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Makino Asia’s Smart Factory Meets Sophisticated Precision Engineering Capabilities

Makino Asia’s Smart Factory Meets Sophisticated Precision Engineering Capabilities

Makino Asia, a leading provider of machine tools used across various industries including automotive, aerospace, medical, semiconductor and electronics, has recently showcased its smart factory at its regional headquarters in Singapore. The facility is designed to meet the growing demand for high-quality products and sophisticated precision engineering capabilities in Asia by adopting Industry 4.0 and the principles of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The smart factory consists of an assembly factory and state-of-the-art machining factory, leveraging seamless automation and digital technologies to achieve high levels of productivity and connectivity between its robots, machines and other peripheral systems.

The combined facility is expected to increase machine production capacity to almost double its previous capacity. The new machining factory and existing assembly factory are connected by a link bridge for staff, and a canopy area for the transfer of materials between the two factories using automated guided forklifts (AGF).

The facility is also fitted with energy-saving and efficient solutions: green energy from installed solar panels within the compound helps to generate about 2,400 megawatt hours of energy annually. This is equivalent to taking 200 cars off the road, avoiding 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions over the same period. In the machining factory, a chilled ceiling system is used to ensure maximum energy efficiency of its air-conditioning system while maintaining high quality, reliability and optimum performance of Makino Asia’s manufacturing operations.

Neo Eng Chong, CEO and President of Makino Asia said, “Makino strives for a ‘Quality First’ mindset across the organisation, from the manufacturing of our products to the development of our people and the business. We are extremely proud of our expanded smart facility in Singapore that will enable Makino Asia to better support our Customers in the region and Singapore’s vision to become a global Advanced Manufacturing hub.”

He added, “The automation and digitalisation of the entire facility serves as a way for us to achieve increased productivity, capacity or energy efficiency. More importantly, it embodies our vision to provide more than just machines for our Customers, by providing the most effective and efficient solutions that meet their needs. The establishment of the IoT Centre to provide real-time support is another milestone to enrich partnerships with our valued Customers.”

The monitoring and tracking of machine conditions in real-time enables Makino Asia to provide proactive and predictive services to Customers. This ensures optimum machine performance at all times so that Customers are able to consistently deliver high quality products.

Lim Swee Nian, Assistant Managing Director of the Singapore Economic Development Board said, “Global precision engineering manufacturing leaders are accelerating the adoption and deployment of Advanced Manufacturing technologies from Singapore, to better serve the evolving needs of their Customers. We are pleased that Makino will be deepening its 45-year presence in Singapore through the launch of its digital transformation journey. As Makino Asia focuses on building its Industry 4.0 capabilities to develop and scale new solutions, we are confident that it will create value-added roles and upskilling opportunities for Singapore to succeed in the digital manufacturing economy.”

Makino Asia embarked on its digital transformation journey in 2016 with a plan to invest around S$100 million over five years to expand and boost the capabilities of its facility in Singapore. The company also established two new departments focused on automation and digitalisation to catalyse digital transformation in the company.

Besides having “smart” machines and solutions, Makino is committed to upskilling all its employees to keep up with fast and ever-changing developments in the manufacturing landscape. Makino Asia’s new and current employees undergo a Workforce Transformation program focused on equipping them with automation skills, digital literacy skills and safety skillsets. The courses are mandatory for all employees to keep abreast of the digital technologies being used to manage automated equipment.

The manufacturing sector in Singapore remains a key pillar of Singapore’s economy. It accounts for around 21 percent of Singapore’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 14 percent of the total workforce. Rapid technological advancements and digitalisation are changing the face of manufacturing. Developments in Advanced Manufacturing presents opportunities for companies to leverage on new technologies to drive productivity and growth.

 

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Moving Towards A Smart Machinery Eco-System

Moving Towards A Smart Machinery Eco-System

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Wagner Turri, Sales Leader Southeast Asia & Taiwan at Hypertherm, regarding current trends in the metal cutting industry.

  1. Could you provide us with an overview of the trends that are shaping industrial cutting in the metalworking industry?

Initial industrial trends could foresee more challenging times for the regional metalworking industry, in which competitiveness will be driven by customer’s needs and prompt feedback for opportunities and improvements. In this scenario, industrial automation and digitalisation will be the key drivers of change, and it would be more demanding in Asia Pacific due to the future economic growth and competitive landscape. It will push the metalworking industry to new arenas, where product quality is considered a ‘standard’ feature and customers’ requests are influenced by positive experiences in their interaction with these products, services, or solutions.

In this full perspective, industrial automation and digitalisation will help the metalworking industry understand and improve the performance of any equipment throughout its life cycle. This includes production effectiveness leverage based on new sets of equipment and technologies—which can provide real-time feedback on performance and propose necessary adjustments.

Over the last few years, we have seen a growing number of solutions that encourage the introduction of automation and digitalisation to the metalworking industry. Technologies that are related to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are enabling companies to build up smarter job shops, and allowing the industry to establish a smart machinery eco-system.

  1. What are the latest technologies developed by Hypertherm to keep up with these trends?

Automation and digitalisation embedded on the IIoT platform have given manufacturers enhanced equipment and process capabilities, while staff aim to improve production effectiveness with additional cost management. In the last three years, Hypertherm has been addressing these industrial demands and trends with the development of a new set of plasma source and controllers, and by improving on-time operations support to customers. Our new solution — the X-Definition plasma source and NC industrial controller—provides real-time feedback on performance to job shops via a WiFi connection. This WiFi connectivity enables metalworking job shops to connect to these machines with a single device (e.g. smart phone or computer) to collect data on machine performance and maintenance. In addition, our new set of NC industrial controllers can receive cutting nesting jobs through WiFi. Furthermore, Hypertherm employs the most advanced communication protocol (i.e. EtherCAT) to provide faster information flow when our products are integrated with an automated solution, such as a NC plasma machine, for straight or bevel cutting, or a plasma robotic arm for 3D cutting or pipe cutting.

These continual technological advances elevated Hypertherm’s plasma cutting capabilities. Furthermore, our wide range of solutions for automation and portability include new sets of our robotic cutting tools and applications, delivered by our new rotary sleeve mechanical solution and the introduction of our off-line robotic software. It is relevant to highlight that all these new technologies rely on plasma source architecture. In this way, Hypertherm offers unmatched cut quality and precision (up to ISO 9013 Range 2) through our latest X-Definition class plasma system. This solution offers users reduced operation costs with its new electronic feature that extends consumable life, avoiding premature damage or misuse. With its new process technologies that deliver high cutting performance at optimal costs, the X-Definition plasma system is a stellar example of how we are able to address the changes ahead for manufacturers.

