Pushing smart manufacturing to the fore






Automating manufacturers: Ong (left) and Sakthivel at the launch of GENiE Smart Factory. Ong says IR4.0 process should be implemented gradually.

Automating manufacturers: Ong (left) and Sakthivel at the launch of GENiE Smart Factory. Ong says IR4.0 process should be implemented gradually.

IN EFFORTS to increase smart manufacturing practices in the manufacturing sector, local industrial automation specialist Galactic Advance Engineering (M) Sdn Bhd recently launched its GENiE Smart Factory Solution.

The solution is a cloud-based process intelligent solution that aims to empower better decision-making on the production floor through data analytics.

Chief executive officer Sakhtivel Narayanasamy says the solution will enable manufacturers to reduce wastage and improve efficiencies.

“It is a scalable investment to improve operations and more importantly to reduce downtime and financial losses from production interruptions. The savings from energy utilisation, reduction of wastage and better yield from the machines can be seen within months.

“For the few installations that we’ve done, most of the return on investments was in the six- to seven-months range. GENiE is taking the information from the automation system that is pre-installed. What we are saying is, don’t change your factory, just change the gateway and you can get all the information,” he says.

The system is designed to address pain points including under utilisation of machinery, production wastage, high usage of utility, unpredictable downtime risks, lack of reliable operational data for business decisions and shortages in skilled labour and the dependence on them that adds to the rising cost of labour.

Quantum Computing Sdn Bhd has been appointed as the marketing and promotion office of GENiE Smart Factory and it aims to support up to 150 SMEs in their Industry 4.0 journey in 2019. The company expects to sign on 300 industry players across South-East Asia yearly starting from 2020.

GENiE Smart Factory was launched by Deputy International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming.

Sakhtivel is confident that through various government efforts, the adoption of smart manufacturing processes will grow exponentially, especially in light of global market demands.

“Malaysian SMEs need more successful case studies to be more confident and willing to invest in Industry 4.0,” he notes.

Meanwhile, Ong says Miti will be trying different strategies in its second phase of outreach to SMEs to encourage them to participate in its complimentary readiness assessment (RA) programme.

“We are trying different strategies. One would be to go to some of the cities not covered previously. For example, for Perak, we went to Ipoh. Now we are going to some of the industrial estates that are outside the city centres. We will be doing that for the other states as well.

“Another strategy is to do more social media and email outreach. We’ll ramp up activities for direct outreach to these SMEs. Thirdly, we’ve asked our state offices to be ready to give presentations on IR4.0 at any time in their various states,” he says.

Early this month, it was highlighted that out of some 50,000 SMEs in the country, only 300 have signed up for the evaluation for the selection process for the complimentary RA by Miti.

Miti has a budget of RM15mil to conduct the RA for 500 qualified SMEs.

Ong says the whole process of applying for RA, to being assessed on whether they qualify for the RA, and undergoing evaluation once they qualify for the programme would take about three months.

The first RA evaluation will be carried out in May.

“Malaysian manufacturers need to embrace technology and be competitive worldwide. We can no longer be dependent on labour intensive manufacturing practices. It is essential for manufacturers especially SMEs to leverage on cyber-physical systems and cloud based data to make informed business decisions in order to increase productivity.

“Malaysia has the innovative and implementation capabilities to make automation possible and with an investment tag which is favourable to our economy,” says Ong.

He adds that the process of upgrading the industry’s capabilities in IR4.0 should be implemented in stages.

“It requires buy-in from the industry and the approach that service providers should take is to have IR4.0 processes implemented on a gradual basis for an adjustment period,” he says.

SME , smart manufacturing , Ong Kian Ming