The high level of interest in smart factory and automation technologies in South Korea is understandable – the country has the highest density of industrial robots per 1,000 workers in manufacturing of any nation on Earth.
Additionally, some of its companies are not only global operations, they are household names all over the world.
Samsung, for example, which recently released what is one of the first foldable smartphones (see infographic below), is headquartered in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea.
The company is constantly competing with Apple to be the top supplier of smartphones in the world.
Yet, behind the fierce rivalry, there is also co-operation. Apple is reported to have worked with Samsung to manufacture the screens for one of its latest iPhone models.
Both companies are pushing the limits of what is possible in technology, not only in terms of the product itself, the smartphone, but also in terms of manufacturing.
An increasing amount of the activity that goes into making smartphones and other technology is taking place in what are called “smart factories”.
While it may still be a vague term, most people sort of understand what it means. They can guess it means digitized and highly automated – to the point of no human involvement in many stages of the process.
But the details are still being discussed and the technologies are being developed, which means there are plenty of seminars, conferences and industry events about the subject.
One such event was the recent Smart Factory + Automation World Show, which took place from March 27th to 29th 2019 at Coex in Seoul.
The event actually brought together a couple of other industry trade shows together and attracted more than 40,000 industry attendees.
This year’s Smart Factory + Automation World expo combined three massive events: Smart Factory Expo, aimex (Industrial Automation, Instrumentation & Measurement Exhibition), and the Korea Vision Show.
The three expos – spanning more than 36,000 sqm of space – saw a total participation of 481 exhibiting companies and 1,735 booths. The 40,000 attendees represented a more than 30 percent increase on 2018.
A survey of those who attended Smart Factory + Automation World 2019 this year showed that almost half wanted to “collect new product and technical information”, while one-quarter aimed to identify new industry trends.
Concurrent events included the 4th Industrial Revolution Robotics Conference, 3D Printer User Conference, Machine Vision Seminar, and Industrial Innovation Day.
The expo was jointly coordinated by the Korea Smart Factory Foundation, Coex, Chomdan, the Korean Smart Manufacturing Industry Association, Korea Machine Vision Industry Association, Iomedia, and the Korean Sensors Society.