Robotics plays a growing role in manufacturing industries such as automotive, agriculture, and electronics. The global supply chain needs to be prepared for the changes that are shaping the digital, on-demand, and always-on supply chain. Thailand is currently offering great opportunities for foreign investment and incentives that make it worth taking a closer look.
Thailand is more than a favorite tourist destination. It is one of the world's leaders in the robotics industry. By 2018, Thailand is expected to double its employment figures in the industrial robotics industry from 7,500 employees reported in 2015 to over 15,000, according to The International Federation of Robotics (IFR)
The IFR estimates an annual increase of over 133% of multi-purpose robots shipments to Thailand for use in the country’s fast growing electronics and automotive industries. The organization also reports that 2.32 million robots will be used around the world this year. In Thailand alone, 41,600 robots will be used in 2017.
Further, foreign companies providing technology and supply chain products are increasing investments in Thailand, according to Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI). Thai imports of industrial robotics and automation systems escalated to over $47.3 million in 2016, the BOI reported.
Image courtesy: KUKA Robotics
Automation, robotics, & cobotics
Concerns about full automation has led to the development of cobotics, a concept that refers to robots complementing rather than replacing humans.
The automotive and aerospace industries have been early adopters of cobotics. However, as new technologies allow for greater operational integration between robots and humans, cobotics will be quickly spread to other industries.
KUKA Robotics, a member of the International Federation of Robotics, launched its KR C4 controller generation in 2010; it was the first to combine the complete safety controller in a single control system. Last year, ABB opened a Robot Applications Center in Thailand and introduced YuMi, the world’s first truly collaborative dual-arm robot.