  1. What are some challenges faced by this industry?

The traditional metalworking industry is in the throes of digital transformation, which is accelerated by exponentially growing technologies on a smarter machinery eco-system. These new eco-systems are covered by offerings or needs such as smarter robots, predictive analytics, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance feedback, and collaborative manufacturing. These companies and their industrial processes must adapt to this rapid consolidation that has been happening the last few years. The industry needs to unleash new possibilities offered by the IIoT platform. This usage will transform operations and processes into new ways of conducting business, such that it becomes more scalable, profitable, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly.

The rising expectations and demand for better customer experience is also another challenge that the metal cutting industry must face. More and more, product quality is becoming a given, or a ‘standard’ feature. Customers’ expectations are shifting and they are beginning to value the experience delivered over their project life cycle.  Soon enough, this will become a crucial priority and businesses will redirect their focus from merely selling products and services to creating an exceptional overall customer experience.

  1. How can they be overcome?

To achieve their growth targets in a more complex and competitive environment, the metalworking industry will increasingly see the need to prioritise their capital expenditures, to spend on technology that will enable their businesses to be more agile — by increasing productivity, speed, responsiveness, and connectivity.

These capital expenditures must be followed-up with a compelling analysis of operational expenditures, which needs to bring operational costs reduction to justify investments on automation and digitalisation. In this perspective, Hypertherm is totally aligned to metalworking industry trends. We are a company focused on helping our customers reduce operating costs with additional cutting performance improvements. That way, they can enhance their profitability and business sustainability. Our continued investment in research and development is part of our mission to bring more breakthrough technologies to the market, so that we will keep delivering with new launches in coming years.

  1. Moving forward, what do you think is the outlook of the metal cutting industry in the next five to 10 years?

Automation and digitalisation will definitely still play a big part in bringing the metal cutting industry to new heights. An increasing number of manufacturers will develop, adopt, and implement technologies in their industrial processes, where their equipment can effectively interact in a collaborative and smart eco-system. Customers will see more usage of software solutions in order to keep their hardware in a high-performance state. To achieve growth, manufacturers need to become digitally savvy and develop new, successful innovations in the ever-changing landscape of the metal cutting industry.

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Grundfos Presents ISolutions Range To Meet Taiwan’s Smart And Sustainable Manufacturing Needs

Grundfos Presents iSolutions Range To Meet Taiwan’s Smart And Sustainable Manufacturing Needs

Leveraging intelligent manufacturing as the key to Taiwan’s economic revitalisation, Grundfos introduced iSolutions – a product range with a focus on digitalisation and connectivity – at this year’s Taipei International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS).

In line with the government’s ambition to transform Taiwan into a global manufacturing hub by pushing industry adoption of smart machinery, Grundfos showcased a number of machine tool products under its iSolutions range. These products are intuitive and connected solutions that feature intelligent monitoring and adjustment features, which in turn optimise performance of the entire water system.

A key product of the iSolutions range is Grundfos’ E-motor, which comes with a built-in frequency converter and sensors that enable the motor to intuitively control pressure from the pump to match the system’s demand, ensuring optimum levels of operation at all times. This drives significant financial and energy efficiencies, in contrast to conventional systems that tend to run at constant speed and pressure throughout their operations, regardless of fluctuating demands.

With strengthening competitiveness and sustainability being key to the local machining industry’s projected growth of eight percent each year, Eric Lai, Grundfos’ Global Business Director, Machining Industry, said, “Grundfos is committed to helping Taiwan achieve its goals for intelligent machinery to enable manufacturers to offer more value-added services at greater productivity and environmentally friendly levels. The move towards Industry 4.0 is picking up pace, and it is crucial to consider new innovations that can greatly improve efficiencies.”

“With pumps accounting for 10 percent of the world’s electricity consumption, the opportunity to leverage Industry 4.0 to integrate intelligence into pump manufacturing and reduce both financial and environmental costs is unprecedented,” Eric Lai added.

According to Grundfos, the potential of intelligent pumps in the iSolutions range can help companies save energy by 40 to 50 percent

Grundfos Taiwan’s General Manager, Shih Hung Lin, said, “As global demand for Taiwan exports continue to rise, we anticipate smart development to be Taiwan’s next growth engine. iSolutions will be a key driver in the machining industry’s efforts to transform production to perform more effectively and efficiently.”

Grundfos’ CM-L pump, the latest variant the compact CM range was also launched. The new CM addition operates without a shaft seal, effectively eliminating the cause of pump downtime that could occur due to leakages as a result of mechanical seal failure. With the wear-and-tear of mechanical seals being one of the top causes for leaking pumps, the CM-L pump is expected to drastically reduce incidences of downtime, repair and maintenance.

It is worth noting that the CM-L is also a low-noise pump, due to the removal of the traditional motor fan and is ideal for Laboratories, IT servers and Data Centers. This feature also has strong appeal to a wide range of applications in the industrial sector, such as wire cutting.

 

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Increasing Productivity And Quality Gains Through Digitalisation

Increasing Productivity And Quality Gains Through Digitalisation

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Hendrie Viktor, Regional Director at ZEISS Southeast Asia regarding current trends in the manufacturing and metrology industry.

1) Could you provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding the manufacturing industry in Asia?

In an attempt to soften the effects of globalisation, productivity and quality gain drives are most evident. Competing with neighbouring companies are no longer enough to secure one’s business interests. Through globalisation and commoditisation to some degree, the bar on price and quality has been raised exponentially. As a result, some manufacturing industries were adversely affected by consolidation. In my opinion, Asia in particular has been subjected to this harshly but responded well over the past decade—a great example are the quality gains on “Made in China” over the last few years. The relentless expectations on price competitiveness and quality standards has reached a point where traditional, incremental cost and quality gains are no longer enough and reaping the benefits of smart manufacturing or industry 4.0 is crucial.

2) To keep up with these manufacturing trends, what are the newest developments or technological advancements in ZEISS’s metrology solutions?

We address our customer’s ever-increasing productivity and quality requirements through solutions that enable manufacturers to inspect or measure faster and more frequently than before. Gone are the days of random sampling in a quality lab. In-process inspection and shop floor metrology have brought significant time savings and quality gains. Multi-purpose measuring instruments have replaced the need for multiple set-up’s, and workflow solutions have brought insights into manufacturing processes and quality that were previously unseen.

ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions has been and still is at the forefront of the inspection and dimensional metrology transformation and plan to keep it this way moving forward. We continue to make significant investments, at least 10 percent of our revenue, into R&D annually in order to continue to deliver market-shaping innovations.

