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Trends and Predictions for Asia Pacific’s Industrial Business in2023

By Alfred Lee, President Industrial, Schaeffler Asia Pacific

Maintanence guy is controlling the production of solar power_master

Asia Pacific (APAC) is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and industrial sectors and accounts for 48.5% of the world’s manufacturing output today. On balance, the outlook for the industrial sector in APAC is favorable, supported by projected long-term growth drivers in population growth, trade volumes, and rapid infrastructure advancements which will drive increased demand for goods manufactured in the region. Having demonstrated continued strength in 2022, the manufacturing sector will continue to build on the momentum and outperform forecasts from previous years.

Setting benchmarks in the robotics business field

Recent technological breakthroughs are massively accelerating capabilities and adoption. The industrial manufacturing and logistics sector has led the way in robotics adoption as game changing catalysts to curb wage inflation, labor shortages, demographic trends, and supply chain transformation.

A 2022 McKinsey Global Industrial Robotics Survey reported that many companies across the industrial world are expected to invest 25% of their capital expenditure on smart manufacturing solutions and automated systems over the next five years – with expected benefits in output quality, efficiency, and uptime.

As a leading global supplier to automotive and industrial sectors, Schaeffler recently presented a new portfolio of precision strain wave gear for lightweight robots and cobots. These gear units come with precision, silence, and consistency and are characterized by a torsional backlash that is ten times lower and a service life that is three times longer than the average market standard. Just last year, Schaeffler purchased a global manufacturer and supplier of linear technology components and systems, Ewellix Group. This acquisition strengthens Schaeffler’s market position, now with a robust portfolio across technology, electromechanical industrial actuators, and lifting columns that can be used in robotics and mobile machinery. This accession also represents a step in the diversification of their business.

Production Line in Hameln, Germany

Schaeffler also acquired CERASPIN, with over 25 years of experience in developing premium ceramic products processed into rolling elements for various applications. The addition of high quality ceramic components to the industrial division’s capabilities is valuable with bearings manufactured based on this technology widely used in strategic growth areas such as wind energy and medical equipment due to its characterized low friction, reduced wear, and particularly high accuracy and precision. While advanced manufacturing capabilities help businesses resolve the challenges of tomorrow, such technologies also play a crucial role in achieving decarbonization goals.

Navigating the winds of change for a sustainable future

With an increasing awareness of climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions, there is a growing demand for renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. Sustainability is driving the flight to quality across APAC markets, with set ambitious energy targets and heavy investments in renewable energy infrastructure.

Schaeffler sets an example by priming sustainability as a central component of its Roadmap 2025 corporate strategy. By 2040, the group will have achieved climate neutrality for its own production and supply chain, such as expanding its renewable energy generation at multiple sites and securing green electricity from wind power for convertible uses.

Last year, Schaeffler acquired a solar farm in Hammerstein, Germany enough to supply 2% of the required electricity by Schaeffler’s locations in the country. This acquisition represents a further key milestone in the company’s decarbonization strategy, which aims to meet 10% of its global energy requirements from self-generated renewable electricity by 2025 and 25% by 2030.

In addition, the group also signed a letter of intent with French hydrogen producer Lhyfe, which produces and supplies green hydrogen for mobility and industrial applications. The switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is crucial to achieving climate-neutral production while meeting the demands of green hydrogen in the commitment towards industrial sustainability.

Jet engine and robot arm

To help industrial business build their predictive maintenance capabilities in an eco-friendly manner, Schaeffler’s acquisition of ECO-Adapt SAS strengthens their position as an innovative market leader for condition monitoring based on electrical signal analysis and systems for optimization of energy consumption. ECO-Adapt SAS is a complement to the group’s existing condition monitoring solutions, such as the OPTIME ecosystem, by offering reliable predictive maintenance solutions for industrial machinery based on signal analysis, providing additional security against potential failures of electrical components holistically and sustainably.

From market-leading rolling bearing solutions for wind power plants to renewable energy production, Schaeffler offers both mechanical and digital solutions for the energy-efficient operation of machines and plants.

Localization to stay ahead of the competition

Localization has been a focal point for many businesses as it provides them with the ammunition to be agile, resilient, and efficient. Not only does it help companies improve supply chain resilience by reducing dependence on global supply chains, but it also helps increase competitiveness by tailoring products to meet local market demands and better compete with global competitors. Schaeffler is consistently working on strengthening its local footprint, cost competitiveness, and business mix to create a positive impact on the entire supply chain ecosystem, with capacity expansion for plants in India and Vietnam underway.

For example, as the Indian market continues to flourish, the Group has invested in building state-of-the-art R&D centers and incorporated the latest engineering tools and testing equipment to support future mobility projects. As more companies race towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions, the adoption of additive manufacturing capabilities, advanced materials, and sustainable practices will help them accelerate decarbonization efforts, reduce waste production, and lower energy consumption for a greener future.

Find out more on how Schaeffler can help your company stay ahead with future trends with its latest technologies and innovation here.


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