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COVID-19 Updates: Auto Makers Revving Up Production To Drive Market Recovery

COVID-19 Updates: Auto Makers Revving Up Production To Drive Market Recovery

In the wake of the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global light vehicle sales in 2020 are now forecast to drop to 69.6 million units, 22 percent lower than in 2019, with risks to the forecast still skewed to the downside, according to IHS Markit.

In Southeast Asia, sales of new vehicles in the region’s six largest markets combined are estimated to have declined by over 19 percent to 700,528 units in the first quarter of 2020, according to GlobalData. Thailand saw first quarter sales down 24 percent as its economy reeled under the impact of much-reduced travel and tourism. Malaysia Q1 vehicle sales were down by 26 percent and Vietnam saw a slump of almost 32 percent.

Although 2020 is seeing a setback for the automotive sector in ASEAN markets, long-term prospects for the region remain very strong. GlobalData’s analysis points to strong indicators for long-term demand as motorisation rates rise with high economic growth—especially in Indonesia with its increasingly transportation hungry population of 273 million. Its market of around one million new vehicles a year is forecast to double to two million vehicles a year by the end of this decade.

In addition to strong long-term market prospects, the automotive manufacturing industry in the region benefits from relatively low costs, favourable government policies for investment, as well as free trading regimes for vehicles and components, according to GlobalData.

Here’s a roundup of the latest activities being done by automakers, parts manufacturers, and government units in ASEAN to drive the industry’s market recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thailand

  • According to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) automotive club, Thailand’s automotive production is likely to plunge 37 percent to 1.33 million units this year and could drop even further to 50 percent (to one million units) if the pandemic lasts till June.
    • Proposed measures to boost demand includes: a car trade-in scheme, 50 percent excise tax reduction until the end of the year and a delay in enforcement of Euro 5 emission standards
  • According to MarkLines Data Center, April vehicle sales in Thailand declined by 65 percent YoY to 30,109 units
  • Japan’s Isuzu Motors Ltd forecasts that demand for pickup trucks and other light commercial vehicles in Thailand is likely to fall 35 percent this year
  • Nissan Thailand has resumed production in its first Thai plant as well as plant 2 (on 1st June)
  • Mercedez-Benz Thailand plans to postpone the launch of the EQC BEV in Thailand to 2021 amid the coronavirus crisis, according to MarketLines, quoting a report from (Thansettakij)
  • Summit Auto Body Industry Co. Ltd (SAB) will continue with its project despite the pandemic, investing THB810 million—mostly for its plant expansion and purchase of new machines. SAB initially targeted THB8.8 billion for its 2020 revenue; but because of COVID-19, it revised down its forecast by 50 percent. (Prachachat Turakij)
  • TAPMA (Thai Auto Parts Manufacturers Association) expects exports of Thailand’s auto parts to drop in the second quarter of 2020 (2Q 2020) following the temporary suspension of car manufacturing plants both in Thailand and overseas amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, recovery is expected in Q3 as plants are reopening (Marklines).

Indonesia

  • Gaikindo, Indonesia’s automotive manufacturers association, have reported that Indonesia’s total vehicle sales in April 2020 were 7,871 units, down by 90.7 percent YoY due to the coronavirus, according to MarkLines. January-April sales were down by 28 percent to 244,762 units.
    • In terms of automaker sales in April, Toyota was down by 90.3percent YoY to 2,056 units (26.1 percent market share); Daihatsu was down 91.8 percent to 1,330 units (16.9 percent market share); Honda was down 89.8 percent to 1,183 units (15 percent market share); Suzuki was down 86.4 percent to 1,042 units (13.2 percent market share); and Mitsubishi was down by 89.7 percent to 808 units (10.3 percent market share).
  • The Indonesia Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs has announced incentives in the form of stimulus, amounting to IDR 70 trillion, for the automotive industry players to minimise the impact of COVID-19.
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (TMMIN) is set to resume operations this month after it suspended manufacturing operations from May 1 to June 1, 2020.
  • PT Toyota Astra Motor also announced to restart production around the same time, according to VietnamPlus.
  • PT Astra International: Its automotive sales drop by 91.2 percent year-on-year (yoy) in April to 3,807 units, according to data from the Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo).
  • Suzuki Indonesia: Gradually resumed operating the plant starting on May 26, 2020. Before this, Suzuki Indonesia had temporarily suspended factory operations from April 13 to May 22, 2020.

