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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

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SUCCESS THROUGH INNOVATION www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

August 2013 • $8 per copy • $40.00 digital per annum

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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

Editorial AUGUST 2013

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When you look at the figures he Philippines had the fastest growing economy among Asian countries for the first quarter of the year. And even though the year is moving on, its worth having a closer look.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.8 percent in the first quarter, faster than China (7.7 percent), Indonesia (6 percent), Thailand (5.3 percent), and Vietnam (4.9 percent). The 7.8 percent increase in the GDP of the country was attributed to the strong performance of the manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as the increase in government and consumer spending. The quarterly growth rate was the highest since reformist President Benigno Aquino III took office in 2010 on a promise to fight corruption and cut poverty. The Philippines has bucked a regional trend of slowing growth amid recession in Europe and a slow recovery in the United States. It expanded faster than Asian powerhouse China, where the economy unexpectedly slowed to 7.7 percent growth in the first quarter. In the first week of July this figure is placed at 7.3 percent. The industry sector, composed of mining, manufacturing, and construction, grew by 10.9 percent, higher than the recorded 5.3 and 8.9 percent during the first and last quarter of 2012. The Mining and Quarrying industry contracted by 17 percent in Q1 of 2013, compared to 1.7 and 2.8 percent increase in the first and last quarter of the previous year. Manufacturing industry grew by 9.7 percent this year, higher that the 6 and 5.5 percent in the first and last quarter of 2012. Construction industry further increased to 32.5 percent compared to 29.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The services and agriculture sectors also contributed to the growth with 7 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. Balisacan said the Philippines hopes to achieve a target of 7 percent to 8 percent annual growth by 2016. The fourth-quarter 2012 growth was revised from 6.8 percent to 7.1 percent. In 2012, the economy grew 6.8 percent. Despite the impressive growth figures, the Philippines faces many challenges. Among them, the global slowdown, excessive capital inflows and natural disasters, an annual occurrence in the Southeast Asian country where poor infrastructure and rice fields suffer damage from typhoons and floods.

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CYBORGS, A FUSION OF MAN AND MACHINE

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yborgs are gradually working their way into our lives. The general representation of a cyborg is that seen in science fiction films of a fusion between man and machine. A direct interface between the brain and the Internet, like the brainmachine interface (BMI) described in the science fiction manga Ghost in the Shell, has been successfully tested in laboratory experiments.

NEWS❒❒❒❒❒❒ 5 ENHANCED MATERIAL FOR SUPERCAPACITORS

6 HONDA BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF CAR PLANT IN THAILAND

10 KAIST’S HUBO READY FOR DARPA’S ROBOTICS CHALLENGE TRIALS

11 VEOLIA STRENGTHENS

COMMITMENT TO F&B INDUSTRY

12 HOW SWEET IT IS: CANE

PROCESSORS PROFIT WITH GREEN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

15 HYBRID CARBON NANOTUBE YARN MUSCLE

16 KOREANS DEMONSTRATE NEW STRETCHABLE ELECTRODES

17 NEW STANDARDS IN

SMARTINSPECT SOFTWARE


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ROBOTS OPTIMISE PRODUCTION AT ENGINEERING COMPANY

ising wages and the intricate management of the labour force have created a challenging work environment for a Singapore-based company, Sky Engineering. For a long time, this precision engineering company tried to reduce their production costs. They finally succeeded with the implementation of Universal Robots.

22 EMPOWERING

AJINOMOTO INDONESIA TO HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY

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eal-time, accurate information of product stock availability is extremely vital to a sales team. Experts observe that availability issues in a supply chain are often due to underlying inefficiencies rather than insufficient stock. An established Indonesian company, PT Ajinomoto Indonesia, experienced this first-hand when it realised its need for a Sales Force Automation (SFA) system a few years back.

