Which industries in Thailand are keen to adopt smart factory?
Source: Prasanth Aby Thomas, Consultant Editor
Early this year, when Thailand’s Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong took to the stage of “Special Session on the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)” seminar organized by the Department of Trade Negotiations in Bangkok, there was much anticipation on the potential of this emerging economy in this sector. Declaring four key deliverables, he had then announced industrial transformation as a top priority.
This is in line with market expectations, with a survey from McKinsey stating that 96 percent of ASEAN businesses believe Industry 4.0
will bring new business models to their industries. Manufacturing-based economies such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam are generally optimistic about the prospects of Industry 4.0, with more than 70 percent of respondents from each country saying their view of Industry 4.0 had improved over the previous year.
“In Vietnam and Thailand, in particular, government efforts to create national road maps for adopting Industry 4.0 has helped create positive perceptions among companies,” the report said.
Demand in the automobile industry
Speaking to a&s recently, Joseph Ngo Hong, Managing Director at Bosch Thailand
, Thai industrial sector is currently at the level of Industry 2.5 to 3.0. However, there is an increasing demand for industrial robots in the automotive, electronics, and food processing industries because these are the top three largest contributors to Thai manufacturing.
“Thailand ranks 12th for global vehicle production and is the largest car manufacturer in Southeast Asia, manufacturing around 2 million cars a year,” Hong said. “The industry employs 850,000 people and contributes 10 percent of the country’s GDP. The first and most readily apparent example would be the automobile sector although you could add that all manufacturing sectors could in some way benefit from the core components of smart factory technology.”
Thailand has several large and complex export-oriented industries with robust government policy support and technological infrastructure. This makes it one of the major ASEAN countries that’s ready to adopt Industry 4.0. Smart Factories could be what is required
to enable Thailand to
remain competitive in the global market.
Joyce Yeh, Deputy Director at the International Sales and Marketing Division of ICP DAS
, said that automotive, raw material, and machine makers could be considered some of the biggest sectors in need of smart technologies in Thailand. Many of the manufacturing units in Thailand are set up for the production of not only local brands but also foreign brands such as those from Japan that are looking for smart solutions.
Yeh added that from her company’s perspective that the traditional industries like F&B and building automation are seeing an increase in demand.
Interest from F&B and other industries
The food and beverage industry in Thailand is also building factories of the future, according to Chaiyot Piyawannarat, Country Managing Director at ABB
“As competition heats up and the demand for high-quality products rises, Thailand’s F&B industry will be faced with the challenge of finding qualified workers,” Piyawannarat said. “That is one of the biggest factors in the shift towards automation and robotics because a smart factory not only increases productivity and flexibility of the manufacturing process but also frees up employees to take up more meaningful work.”
Yeh too pointed out from her company’s perspective that the traditional industries like F&B are seeing an increase in demand.
Thailand’s electrical and electronic industry and pharmaceutical industries are also showing a keen interest in taking advantage of smart factory solutions. According to Vuttipong Vongsankakorn, Industry Marketing Manager at OMRON Thailand
, concerns such as availability of labor, establishment and operational costs, production and equipment efficiency are driving the demand.