Government incentives driving growth of Malaysian automation and control systems market, says report

malaysian factory robot
A factory in Malaysia. Picture courtesy of The Malay Mail Online

Government incentives and adoption of new technologies are driving the growth of the Malaysian automation and control systems market, according to a new report.

The Malaysian automation and control systems market, one of the biggest for suppliers, is stable and growing, says the study by Frost & Sullivan, which projects the market to be worth more than $409 million in the next four years.

Government incentives to aid manufacturing and infrastructure spend, as well as an established end-user base of sophisticated automation systems, are driving growth in the region.  Continue reading Government incentives driving growth of Malaysian automation and control systems market, says report

China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

hit robot polishing-for-each-product
A jade-polishing robot produced by the HIT Robot Group, one of China’s largest robot makers

China’s enthusiasm for new technology, combined with its paranoia about being left behind in a globally intensifying high-tech competition, sometimes leads it to create small bubbles in its economy which may or may not dissipate in the disciplined manner in which the markets they encompass may have emerged in the first place. 

Two years ago, the government of the world’s most populous nation of 1.4 billion people launched a 10-year national plan to “transform China from a manufacturing giant into a world manufacturing power”, in the words of XinhuaNet, the state propaganda outlet.  Continue reading China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

Chinese government’s plan to grow robotics and automation industry seems to be working

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Robot waiting staff at a restaurant in China. Picture courtesy: TheRobotReport.com

China’s plan to expand the nation’s robotics and automation industry seems to be working, according to a new survey by TheRobotReport.com

The website tracks robotics companies worldwide and editor Frank Tobe says he wrote about 194 robot companies in China in 2015, but now that number has more than doubled to greater than 500.

The Chinese government launched a “robot revolution” as part of its Made in China 2025 program a couple of years ago, partly because it has become the world’s biggest buyer of robots and would like some of those robots to be made by domestic companies.  Continue reading Chinese government’s plan to grow robotics and automation industry seems to be working

SSL selected to partner with Darpa to develop satellite servicing business

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Space Systems Loral, a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, today announced it has been selected by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop the capability to service and maintain spacecraft and other infrastructure in the geostationary arc.

Darpa’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites program is expected to be the foundation of a new business for SSL that will serve both commercial and government operators with repair, upgrade, relocation, and refueling of on-orbit assets.

Howard Lance, chief executive officer, SSL MDA Holdings, says: “This will be SSL’s first spacecraft contract with the Department of Defense in recent years and it is the third time that we have been selected by the US government for a major program in just two months, following our recent selections for Nasa’s Restore-L and Psyche missions.

“It clearly demonstrates the success of our strategy to bring the benefits of our commercial business to a broader audience and to grow our business with US government work.”  Continue reading SSL selected to partner with Darpa to develop satellite servicing business

Engineering clusters driving automotive innovation

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Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director at EU Automation looks at some of the most exciting automotive engineering clusters around the world

While autonomous vehicles are making most of the headlines in the world of automotive engineering, behind the scenes, the industry is proving that collaboration rather than autonomy is the road to success.

Manufacturing clusters are not a new concept. First noted in the UK in the early 1900s, highly concentrated and localised industries, otherwise known as industry clusters, became home to a rising population and lucrative activities.

Industrial clusters now span the globe, with highly innovative companies dedicated to some of the fastest moving (in more ways than one) industries. Automotive engineering clusters are particularly prevalent worldwide.  Continue reading Engineering clusters driving automotive innovation

Policy wonks call for 250,000 redundancies

A think tank in the UK has called on the government to fire 250,000 public sector workers and use automation technology instead. 

The Reform group released a report in which it says that the government is excessively bureaucratic and inefficient.

Although similar ideas are being floated in the US, there seems no general public discussion about subject.

US President Donald Trump has, however, ordered a freeze on hiring for all civilian departments of the government.

Slovenia backs Yaskawa with €6 million

yaskawa slovenia

The government of Slovenia has decided to back Yaskawa’s investment in the country with €5.6 million of public money. 

Yaskawa is building a factory in the country and plans to invest a total of €25 million in the European nation of just over 2 million people.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar said at the time: ““I am very pleased that our efforts paid off and that the renowned Japanese company of Yaskawa Electric decided to invest in Slovenia.”

The Yaskawa investment is forecast to create more than 170 new jobs and the industrial giant is regarded as the “most important Japanese company” with assets in the country by the Slovenian government.

Siemens to invest $133 million in Canadian operations

siemens and seneca college canada
Last year, Seneca College and Siemens Canada opened what they said was Ontario’s first Mechatronics Simulation and Demonstration Centre

Siemens plans to invest $110.6 million in research and development activities at its plant in Dorval, Canada to design and make improvements to aero-derivative gas turbines.