3) With increasing digitalisation of the manufacturing sector, what are the main challenges faced by the metrology industry?

Firstly, the sudden shift can be overwhelming and we’ve seen countless processes being digitalised for the sake of it—with huge amounts of digital data being collected, but not put to good use. Determining where, when and how frequently digital data needs to be collected as well as how it will be put to valuable use is crucial but it remains a great challenge for many since skill shortages in the field of digitalisation exists. There is also data and platform incompatibility, or rather standardisation hurdles to overcome as suppliers mostly develop their own Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platforms. Lastly, data handling and security still deters many companies from taking that leap.

4) How do you think these challenges can be overcome?

Relevant education and continued learning will go a long way towards addressing hesitation and will help ensure digitalisation efforts pay off. I see the need for industry and universities or technical schools to work hand in hand. That will stimulate the need for faster adoption. Alliances between machine manufacturers can address platform and standardisation issues to unlock IIoT benefits. Such an example can be seen in the recently founded ADAMOS alliance, of which ZEISS is a founding member of.

5) Moving forward, where do you think the industry is headed in the next five to 10 years?

With the pace of today’s change, it would be difficult to even predict this with some degree of certainty. I think the value-add from productivity and quality gains through digitalisation and new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing is going to be tremendous that consolidation is going to happen on a much broader scale. I see low volume, high mix through flexible manufacturing becoming a norm and thus bringing manufacturing closer to the end user, further reducing non-value-added costs. This will call for a very different approach to metrology.

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Making Custom Machine—Building Accessible To All Manufacturers

Making Custom Machine—Building Accessible To All Manufacturers

The world is going digital. That doesn’t just change how we work and learn and shop, or what we do for fun; it changes how products are manufactured. Even the smallest machinery suppliers have to be able to create modular, customisable, multi-function designs that can be tailored to exactly what their customers need to build their products. Article by Frans Adamowicz, Solutions Director for Industrial Machinery and Heavy Equipment, Siemens PLM Software.

But that level of flexibility makes it hard to reuse designs because the requirements for each customer will be very different, and very specific each time, turning every project into a custom, one-off design. How do you get that flexibility without raising costs?

Industrial machinery manufacturers also have to be able to show customers, even before they deliver new machinery, how it should work and how it will integrate with other systems; that way, they can prove it will have the high ROI and low total cost of ownership product manufacturers are looking for. They have to comply with ever more regulations that cover the entire lifecycle of machinery, from energy efficiency in use right through to the eventual cost of reuse, recycling or disposal – and document that all the relevant regulations were met. And they have to be able to build and deliver these designs faster than ever to compete with new low-cost suppliers around the world, while still taking the time to understand exactly what the customer needs and how they’re going to use it.

To cope with these pressures from customers, competitors and regulators they need integrated tools that get rid of siloes because there just isn’t time to design, build and commission a machine as separate steps that move through different departments. A sequential process like that isn’t just slow; it runs the risk of losing information and introducing errors every time a design moves from one department to another. And it doesn’t reflect the realities of modern manufacturing.

Designs are getting more complex to accommodate; they might have sensors to monitor machine performance and output, and networking to connect multiple machines into a unified manufacturing system, alongside both software-based and physical controls. That complexity affects the physical design. You can’t afford to waste time at the end of a project redesigning a part or an assembly plan because the wires and cables can’t be connected correctly. When you’re testing the physical machine is far too late to discover that, for example, the control software doesn’t take mechanical limits into account.

Solution To Complexity of Designs

In fact, with so much software, automation and electronics in modern machinery, getting a design right needs a mechatronic design platform that handles much more than just mechanical CAD because tackling a problem will often require being able to work in multiple disciplines at the same time. The solution is investing in new digital technologies to create a digital thread of information that connects all the departments involved in a project and runs through every stage of gathering requirements and creating specifications, through design, development, production and commissioning, to delivery, support and monitoring in production.

This digitalisation lets you create digital representations of the smart, connected, custom machinery that customers are demanding. These ‘digital twins’ are immediately useful because you can use them to sell new machinery even before it’s built. Once you’ve made the sale you can hand over a digital copy of the real machine, so customers can prepare to install and integrate it with their existing systems, while you use the digital twin to build the new machines faster and with fewer mistakes or delays in commissioning, because you have a functional model that mechanical, electrical and automation teams can all work from together.

Creating that digital twin requires next generation design tools that go well beyond mechanical CAD to support a multi-disciplinary process that includes modelling, mechatronics, simulation, testing and performance validation. The right design tools can also make it easier for manufacturers to reuse existing modules for these very specific new orders.

Technologies To Simplify

New modelling technologies like generative design and topology optimisation find the best designs for components using constraints like maximum stress, size, weight and displacement, improving the performance and reliability of machinery. Single parts created with additive manufacturing could replace complex assemblies of precision components, as well as saving on weight and materials costs. Synchronous Technology makes it faster and simpler to create and change geometries while preserving design decisions, like keeping mounting points aligned or having the outer surfaces of a part stay parallel. Convergent Modelling Technology lets you work directly with facet and mesh models, without reverse engineering, alongside traditional CAD geometries. Rather than redesigning similar parts from scratch every time and increasing the amount of inventory you need to hold, you can reduce costs by incorporating existing components in a new design or designing a replacement that can be used in multiple projects.

Use mechatronic design alongside these modelling tools and you can validate design ideas quickly. Experiment early in the product development cycle, confident that you can see not just how a design looks but also how it will work, using physics-based interactive simulations of joints, actuators, motion, collision behaviour and other dynamic and kinematic properties.

For example, the faster operating speeds customers are asking for can actually lower production capacity if vibration at these faster speeds causes process inconsistencies or shortens the life of key components. Fully simulating operation of the machine running at higher speed will reveal the problem before the production line fails, and engineers can redesign parts to control noise and vibration, rerun the simulation to ensure the new design can run at full speed – and pass the details to the automation engineers to validate their machine operation routines without waiting for the new physical part. Integrated tools that use the digital thread allow you to take steps to improve the design of the machinery without slowing down the overall project.

Digital Twins

Digital twins continue to pay a dividend once the machinery is completed and delivered, because manufacturers can rely on the accurate digital representation to deliver any necessary after sales support more cost effectively. Streaming information from sensors in the machinery to monitor performance is an opportunity to deliver improvements later on, building brand loyalty, improving service revenue with predictive maintenance and uncovering needs customers don’t yet realise they have. Taken to the next step, the digital twin can lead to a whole new business model as a consulting solution provider where you make sure customers get the value from the expensive, custom machinery you’ve created for them with remote diagnostics, software maintenance and process optimisation, offering them the complete solution they’re looking for rather than an isolated machine.