NEWS❒❒❒❒❒❒

NEWS❒❒❒❒❒❒

18 SILICON-BASED OPTICAL

30 HALOGENATED GRAPHENE MAY

19 PLANTPAX OFFERS ENHANCED

32 MIR VALVE ENLISTS FARO IN ITS

19 POLYMER PROTECTS MULTIPLE

35 “PLASTICS MOVE THE WORLD”

MODULATOR

VISUALISATION SUBSTRATES

20 MTA VIETNAM DELIVERS 24 CHEAPER, MORE DURABLE

CATALYST FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES

25 SMALLER OFFICES HIRING WHILE LARGER FIRMS UPSKILL

26 INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR URBAN MINING

28 DYEING & FINISHING EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER RAISES PRODUCTIVITY

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REPLACE EXPENSIVE PLATINUM STRATEGIC PLAN

Asia Manufacturing News is published bi-monthly and offers the reader business information and news. Asia Manufacturing News welcomes editorial contributions and encourages readers to share their reflections and views with us. Asia Manufacturing News uses information provided in good faith. We give no guarantee of accuracy of the information. No liability is accepted for the result of any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this information. Those acting on the information and recommendations do so entirely at their own risk. Managing Editor: Doug Green phone: +64 6 870 9029 Advertising: phone: +64 6 870 9029 Web Master: Dan Browne. SUBSCRIPTION: NZ $80 per year for the printed version. NZ $42 per year digital. Subscription payment or general contact can be made to: Words, PO Box 1109, Hastings, New Zealand. words@xtra.co.nz Please email or fax us your credit card details. Fax: +64 6 878 8150 Or by posting a cheque to the above address. Digital Subscription payment available at: words@xtra.co.nz Single copies NZ $8.00 www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

today’s technology tomorrow

Cyborgs, a fusion of man and machine

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yborgs are gradually working their way into our lives. The general representation of a cyborg is that seen in science fiction films of a fusion between man and machine. A direct interface between the brain and the Internet, like the brain-machine interface (BMI) described in the science fiction manga Ghost in the Shell, has been successfully tested in laboratory experiments.

However, the fusion of humans and machines is not confined to fusion with engineering machinery. Think of machinery as technology in a wider sense. One of the largest modern technological fields is biotechnology. People are helped by biotechnology in the form of medical treatment, but we could be heading toward a scenario in which people are composed of biotechnology. If that is the case, the question must be asked: what are the people who have been integrated with technology in such a way? My background is in western philosophy, which since ancient times has continually asked the question, “What is mankind?” Traditional philosophy was founded on a distinction between human beings and machines (as well as animals), but nowadays www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

technology is beginning to shake this distinction and cyborgs, which are the fusion of man and machine, really have to be seen as a fundamental phenomenon in philosophical discussions.

created, although attempts have already been made.

The question “What is mankind?” needs to be replaced by the question “What is a cyborg?”

If this creation of real organs does become possible in the future, it will increase the opportunities for human beings to be composed of transplanted organs. More and more people will accept being composed of such biotechnology.

Human beings composed of technology

‘Enhancement’ providing enhanced, extended life

Let’s move from abstract theory to concrete considerations. I have discussed the above-mentioned BMI elsewhere1, so here I want to focus on biotechnology, and especially iPS cells in regenerative medicine. Technology related to iPS cells has developed so quickly that in recent years hardly a day has gone by without it making the news.

Attempts have already been made to genetically modify iPS cells and to restore “sick” genetic sequences to normal genetic sequences, with some successful cases being reported3. This kind of genetic modification will inevitably raise the issue of enhancement in the future. Enhancement means increased performance: think about the simple example of doping among athletes.

iPS cell technology is a field of regenerative medicine in which body cells are reprogrammed into a so-called pluripotent cell state, from which any organ can be created according to plan. Press coverage says that a number of significant breakthroughs will be needed before actual threedimensional organs can be

This is, of course, a very problematic topic. In terms of the above-mentioned genetic repair, it means not only restoring gene sequences that cause illness into normal gene sequences, but also going further and creating gene sequences in order to enhance performance as well as health.

