Expo illuminates new technology

Hanafi (front) trying out a robotic arm operated with a joystick while Leeuwenburgh (left) and Tan (third from left) look on.

A four-day metalworking, machine and automation tools exhibition featuring over 1,500 brands and companies from 40 countries lit up the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec) in Kuala Lumpur.

Organised by Informa Markets Malaysia (IMM), the Metaltech and Automex (Metaltech) exhibition was its 28th edition.

The opening ceremony started with a drum performance, witnessed by guests of honour Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry deputy secretary-general (Industry) Datuk Hanafi Sakri, Metaltech chairman Datuk Dr Tan Chin Huat, deputy event director Geonice Chong, IMM organising chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Nasir Mohd Ashraf and country general manager Gerard Leeuwenburgh.

The exhibition floor featured equipment like automated gauging systems that can measure the dimensions of a part to an accuracy of 1/1000mm.

Though technology to ensure parts are manufactured according to design dimensions has been available for the last 20 years, the latest improvements come with faster working systems.

The equipment on display at the exhibition generated much interest. — Photos: AZLINA ABDULLAH/The StarThe equipment on display at the exhibition generated much interest. — Photos: AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

For example, the job of measuring a computer keyboard casing, including the slots for all 104 keys will take no more than a minute.

In the past, this was done manually with callipers, typically taking an hour and was bound to render different values result-wise.

On show were also long-life solar panels, laser cutters, autonomous mobile robots that can fetch and carry heavy loads, robotic arms that perform repetitive tasks like picking up and placing items, as well as built-in gas cylinder regulators that can save welders the trouble and time of installing one.

Also featured were lifting systems, some with the capacity to hoist the equivalent weight of 20 cars.

The improved models have built-in recording systems to collect data on usage frequency.

This information is primarily used for servicing schedules, accessible through the Internet and for operations with multiple plants.

Addressing the expo, Hanafi said the exhibition could inspire traditional manufacturers to transform into smart factories with the use of advanced technology.

“This transition is pivotal for enhancing efficiency, productivity and competitiveness in the global market,” he said.

“Though the manufacturing sector may face challenges from global economic conditions and competition from neighbouring countries with lower labour costs, it continues to attract substantial investment due to our established industrial base and strategic location.

“In 2023, Malaysia recorded RM152bil in approved investments for the manufacturing sector, of which RM46.1bil was realised through 445 projects and created 29,693 jobs.”

Echoing Hanafi’s point, Tan said, “The future of manufacturing isn’t just about machines, it’s about the intelligent ways we use them.

“The industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation today.

“And we’re witnessing disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things, which are fundamentally reshaping how we design, produce and deliver products.

“These advances present both challenges and opportunities. Embracing them isn’t optional. It’s a necessity,” said Tan.

The Metaltech exhibition, he added, was a curated platform for manufacturers to discover the most impactful industry solutions for their businesses.

Leeuwenburgh said many of Metaltech’s exhibitors had been supporting the event over the last three decades.

Showcasing innovations from China, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, the exhibition attracted up to 18,000 visitors from 49 countries.

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