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Universal Robots to support the Thai manufacturing industry

Universal Robots

Universal Robots (UR), Denmark-based collaborative robots (cobots) technology market leader, has advised Thailand’s manufacturing industry leaders to implement cobots as an effective solution to address skills and labour shortage as well as achieve higher productivity.

The manufacturing sector accounts for 33.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Thailand.1 Thailand has also highlighted improved business conditions in its manufacturing sector. According to IHS Market, the Thailand Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) indicates an improvement in the performance of the sector. With their main industries in electronics, steel, and automotive, the government foresees its manufacturing sector to be back on track in the coming months for the first time in five quarters2.

According to “Collaborative Robot Market by Payload, Component, Application, Industry, and Geography – Global Forecast to 2026” report by Markets and Markets, cobots are increasingly being adopted by various industries due to advantages such as increased productivity and effective employee utilisation.

The market is expected to reach US$7,972 million by 2026 at a CAGR of 41.8%. Cobots’ market in APAC is also expected to surpass that in Europe by 2021 due to large scale manufacturing industries especially automotive, electronics, and metals sectors which are increasingly deploying cobots.

Thailand manufacturing industry stands to benefit most from robotics as its processes involve repetitive work in confined, structured spaces, environments that robots excel in. Cobots can work around the clock, produce consistent work under harsh working conditions without any rest. For every 10,000 employees, Thailand currently has only 45 industrial manufacturing robots, which is lower than the regional average with Singapore and South Korea notching a high 488 and 631 robots per 10,000 employees, respectively.3

Today, UR’s cobots allow employees to move from repetitive, low-value tasks to higher value activities that increase work productivity and quality. “Ever since the term ‘Collaborative Robotics’ was coined, we have been the frontrunners in the robotics industry. We have also marked an entire decade since the very first cobot from Universal Robots was deployed in South Asia.

Safety is imperative and has become the cost of entry into the cobot market now. UR believes in developing affordable, lightweight, and flexible cobots that could deliver a rapid ROI for the manufacturing industry,” says James McKew, Regional Director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots.

With an average payback period as short as twelve months due to increased productivity, quality, and consistency, manufacturers may foresee a return of investment (ROI) before year-end or early 2022.

Safety and Versatility

Yokota Corporation, a Japan-based company that designs and manufactures bearing races, Factory Automation (FA) equipment, machines for assembly, packing and inspections, selected UR5 cobots to address its labour shortages4. The company tried engaging part-time employees and redeploying workers from other departments.

However, these measures proved unproductive. Traditional industrial robots were also considered as a solution but were later found not feasible due to additional space requirements and the need for safety guarding.

With safety and versatility as key benefits, the deployment of UR5 cobots led to the establishment of a stable production system, delivering a 20 percent production increase without the need for additional human resources. As Asia remains the strongest market for industrial robots, Universal Robots encourages local manufacturers to deploy cobots on manufacturing floors.

“By lowering automation barrier within the reach of manufacturers who never thought that they could deploy robots due to cost and complexity, we hope to help Thailand’s industries realise higher productivity and maintain effective utilisation of their plants,” concludes McKew.