The benefits of digitalisation can add up to a significant increase in production, creating more (and more efficient) machines with the same resources and either lowering costs or increasing output at the same cost. Think of it as a digital productivity bonus adding up to anything from 6% or even close to 10% of annual revenue. Investing in the next generation design tools needed to create custom machinery is the way to outpace commodity suppliers who can’t move this fast or deliver exactly what customers want, giving you a loyal customer base.

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Digital Transformation Of The 3D Measurement Industry

Digital Transformation Of The 3D Measurement Industry

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Quah Beng Chieh, Head of Marketing (Asia Pacific) at FARO Technologies regarding FARO’s achievements for 2018, the company’s aims for 2019, and the trends that will shape the industry in 2019.

1. Can you sum up your company’s focus and achievements in 2018?

FARO is well-attuned to the industry’s trends and demands, and we continually invest efforts into developing new 3D measurement technology to cater to our customers’ needs. In 2018, FARO launched several cutting-edge measurement solutions that were developed with our customers’ challenges in mind. The 8-Axis Quantum FaroArm, the world’s only eight-axis portable metrology arm solution, seamlessly integrates with any FaroArm to enable operators to rotate a part in real-time, relative to the arm. When used in conjunction with the newly launched Prizm Laser Line Probe, which scans objects in high-resolution 3D color, users can speed up and simplify the inspection of dimensional and surface character quality issues for molded parts due to the Prizm’s true-to-life functionality. Another significant product launch is the introduction of the 6Probe for the FARO 6DoF Laser Tracker — a fully integrated hand-held probe for easily probing hidden, hard-to-reach features. Together, the patented FARO Super 6DoF and 6Probe total solution addresses a wide range of large scale metrology applications across a variety of manufacturing focused industries, including automotive, aerospace, construction, heavy equipment and shipbuilding. All these have contributed to significant revenue growth on over 2018, despite a poor economic environment.

 

2. What are your expectations on the regional economy in 2019?

According to a report by Grand View Research, the 3D metrology market is gaining importance due to an increasing demand for improved products and services across end-use sectors such as industrial, automotive, and power generation. This rise in demand can be attributed to growing adherence to international quality standards across the entire industry domain which has also encouraged greater demand for metrology equipment and services. Likewise, we are also expecting the Asia Pacific 3D metrology market to grow significantly due to continued economic growth in emerging countries like China, India and Southeast Asia.

 

3. What business trends in Asia capture your interest for growth next year?

The 3D measurement industry is constantly evolving due to increasingly complex market needs and requirements, and thus requires constant innovation to ensure a steady introduction of varied solutions. Digital transformation of the manufacturing industry continues to gain prominence, urging manufacturers to look for solutions that will allow them to digitise information and digitalise processes in order to improve their organisation’s response to market changes. Solutions with advanced technology that empower customers to tap on data-driven collaborations for improved productivity are also expected to rise to prominence in the market.

In addition to solutions that enable manufacturers to efficiently digitise product designs and relevant 3D measurement data, FARO will also continue to introduce solutions like the FARO Visual Inspect — which offers companies new opportunities for enhanced collaboration across departments and production processes. Using complex 3D data previously unavailable in a production line, and an augmented reality function that is suitable for all working environments, 3D measurement technology like the Visual Inspect can help manufacturers streamline their processes to be more flexible and nimble, while taking into account increasing cost pressures.

 

4.What do you think is the key industry trend to watch out in 2019?

Over the last decade, manufacturers’ measurement needs have grown to become increasingly complex as the designs of their products have become more complicated. This will likely continue to be true as manufacturers push boundaries in the product development process. Effectively, we expect that customers will require even more innovative, advanced technologies that meet their sophisticated measurement needs.

Manufacturers’ preferences are also shifting from off-line quality inspection to near-line or in-line measurement techniques in order to enable higher sampling rates and shorter inspection times. This will drive growth in the integration of CMMs and optical scanners with assembly lines for greater effectiveness, efficiency, and improved quality control.

 

5. What potential and opportunity do you see in the industry next year?

The manufacturing industry is ever-evolving. Customers today are much more aware of what they want and need, demanding improved efficiency and innovative products, and this trend is catalysed by the accelerated development in technology. Organisations, regardless of their size and shape, can survive and grow if they adapt quickly and stay abreast of the current manufacturing industry trends. To better equip our customers to do just that, FARO is actively working to offer solutions with advanced technology that allow them to enjoy greater efficiency and convenience. As the economy continues to grow in Asia, companies will seek to expand their operations, optimise to reduce cost, and expand capabilities to capture new markets. We expect a rise in manufacturers’ demand for measurement and imaging solutions to tackle their evolving metrology needs, and our team will be ready to respond by educating users across Asia, about our solutions and how their businesses can benefit from incorporating our technology.

 

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The Smart Future Of Metalworking

The Smart Future Of Metalworking

Digitalisation and networking are rapidly gaining ground in metalworking – and the same trend is also taking place in storage & sawing technologies. Manual and mutually-isolated processes are increasingly giving way to a continuously-controlled, intelligent material flow, in which all the components involved communicate autonomously with each other. KASTO Maschinenbau has various solutions that make metalworking more efficient, more flexible and more cost-efficient in today’s Industry 4.0 era.

In the steel trade, the automotive and supplier industry and in mechanical and plant engineering, metalworking companies across all industries have been facing increasing demands for years now. Customers increasingly want greater manufacturing flexibility, from batch sizes of one item to large-volume production, while variety of materials and sizes is steadily increasing. At the same time, quality standards are rising and there is continuous pressure to cut costs. To hold their own against international competitors, companies need versatile and efficient solutions for a wide variety of production tasks.

Production Can Organise Itself

One solution here is the digitalisation and networking of production and logistics processes – also known as Industry 4.0. In modern metalworking, machines, plants, goods and load carriers are connected via the Internet of Things and can communicate with each other. Intelligent sensor systems provide up-to-date status information in real time. All process-relevant data is recorded and analysed, enabling users to optimise their entire value chain in a decentralised, autonomous and demand-oriented manner. The route from raw material to the finished product becomes shorter, more flexible, resource-saving and cost-efficient – and it starts with storage.

Today’s metalworking companies are increasingly relying on fully automated storage systems for long goods, instead of the previously widespread floor and cantilever arm storage methods. These automated software-controlled systems have completely convinced users with their significantly higher storage density, fast access times and maximum stock transparency. Moreover, sawing technology – often the first processing station after goods have been removed from storage – is being increasingly carried out with no manpower. Sawing machines can be seamlessly connected to the raw material warehouse and supplied with the required materials using manipulators and conveyor technology. The sawing process itself also runs autonomously if the machine is equipped accordingly, resulting in highly-efficient systems that are seamlessly integrated into a continuous material flow – the intelligent factory.

