Interview with Mr. Terence Tan from SIAA and Mr. Fanky from APTIKNAS

1. A brief introduction of yourself and the role you play at Robotics Charter of SIAA and APTIKNAS.

Mr. Terence: For the Robotics Chapter within Singapore Industrial Automation Association (SIAA), we are a team of seven members with various experience in the field of robotics and our task focus on how we could help the adoption of robotics technology within the manufacturing and service industry. Singapore has the potential for the adoption of robotic technology in the automation projects and SIAA is working closely with some of the government agencies to take the lead for some of these demands.


With the focus on robotics technology as one of our key pillars, SIAA will work closely with our members to assist them to take advantage of the opportunities to upscale their domain knowledge in robotics application and to develop product and solutions that can be commercialized and market in the Asia region and beyond.


Mr. Fanky: APTIKNAS (Asosiasi Pengusaha Teknologi Informasi dan Komunikasi Nasional) Indonesian ICT Businessman Association, which has 29 Regional Advisory Council, with a distribution network of 2000 stores throughout Indonesia. APTIKNAS is the transformation of APKOMINDO (the former) and now becomes a new broadened and wider organization. APKOMINDO is 28 years old organization with extensive experiences in the field of ICT and very much well known in Indonesia while APTIKNAS has just been declared in Jakarta on February 24th, 2017.


We are optimistic this organization will become much bigger, stronger and able to contribute to economic growth in Indonesia, especially with the trend of smart city, IoT and the digital economy. Our members profile from Principal, distributor, dealer, system integrator, software developer, and ICT consultants. We have 3 main focuses in 2019 : (1) Smart City and Industry 4.0, (2) Marketplace and (3) Digital Talents. See the detail in www. aptiknas.id . Currently, I am Chairman of APTIKNAS JAKARTA.



2. How do you foresee the growth of industry 4.0, IoT, Automation, and Robotics in SEA?

Mr. Terence: Industry 4.0 is here to stay and there is no doubt about this, throughout the years of Industrialisation in Singapore, we had experienced the various application of Industrial Automation in terms of the manufacturing industry from the focus of appliance manufacturing 30 years ago to high-end semi-conductor Wafer Fab Manufacturing and Bio-Medical and Pharmaceutical manufacturing within the last 10 years.


Through these years of industrialization, many Singapore based multinational companies and SME companies had built up their competence level in Industrial 4.0 application especially those that are related to line automation, shop floor processes and data acquisition. For the initial process of the Industrial 4.0 project implementation, companies need to understand the process flow of their manufacturing line and discover the critical data that will be useful for the manufacturing process to be optimized and respond to demand. The key areas in this aspect are the knowledge and experience that automation can be implemented to measure the efficiency of processes, machine efficiency, and reliability.


This led to the implementation of the Overall Equipment Efficiency measurement solution (OEE) within the manufacturing shop floor as part of the initial Industrial 4.0 project implementation. For these implementations of this OEE solution, IoT application in which the deployment of sensors, digital measuring appliances and digitalization will come in a big way to be part of this Industrial 4.0 project. For the reduction of labor to handle repetitive tasks and process that requires consistency, the use of Robotics arm and handlers will be needed to optimize some of this process as part of the automation project implementation.


Within the ASEAN market, some of the countries had emerged to be more attractive for the investment of manufacturing because of the rising cost in China and also the trade conflict that happened between China and the US. We are witnessing a lot of manufacturing facilities shifting to some of the Asian countries where the labor costs and manufacturing costs are much lower than China in some aspect. This is a good opportunity for Singapore companies in the automation industry to offer our solution for adoption to some of this manufacturing company in the Asia market.


Mr. Fanky: Through this year, we had conducted 20 seminars related to industry 4.0, and focus on specific sectors. We had a seminar in manufacturing, hotel, hospital, education, and government sector. We see that most people in Indonesia still lack knowledge related to industry 4.0, automation and robotics. So we run this seminar series and continue in a specific workshop based on customer’s requirements.


3. How is the adoption of Robotics going on so far, especially in Singapore and Indonesia?

Mr. Terence: In data-wise, Singapore is on number two after Korea in terms of per headcount for robot adoption. Korea was the world largest adopters of industrial robots in 2018, with 631 robots to 10,000 workers while Singapore was second with 488 robots per 10,000 workers. Singapore had identified advanced manufacturing as one of the key growth areas to maintain the country standing in an increasing competitive landscape.


However, the challenge is how the companies keep up with the volume of production which we are covering.in Singapore in the three main verticals with the reduction in workforce allocation; the chemical process, pharmaceutical production, pharma drugs, and semiconductor. These 3 segments affect the GDP growth of the country in terms of the export ratio and hence manufacturing companies in this segment can justify automation solution including implementation of high costs robotics handlers and cobots.


At the same time, the Singapore government is also actively supporting R&D grants and innovative grants to manufacturing companies who took the first steps to get out of the comfort zone and capitalize on new opportunities to adopt robotics in their manufacturing process. Through this initiative, the government aims to spur on factories that are globally competitive, efficient and productive and to date Singapore had been successful in the adoption of robotics in our manufacturing and service segments.