Vietnam

  • According to a report from the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA), the automotive market suffered a decline of 36 percent over the first four months and only 11,761 units were registered in April 2020
    • Sales of passenger cars decreased by 40 percent, commercial vehicles by 26 percent and specialised vehicles by 16 percent, compared to the previous month.
  • On May 20, the government approved a plan to reduce auto registration fees by 50 percent until the end of the year which could help domestic enterprises recover and stimulate car consumption for domestically-made cars over imports

Malaysia

  • Malaysian Automotive Association: Malaysia recorded just 141 sales of new automobiles in April, down 99.7 percent compared to the same period in 2019 (49,939 units)
    • Estimates point to a plunge to 400,000 this year. Sales for the first four months of the year declined 45 percent to 106,600 autos.

Philippines

  • The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) expects vehicle sales to decline by at least 20 percent in 2020 amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Earlier, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc. (AVID) expects total vehicle sales to decline by 40 percent. Total automotive sales covering vehicles sold by both CAMPI and AVID reached more than 410,000 units last year.
    • Toyota Motor Corp. restarted production in the Philippines, Pakistan, and Russia, on May 22. Toyota’s vehicle plant in the Philippines, which produces models such as Vios, resumed operations on a single shift on May 18. The six overseas plants where Toyota has not resumed plant operations yet include Indonesia, Brazil, India, Venezuela, Portugal, and Czech Republic.

 

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Taiwan Excellence To Introduce Advanced Smart Machinery Solutions From Taiwan In Online Press Conference

Taiwan Excellence To Introduce Advanced Smart Machinery Solutions From Taiwan In Online Press Conference

Taiwan Excellence, an international campaign to promote Taiwan’s superior products, will host the ‘Taiwan Excellence Smart Machinery’ On-Line Press Conference on June 2, from 15:30 to 17:30 (Taipei Time). To assist global manufacturers in arranging industry upgrade and automation, Taiwan Excellence has invited eight of Taiwan’s most iconic smart machinery companies to showcase their most advanced smart manufacturing solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively damaged the global manufacturing industry and made countries aware of the importance of industry upgrading. Taiwan’s Smart Machinery industry, which is well-known for its significant precision technology and massive ICT integration, completed the seemingly impossible mission of establishing 92 mask product lines in 40 days, and boosted mask production from 1.88 million pieces to 17 million pieces a day. This achievement demonstrated Taiwan’s industry’s rapid response capabilities and flexible management, and made Taiwan the best option for reviving the world’s manufacturing industry.

To familiarise global buyers with Taiwanese Smart Machinery, the press conference welcomes eight companies that represent the industry: HIWIN, FFG (Feeler), Solomon, Manford, Chin Fong, Grintimate, Tong Tai, and She Hong (Hartford). The conference will showcase the companies’ products and solutions including precision components, digitally-controlled machine tools, automation equipment and smart controlling systems. A new concept ‘Taiwan Excellence Smart Machinery Virtual Pavilion’ will also be launched at the press conference, which will showcase 60 magnificent Smart Machinery products from 50 Taiwan Excellence brands and allow buyers to check out superb smart machinery products at anytime and anywhere.

The Conference will be held online at 15:30 – 17:30 on June 2, 2020.

For more information and registration, please visit this website.

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Helping Customers Move Towards Industry 4.0

 

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Frost & Sullivan: Digital Retailing And Vehicle Leasing To Propel Automotive Recovery Path

Frost & Sullivan: Digital Retailing And Vehicle Leasing To Propel Automotive Recovery Path

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, COVID-19 Growth Impact Assessment for the Automotive Industry, 2020, presents the impact of the pandemic on the automotive sector under three scenarios—gradual containment, severe pandemic, and global emergency—resulting in outcomes ranging from steady recovery to recession. Under the severe pandemic scenario, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will try to capitalise on China’s early recovery from the pandemic, while overall economic relief measures in the U.S., Germany, France, and the U.K. will provide the necessary boost to the market in the post-recovery period.

