Cobots and 3D printers star at manufacturing expo

15:31 | 03/09/2018 Science - Technology

(VEN) - The Vietnam Manufacturing Expo (VME) 2018 held in Hanoi from August 8-10 displayed the latest machinery and technologies for manufacturing and associated industries. The event attracted the participation of more than 200 brands and hundreds of leading experts from Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Chinese Taipei.

cobots and 3d printers star at manufacturing expo

This year’s event aimed to provide technologies, solutions and practical experiences about smart factories to help Vietnamese manufacturers overcome challenges posed by Industry 4.0.

According to a report by Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute, smart factories may contribute as much as US$500 billion in added value to the global economy in the next five years. Smart technologies offer an advantage for manufacturers, such as increasing output, quality and consistency. Smart factories in the Industry 4.0 era need a range of manufacturing technologies that fuse the physical and digital worlds, with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), metrology and 3D printing.

Suttisak Wilanan, deputy managing director of Reed Tradex, said though 76 percent of manufacturers either have a smart factory initiative that is ongoing or are working on formulating one, only 14 percent of companies are satisfied with their level of success. Vietnam is in the early stage of manufacturing development, thus, domestic manufactures should take step-by-step moves to build their smart factories.

The US-owned Universal Robot (UR), which is the manufacturer of the world’s first collaborative robots (cobots), joined the VME 2018 with the goal of introducing a robot that could serve as a smart tool for factory workers.

Shermine Gotfredsen, general manager for Southeast Asia and Oceania at UR, said cobots are robots designed to work side-by-side and safely with people. Beyond their innate Industry 4.0 compatibility, cobots have played a major role in enabling companies that might not have been able to afford industrial robots to start automating their processes. Because they are versatile, easy to program, small, lightweight and affordable, cobots are being deployed at small and medium-sized enterprises to retrofit older factories belonging to companies that might not be in a position to build a turnkey Industry 4.0 facility, and at companies of all sizes in developing countries.

Shermine Gotfredsen also said, “Some manufacturers have had mechanical systems in place for over 50 years. In the recent competitive industry, it is important that manufacturers take advantage and replace outdated machinery effectively, not just upgrade it. For this reason, the UR decided to cooperate with Reed Tradex to help Vietnamese manufacturers have a best understanding about cobots, its capacities and how to apply in the production chain in the most efficient, economical and safely way”.

cobots and 3d printers star at manufacturing expo

3D printing technology was also introduced at the VME 2018. Business Development Manager at Creatz3D Vietnam Hoang Van Tan said design and rapid prototyping are two of the main processes that benefit by 3D printing. 3D printers are also useful in low-volume production. With the 3D printing technology, companies can create high-quality products in a short span of time.

Metrology, another critical technology for smart factories, was also displayed at the VME 2018. Nguyen Thanh Dat, sales leader of the Keyence Viet Nam Co., Ltd, said metrology technology is applied to manage and check technical parameters, and ensure that finished products can meet the design requirements of fit, form and function. He also said Vietnam - one of the most promising ASEAN manufacturing markets - must prepare to meet the ever-changing market demands.

Special activities with a wealth of knowledge and skills training were available for Vietnamese manufacturers at VME

2018. Among them - an exhibition on creating industrial networks, a showcase of industrial robots, a competition

among Vietnamese welders, and a guided tour called “Shows in Show”.

Nguyen Huong