will create new business models, yet only 13 percent have begun their transformation journeys. Common obstacles that prevent adoption include a lack of information, internal integration and talent.

By combining the cloud platforms offered by NTT Com and AVEVA, the Smart Factory Package addresses these challenges by allowing Southeast Asian manufacturers to seamlessly kickstart their digital journeys in a cost-effective and scalable manner. The Smart Factory Package takes advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and combines pervasive network sensors, a scalable cloud platform and advanced analytics capabilities to unlock the value of industrial data. Manufacturers can then leverage the industrial data for business intelligence or decision support, resulting in greater intelligence, efficiency and opportunity.

“The Internet of Things is a major force driving digital business strategies on a global scale. Manufacturers in Southeast Asia cannot risk failing to capture the plethora of opportunities made possible by this technology. The Smart Factory Package is a ready-to-go solution that allows manufacturers to start small and scale up as quickly as needed to help successfully navigate their digital transformation journeys. Partnering with AVEVA marks our continued commitment to meet growing customer demands for disruptive digital solutions, further strengthening our presence in the smart manufacturing market,” said Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Director Cloud and Managed Services, NTT Singapore Pte Ltd.

The launch of the Smart Factory Package is the next step by NTT Com to provide industry leading technology solutions for businesses of all sizes. Manufacturing customers, such as equipment manufacturers, have already reaped the benefits of the NTT Com Enterprise Cloud Computing platform through improved product reliability and reduced maintenance costs.

“The leading Cloud solution by NTT Com complements AVEVA’s asset and operations management software portfolio by offering manufacturers a robust suite of analytics, mobility and IIoT technologies, meeting the basic industry principles of simplicity, fast turnaround and cost control. The Smart Factory Package streamlines how manufacturers can monitor and control their current state of operations – either within a single plant or across the enterprise – with easily consumable and actionable intelligence. By removing information silos, it is possible to improve efficiency and profitability, while maximising return on capital across the manufacturing value chain,” said Doug Warren, Vice President of Strategic Partnership, AVEVA.

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Bright Start For Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific

Bright Start For Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific

SINGAPORE: Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC  a HANNOVER MESSE event, which takes place from 16 to 18 October 2018 at Singapore EXPO, opens today with strong participation from global technology and solution providers. More than 260 companies from 22 countries are showcasing their products, services and solutions to visitors from around the Asia-Pacific region. The exhibition features four main display areas – Additive Manufacturing, Digital Factory, Industrial Automation, and Smart Logistics – as well as national pavilions from Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. 14 industry-leading enterprises are supporting the premiere, including Accenture, SAP, Schneider Electric and Siemens as founding partners.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, was the Guest-of-Honour at the Opening Ceremony. Over the course of the three-day event, the conference at Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC will cover a suite of business and leadership topics, as well as technology domains, case studies, and panel discussions. Under the overarching theme “Getting Real with the Business of Industry 4.0”, more than 100 industry experts from 15 countries will share insights on domains such as industrial transformation, the Industrial Internet, additive manufacturing, and standards. Conference speakers include Dr. Gunther Kegel (Chief Executive Officer, Pepperl + Fuchs); Samuel Garcia (Vice President for Global Consumer Product Supply, Procter & Gamble Asia Pacific), Dr. Armin Bruck (Regional Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Germany), Dr. Hamid Mughal (Global Manufacturing Director, Rolls-Royce), and Mark Hennebicque (Strategist, Additive Manufacturing & Simulation).

The opening plenary on 16 October featured a dialogue with Ministers and experts from Asia to discuss regional macro-economic perspectives and frameworks for Industry 4.0 initiatives. The ministerial-level panel included His Excellency Airlangga Hartarto (Minister of Industry, Indonesia), Chan Chun Sing (Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore), Dr. Gunther Kegel (Chief Executive Officer, Pepperl + Fuchs) and Vincent Chong (President and Chief Executive Officer, ST Engineering).

Aloysius Arlando, Chief Executive Officer of SingEx Holdings, said, “The inaugural edition of Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific is the culmination of a year-long effort between SingEx and our international partner Deutsche Messe. It is born out of our shared vision to provide a curated platform for our region’s Industry 4.0 market needs, through offering engaging and personalised programmes to address national, industry and enterprise agendas. The event is poised to generate significant economic benefits for Asia Pacific as it plays a role in catalysing deepened cross-industry collaboration, investments and trade exchanges among players in the manufacturing, manufacturing-related and digital communities of our region; and enhancing competitiveness.”

Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Messe AG, said, “Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific comes at a time where technologies such as big data, cobots, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality are redefining manufacturing processes and global supply chains. ASEAN is a promising growth market for our customers. With a population of roughly 650 million, it has the third largest work force in the world and boasts a strong manufacturing base. Singapore is the perfect location for Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific thanks to its excellent infrastructure, advanced manufacturing capabilities and a strong focus on engineering, R&D and innovation.”

The Learning Journey: Industrial transformation – step by step

Economies in the Asia-Pacific region are at different stages of industrial transformation, some not yet fully appreciating the advantages of Industry 4.0. For this reason, Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC features a “Learning Journey” that guides participants through the process systematically. Highlights include the “Gateway to Industry 4.0 – powered by TÜV SÜD”, which visually introduces visitors to industrial transformation, gets them thinking about their own organisations’ state of readiness, and offers ideas for how to get started. The Sandbox hosts more than 50 complimentary, industry-specific talks in a casual format that sparks creative ideas and facilitates peer-to-peer conversations. Two Learning Labs, one for Smart Logistics and one for Cobots, show technology in action and inspire collaborative thinking. The Interchange Studio plugs attendees into an online community, encouraging dialogue on topics of shared interest after the event. A series of technical visits hosted by selected exhibitors demonstrate various advanced manufacturing facilities and innovation centres to deepen understanding and learning. More than 20 student delegations from institutes of higher learning as well as more than 15 industry trade delegations and workers’ unions are participating in Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC.

Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC is organised by SingEx Exhibitions, with Deutsche Messe as international partner assisting with brand development, as well as global sales and marketing. SingEx and Deutsche Messe expect more than 10,000 attendees at the event’s debut.

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Trade War Pushes Apple’s Manufacturing From China To Vietnam

Trade War Pushes Apple’s Manufacturing From China To Vietnam

The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has disrupted global supply chains and pushed smartphone production to Southeast Asia. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, GoerTek has already announced its intention to shift production of Apple’s wireless earphones from China to Vietnam to evade tariffs and political tensions, with the company kickstarting the process by seeking input from its suppliers on the feasibility of shipping the necessary materials and parts for Apple’s AirPods directly to Vietnam. Although further discussions with Apple is still required to finalise this decision, GoerTek currently already has a production facility in northern Vietnam which produces wired headsets for iPhones.

Apple products such as AirPods, the Apple Watch and the smart speaker, HomePod, have been exempted in initial tariffs involving US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, however, Trump has already threatened to impose tariffs on an additional US$267 billion worth of products from China in the near future. This would mean that the value of Chinese products that would be impacted by tariffs will reach US$517, and this would exceed the value of Chinese imports to the U.S. in 2017 that were worth US$505 billion.

Meanwhile, Cheng Uei, a supplier for Apple’s and Andriod’s chargers and connectors has commented that it is also considering shifting production back to Taiwan as well as Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines due to the trade war. Although this process also invites its own set of challenges, as Chairman T.C. Gou has elaborated that leaving China will mean the disruption of established supply chain networks and Chinese tax incentives and investment policies.

As of now, China constitutes Apple’s most important manufacturing base and functions as an important consumer market for the brand with sales from the country representing 20 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

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Taiwan’s Electronics Manufacturers To Leave China Due To Trump’s Tariffs

TAIWAN: Taiwanese electronics manufacturers are considering moving production back to Taiwan from key Chinese plants due to rising tariffs induced by the Trade War. Randy Abrams, Head of Taiwan research and regional semiconductors at Credit Suisse, has said “The tariffs imposed so far cover about 10 percent of all tech[nology] products. But many companies are clearly bracing for more in case this escalates further”.

As observed by Mark Li, an analyst at TrendForce, a technology research house in Taipei, key local electronics manufacturers such as Wistron Corporation and Quanta Computer are already considering a shift back to Taiwan due to tariffs driving up key component costs and restricting trade and exports. While the move by Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, Delta, to acquire its Thai subsidiary could be indicative of the company’s future plans to shift certain production pipelines to Southeast Asia.

That being said, the shifting of manufacturing back to Taiwan could be hampered due to the shortage of domestic labour and higher production costs which could require the local government to relax labour migration laws. A trend that is also viewed In Thailand, where the labour market is tight. Although the converse is true for Vietnam, which has displayed potential in accommodating large production shifts from China.

Other Taiwanese industries that have been impacted by US issued tariffs include chip design houses due to a concentration of consumer gadget manufacturing being outsourced to China. Although in this case, manufacturing shifts are unlikely to occur as over 90 percent of smartphones and notebooks are still manufactured in China.

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Smart Solutions Can Help ASEAN Cities Improve Quality-Of-Life Indicators By 10-30 Percent

Smart Solutions Can Help ASEAN Cities Improve Quality-Of-Life Indicators By 10-30 Percent

Singapore: Smart cities in Southeast Asia, a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), in collaboration with the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore, finds that cities across the region can incorporate data and digital technologies into infrastructure and services—focusing on solving specific public problems to make urban environment more livable, sustainable, and productive.

The research, studying dozens of current applications, finds that ASEAN cities could use digital solutions to improve some quality-of-life indicators by 10-30 percent.

Dozens of smart solutions are available today, focusing on every domain of city life: mobility, social infrastructure, built environment, utilities, security, community, and the economy.

“Cities need to act now to address growing environmental stresses and particularly to combat climate change and improve their resilience,” said Jonathan Woetzel, Senior Partner and Leader of McKinsey’s Special Cities Initiative.

The report notes that private sector companies that work towards public good and expand choices for urban residents can find substantial market opportunities across Southeast Asia. MGI estimates that smart mobility applications could worth up to $70 billion, while opportunities to smarten the built environment could be worth more than $25 billion.

While it is important for city governments to outline a future vision, rapid pace of technological change means that they have to retain some flexibility to experiment and recalibrate. Taking a data-driven approach that continually measures progress against quality-of-life goals can guide that process. Cities also need to consider how to pair smart technologies with complementary policies and investment in hard infrastructure.

Vietnam PMI Rises To 52.5

Vietnam: The Nikkei Manufacturing PMI in Vietnam rose to 52.5 in December of 2017, compared to 51.4 for  the previous month. Reported by Market Economics, it was the highest reading since September 2017, as new orders expanded the most in three months, employment grew the most since September and buying activity rose at the fastest pace since April.

Additionally, business confidence strengthened to a nine-month high, new export orders rose faster and new orders continued to rise. Meanwhile, rates of inflation of both input costs and output prices were broadly in line with those recorded in November.

LVD Opens Customer Experience Centre In Malaysia

LVD Opens Customer Experience Centre In Malaysia

Selangor, Malaysia: Manufacturer of CNC sheet metal working machinery LVD has opened a new Experience Centre (XP Centre) in the Malaysian state of Selangor. According to the company, the country is a key focus as it has one of the world’s fastest growing markets with a large and advancing manufacturing base.

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