“Major Asian vehicle manufacturing countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea, which accounted for 40 percent of global vehicle production in 2019, are on the recovery curve. The other two major automotive manufacturing powerhouses, the U.S. and Germany, are expected to resume production partially by mid-June,” said Vigneshwaran Ramesh, Automotive & Transportation Senior Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

“Additionally, risk mitigation strategies such as offering financial flexibility and support to the entire ecosystem, including to dealers, suppliers and customers, will help OEMs of the world to revive.”

Vignesh added: “The impact of the pandemic on the automotive sector will unlock new opportunities for other mobility verticals such as electric vehicles (EV), vehicle leasing, and connectivity solutions. EV sales will experience a medium impact as China will revive fastest from the pandemic with manufacturing plants returning to normal. Further, new vehicle leasing for the corporate segment is expected to sustain moderate growth, owing to the demand for greater flexibility and short-term contracts, whereas OEMs will emphasise connectivity services to enhance their revenue stream.”

To tap into opportunities in this COVID-19 recovery era, consider the following growth prospects:

  • OEMs and dealers should focus on digital retailing and empower customers on their online journeys.
  • With the rise of eCommerce, light commercial vehicle (LCV) leasing and rental solutions are gaining traction, especially during the pandemic.
  • With increasing epidemic outbreaks (SARS, MERS, and COVID), OEMs can ramp up connectivity services, emphasising the need for health, wellness and wellbeing services within the vehicle.
  • Contactless and touchless business concepts will leverage aftermarket opportunities, helping on-demand service models gain further momentum.

 

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FTI Spurs Thai Automotive Market With Proposed Measures

FTI Spurs Thai Automotive Market With Proposed Measures

According to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) automotive club, Thailand’s automotive production is likely to plunge 37 percent to 1.33 million units this year and could drop even further to 50 percent (to one million units) if the pandemic lasts till June.

FTI has proposed measures to boost domestic car demand, including a car trade-in scheme, 50 percent excise tax reduction until the end of the year and a delay in enforcement of Euro 5 emission standards.

Under the car trade-in scheme, the government encourages motorist to purchase new, eco-friendly vehicles and turn in cars over 20 years old. An estimate of two million cars would qualify for the scheme, according to a spokeman for FTI, in an interview with Bangkok Post. Although the government may not be able to fund the scheme entirely, subsidies will be provided for auto companies. This is a bid to boost volume for automakers and prevent job layoffs.

Furthermore, FTI is looking into alternative measures to help auto parts manufacturers tide through the pandemic. The group is studying the possibility of repurposing and shifting domestic auto parts manufacturing plants to produce medical devices or aviation parts which are in greater demand following the pandemic instead.

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Manufacturing In Asia Post COVID-19

Manufacturing In Asia Post COVID-19

The outbreak of Covid-19 may have started to impact Asian economies earlier than the rest of the world; however, with large populations and poor medical facilities, the worst is far from over.

Some countries that have successfully flattened the proverbial curve are now not only looking to gradually normalise their economies but also contemplating the landscape after the Covid-19 pandemic is more widely contained.

Fitch Solutions has discussed the six themes that will feature in Asia over the coming years following the Covid-19 outbreak—one being how manufacturing-heavy nations could have an advantage.

Manufacturing-Heavy Nations Could Have An Advantage

Even before the Covid-19 outbreak started, we had noted that reform in Asia was slowing as governments prioritised short-term growth wins over long-term sustainability. With Covid-19 pushing most countries in the region into some form of recession, it is likely that reforms will come to a halt over the short term.

However, we highlight that those countries that manage to restore a reform path quickly, will be able to take advantage of opportunities in the post Covid-19 world. For instance, many companies have already begun adopting a ‘China plus one’ manufacturing hub strategy since the US-China trade war began in 2018, with Vietnam having been a clear beneficiary of this trend. This trend is likely to only intensify following the ongoing crisis. Severe supply chain disruptions in the region as a result of Covid-19 containment-driven lockdowns in China in Q120 further highlights the importance of supply diversification, and we believe that businesses will have a greater impetus to set up some manufacturing operations outside of China going forward.

It is likely that economies with existing manufacturing capabilities and a conducive business environment, will attract more attention than others. With a lack of reform momentum, we could see a wide economic schism growing between preferred markets and those that are left behind.