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That extreme level of manmachine fusion aside, people’s lives would already be compromised by not having a mobile phone or smartphone, and in some cases, when we think about those who lead a life that is dependent on such devices, we can see that the fusion between man and machine is underway with a momentum that supersedes the pros and cons.


developments

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Enhanced material for supercapacitors

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ULSAN, SOUTH KOREA:

orean Researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) have developed a new method to massively synthesise enhanced yet affordable materials for supercapacitors. Supercapacitors have attracted increasing attention due to their long life cycle, highly reversible charge storage process and specific power density along with increased concern over the exhaustion of natural resources.  Graphene has been recognised as a promising active material for supercapacitors due to its outstanding electrical conductivity and large surface area, as they are the two most important requirements for supercapacitors.

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Among the various methods for the fabrication of graphene At the extreme end of enhancement is the extension of the natural limits to our lifespan, or in other words, increasing longevity. A general feature of technology is that it extends or amplifies the natural state. The technology of the automobile, for example, enables us to move at speeds unattainable in our natural state of walking or running, so basically it has extended and amplified our natural state of being on foot. Regenerative medicine can,

Professor. Jang’s Research Group

sheets, the chemical vapour deposition (CVD) technique is highly recommended due to the high conductivity of as-prepared graphene. But the scalability is still needed for commercialisation.

Additionally these limitations called for great interest on further improvement.

through organ transplantation, provide patients who are sick or dying with improved natural health or an extended lifespan. This being the case, people who have been helped by biotechnology such as regenerative medicine, and who are consequently composed of biotechnology, are enhanced by this technology which basically prolongs their life, and are filled with the strength to try to defy death.

it may be impossible to avoid death by regenerative medicine. But technology (or biotechnology) has set itself the target of shaking this assumption, a fact that needs to be included in philosophical discussions. People composed of biotechnology are cyborgs, an amalgam of human being and technology. Cyborgs are truly a fundamental phenomenon in philosophical discussions.

Western philosophy assumes that all people die one day. Of course

The research team led by Prof. JiHyun Jang from UNIST, previously reported a novel approach to

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What direction are human beings, or should I say cyborgs, headed in? u

Community Planning, Sustainable Business and Waste Minimisation Strategies www.envision-nz.com

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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

developments

CVD-grown threea synthesize dimensional graphene nanonetworks (3-D GNs) that can be mass produced while retaining the excellent properties of 2D graphene and published in the (Nature Publishing Group) Scientific Reports in May 2013. Here, Prof. Jang extended her previous research in Scientific Reports and demonstrated a unique route to obtain a mass-producible mesoporous graphene nano-ball (MGB) with a large surface area and great conductivity, via precursor-assisted CVD, using metal precursors as a catalyst which is applicable to supercapacitors. Professor. Ji-Hyun Jang is from the Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy at UNIST and the fellow researchers include Jung-Soo Lee, Sun-I Kim and Jong-Chul Yoon from the Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy at UNIST. Compared to the conventional graphene synthesis methods, a new way, suggested by the UNIST

research group, is scalable and able to produce high quality and customizable graphene with better environmental impacts. With the resulting materials, mesoporous graphene balls, the capacity of supercapacitor has been improved significantly. Due to the unique mesoporous structure, three-dimensional networks are formed, which help to improve conductivity. Furthermore, mesopores inside the graphene surfaces induce nanochannels to transport ions in electrolyte, and improve the properties of supercapacitor. The MGB presents a specific surface area of 508 m2/g and mesoporosity with a mean pore diameter of 4.27 nm. The conductivity of the p-doped MGB obtained from more than 10 samples was 6.5 S/cm. The MGB-based supercapacitor shows good performance, including an excellent capacitance of 206 F/g and 96% retention of capacitance after 10,000 cycles even at a high

current density. “Our work is very meaningful since we succeed in the fabrication of CVD-grown graphene with high qualities on a gram scale,” said Professor. Jang. “When the mesoporous graphene balls are used as an electrode material for supercapacitor, it proves great potential for energy storage devices with high efficiency.” She also said “If the properties of mesoporous graphene are improved further by continuous research, developing an electric vehicle with high power will become a realization not just a dream,” showing their future research plan. This research was supported by National Research Foundation (NRF), Korea, and the local science park by the Ulsan metropolitan city. It was published on June 20, 2013, in ACS nano (Title: Chemical vapor deposition of mesoporous graphene nanoballs for supercapacitor). u