These turbines are used for, among other things, the production of electricity, and serve as a backup source in the event that the existing network is unable to meet the demand.

The engineering company also plans to invest $22 million to launch a platform of expertise related to Industry 4.0 and the implementation of a training system integrated into the workplace.  Continue reading Siemens to invest $133 million in Canadian operations

Manufacturing: Apple considers making in India

lockIndia’s significant presence at Hannover Messe in 2015 signalled the country’s renewed determination to reinvigorate its manufacturing base. And in the last couple of years, it has made significant progress with its ambitions. 

The government has been pouring money into the manufacturing sector, and encouraging foreign direct investment through a range of incentives, not least of which is more attention and action to facilitate the sector’s development through the upgrading of infrastructure and business practices.

One example of the country’s technological ambition is the KEF Industrial Park, which is shown in the video above. As one observer put it: “It is a mind-blowing set-up and only believable if you see it. They make everything at the factory. Even the bathrooms and rooms, and then transport it by road to the site. The interiors and wirings are done at the site.  Continue reading Manufacturing: Apple considers making in India

Foxconn and Apple negotiating with Indian government on manufacturing and retailing

Apple and its main manufacturer Foxconn are negotiating with the Indian government over the possible establishment of a manufacturing plant and retail stores in the country. 

This is according to reports on the AppleInsider.com website, which quotes India’s Economic Times newspaper.

Indian business regulations require foreign companies to source at least 30 per cent of their goods from local suppliers, a requirement which has stalled Apple’s plan to open up a number of stores in the country of 1 billion people.  Continue reading Foxconn and Apple negotiating with Indian government on manufacturing and retailing

Airbus and Renishaw team up to develop ‘innovative design approach to meet future demand for new aircraft’

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Renishaw is contributing its additive manufacturing expertise to a new £17.7 million project, being led by Airbus in the UK, to develop an innovative way of designing and manufacturing aircraft wings, which will encourage a “right first time approach” and reduce development time. 

More than 30,000 new aircraft are expected to be required in the next 15-20 years, replacing existing in-service models and also to expand airlines’ fleets as the number of air travellers increases. 

The project, called Wing Design Methodology Validation – or Windy – has been made possible thanks to joint industry and UK government investment from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). It was one of a number of projects announced by BEIS during the Farnborough International Airshow.  Continue reading Airbus and Renishaw team up to develop ‘innovative design approach to meet future demand for new aircraft’

White House could replace millions of US government workers with robots

IPSoft’s Amelia digital assistant
IPSoft’s Amelia digital assistant, which recently found a government job in the UK

The White House is preparing to replace millions of US government workers with robots, if comments by a senior technology official is anything to go by. 

Writing on the White House blog, Ed Felten, deputy US chief technology officer, says the government is working with various agencies to integrate artificial intelligence systems into its operations.

His title for the piece takes the view that the government is “preparing for the future”, and talks of the “tremendous opportunities… across the federal government in privacy, security, regulation, law, and research and development” in incorporating AI into government.

The US government currently employs approximately 22 million humans.

Continue reading White House could replace millions of US government workers with robots

Foxconn fires 60,000 workers and replaces them with robots

In what is almost certainly a sign of things to come, in China as well as around the world, Foxconn has fired 60,000 factory workers and replaced them with robots, according to a report in the South China Morning Post

The website quotes a local government official saying: “The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs. More companies are likely to follow suit.”

Foxconn, a Taiwanese company with factories in China, is one of Apple’s main suppliers, and the factory in question is located in Kunshan, Jiangsu province of China.

Full story at South China Morning Post.

Autonomous car expert says his enthusiasm for the technology was seen as ‘misguided’

Prof Nick Reed, TRL Academy Director
Prof Nick Reed, TRL Academy Director

One of the UK’s leading experts in the field of autonomous cars says his enthusiasm for the technology was seen as premature and misguided by some people.

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Professor Nick Reed, academy director at Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), says he has long believed automation was the way to go.

“Technology moves on at a rapid pace and there were certainly some commentators in the early days who felt that my enthusiasm for vehicle automation as an important topic of research was perhaps a little premature, or even misguided,” says Prof Reed. Continue reading Autonomous car expert says his enthusiasm for the technology was seen as ‘misguided’

UK hits the road with autonomous vehicles

The British government has made its first moves to support the development of the next generation of autonomous vehicles, awarding eight new projects a total of £20 million from its £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund.

Driverless car in Milton Keynes, UK
Driverless car being tested during trials in Milton Keynes, UK

The government said the awards are intended to help fund research and development of “enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems”, including what it calls new “talking car technologies”.

Brings to mind Kitt, the car nominally driven by David Hasselhoff in the 1980s classic television series, Knight Rider. Kitt – short for Knight Industries Two Thousand – was, of course, a fully autonomous car which could also talk.  Continue reading UK hits the road with autonomous vehicles