That said, we have noted in a separate article that any manufacturing shifts away from China will be slow as that country still boasts an annual manufacturing output that is so large that even a group of countries would struggle to absorb even a fraction of it. For example, in 2018 the value of China’s manufacturing sector amounted to USD4.4trn, three times the size of the manufacturing output of 13 of some of the largest emerging markets (EMs) with major manufacturing sectors. However, expect countries in Asia to make accelerated efforts to boost domestic manufacturing capabilities not least to offset the debilitating impact that the Covid-19 outbreak will have had on employment.

We highlight that governments will be faced with a policy dilemma as they try to restructure their economies while also preserving livelihoods in the short term. It is likely that those that find themselves currently heavily dependent on a single large sector will face increased need for economic diversification.

For instance economies such as Thailand and Cambodia, which are heavily reliant on tourism for growth, the collapse in air travel due to Covid-19 will likely prompt the government to shift its economic focus into other sectors such as infrastructure and manufacturing. Such economic shifts are likely to be supported by reforms to the business environment to incentivise domestic resources into the targeted sectors and also to compete for foreign manufacturers looking to diversify some operations out of China. From a self-sustainability angle, countries such as Singapore, which are reliant on food imports, will likely see a push towards an expansion of food production, while the region as a whole will divert more resources towards domestic production of medical supplies to ensure reliability at the expense of higher costs.

To read the full Fitch Solution report, click here.

 

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Global Auto Sales In The Wake Of COVID-19

Global Auto Sales In The Wake Of COVID-19

IHS Markit has downwardly revised its forecasts for global light vehicle sales and production as the impact COVID-19 impact has depressed demand.

According the new analysis, global light vehicle sales are now forecast to be 69.6 million units this year in the wake of the pandemic. IHS Markit forecasts a similar decline for global light vehicle production, falling to 69.3 million units.

Auto sales forecast to drop 22.0 percent, with risk for further deterioration

Impacts to global auto demand in the wake of COVID-19 have rapidly progressed to severity levels higher than the 2008-2009 recession, and significant uncertainty around prospects for a meaningful recovery remain. Global light vehicle sales in 2020 are now forecast to drop to 69.6 million units, 22.0 percent lower than in 2019, with risks to the forecast still skewed to the downside.

“The pandemic remains a clear and present danger to the autos sector, with months of uncertainty expected to cloud hopes for global recovery prospects,” said Colin Couchman, executive director, global autos demand forecasting at IHS Markit. “The expected cycle of decline, stabilisation and recovery for autos varies by market, reflecting variations in containment strategies and policy responsiveness,” he said.

In recent weeks, Mainland China is seeing green shoots of recovery, while much of the rest of the world remains in lockdown. The IHS Markit forecast for Greater China sales in 2020 sees volume at 21.4 million units, a drop of 15 percent from 2019 levels. Though government incentives could help underpin a more orderly recovery profile, these are not yet indicated. Nearly all dealers are back to work and there are signals of an uptick in showroom traffic, but consumer confidence remains fragile. We may see a first-in, first-out phenomenon in China, and auto demand could bottom out midway through 2020 and begin to recover in the second half of the year. In 2021, volume could recover to 23.2 million units, based on current forecasts.

In Europe, COVID-19 lockdowns remain firmly in place for Italy, Spain, France and the UK, though show signs of easing in Germany. Prior to the pandemic, Europe had already faced uncertainty on the CO2 fleet target timetable and UK and European Union trade talks. Europe will see mixed recovery cycles, as a result of local restrictions and varied economic support and stimulus. Planning is further plagued by varied containment restrictions across the region, and recovery strategies are a work in progress. The forecast is for Europe to see sales fall 24.6 percent to 15.5 million units.

North America is forecast to see sales drop 26.7 percent y/y in 2020. In the U.S. a consumer-led recession looks inevitable for 2020 and autos face a bleak demand slump. There is no national consistency on rules relative to sales activity or duration for stay-at-home orders; there remains risk of another increase in infections, which could result in another wave of state or local-level restrictions, changing the dynamic again. IHS Markit expects that the known monetary and fiscal measures are not enough to prevent a collapse in auto sales, and in 2020, the U.S. market sales forecast is 12.5 million units.