Automation – From The Raw Material To The Finished Part

KASTO creates combined storage-sawing-robot systems, in which all the storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are performed fully automatically, from the raw material to the commissioning of the cut parts. Problem-free communication is particularly important, since all the components involved must “speak the same language”. This is achieved by means of integrated control systems and suitable interfaces. With KASTOlogic, for example, the company offers a modular warehouse management system (WMS), which is specially tailored to the requirements of long goods and sheet metal storage. The WMS maps all the processes between goods receipt and dispatch clearly and transparently, ensuring efficient control of the entire material flow – and that includes the warehouse, the associated conveyor technology and the processing machines with their material handling.

The Right Interface For Every System

Thanks to customised interfaces ranging from SAP, Infor and Microsoft Dynamics products to customer-specific software solutions, the WMS KASTOlogic can be easily connected to a higher-level host system within the company, as can individual machine control systems. The resulting uniform communication structure significantly increases transparency and efficiency. Users can easily control all the orders, and the data collected and recorded in the warehouses and sawing machines can be comprehensively analysed and utilised. This enables the continuous tracking of specific goods and workpieces and the uniform utilisation of the machine park with short non-productive times, improved quality control & the enhanced planning of maintenance measures. Even remnant lengths and warehouse stocks can be sustainably optimised with relevant information, significantly reducing production costs.

Robot-Assisted Sawing For Greater Efficiency

The KASTOsort robot link automates production processes upstream and downstream of the sawing process and integrates these into a uniformly-controlled material flow. Industrial robots can not only remove the saw cuts independently, they can also perform many other tasks such as deburring, chamfering, centring, threading, marking, printing, sorting, stacking and picking. This robotic solution can be further integrated with a container management or driverless transport system.

Mobile Application

The use of mobile devices is also gaining ground in industrial production and the KASTOapp displays the status of all the networked machines equipped with the SmartControl, AdvancedControl, ProControl or ExpertControl systems. Users can see the name, machine number and type of each saw at a glance. If a saw is running in automated mode, the app can also access the information stored in its machine control programme. This gives users exact information on all the relevant parameters, like the article, cut length, target and actual quantity, feed rate and cutting speed. If a malfunction occurs, the app displays a graphic visualisation of the relevant error message, enabling users to react quickly and reduce downtimes to a minimum.

VisualAssistance – Remote Maintenance With Augmented Reality

KASTO has a VisualAssistance system, which uses the concept of augmented reality to simplify the remote maintenance of machines and systems. An interactive app for tablets, smartphones and smart glasses lies at the heart of the system – and customers can use it to connect to specialists via video and audio streams. Users and technicians see the same view in real time, greatly facilitating mutual understanding and helping to quickly identify individual plant components and any faults that may occur.

 

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The Future Of Manufacturing Lies In Transparency And Connectivity

The Future Of Manufacturing Lies In Transparency And Connectivity

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Wong Seng Yeow, Business Development Manager at TRUMPF regarding current trends in the metrology and manufacturing industry.

  1. Could you provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding the manufacturing industry?

The manufacturing industry has evolved significantly over time – from steam engines to mass production with electricity, then automation and in recent years Industry 4.0. The latest trend may be described as the digital networking of manufacturing technology with big data and analytics, autonomous robots, Internet of Things, etc. Sometimes known as the fourth industrial revolution, it signifies the combination of traditional industrial practices with digital technology.

A key driving force for Industry 4.0 applications is the increased transparency and flexibility for the manufacturing industry. In the model of a Smart Factory production line, companies may analyse and respond optimally to fluctuations in production capacity and factory utilisation. Flexible production layouts allow them to deal with increasingly individualised products and reduced batch sizes, coupled with the possibility of reducing costs through increase in the degree of automation and improved efficiency. Another advantage is production stability through the adoption of predictive maintenance. Self-monitoring and regular evaluation of machines helps in preventive maintenance which leads to increased productivity and quality.  In cases of machine breakdowns, remote servicing may be done at significantly lower cost.

In a nutshell, the trend toward Industry 4.0 enables digitally managed product assembly, inventory management, resources management and service maintenance. Ideally, human intervention will be considerably reduced as processes will be largely managed and performed with artificial intelligence.

  1. With increasing digitalisation, how has TRUMPF kept up with these trends to remain competitive?

Amidst challenging business environment, TRUMPF has always managed to rise above its competition by upholding one of the company’s guiding principles “Courage to transform”. From the development of plasma cutters to EUV laser, this notion has played an integral role in empowering the company to take courageous, transformative decisions over the past decades. In the same vein, it sets the right framework for an effective digital transformation.

Over the years, digitalisation has already permeated many areas of our business. An example of this trend is the conceptualisation of TruConnect, TRUMPF Machine Tool’s advanced range of solutions for connected sheet metal fabrication, comprising of hardware, software and services. The suite of products lays the foundation for production facilities to streamline control with minimal human intervention. Within TruConnect, key products such as TruTops Fab software are testaments to TRUMPF’s dedication to commercialise solutions based on its digital ambition. They are our answers to customers’ rising expectations of quality as they struggle with diminishing batch sizes, fast delivery times and low prices.

  1. What are the main challenges faced by this industry in Asia?

Key challenges for digitalisation of the manufacturing industry in Asia include inadequate infrastructural readiness, awareness and knowledge competency.

In mature markets such as Europe, the knowledge and infrastructure required to reap the benefits of technology are present. However, in regions such as Southeast Asia, the extent of adoption of new technologies is limited as information technology infrastructure is relatively underdeveloped in emerging markets such as Myanmar.

Digitalization might still be a foreign topic to some companies as well as the potential advantages that follows, such as achieving operational transparency through data analytics. To the less-informed, digital transformation is a process which translates into unsavoury repercussions such as job displacement.

The unwillingness to embrace digitalisation also stems from the fact that employees are not sufficiently trained and equipped with the necessary knowledge. Without fully appreciating the advantages of digitalisation, decision makers will not be willing to incur cost to train employees with the required skillset means placing additional strain on their tight budgets.

  1. How can they be overcome?

Adoption of Industry 4.0 applications in Asia can be successfully implemented when the government, local companies and key industry leaders such as TRUMPF work together.

