Robotics and advanced automation pivotal in New Industrial Master Plan Transformation - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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Robotics and advanced automation pivotal in New Industrial Master Plan Transformation

Robotics and advanced automation pivotal in New Industrial Master Plan Transformation

12 Oct 2023

Universal Robots (UR), the world’s leading collaborative robot (cobot) company, urged local manufacturing industries to boost investment in robotics and advanced automation to help Malaysia achieve its targeted Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for manufacturing sector of RM587.5 billion by 2030, in line with New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP 2030).

In a statement released today, UR said NIMP 2030 has identified several key challenges including slow improvement in economic complexity and stagnated growth in labour productivity. Malaysia’s degree of economic complexity as measured by the Economic Complexity Index (ECI) has been stagnant up to 2020; while labour productivity growth is lower than Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines since 2000, and lower than Vietnam since 2005.

NIMP 2030 aims to catalyse Malaysia’s manufacturing industry growth by increasing economic complexity in production, advancing digital adoption, championing zero emissions, and safeguarding economic security and inclusivity. Malaysia Robotic Roadmap 2021 to 2030 sets a robot density target of 195 units per 10,000 employees by 2030, from 55 units per 10,000 employees in 2019.

Among the industrial tasks identified for robotics and advanced automation in NIMP 2030 include welding, assembling, inspecting defects and packaging – all crucial areas which cobots are best designed for. Capable of performing a myriad of applications, cobots are designed to share the workspace with humans, making automation easier for businesses of all sizes. Meanwhile, the global collaborative robots market size, valued at US$1.23 billion in 2022, is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.0% from 2023 to 2030.

Compared to industrial robots, cobots offer a lightweight and space-saving solution capable of flexibility on the manufacturing floor. For instance, a singular cobot can be deployed for assembling and palletising yet redeployed for welding and inspecting defects later down the line. The different capabilities of cobots allows automation for different forms of manufacturing – from automotive and medical devices, to pharmaceutical and machinery.

“Cobots offer manufacturers in Malaysia, from SMEs to MNCs, a flexible solution capable of performing a range of applications at energy efficient levels,” said UR Regional President APAC Adam Sobieski.

“Accelerating the adoption of automation will be key in driving innovation, enhancing productivity, and creating new opportunities for growth. It will play a pivotal role in charting the next seven years of Malaysia’s industrial transformation.”

Cobots also support the NIMP 2030’s push for net zero. When put against industrial robots, the smaller size of cobots is an obvious difference, translating to less energy consumed during operation. For example, the UR3e only consumes 100W on average, which is the same amount of energy as an average desktop computer. The slightly larger UR5e and the newest generation of gaming consoles both use approximately 200W. Moving up in size, the UR10e and UR16e have average power consumption of 350W, the same amount of power as a basic household blender, while having the ability to carry 10 and 16 kilos respectively. The newest generation cobot – the UR20, can carry a payload of 20 kilos using 500W, the same amount of power as the most efficient washing machines.

One common misconception is that automation takes over the job of human workers, but the goal of cobots is to work alongside humans collaboratively. Cobots take over the tedious, dangerous, and straining aspects of manufacturing, while allowing human workers to be deployed for more human-centric aspects of the job. Adopting a cobot does not mean sacking a worker, but giving said worker an additional helping hand with the job. In fact, this helps upskill the worker through exposure to technology, providing opportunity previously lacking with manual labour. It aids in building supply chain resilience and giving security to the labour force, which contributes to the NIMP 2030 mission of safeguarding economic security and inclusivity.

In the bid to encourage the adoption of automation in Malaysia, UR will also be hosting Collaborate APAC 2023 in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 25, 2023 – the largest cobot conference in the region.

Source: The Sun Daily