Production expected to reflect demand levels

Affected first by stay-at-home orders in effort to contain the virus and then by expected weak demand, global light vehicle production is now expected to drop to 69.3 million units in 2020 – a 19.6-million-unit decline from 2019, according to the latest IHS Markit forecast.

Though production remains essentially shuttered in Europe, North America and South America, China has resumed. For shuttered regions, automakers are developing production re-start plans, factoring in production/capacity implications relative to instituting social distancing, various virus testing options and providing personal protective equipment (PPE). Global automakers can take best practices and lessons learned from re-starting in China to other markets, though are still restricted by local economic restrictions and consumer demand.

The primary driver of the latest outlook for Greater China includes delayed and sluggish resumption of operations in the Hubei province. Output is forecast to drop to 20.9 million units in 2020, compared with 24.7 million in 2019. Further, for many European OEMs in China, the comprehensive spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe may create shortage of key components and bottlenecks in China production. Similar risks for Japanese OEMs in China exist as well, as facilities for semiconductors and other components have been shut down in the ASEAN region in recent weeks. Despite modest improvement in the pace of production in the summer, demand is expected to remain low given the broader global macroeconomic conditions.

In Europe, expectations for declines in production are broad-based, impacting essentially all OEMs in the region as plants have been shuttered to comply with mandated lockdown measures. With regard to restarting production, a mixed picture is emerging with some plants resuming production in late April and others extended to early May – all under a fairly slow, methodical ramp-up scenario. The deterioration in the macroeconomic outlook and the broad COVID-19 containment measures have resulted in material reductions in the demand outlook. Production is forecast to drop to 15.9 million units, compared with 21.1 million in 2019.

In North America, IHS Markit forecasts further deterioration relating to the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts on U.S. auto sales. The 2020 forecast reflects a nine-week shutdown across the region with production for most plants expected to resume beginning the week of May 18. April production is projected at roughly 4,300 units, marking the lowest monthly production level since 1945, following the end of World War II. Production is expected to return at a gradual pace with reduced shifts and continue to ramp-up through the second quarter of 2020. Further, the forecast reflects manufacturers utilising summer shutdowns to assess inventory and demand, making additional plant adjustments to ensure worker safety and resuming maintenance and retooling efforts where needed. The latest IHS Markit forecast sees North American production dropping to 12.2 million units, from 16.3 million in 2019.

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Share Your Insights: COVID-19 & Your Business

Share Your Insights: COVID-19 & Your Business

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the global manufacturing supply chain. For instance, factory shutdowns have drastically impacted the metalworking supply chain around the car and auto parts manufacturing industries. While the medical equipment sector is experiencing massive demand, the grounding of airline fleets is expected to put a dent in the MRO industry—at least those segments involving metalworks.

In line with our continuing coverage of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, we at Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) are conducting the following brief survey regarding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak to your business. Your participation in this survey is greatly appreciated and will help ensure we are providing you and the industry with the best content possible.

Take Our Survey

 

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Aftermarket Services Could Help Transform Manufacturing In The Wake Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

Aftermarket Services Could Help Transform Manufacturing In The Wake Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the past decade, new product sales for industrial manufacturers have been declining. This trend is expected to continue as some customers defer or cancel new equipment deliveries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created unprecedented economic challenges for manufacturing businesses.

However, according to a new report by Deloitte, aftermarket services are emerging as a strategic imperative for industrial manufacturers to offset declines in new equipment sales, address acute and evolving customer needs, and prepare for the future.

Higher margins and stable revenues

Aftermarket services are a stable revenue source, with 2.5 times greater operating margins than new equipment sales. The broad category, which includes the sale and delivery of maintenance, spare parts, and other value-added services, will likely continue to deliver over 50 percent of a manufacturer’s profit with an upward trend in light of COVID-19.

“Focusing on aftermarket services has proven to bring manufacturers consistent revenue and stabilized profits through past economic downturns. Today, adopting aftermarket services capabilities has become an imperative, not only to offset impacts from the pandemic and current downturn, but to capitalize on long-term changes in customer needs,” said Paul Wellener, vice chairman and U.S. industrial products and construction leader, Deloitte LLP. “Manufacturers that can leverage digital solutions to help ensure uptime for customers, while working closely with them to achieve targeted outcomes, should outperform peers in the long run.”