On the part of local manufacturing companies, it is first important to implement the digital strategy from top down. Decision makers should proactively analyse the process, tools and benefits of digitalisation. It is also crucial to address the unfounded insecurity of employees who have concerns about being replaced by new technology. In this regard, companies may seize the chance to train its labour force to be digitally-skilled, thereby enabling them to handle higher level processes. With a supportive workforce, companies can achieve a smooth end-to-end integration of their data and operational process.

As a market leader in the manufacturing industry, TRUMPF intends to continue empowering manufacturing companies in their digitalisation journey by offering solutions and services which suit their various needs. For instance, TRUMPF is committed to develop the South East Asian industry by educating manufacturers in the region on digitalisation through the TruConnect solution. Advance production-planning softwares and Smart Factory consultancy services are designed to support customers in their digitalisation journey through a step-by-step approach – first assessing existing manufacturing layout, identifying bottlenecks and challenges, then proposing technology solutions to optimise manufacturing processes and operations. That said, digitalisation should not be perceived as a one-time process but as a continuous transformation which should be sustained.

Naturally, TRUMPF also works closely with government agencies such as the Singapore Economic Development Board to develop the market infrastructure and constantly nurture companies in the region.

  1. Moving forward, where do you think the industry is headed in the next 5 to 10 years?

Over the next years, market condition will be increasingly difficult as companies compete not only on price but on efficiency as well. In such a market environment, a company’s success will depend on its courage to transform. As digitalisation allows the creation of new businesses and growth opportunities, a shift in dynamics can be expected as the industry consolidates – only players who are able to successfully digitalise will survive and thrive.

The future of manufacturing lies in transparency and connectivity. For TRUMPF, the majority of sales is still expected to come from machinery, but software and digital services will play an increasingly significant role. With an eye on growing our market share, we will continue to be the leading provider of new digital solutions in the manufacturing industry.

 

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Increasing Electromobility In Automotive Sector

Increasing Electromobility In Automotive Sector

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Mr. Stefano Corradini, Group Director Sales & Marketing at Marposs regarding current trends in the metrology and manufacturing industry.

  1. Could You provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding metrology in manufacturing?

In general, the trends in metrology follow those in manufacturing, so the most important trends are the increase of precision, flexibility and full process control. In the automotive sector, the new challenge presented by electromobility is shifting the focus to upgraded leak test controls to protect batteries and electric components from deteriorating conditions. Marposs provides a wide range of metrology solutions and is able to give answers to all above challenges.

  1. With increasing digitalisation of the manufacturing sector, how has Marposs kept up with these trends to remain competitive?

IoT, smart factory and industry 4.0 focuses on the same objective: providing every possible information on the manufacturing process to the controller. Marposs provides measuring devices to be fitted on virtually every type of manufacturing line, including cutting and deformation machines, as well as die casting and extrusion lines; those provides electronic information to the machine controller which can be used to improve the manufacturing efficiency. Marposs also provides dedicated softwares to help customers elaborate, manage above data and improve production quality.

  1. What are the main challenges faced by the metrology industry in Asia?

Asia is not much different from other part of the Industrial world as described in the first question. Compared with other areas, some countries in Asia have a bigger growth rate in the industrial sector. This makes improved production quality even more critical since it goes in combination with production increase, thus creating a bigger challenge for every player involved.

  1. How can they be overcome?

The answer is much easy: investments! To be able to provide successful solutions and to be an appreciated partner for the manufacturing industry, it is necessary to invest in new technologies, solutions and in human resources to support the growing demand. Marposs has ventured into both paths by investing in both internal R&D and acquiring hi-tech companies providing solutions complementary with our traditional ones, thus increasing our proposal to the market as well as our organisation. Today, Marposs is a group of companies accounting more than 3,500 employees and is present in 80 locations across 25 different countries. In Asia, we are present in China (with more than 700 people and local production site), Japan (since 1970 and with 150 people), South Korea, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and also Vietnam since 2016, where the market is growing really fast. Almost 50 percent of Marposs sales per year are delivered to Asia.

  1. Moving forward, where do you think the industry is headed in the next 5 to 10 years?

Really difficult to say, given the multiple uncertainties of these days. For sure, the trend moving towards increase electromobility will contribute to manufacturing challenges in the next few years, changing not only the life of people living in the big towns, but also the industrial paradigms in all sectors relating to automotive. Marposs is also ready to face the challenge, having developed dedicated solutions to improve manufacturing of main EV components such as batteries (modules, packs, trays, etc), drive units and ultra-light chassis components.

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Market Outlook 2019: An Insight Into This Year’s Industry Megatrends

Market Outlook 2019: An Insight Into This Year’s Industry Megatrends

In 2018, we witnessed the rise of Southeast Asia’s manufacturing industry as the Trade War pressured manufacturers into shifting production from China to Southeast Asia. A trend that is expected to continue on in 2019 as Southeast Asia continues to develop its manufacturing capabilities and uncertainties over a US-China truce continue to loom. Through this market outlook series, eight industry leaders share their thoughts on how the regional market will grow and develop in 2019 amidst the changing economic background and the increased presence of disruptive and intelligent technologies. 

  

Armin Kasper

Vice President, Asia-Pacific Area, MAPAL

2018 was a successful year for MAPAL and the company grew once again although growth in the Chinese market, which had previously been strong, flattened somewhat in the last quarter of 2018 due to factors such as punitive tariffs. For 2019, we have set a goal of generating a turnover of €650 million, and this will be achieved through free trade, the development of country specific expansions, the enhancement of digital capabilities and electric mobility machining capabilities.

Development Of Country Specific Expansions

For the companies under MAPAL Group in Southeast Asia, two new regional branches will be established in Indonesia where we are seeking to build a regional presence. While in the case of Malaysia, the country recently became our Southeast Asia production hub and has been equipped with a dedicated manufacturing facility. Additionally, we are actively investing in Malaysia and expansion is set to continue in Thailand too, where a new facility was established in 2017.

Enhancement Of Digital Capabilities

Digitalisation is a pressing issue globally, and in the face of increasing demands for efficient data management systems, we have identified this trend as a potential growth area. That was why we will be using 2019 to make further refinements to c-Com and to showcase the SaaS solution to interested parties as an open cloud platform for efficient data management.

MAPAL’s new tool management 4.0 is also based on c-Com. The interconnectivity that tool management 4.0 offers means that data can be provided consistently to all those involved – manufacturing, procurement, planning, tool managers and suppliers. That makes the overall process more efficient and digitalises tool management.

We also see great potential in our re-tooling service. Customers use this when they are setting up a new manufacturing facility for a part or re-tooling existing machinery to manufacture a new part, or when optimisations need to be made while production is running.

