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The Megatrends That Push Manufacturers Towards Industry 4.0

The Megatrends That Push Manufacturers Towards Industry 4.0

Disruptive technologies and megatrends are shaping the future of manufacturing. The fourth industrial revolution has been gathering momentum in recent years and is set to be transformative for Southeast Asian manufacturers. Industry 4.0 refers to the digitisation of the manufacturing industry, and a realisation of the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), combined with artificial intelligence and data science. Done right, Industry 4.0 will enable manufacturers to improve efficiencies whilst reducing costs. By Vincent Tang, Regional Vice President, North Asia, Epicor.

THE industrial revolution is far from surprising. By 2020, there will be 30 billion connected devices on earth. This will lead to the creation of a big data mountain that would have grown beyond recognition. Machines communicating with people as well as with other machines are creating so much data that we have generated more data in the past two years than in the previous 5,000 years of human history.

It is now up to manufacturers to unlock the potential of this data. The information generated by the increase numbers of connected devices and machines represents a significant opportunity. By determining how to best identify, capture and interpret this increased volume of data, it can help organisations understand their market and customers better, as well as gain market share.

Southeast Asia alone accounts for five percent of global manufacturing activity, and with deeper regional economic integration brought about by the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community, it is poised to become a more competitive industrial centre. Two fifths (40 percent) of the industrial companies in Southeast Asia have already rated their level of digitisation as high, and this value is expected to rise to 69 percent within the next five years.

Manufacturers in Southeast Asia have an opportunity to leapfrog ahead of those in developed economies because they have fewer legacy issues such as outdated systems, processes, and technological capabilities that need to be addressed.

In today’s fast moving global markets, Southeast Asian manufacturers need to respond quickly to changing demands and maximise new market opportunities. From all indications, we are in an era of significant convergence, where information technology, operational technology, and global megatrends are on a collision course. This will drive changes in how we do business and how we interact with customers and suppliers.

Megatrend #1—Demographic Shifts

We are witnessing population growth in some nations and shrinkage in others as well as a growing middle class, consumer markets shifting from the west to the east and an ageing population with fewer people entering the manufacturing field.  Take heart though as the technology we are developing continues to make it easier to collaborate and is helping to attract the discerning millennial generation, which is anticipated to account for 75 per cent of the global workforce in 2025, and will play an important role in manufacturing as it continues to evolve.

Megatrend #2—The Globalisation Of Future Markets

Companies will expand their operations globally, with worldwide exports expected to triple by 2030. Exports from emerging and developing countries will quadruple, and regional and bilateral trade agreements are likely to further open the world’s borders. The share of GDP generated by the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries will grow. Sub-cluster countries comprising Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey (MINT) and Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey (MIST) are in a position to outperform the advanced world. Technology will continue to be a big enabler of globalisation. Not only through eCommerce and the opening up of additional markets, but also with regards to having enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in place to support cross-border trading and multi-country manufacturing processes.

Megatrend #3—Scarce Resources

Due to increased energy use and requirements, we’re going to need more power. Resources are growing scarcer despite the focus on climate change and sustainability, and there will be continued reliance on fossil fuels. The majority of critical raw materials will be likely supplied by China by 2030, and certainly by countries outside the US and Europe. This could potentially be mitigated by innovative recycling technologies, and using technology platforms to streamline processes and improve efficiency so as to facilitate this shift.

Megatrend #4—Knowledge And Gender Gap

Manufacturers will feel the challenges incurred by a decreasing talent pool. As there may not be enough skilled people to perform the jobs of the future. The available pool of workers will likely come from developing countries as we see greater percentages of the population earning post-secondary degrees than their more developed counterparts. An ever increasing mobile workforce will continue to present challenges to employers and may lead to a global struggle for talent. Their wants and needs are very different to those of the generation before. Attracting millennials requires enhanced mobility, technology that meets their expectations with a sophisticated user experience and having more flexible working patterns than ever before.

Industry 4.0, ERP And The Transition Ahead

These four global megatrends, when combined with new and converging technologies, will require manufacturers to transform themselves. We are quickly entering an era of a new type of customer, a global customer who could be based anywhere in the world rather than in the countries that manufacturers have traditionally traded with. This new customer is more mobile, more aware, and more demanding.

In addition to the changing demographic of customers, new game-changing business models will cause continued disruption. Just take a look at what Uber has done to the taxi industry, Airbnb to the hotel industry, and Amazon to the retail sector. The frantic pace of change in every industry demands business owners to adopt new ways of thinking and execution.

There is a tremendous opportunity for manufacturers. However, it can only be realised by using emerging information technologies like social, mobile, analytics, and cloud alongside operational technologies like sensors, machine-to-machine communication, additive manufacturing, and robotics.

Industry 4.0 challenges the way that manufacturing, which is at its very core a risk averse sector, functions with centralised and offline systems that are not interconnected. We would further predict that their factories will soon evolve to become ‘smart’ with the capability to self-manage issues and internal processes.

Crucially, manufacturers need to address whether their existing ERP environment is ready to support their journey towards Industry 4.0.

For manufacturers, growth in an Industry 4.0 environment will be intrinsically linked with a business’s ERP system. Certainly, the boundaries between production and management must disappear, and ERP and manufacturing execution systems (MES) must form an integrated unit if businesses are to realise the growth opportunities presented by this new age of intelligent manufacturing. Taking a critical look at the existing IT environment in your business is the first step towards understanding how ready or unprepared you are for Industry 4.0.

Cobots – Revolutionising Businesses In Southeast Asia

Cobots – Revolutionising Businesses in Southeast Asia

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

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

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

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

Sakari Kuikka, APAC Regional Director, Universal Robots

Cobot Adoption Drives Business Growth

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

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

Delivering Sustainable Growth And Competitiveness

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

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

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

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

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

Looking Forward To The Future, With Some Smart Assistance

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

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

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

Bright Start For Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific

Bright Start For Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific

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

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

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

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

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

The Learning Journey: Industrial transformation – step by step

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

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

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