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Industry Ministry joins forces with Japan to build a smart manufacturing sector

Nov 20. 2020
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By The Nation

In line with Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungruangkit’s policy to enhance Thailand’s competitiveness by pushing its industrial sector into the digital age, the ministry has signed a collaborative deal with its Japanese counterpart and other relevant agencies that have expertise in electronics, said Nattapol Rangsitpol, director-general of the Industrial Promotion Department.

Since both Thailand and Japan have been suffering a shortage in specialised labour owing to a rapidly ageing population, a smart industry is required to build a future workforce.

Under the collaboration, personnel are being trained using Japan’s Kaizen method, which encourages participants to analyse problems and find solutions through the use of Internet of Things (IoT) tools.

The Smart Manufacturing project was scheduled to kick-off earlier this year with a trip to Japan for training, however, due to Covid-19, training sessions are being held virtually. Lessons are provided by two groups: master instructors who have expert knowledge and can pass it on to small businesses through a month-long course, and instructors, who know how to solve initial problems with IoT. The project began in April this year and will wrap up in March 2021.

Nattapol said the main principle of the smart manufacturing project is to train personnel to analyse and solve problems as well as look for development opportunities in the factory with IoT. For instance, manufacturing can be controlled in real-time once a tiny Raspberry Pi computer is connected to the machines and production monitored on a connected display. This way, the production department can immediately respond if there is a problem.

Such IoT systems in the manufacturing sector is not a large investment and can help drive Industry 4.0 in a concrete manner.

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