For the past 20 years, Malaysia’s manufacturing sector has embarked on robotic assembly lines, precision engineering and computer controlled processes. Building upon the country’s strong manufacturing base, Malaysia is aligning with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). Being open to emerging technologies is a key competitive differentiator that will assist in overcoming the many challenges faced by today’s businesses.
Companies that are able to grasp these technologies and incorporate them into their future strategy, development and innovation process will stay ahead and achieve much success through higher profitability, better energy efficiency and improved productivity. Some of the Malaysian companies are already undertaking research and development, engineering design, innovation and system integration as well as developing proprietary machinery and equipment for global exports.
To date, there are 165 projects to manufacture robotics and automation equipment for various industries. Most of them are in specialised machinery and equipment for the semiconductor industry and material handling while the rest are in food and beverages processing and packaging. Total investments made in these industries amounted to RM4.9 billion.
There are also more than 35 local systemintegrators (SI)such as ACM, VisDynamics, Kobay Technology, ViTrox, Genetec, Greatech, RC Precision, Pentamaster and Keu Control that can provide integrated automated solutions for high-tech industries. The presence of renowned global manufacturers such as ABB, KUKA (regional offices) and Hirata Engineering, which actively develop and produce robotic arms, have also led to technological progress, skills development and outsourcing requirements for this sub-sector. Malaysia’s engineering supporting companies have also been groomed to provide consistent quality of production and on-time delivery.
Recognising the challenges of transitioning towards this phase, the government is undertaking various efforts toassist the business community. This includes drafting a National Policy on Industry 4.0 that will be tabled in the Cabinet by the fourth quarter of this year and establishing a National Industry 4.0 Taskforce to spearhead the government’s policy and strategy in this area. There is also an industrial study focusing on the Future of Manufacturing “Industry 3+2 sectors”that is led by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).
The outcome of the study is expected to underscore the way forward for these industries vis-à-vis Industry 4.0. It is also a step in the right direction to address some of the existing challenges, such as privacy and security concerns for the implementation of smart factories, lack of inter-industry collaboration due to competition, requirements for a trained and knowledgeable workforce and cost of licensing software or systems. Today, Malaysia continues to adapt to emerging trends to maintain its competitiveness.
Rapid progress int his digital age is driving profound economic changes. The industry has no choice but to change the way it does business and think about the future, or risks being left behind. History has proven that Malaysia is a resilient nation and MIDA will continue to be an active participant in Malaysia’s transitioning towards being future -proof.
As an organisation, MIDA continues to re-engineer itself to become more pro-active and adaptive to the needs of its stakeholders with the goal of creating longterm inclusive and sustainable prosperity for Malaysians. In ramping up its efforts, MIDA is leveraging on its 50th anniversary celebrations to intensify engagements with its stakeholders through various platforms.
NST Business (2017, November 23). Industry 4.0: Where are our manufacturers now?. New Strait Times. Retrieved from www.nst.com.my/business/2017/11/306732/industry-40-where-are-our-manufacturers-now