Universal Robots (UR), Denmark-based collaborative robots (cobots) market leader has identified Malaysia as a key growth market in line with the country’s increased focus on automation and robotics, as outlined in its National Policy on Industry 4.0 (Industry4WRD), to transform its manufacturing sector.
The manufacturing sector, comprising 98.5 percent of Malaysian SMEs, serves as a major contributor to the country’s economy. In 2018, the sector contributed 22.4 percent of GDP, roughly RM 325 billion.
Sakari Kuikka, General Manager, South-East Asia and Oceania at UR said: “Malaysia deployed just 45 units of industrial robots per 10,000 employees in 2017, almost 50 percent below the global average of 85 units. In a 2017 FMM-MIER survey, only 7.4 percent of Malaysian respondents used autonomous robots – 23.3 percent of which were SMEs. We see huge potential to boost the adoption of robotic automation as the country focuses on strengthening its manufacturing sector and gearing towards becoming a developed nation,” he added.
Since its entry into the Malaysian market in 2013, UR has actively expanded its distribution base. Its cobots are distributed by Bizit Systems, EPCO Precision, Multitrade Asiapac, Servo Dynamics, T.E.M. Engineering and TMS Collaboration Automation.
“Malaysia ranks high in the region in terms of Industry 4.0 readiness according to global surveys. However, this is not the sentiment shared by SMEs who are slow to adopt these technologies. Among the challenges they face included lack of understanding of automation benefits and low awareness on government funding to assist with tech adoption. Last year, about RM5 billion was set aside by the government to help businesses embrace smart technology including automation and robotics.
We recognise these challenges and are working closely with our partners who have the expertise to assess, recommend and implement appropriate robotics solutions, particularly for companies new to automation. We also work with them to provide free cobot workshops to the public. Cobots are more cost effective to set up compared to traditional industrial robots and can automate a wide range of applications, making automation accessible for businesses of all sizes,” he added.
Cobots – robots designed to work safely alongside people – are the fastest growing segment of industrial automation, expected to rise ten-fold to 34 percent of all industrial robot sales by 2025, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).