An Interview with Mr David Wong, Managing Director of SMC Corporation (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
1. With subsidiaries in Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines (SAMVIP) and as the leader in pneumatic technology, could you briefly share with us an insight of SMC Corporation? Could you describe the roles and influences of SMC Corporation in industrial automation? What are the chances and opportunities do you see for the pneumatic technology in the industrial automation in the long run?
SMC Singapore and its regional offices of SAMVIP had enjoyed robust growth in the last 5 years. In these countries, we have market share of more than 40% and are particularly dominant in the Singapore and Malaysia markets. This is in line with SMC global market share of more than 36%. Customers in general are requesting products that are, energy saving, light weight, smaller footprint and space saving. This in part is due to the awareness of saving the environment as well as to increase performance and efficiency of machinery.
SMC had worked hard to meet these criteria and have introduced many newly improved products as well as new products with the latest technology in the last few years. The Singapore front end semiconductor market is going through a correction as global demand for smartphones slows down even though there is an increased demand for electric vehicles. Coupled with the ongoing US China trade war, its impact on the world market is inevitable even if it may be short to medium term. However, SMC remains optimistic in our region and expect sales to improve in most of these countries in 2019.
We will continue our efforts to streamline our operations, improve our supply chain capability and further increase our technical support. We have invested heavily to expand our factories in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines. These will prepare us to shorten delivery and increase our competitive edge. Most importantly, our policy to invest on people will bring us long term benefits and it will continue to show in our service level to our customers.
2. With Industry 4.0 on the lead, what are some challenges that SMC Corporation face? How does SMC Corporation work to overcome the obstacles? What are SMC Corporation’s plans in tailoring the needs of the industrial automation in regards with the blooming of Industry 4.0? What is your point of view regarding the acceptance and implementation of the Industry 4.0 across the Southeast Asia?
Against the backdrop of rapid changes in expectations and preferences with Industry 4.0, where technologies are developing much faster than our understanding of them, we feel the need to meet the requirements of our customers in the development of our products. It is a great chance for SMC to add value to our customers, to assist them in building next generation machines. SMC offers a range of products from sensors to fieldbus systems, being IO-Link enabled, it allows for data collection and feedback.
With such bi-directional communication, data can be obtained with ease and convenience. It is pivotal and essential to view the adoption of Industry 4.0 not solely from one industrial partner, but a host of ecosystem partners to embark on the vertical and horizontal integration of their specialized products/services for a more holistic approach on Industry 4.0 adoption. SEA market is gradually warming up and easing into the ideas of Industry 4.0, readiness will take some time as the prevalence still lacks and increased implementation has to be put in place for acceptance to come forth. Nonetheless, Industry 4.0 is highly relevant and SMC envisions many opportunities worth exploring.
3. Could you discuss on the distinct specialty of the two new products which are impact blow gun IBG and manifold valve wireless system EX600-W?
IBG Impact blow gun boasts energy saving feature with reduced air consumption. High air usage is such a common issue especially for blowing applications where air is purged in high volumes, leading to high air consumption. With shorter blowing time and optimised air pressure during blowing, air consumption is reduced which in turn generates air savings for customers. High peak pressure is achievable with unique internal construction that eliminates pressure drop while ensuring effective blowing. EX600-W is SMC’s manifold valve decentralised wireless fieldbus system, compatible with industrial Ethernet, which allows the connection of several slave units to a master unit without having to use cables.
This system requires less cables & connectors, less installation & maintenance, less breakage & disconnection risk. Customers can achieve a totally reliable, noise-resistant communication with frequency hopping and data encryption in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. It is suitable for any application, being ideal for welding environments, tool changes in robot arms or rotary/indexing tables while introducing flexibility in your machines with its simple layout modification & quick connection.
4. SMC Corporation will showcase its Smart Technology Solutions at ITAP on 22 to 24 October 2019. What are your aims and expectations for the event?
As ITAP is the leading trade event for Industry 4.0 in Asia Pacific region, we would like to showcase the integration of SMC smart devices in Industry 4.0 applications & SMC products' significance in enabling Smart Factory Automation this year. This will gain SMC brand awareness and penetration into the industrial automation market, while positioning SMC as a product innovation and technology leader, which widens our market coverage to better serve our customers.
5. With your continuous and unceasing products, applications and services, what are your competitive advantages compared to the other competitors in similar market?
SMC takes pride in enhancing our sales force capabilities, by equipping them with in-depth knowledge, committed service and technical support to customers, with short delivery lead time. Additionally, SMC always stays open and receptive to listen to our customers’ needs and requests. Every SMC staff lives by the SMC motto of “Always Getting Better”. Not only are we dedicated to enhance our service and support to our customers, we are committed to improve our products with added features and advantages to stay relevant and ahead of industrial market trends to cater to our customers’ every need