Digitalisation is the bedrock for success

Digital technologies will be the key differentiator for immediate and sustainable success in aftermarket services as many customers increasingly focus on uptime. For example, remote assistance capabilities have become especially crucial for manufacturers in the wake of COVID-19, where it is difficult to dispatch field service technicians to address customers’ critical equipment needs. Sophisticated digital capabilities also play a role in enhancing other offerings, such as predictive maintenance.

Timing is everything

According to the report, now is a compelling time for manufacturers to accelerate their pivot to aftermarket services or scale them more rapidly. As factories reopen, demand for digitally-enabled service offerings, such as remote assistance and predictive maintenance, could increase.

Longer term, manufacturing customers will likely demand more usage-based services, such as subscription-based pricing or pay-per-use contracts, as they remain wary of making large equipment purchases.

However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach for companies looking to transform their business. What will help differentiate best-practice leaders will be those who are able to manage their aftermarket business efficiently and engage customers continuously.

 

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Resilience Index Ranks Countries Well Positioned To Foster Post-pandemic Business Recovery

Resilience Index Ranks Countries Well Positioned To Foster Post-pandemic Business Recovery

Resilience has never been more critical as businesses emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and look to recovery, with top-ranked Asian countries and territories in the 2020 FM Global Resilience Index, including Hong Kong (ranked 19), Singapore (ranked 22), Japan (ranked 26), Taiwan (ranked 29) and South Korea (ranked 37), demonstrating they have the foundation in place for a robust rebound.

The annual index, published today by FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, is the definitive ranking of nearly 130 countries by the resilience of their business environments. It provides companies with objective information about countries’ economic, risk quality and supply chain resilience—factors that create a springboard for businesses working to recover from the pandemic.

In addition to outlining the post-pandemic business landscape, the FM Global Resilience Index stands as a dynamic reminder that conventional business risks such as typhoons, flood, drought, fire and earthquakes, continue to threaten operations and overall business value.

Amongst the index’s 12 economic, risk and supply chain-related measures of resilience that underpin a country’s overall ranking, no Asian country ranked inside the top 30 for their ‘natural hazard risk quality’—a measure of the quality and enforcement of a country’s building codes with respect to natural hazard-resistance combined with the level of risk improvement achieved. For natural hazard risk quality, Japan (ranked 32), Singapore (ranked 33), Taiwan (ranked 35) and Hong Kong (ranked 40) stand strongly in contrast to China Regions 1, 2 and 3 (ranked 91),1 Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Laos, and Nepal (all tied at 97) and Vietnam (ranked last at 130).

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Within the index, a number of Asian countries fell in 2020 in regards to ‘inherent cyber risk’ including Taiwan (from 45 to 93), Hong Kong (from 72 to 97) and Vietnam (from 103 to 116) reflecting the evolving cyber threat landscape that continues to be a board level concern and can challenge the resilience of many businesses across Asia as internet penetration increases.

“As we look ahead to post-COVID-19 recovery, resilience takes on new meaning for many businesses across Asia. The 2020 FM Global Resilience Index demonstrates that attention must still be paid to ever- present and traditional business risks, such as natural disaster and cyber security,” said Alex Tadmoury, senior vice president, division manager of FM Global’s Asia Pacific operations. “These remain obstacles for many countries across Asia, heightened by new challenges created by the pandemic. Those that endure most successfully will be those who invest in thorough risk-and-resilience analysis and timely loss prevention measures.”

Top, bottom, risers, fallers

Overall, many countries across Asia remained stable compared to previous years. Notably, a major riser in this year’s index is Taiwan, which climbed 14 places to 29th based on improvements in its urbanisation rate, natural hazard risk quality, and quality of its infrastructure. Taiwan’s urbanisation improved dramatically, moving the country up 42 places for that metric (from 122 to 80). Taiwan also has demonstrated its resilience, seeing success in containment of COVID-19.

