By The Nation
Kampanart Tanpithaksidh, director of Robot System Co Ltd, said that even though the sale of automated systems had dropped 30 to 40 percent due to the pandemic, the robotics industry is likely to expand.
Apart from worries over contamination, robotic systems can work under extreme conditions and carry out tasks that require a lot of strength such as carrying heavy loads.
Also, since the price of automated systems is getting more affordable every year, there is a high possibility that many industries that require high manpower, especially in the food and medicine sectors, will invest in robotics.
“Operators of small and medium-sized businesses are now able to invest in robotic systems as they are 50 to 60 percent cheaper compared to 10 years ago.”
The local robotics industry is in competition with China, where the cost of production is lower. Though Chinese companies export automated systems to Thailand at a low tariff, local system integration outfits for the robotics industry have to import spare parts at a high rate.
Hence, he said, the government should offer SMEs low-interest loans, so they have the liquidity to automate their systems, and once the domestic demand rises, the price will drop and more robotic systems can be sold.
Djitt Laowattana, executive adviser for the Eastern Economic Corridor, said Thailand’s robotics industry should expand by at least 30 percent once the Covid-19 pandemic ends.
“Previously, a robot went for Bt2 million to Bt3 million, but now it’s just Bt400,000 to Bt500,000 a unit,” he said. “This amount can be repaid in six to eight months. An automated system will always be a better option for businesses that use a lot of manpower, which can be expensive. Hence, the government should reduce the tax for manufacturers of robotics, so they, in turn, can help small businesses.”