SIRIM pushes local SMEs to embrace digitalisation for IR 4.0
15 Jul 2020
The issue of having local SMEs embrace digitisation and Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) is not new, but now SIRIM is joining the cause to push local entrepreneurs and SMEs to assess, learn and understand relevant platforms or technologies and use cases to propel them to embrace IR 4.0.
SIRIM aims to establish a Smart Manufacturing Experience Centre to serve as a place for the industry to learn and experience the application of IR 4.0 technology, to provide a ‘test bed’ for companies to test using their own data and to train industry and institute of higher learning on the application of IR 4.0 technology as well as learn through successful real use cases from SIRIM and collaborators.
According to its president and group chief executive, Ahmad Fadzil Mohamad Hani, the Experience Centre will enable local talents to develop solutions to address pain points in their production line or shop floor.
“Hence we have embarked on a collaborative partnership model, in which we have engaged multinationals such Hitachi, Huawei and Bosch Rexroth to bring their technology into the experience centre,” he told the media after the agency’s webinar on ‘Technology Platform: Towards Affordable & Cost-Effective Digitalisation Process’.
Ahmad Fadzil assured that this will be done at an affordable cost. To this end, Huawei has offered a free trial period to demonstrate the returns on investment on their digitalisation.
“There is a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude among most Malaysian companies. We want our people – be they SIRIM’s scientists, engineers. standards secretaries or management system auditors – to be proactive and become agents of change in sharing new ideas, concepts. standards and technologies when they are on the ground,” he said.
Ahmad Fadzil related that SIRIM has the hardware capabilities such as additive manufacturing, 3D printing, rapid prototyping augmented reality and automated optical inspection to assist local players, but the initiative will focus on affordable digital and cloud-based solutions, hence the onboarding of the collaborative partners.
“You can buy equipment and have the capabilities but the digitisation process must occur,” he stressed.
For now, SIRIM has started the ball rolling by engaging local companies via its webinars and it will be continued organically prior to the opening of the Experience Centre, which is expected to be launched early next year.
During the webinar, Bosch Rexroth Sdn Bhd director Royce Tan said the first step for SMEs to embrace IR 4.0 is to enable their data to be accessed on real-time.
“Although they may want to have the latest machines such as robots and other automated machines, data must first be presented in digital form that is real-time and correct. You also need to know what data that you need to process to get the intended results before you invest in digitalising your business,” he said.
He shared an anecdote where a local plant with well over 90% line utilisation rate has been optimised further by integrating sensors into their equipment, which enabled them to carry out pre-emptive maintenance and reduce unexpected line stoppage at the plant.
Tan highlighted that the solution, smart sensor and gateway used to solve the problem does not cost much as long as businesses know what issues they want to resolve.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Fadzil said SIRIM has a wealth of programmes and initiatives to facilitate faster economic recovery, like its SIRIM-Fraunhofer programme, which is aimed at increasing the productivity of SMEs in the manufacturing sector via technology penetration and upgrading.
He said SIRIM plans to introduce new digital modalities to prepare manufacturers and industry at large for the new normal, post-Covid19.
“In our commitment to building capabilities and capacities in the industry towards achieving higher productivity, we offer strategic solutions that are up to date with emerging trends and tailored to the needs of modern enterprises. SIRIM combines technological innovations with business-oriented disciplines to deliver quality products and services that are relevant to the marketplace, he added.
Huawei Malaysia’s Malaysia cloud & AI business vice president, Lim Chee Siong illustrated that digitalisation does not necessarily require huge investment and fancy application.
“Just by using a QR code to enable, even a pisang goreng seller could be digitalised.”
Hitachi Asia (Malaysia) managing director, Chew Huat Seng said the first step for SMEs is to change their mindset and try to understand the meaning of industrial revolution within their operations, to figure out what transformation they need from there and study the use cases to find the best solutions.