Uncertainties have been compounding in the recent past, with developing signs of weakness in economic growth and other high-frequency parameters. To provide manufacturing decision-makers in South East Asia with improved insight into global economic conditions in 2023, International Metalworking News for Asia asked thought-leaders in the metalworking industry how their technology can give the industry a positive outlook for the future.
Alfred Lee, President, Industrial Asia/Pacific, Schaeffler (Singapore) Pte. Ltd shares how their technology can give the manufacturing industry a positive outlook.
Challenging headwinds in the macroeconomic environment have given rise to new trends in the manufacturing sector. In the face of disruption across global supply chains, companies have learnt the importance of staying prepared to ensure sustainable business development.
In Asia, we expect that the following key trends will play a massive influence in enabling companies to remain agile and effective to meet future challenges in the industry.
Firstly, we expect robotics technologies to play a greater role in ensuring manufacturing excellence. With the increasing growth of digitalization and automation technologies, as well as shifting demographic changes and work trends, manufacturers must start prioritizing innovative robotics technologies to enhance their productivity and increase the automation of value-added processes. Similarly, based on our estimates, we expect the demand for industrial automation to grow more than fivefold by 2025.
To meet these shifts in the industry, we have successfully developed a strain-wave gearbox equipped with an electric motor and sensors for use in collaborative robots (cobots) to the point of volume production. We are also considering adding more powerful gearboxes for higher payload capacities for industrial applications. Furthermore, our acquisition of Melior Motion GmbH has allowed us to provide a range of ultra-precise planetary gearboxes to support our customer’s needs in the field of robotics.
Moving on to digitalization, we expect that the demand for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for predictive maintenance and condition monitoring services will remain vital in lowering operational costs and increasing excellence. According to an earlier McKinsey Global Institute report, it is suggested that the application of IoT technologies can reduce maintenance costs by up to 25%, cut unplanned outages by up to 50%, and extend the lives of machines by years. In addition, as companies look to strengthen their manufacturing efficiency and machine reliability, predictive maintenance technologies will play an integral role in reducing the complexities of maintenance services.
Lastly, the strong focus on ESG will continue to see demands for the manufacturing sector to meet environmental protection, occupational health, and safety standards. Sustainable production is no longer a “nice to have” but an absolute “must” – this can be achieved by using fewer resources and more energy efficiency.
At Schaeffler, we service customers from over 60 industrial sectors with our extended portfolio of bearings, components, and system solutions, to help them meet their manufacturing challenges of tomorrow.
For instance, our condition monitoring solution, OPTIME, was based on the guiding principle of “Plug.Play.Predict” to provide professional diagnostics based on expert algorithms and machine learning. Thanks to its simple plug & play installation, manufacturers can start monitoring hundreds of rotating machines in just a few hours, available 24/7 via the OPTIME mobile app and web-based dashboard.
Beyond condition monitoring, our high-performance bearings and optimal lubricant systems also ensure that machines run smoothly, energy-efficiently, and reliably. Our high-performance X-life bearings, for instance, are developed to meet the demands of heavy wear and corrosion resistance to increase machines’ service life and make production more environmentally friendly. We also recently launched our portfolio of automatic lubricators that can be combined with the technology of OPTIME to provide efficient lubrication of bearings machines. This saves maintenance costs due to improper lubrication, which would cause bearing failures.
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