South Korea and Japan saw improvements in their urbanisation rate, with South Korea moving up 27 places to rank at 4th place and Japan moving up 38 places to rank 24th. China significantly improved for corporate governance from last year’s ranking (from 98 to 74), indicating greater scrutiny of auditing and accounting standards, conflict of interest regulation and shareholder governance.

Overall, the index’s top-ranked regions (in descending order) are Norway, Switzerland, Demark, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Austria, Central United States and Eastern United States (both the U.S. and China comprise three regions with differing natural hazard exposure).

Norway occupies the top spot again this year, supported by strong economic productivity, a stable political environment, low corruption, high natural hazard risk quality and robust corporate governance.

The bottom 10 (in descending order) are Nicaragua, Nepal, Mali, Mozambique, Iran, Lebanon, Chad, Ethiopia, Venezuela and Haiti.

The biggest faller in the index is the Dominican Republic, which fell 19 places to 90th place due to increases in its urbanisation rate and cyber risk.

How to use the index

Index data like this is designed to help chief financial officers (CFOs) and other business leaders make prudent business decisions as they site facilities, extend supply chains and cultivate customers. A lack of business resilience can result in long-lasting effects on market share, growth opportunities and investor confidence—all contributors to business value.

“Resilience is ultimately a product of the choices businesses make, including where they do business and how they invest in each location,” said Sanjay Chawla, chief investment officer at FM Global. “The index is designed to make these choices clearer as executives weigh the regular strategic reasons – logistics, labor force and market opportunity – for selecting particular geographies.”

 

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PC-Based Control For Covid-19 Rapid Testing Production Lines

PC-Based Control For Covid-19 Rapid Testing Production Lines

The rapid testing equipment production lines made by Ginolis Ltd. in Qulunsalo, Finland have proven themselves in the market for almost a decade. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, previously delivered lines are now being converted to the Covid-19 rapid testing configuration. The compact automation technology from Beckhoff contributes significantly to the production equipment’s modularity and high quality.

Since its foundation in 2010, Ginolis has offered high-quality automation solutions for the production and assembly of medical devices and rapid diagnostics have turned out to be an especially quickly growing field in health technology.

Modular production lines are adaptable

All of Ginolis’s production lines are modular in order to be able to offer customers custom-tailored capacities with lots of opportunities for subsequent scaling. As Ginolis CEO, Teijo Fabritius explains: “Thanks to our modular approach, the customer does not need to worry about future volume requirements when he makes his investment, because to increase his capacities he only needs to add more modules. The various standard modules for things like assembly and inspection provide a huge competitive advantage since they are usually available and can ship very quickly. We have lead times of only a few months, which is very unusual in our industry.”

The individual production modules are controlled via a CX2040 embedded PC from Beckhoff that is equipped with an Intel Core i7 quad-core CPU running at 2.1 GHz. The control software is TwinCAT 3 NC I. Most production lines have several hundred motion axes and hundreds of I/Os. The individual modules generally have 50 to 100 EtherCAT I/O connection points and multiple Beckhoff drive axles that are controlled via EL72xx servomotor terminals, EL70xx stepper motor terminals, and EL7411 BLDC motor terminals. The intelligent XTS transport system is used in Ginolis’s high-capacity assembly lines.

PC-based control is integrated, compact and powerful

According to Teijo Fabritius, Genolis believes in Beckhoff’s PC-based technology for several reasons: “PC-based control allows us to seamlessly integrate multiple software-based functions into the automation system. In addition, the embedded industrial PC systems are very compact and powerful. Particularly where automation components are concerned, compactness is critically important since space is usually at a premium, especially in cleanrooms. And the more functions we can integrate through software, the more compact, flexible and easily upgradeable we can make our solutions. PC-based control technology provides an outstanding platform for meeting all these requirements. In addition, Beckhoff has developed many additional products that fit well into our automation concept, such as the software-based TwinCAT Vision real-time image processing system and the compact EJ-series EtherCAT plug-in modules that speed up the installation process considerably.”

A capable automation system is also essential to ensuring the quality and reliability of the production process, says Teijo Fabritius: “A good example is the so-called marker for myocardial damage. It must be determined from a blood sample, which makes it easy to understand why getting correct results is so important. The same applies to the handling of fluids, for which Ginolis has developed a technology that ensures the super-exact dosing of antibodies.”

 

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