MTDC introduces robotics, other technologies to assist SMEs weather Covid-19 storm
05 May 2020
Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) is introducing robotics, autonomous robotics, 3D printing and drone technologies as production solutions to support the local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief executive officer Datuk Norhalim Yunus said MTDC was currently running programmes on behalf of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) to look at these technologies to assist the SMEs.
“When we talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0), many companies are not in the position to scale up for IR 4.0 within a year.
“So we have agreed to work with one of our tenant companies to offer a retrofitting solution for the SMEs that want to automate their system,” he said, in conjunction with the virtual memorandum of understanding signing ceremony between MTDC and Serba Dinamik Group Bhd to launch the Innovative Transformation Seed Fund today.
The RM6 million Innovative Transformation Seed Fund will encourage newly established start-ups involved in digital or business innovation to commercialise their ideas via a clear business model.
Norhalim said post-Movement Control Order (MCO), a lot of automation would be required among SMEs; therefore, MTDC was currently working with all its fund recipients and tenants to see what they could do to bring up the SMEs along the technology value chain.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that 3D printing technology played a crucial role amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as the technology could be used to print out things that were expensive and difficult to source at an affordable cost.
He said MOSTI had set up a joint community with some ministries such as the Health Ministry and International Trade and Industry Ministry on how 3D printing communities could contribute in assisting the frontliners to fight against COVID-19 in the country.
“In the medium term, more two-way communications are needed so that the 3D printing communities know what is needed from the SMEs, as we all know the supply chain is heavily affected by COVID-19, and businesses might need to wait months for things they want to buy,” he said.
Norhalim disclosed that currently, MTDC was working with a group of companies to deploy autonomous robots in a pilot project at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS), which serves as a COVID-19 facility.
Moving forward, he said its investee companies would also look at how to deploy these robots to other sectors, particularly the agriculture sector, as well as developing drone entrepreneurs focusing on the agriculture sector.