Electric Mobility Machining Capabilities

Alongside digitalisation, another significant trend at the moment is electric mobility and we have a diverse array of innovative machining solutions available for manufacturing the various parts within the different electric drives. The importance of the automotive industry is growing all the time, as is the number of vehicles being produced with electric drives.

 

Carsten Haecker

Head of igus Asia Pacific, igus Singapore Pte Ltd

The Asia Pacific region will remain as the growth driver for us in 2019 but we may see regional differences in development. This is due to uncertainties related to tariffs and trade, Brexit discussions and regional tensions may cause some interruption on a global scale. However, in terms of long term sustainability, the opportunities in Asia far outweigh the challenges and we will continue to invest into new markets or expand existing manufacturing facilities.

Combining Digitalisation With Industrial Development

The world is changing faster than ever before, new trends are coming up and past solutions may disappear. Artificial intelligence, complete process automation, remote monitoring of machine performance, intelligent robotics and driverless vehicles are some of the trends in which we see a potential in. The clear objective for us moving forward is to concretely implement automated processes that range from online configuration to digitally supported manufacturing for all product categories. This is a difficult path to take because ready-made solutions usually cannot be bought but have to be developed individually.

Additionally, IoT continues to drive development. And igus as an early adopter, has developed the intelligent cable, energy chain and linear guide which are able to monitor their own condition during use and open up new possibilities of predictive maintenance.

Additive Manufacturing And Low Cost Robotics

Additive manufacturing would be another key trend to mention, with 3D or SLS printing being good examples of the technology. Also, low cost robotics are another trend to watch out for in 2019 and the igus robolink modular robotic system is an example of this.

 

Israel Gonzalez

Asia Pacific Regional Director, Hypertherm

2018 marked Hypertherm’s 50th year and we have grown from a manufacturer of plasma systems to a global provider of cutting solutions. Moving forward, our continued investment in research and development is part of our efforts to bring more breakthrough technologies to the market, such as the recently released X-definition class plasma system.

In 2019, Asia Pacific will continue to be a promising region for the industry due to rapid population and economic growth, industrialization and business-friendly measures introduced by governments. Besides the major markets in Oceania and Japan, the rapidly growing industrial manufacturing sector in India and Southeast Asia are also expected to contribute significantly to the region’s economic growth.

Change In Business Models In The Metal Cutting Industry

The metal cutting industry will shift from a demand driven model to a more competition driven model, where the key driver is automation and customers are increasingly looking to reduce reliance on labour. In fact, automation will continue to be the biggest development in the metal cutting industry as manufacturers in the region continue to balance technology with capacity and competitive demands.

Industry 4.0 Innovations

IIoT will continue to shape the manufacturing industry in 2019. Rising technologies such as machines, robots and other equipment on a production floor will be able to communicate with each other and gather data in the cloud for analysis. And with the data, a manufacturer will have greater insights which allows for predictive analysis to occur. This aligns to the shift in the industry from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.

In the future, fluctuating raw material prices will also impact the industry and transformations within the manufacturing sector will also be further propelled by the rapid evolution of technology. To achieve growth targets in the coming year, manufacturers will increasingly see the need to prioritize investments in technology that will enable them to improve their business agility.

 

Terence Oh

Senior Vice President. EOS, Singapore

The additive manufacturing (AM) market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 27 percent between 2018 (USD 1.73 billion) and 2023 (USD 5.66 billion). In fact, AM in Asia Pacific is expected to have the highest CAGR due to the region having the fastest growth for the automotive and printed electronics sectors. This offers more opportunities for AM adoption in the manufacturing industry.

Decentralised, Distributed And Domestic Manufacturing Models

Rising protectionism and trade conflicts will increasingly push global supply chains towards decentralization and regionalization when it comes to manufacturing. And this, coupled with the digitalization of manufacturing and AM will serve as an enabler for distributed manufacturing. Businesses that adopt smart technologies like AM to 3D print parts and components will also be able to reduce production costs, processes, and time through part redesign and integration. This makes domestic manufacturing more practical than importing from abroad.

Continued Innovation And Adoption Of AM Across Industries

AM is reported to have a global economic impact of USD 250 billion by 2025 and the aerospace and defense industry is expected to continue leading AM adoption. Moreover, the global aerospace AM market is reportedly expected to register a CAGR close to 22.3 percent during the forecast period of 2018 to 2023.

In terms of the healthcare industry, AM adoption is expected to increase and with the aging population expected to rise, this trend is set to continue due to an expected increase in demand for personalized healthcare and treatments, as well as customized 3D-printed medical devices. For the automotive industry, AM’s ability to decrease production lead time, increase efficiency in logistics management, and ensure effective use of components/materials will result in its increased adoption. This trend is set to continue and the global automotive 3D printing market is predicted to be valued at over USD 8 billion by 2024. On the other hand, tooling and robotics are also expected to drive AM’s market share in APAC from 2018 to 2023.

 

Douglas Foo

President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation

The manufacturing industry in Asia is polarised into three categories – the “factories of the world”, the factories supplying to “factories of the world”, and the “middleman”, where most manufacturers in Asia are a part of. In Singapore, the industry is undergoing a two-part transformation – digitalisation and servitisation.

Due to Singapore’s relatively high labour cost compared to the region and talent shortage, the industry is also moving up the value chain and exploring the use of AI, IoT, robotics, automation and other digital tools to keep costs low and to increase productivity. Digitalisation itself is expected to quite significantly alter and remake the landscape of the industry.

Digitalisation Of Manufacturing And Supply Chains

To be digitalised is to implement these few technologies – additive manufacturing, AI, advanced manufacturing, blockchain, cloud computing, big data, e-commerce and future technologies (robotics, advanced automation, etc.).

Therefore, as manufacturing becomes increasingly digitalised, supply chain models must also become increasingly digitalised by implementing the above technologies. And this will lead to end-to-end integration. Furthermore, with this evolution of the supply chain model, shorter lead times, increased flexibility through real-time optimisation, increased efficiency and increased transparency and personalisation of services will be observed. A digitalised supply chain model is one in which processes are connected through a sensor network and managed through a central data hub and analytics engine.

Adopting The Right Technologies Amidst Economic Uncertainty

Due to the ongoing trade war, there is a fear that demand and investments will shrink. Protectionist attitude and interest rates are also on the rise. Thus, manufacturers can make use of technologies and innovate their business models to improve their productivity, efficiency and competency in order to overcome the adversities ahead. With the right technologies, the industry may even disrupt and affect other sectors, causing a ripple effect that could accelerate the advancement of businesses embracing Industry 4.0 sooner rather than later.

