The partnerships, including the Thai Automation and Robotics Association (TARA), Lertvilai and Sons, and Yawata, will aim to increase the companies’ technical knowledge and prepare them for smart factories
This week, Thailand’s largest mobile operator, AIS, announced that it had launched a range of industrial 5G solutions and services, teaming up with a number of public and private Thai companies to bolster their manufacturing processes.
The new deals include a collaboration with the TARA, with AIS hoping to leverage the partnership to encourage national industrial players to adopt 5G industrial solutions, a move which AIS says will help them “compete with foreign technology”. The partnership will see the promotion of Thai Automation System Integrators as suppliers for Industry 4.0 solutions, leveraging AIS’s 5G private networks and various platforms.
“One of TARA mission is to promote technology development to reinforce the adoption of automation and robotics for both supply and demand sides. Technology development in this case is AIS 5G network deployment. Supply side being TARA’s member, Thai Automation System Integrators (ASI) and demand side being customers from all sectors, industrial and manufacturing included,” explained Tanapong Ittisakulchai, Chief Enterprise Business Officer at AIS 5G Business. “We believe that this collaboration will foster the Ecosystem of Thai industry to have the potential to cope with opportunities and competition which will arise in the future.”
One of TARA’s system integrator companies, robotic systems provider Lertvilai, has already demonstrated automation and robotic use cases at the Yawata Electrode manufacturing plant, using a private 5G network from AIS.
Yawata Electrode is one of the largest welding electrode production companies in Thailand, owned by steel production giant Nippon Steel Corporation.
“This is a manufacturer of welding electrodes with a somewhat complex production process of moving raw materials, work in process and finished goods among production floors. We can clearly see that Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), robots with capabilities to move material automatically, and are completely autonomous inside the factory with no guidelines on the floor like older systems,” explained Dr. Kunlachat Seniwong na Ayutthaya, R&D Manager of Robotics and Automation at Lertvilai and Sons. “However, one of the requirements is to have wireless connection that is stable, low latency, able to have full coverage inside the factory and high security of data transmission. AIS 5G Private Network meets all of the above requirements.”
As we begin to look towards 2021, it is clear that the concepts of Industry 4.0 and leveraging 5G to deliver improved manufacturing capabilities are becoming more mainstream. Numerous smart factory projects have been announced around the world this year; in fact, just last week, Orange announced that it had installed a private 4G/5G network in Nokia factory in Poland to help support the deployment of automated guided vehicles, drones, and the IoT.