Mr. Fanky: In Indonesia, the adaption of industrial robotics is still very low. This is because of the high cost and also lack of human resource to support the system. In universities, they already have some projects related to robotic, but still far from implementation. And we are working with many parties now to help people understand and get better access to knowledge of robotics.


4. For the Industry 4.0 Automation in general, do you have any suggestion on what the industry should do?

Mr. Terence: In my opinion, the implementation of the Industry 4.0 Automation is a must for any company to survive and sustain their continuous growth. For the company management, they need to have a full understanding of their manufacturing process and detail planning of their digitalization need and Industrial 4.0 adoption program. Overall the Industrial 4.0 automation is not only about technology, automation or offering the best product but also on how the companies can acquire the appropriate data and combine it to offer the premium digital services to their customers.


The best approach to have a successful implementation of the Industry 4.0 Automation is to learn from successful use case that is implemented by companies of the same industry. With the understanding of the use case that had already being implemented, this allows business owners to learn and have an understanding of the application of the automation process, robotics application and Industrial 4.0 implementation. With this domain understanding, the business owner can proceed to customize the Industrial 4.0 automation according to his own companies’ platform, product size, machine production volume and capacity, and human resource allocation and tailor it to optimize the best model and the most cost-effective investment for a successful implementation.


In most instances, there is also retrofitting of some of the legacy machines to ensure that data can be collected from this machine for monitoring of their efficiency and production capacity and their downtime and cause of this downtime. With this data, the management will be able to decide if the company can take on a project or justify to scape the old machine and invest on a new machine so that overall it will be a better decision than to keep a poor health legacy machine that drags down the entire production capacity. By attending conferences and industrial showcases such as ITAP and the Robotics experimental zone within ITAP, this allows business owners and companies management team to understand the various technologies available and how they use common modules such as ROS I programming platform to implement Robotics application for their Industrial 4.0 projects. There are various solutions and integrated applications offer by various solutions providers and integrators for the industrial 4.0 implementation with the exhibition and conference.


Mr. Fanky: In my opinion, Indonesia still needs many stakeholders, including industry and government and university to help people understand better industry 4.0 and automation. This will help to speed up the adaptation of robotics in implementation. Many people are afraid lose their jobs, we need to upgrade their skills (up-skilling) and train new skills (reskilling).


5. There is a lot of system integration to be involved. How is the situation currently?

Mr. Terence: In a typical industrial 4.0 implementation, it does involve a lot of systems integration as sensors and measuring equipment may need to be implemented and to automate some of the repetitive works, robotics can be used to maximize efficiency and consistency. In Singapore, we are not lacking in the numbers of system integrators because in the past where we had a lot of appliance manufacturing companies such as hard disks manufacturing, 4 axes to 6 axes Scale Robots had been implemented in production line to improve productivity and consistent quality for the assembled products.


During that time within the production shop floor, our automation companies had implemented a lot of integrated systems in the hard disk drive manufacturing industry. As our industry changes into the semiconductor, pharmaceuticals, and bio-medical manufacturing most of this industry had also similar needs as the appliance manufacturing industry and as such the transition of automation technology is done seamlessly as the technology and skillsets are similar. Although the wafer fabrication factory may have its own unique needs of robotization and different types of system integration but with the evolution of the technology and the availability of integrated solutions, this led to better and faster implementation as the system integrators upscale themselves in some of this new technology.


We are also experiencing an increase in the numbers of initiatives that had people working closely together with robots in the industries and Singapore is one of the key contributors in this area of automation that had deployed quite a several collaborative robots (cobots) in our advanced manufacturing industry.


Mr. Fanky: Number of system integrators as our member is increasing from year to year. Many companies see many opportunities to become one. And this is good for everybody. Because, as system integrator, you need to understand better on system, and prepare the team to handle and support the system.


6. Currently in Singapore and Indonesia, what are the three biggest industries that are picking up on the adoption of Robotics?

Mr. Terence: If you talk about Industry Robotic applications, these will be three main driving industries in Singapore manufacturing landscape which include the semiconductor industries such as the wafer fabrications factories, the BioMedical and pharmaceutical and the Drug and medicines production and packaging industry. Secondly, we are seeing more applications in the area of service robots. In the Singapore context there is a lot of projects that the agencies, R&D institutions, institute of higher learning are developing service robots for the various service industry such as retail and hospitality, tourism, facility management, hospital, and medical application and also building and construction application.


A service robot is something that the industry is now trying to find the right fit with the correct solution so that it can be commercialized and offered to the market to have a positive business return. It is very important to be business-driven and bottom-line driven. What we are seeing more are success cases like cleaning robots, such as the locally produce lion bots cleaning robots that is showcase in ITAP that had already been commercially deployed in airports and shopping malls to do the cleaning. We had also seen a hospital in Singapore using robotics technology for medicine dispensing and preparation and for the transport of laboratory test samples and documents. In areas of hospitality and retail services, we are also witnessing the use of autonomous robots as a concierge in a delivery application, in customer service application and auto and self-help payment applications.


Mr. Fanky: In robotics adaption, in Indonesia, we think the automotive industries is the leader. Then follow by textile industries, and the last one is the food industry

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