 

David Chia

Automation Charter Chair, The Singapore Industrial Automation Association Managing Director, Beckhoff

In 2019, at the mass market stage, enterprise digitisation will penetrate deeper into the manufacturing floor. This will cause enterprises to look towards obtaining data from as many machines and sensors as possible, which is a trend that has continued on from past years.

Overcoming The Barriers To Digitalisation

In order to digitalise more effectively, companies have more to gain from standardisation than competition. Currently, Germany is leading the effort to create common industry wide standards and they have done quite well as the VDMA is leading the machine standardisation for Germany. Countries in the ASEAN region may need to follow on their footsteps. Next, governments across the region should also help in funding digitisation initiatives and this is especially important for SMEs.

Finally, re-training and upskilling the workforce is needed. We are facing shortages in data engineers, data scientists, data analysts in the region and re-training and upskilling is especially important as older manufacturing jobs disappear and newer ones are created in their place.

The Importance Of Data Collection, ML And AR Technologies

On top of sending data over standardised communication protocol, companies will increasingly look towards getting standardised information from each machine type. This so called “information modelling” and is relevant to a production line today as there is hardly a “homogenous” production line containing the same machine model from the same manufacturer.

Another focus for the metalworking and CNC world will be the use of AR technologies. While still a cutting edge technology today, this technology holds a lot of promise from speeding up operators to training, to advancing maintenance work. At the bleeding edge, we are seeing an increasing trend of ML implementation directly on a premise or machine. While this is on early stages, we feel that this would be the internal focus of many bleeding edge suppliers moving forward.

 

Alex Teo

Managing Director and Vice President, Southeast Asia, Siemens PLM Software

The outlook in Asia Pacific continues to be favourable in 2019. With a dynamic economy and an extremely fast-growing internet population, Southeast Asian markets are good options for companies looking to diversify and add to their operations in China. Especially as rising labour costs and increasingly volatile market conditions in China cause more firms to relocate their production in order to spread out risk and gain access to new markets.

The Growth Of Mass Customisation Focused Technologies

The shift towards a knowledge-intensive economy in Southeast Asia is a by-product of the global movement towards a more individualized and personalized consumption economy. Therefore, the region is expected to transit from the age of mass-production, to one of mass-customisation which is a trend that has been highlighted at the ASEAN Summit. Due to this, we are expecting manufacturers to adopt and implement technologies such as cloud-based product lifecycle management solutions, as well as Digital Twin technologies, in order to be able to produce meet the level of rigour and scale that is required for mass-customisation.

The Development Of Disruptive And New Technologies

Disruptive technologies such as robotics, computer numerical control (CNC) machines, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, scanning technology and smart devices will persist and will be ubiquitous across the product value chain. In the case of additive manufacturing, markets such as Singapore, China and South Korea have already identified it as a growth potential and are actively investing in the technology to create high-end jobs and services.

Additionally, Dyson has also announced plans for its first electric car, to be built in a new automotive manufacturing facility in Singapore that is set for completion in 2020. The selection of Singapore as a site for this facility – which has not seen automotive manufacturing since Ford closed its factory 40 years ago – is a surprise for many. This investment which is part of Dyson’s USD 3.3 billion global investment drive in new technology, is a game changer for the electronics and heavy machinery industries in the region.

 

Ian Roberts

Regional Executive Director, UBM

In 2019, the ASEAN region will remain as an attractive area for investment. The ongoing trade war between China and the USA is creating problems and opportunities within the ASEAN region as although foreign investment companies are starting to relocate their manufacturing plants away from China, countries within ASEAN particularly Vietnam and Indonesia, are benefiting from the relocation of manufacturing plants into their countries.

The Rise Of Indonesia And Vietnam 

Most of UBM’s trade shows have continued to grow, particularly in Vietnam where there are numerous opportunities in both HCM and Hanoi. Currently, the biggest problem for the organisation of events in Vietnam is the size of the venues in both HCM and Hanoi which restricts UBM’s expansion plans. However, this also reinforces Vietnam’s position as UBM’s strongest market since 2018.

In Indonesia, the economic growth in the short term will be modest due to the Rupiah depreciation as we all as the impact of the upcoming presidential elections in April.  This will affect overseas investment as investors take a “wait and see” approach. Thus, investments will be halted for at least the first half of the year. For this reason, Indonesia is expected to rely on domestic consumption and household spending to drive the economy. However in the long term, Indonesia remains a strategic and lucrative market for investors as it continues to offer strong economic fundamentals to spur the growth of the middle class and fuel consumer spending which is a key driver of growth.

Growth Of Smart Factories And Smart Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s main selling point can no longer be its low wages if it is to remain competitive. Implementation of new technologies are needed to help close the productivity gap. This means factories will need to integrate technologies such as robotics to maximise productivity, minimise human failure and prevent work-related accidents. Aside from that, companies could integrate AI and data analytics to make automation processes more intelligent and to improve efficiency.

A report by McKinsey & Company has highlighted that Southeast Asia needs to embrace Industry 4.0 to unlock its potential in manufacturing. Through this report, it is stated that disruptive technologies associated with Industry 4.0 would have an impact on productivity on a scale that is similar to the introduction of the steam engine had during the first Industrial Revolution. Globally, if the digital technologies of Industry 4.0 were to be embraced and integrated efficiently, it is forecasted that it could contribute between USD 1.2 trillion and USD 3.7 trillion in business profits. Meanwhile in ASEAN, the impact of Industry 4.0 could see productivity gains of between USD 216 billion to USD 627 billion.

 

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Norbert Seo

Senior Vice President, Market Division Asia & Australia, Bystronic Pte Ltd

2018 was one of the most successful years for Bystronic due to numerous product launches in the gold, silver and bronze segments of the market as well as international business expansions.

In 2019, the economy is uncertain because of market turmoil and currency slumps but sheet metal continues to have a wide application in industries that are set for growth such as the automotive, semiconductor and electronic industries. Additionally, governments across Asia are continuously building and developing infrastructure and new industrial areas which create indirect opportunities for the sheet metal fabrication market.

The Growth Of Automation

The industry is currently in the age of automation. This is because automation allows for shorter lead times, greater accuracy, higher quality and competitive pricing. In the field of laser cutting, automation makes it possible to process not only large series but also small batch sizes, while maintaining the flexibility that users require to always respond to changing order situations.

Implementation Of Networked Production

With automation drastically changing the outlook of the sheet metal industry, Bystronic is systematically driving forward the vision of “World Class Manufacturing”. This is based on a comprehensive range of new products and services with which Bystronic is gearing its users’ process landscape towards networked production. It features innovative solutions that go far beyond the conventional idea of a machine tool. It’s about fusing the individual processes relating to laser cutting and bending into a network of intelligent components.

 

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