Robotics Manufacturing Takes Off in Thailand: Would this Mean Loss of Jobs?

July 28, 20168:09 am873 views

Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) is seeing an increase in interest from foreign investors representing companies that support the automotive industry. BOI has seen an increase in investment from companies such as robotics giant Nachi and other firms that provide technology and supply chain products to Thailand’s growing automotive industry.

A recent Reuters article called, ‘Thailand the “Detroit of Southeast Asia,’ as the demand for vehicles in the ASEAN region has been increasing year-on-year, hence the manufacturing sector in Thailand is expected to see an increase.

In addition to its strength in the automotive sector, the country is one of the leaders in the robotics industry, which is supported by a growing cluster of advanced manufacturing and university programs, like the Institute of Field Robotics at King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi.

Robotics is an area that is playing a growing role in automotive manufacturing and across a wide range of other manufacturing industries. Growth of the robotics industry in Thailand is expected to increase, as the vehicle manufacturing industry in the Kingdom continues to expand in both commercial and private use motorcycles, trucks, and cars.

In 2016, Thai imports of industrial robotics and automation systems are estimated to top $47.3 million USD, and this number is expected to grow. The imported machinery is mostly used for automotive, electrical appliances and electronics, and in the food processing industry.

According to a study conducted by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), by 2018, it is expected that Thailand will double its 2015 employment figures in the industrial robotics industry, from approximately 7,500 employees to over 15,000.

See: Robotic Age Dawns on Thailand: 12-million Jobs Will Be Lost to “Dehumanised Smart Systems” in the Next 20 Years

The study also estimates that yearly shipments of multi-purpose robots to Thailand will increase over 133 per cent for use in the country’s growing electronics and automotive industries.

Currently, there are more than 60 companies producing robotic and automation machinery in Thailand, such as Eureka Automation, CT Asia Robotic, Yutaka Robot Systems, Ryoei, and Robosis. These companies have developed and produced industrial robots that meet international standards and are gaining ground with the competition because of their high quality and competitive pricing.

Just last year, ABB opened a Robot Applications Center in Thailand and introduced “YuMi,” the world’s first truly collaborative dual-arm robot. Other companies who have located robotic operations in Thailand include:

  • Globax Robot System (Thailand) – a Japanese company that produces Robotic Production Line.
  • Kuga Robotics – a German company, a world leader in robotics systems, which has located a business operation in Thailand
  • Fillomatic Global Industries – an Indonesian company that produces robotic bottle filling machines and robotic bottle capping machines.
  • Cal-comp Electronics –a Taiwanese company that produces robotic computers.

Thailand has the highest concentration of automotive companies in Asia and the 12th largest automotive production capacity in the world, directly providing vehicles for Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and other nearby and ASEAN countries.

Automotive companies with production facilities in Thailand include: Ford, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, BMW, General Motors, Daihatsu, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Tata, Toyota, and Volvo.

As part of its super cluster and incentives policy, the Thai Government is offering companies the maximum incentive up to eight years of corporate income tax exemption plus a 50 percent corporate income tax reduction and import duty on machinery and raw material.

Also read: Robotic Process Automation Can Reduce Operating Costs by 90%

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