SINGAPORE: A robot production facility was launched by Singapore precision engineering firm PBA Group and Korean industrial robot company Hanwha Robotics on Monday (Feb 26).
The partnership is the first of its kind between a local precision engineering small- and medium-sized enterprise and a listed Fortune 500 company.
The new Singapore-based facility, located at Yishun Industrial Park, will manufacture the Hanwha Collaborative Robot, touted as an "affordable yet high performance robot".
It is able to perform simple tasks such as picking and placing items, palletising, screw-driving, polishing and dispensing - helping companies automate manual work as well as cut their investment and operating expenses.
Currently, most robots and automation equipment in Singapore are manufactured overseas in places such as Europe, Japan and China, said PBA.
However, the robots could take more than months to arrive in Singapore due to limited order volumes, it explained, adding that in comparison, locally-made robots can be delivered within four weeks and can be serviced locally as well.
Meanwhile, PBA Group has also inked an agreement with ST Kinetics to cooperate on marketing, sales, and production of robotics and automation projects.
Under the agreement, both parties will pursue and undertake new robotics and automation projects in industrial and logistics automation here in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Singapore companies have been encouraged by the Government to adopt robotics and automation to achieve productivity growth.
For one, the Economic Development Board (EDB) and SPRING Singapore provide such support through initiatives like the National Robotics Programme, Industry Transformation Maps and grants like the Automation Support Package.
Speaking on the sidelines of the facility’s launch, labour chief Chan Chun Sing said the new development is a “very good testimony” to the kind of value-add Singapore companies can bring to the global stage.
“What both companies realise is that they bring to the table different complementary strengths. This is the kind of spirit that will encourage our small and medium enterprises in Singapore to say that size is not a hindrance," said Mr Chan.
"So long as we have the ideas, so long as we have the drive, even the larger companies from overseas will want to come and partner us. Not just for the Singapore market but more importantly, for the global markets as well,” he added.
Mr Derrick Yap, CEO of PBA Group echoed Mr Chan’s comments but also noted that small- and medium-sized enterprises need to identify their strengths carefully before approaching the multinational corporations to collaborate.
“You need to know where your strength is. Multinational companies have a lot of resources, be it monetary resources or human resources, so they must find a reason why they need to work with an SME," said Mr Yap.
"If you are able to find that reason, then you’re able to pitch it. So the key part is (to) know what you have and what you don’t. Don’t pitch something that you know you’re relatively handicapped compared to the MNCs.”
Mr Yap added that local companies should also have their own initiative.
"We took our own initiative to go and if the Government gives us the support then that’s a bonus. But it shouldn’t be that we don’t go if they don’t give us the support.”