Honda begins construction of car plant in Thailand BANGKOK:

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onda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (HATC), Honda’s automobile production and sales joint venture company in Thailand, has started construction of its new automobile production plant (to be located within the Rojana Industrial Park in Prachinburi Province). With an investment of approximately 17.15 billion baht (approximately 54.9 billion yen*1), including acquisition of the land and construction, the new plant is scheduled to become operational in 2015, with annual production capacity of 120,000 www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

units and initial employment of approximately 1,200 associates (excluding seasonal). HATC is planning to produce primarily small and sub-compact sized vehicles at the new plant, for which demand is increasing on a global basis. HATC will strive to establish a highly efficient production system at the new plant through various efforts including shortening of production processes and introduction of the latest production technologies in the painting and welding processes. Furthermore, HATC is planning to make an additional investment in its existing plant in Ayutthaya to further increase the plant’s annual production capacity from the

current 280,000 units to 300,000 units in 2014, by extending the production line. Combined with the capacity of the new plant, HATC’s total annual production capacity will be increased to 420,000 units in 2015. Honda’s automobile sales in Thailand for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013 totaled 240,675 units, becoming the best-selling automobile brand in Thailand passenger car segment*2. Envisioning the continuous growth of the small car market in Thailand and exports to countries in ASEAN, Oceania, the Middle & Near East, Africa and the Caribbean, HATC will increase its production capacity while also enhancing its product lineup. u


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10THOUSANDTREES.com u

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robotics

Robot optimises productio

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ising wages and the intricate management of the labour force have created a challenging work environment for a Singapore-based company, Sky Engineering. For a long time, this precision engineering company tried to reduce their production costs. They finally succeeded with the implementation of Universal Robots in one of their CNC machines. The UR robot was easy to integrate and the company now has the luxury of having one man tending to two CNC machines at any one time — something previously impossible to achieve when all tasks relied heavily on manual labour.

Sky Engineering is a precision engineering company established in 1972 specialising in aerospace components, batch production, jigs and fixtures and semiconductor tooling. Even though the company has CNC machines, manual labour is still necessary to do a lot of the repetitive tasks in their production facility — the commissioning of Universal Robots is one of their very first steps towards automating the repetitive tasks carried out in production.

“Our facility operates 24/6. Finding the right skilled labour is becoming more and more challenging in Singapore and the cost of labour has also been steadily rising. Thus it is imperative that the company automates mundane repetitive tasks in order to keep cost low,” explains William Kuek, who decided to try out by integrating and testing a robot with one of Sky Engineering’s CNC machines.

“The precision and repeatability in our applications are some very important factors as they contribute to better quality products,” explained George Kyaw, the Senior Operations Engineer who did the installation, integration and programming of the robot with the CNC machine all by himself without any prior knowledge or experience in commissioning industrial robots.

In testing the robot, Sky Engineering had several demands of their new “colleague”:

Why employ a robot? When faced with rising wages and the intricate management of their workforce, William Kuek, the Operations Manager of Sky Engineering was on the lookout for industrial robots to help alleviate these challenges. William came across Universal Robots and received a demonstration by an official distributor in Singapore, Zacobria Pte Ltd to learn about the Universal Robots’ technologies and unique features. www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

Safe and easy to program

“Apart from the robot’s ability to perform and repeat precision tasks, it is imperative that it’s safe for our employees to work in close proximity with the robot and the CNC machines. Space constraint is a factor of consideration as real estate is expensive in Singapore. Safety is also an important factor as workers may be in close proximity of the robot during the process cycle. Implementation and programming should pretty much be plug and play,” says William Kuek and explains that Sky Engineering has very limited workspace in the production facility and the force sensor with load detection of the UR robot ensures that the employees’ safety is not compromised when they are working in close proximity to it. Employees also do not have prior knowledge or experience in

commissioning industrial robots with CNC machines. “Having our own employees being able to implement and program the robot will bring about significant cost savings,” says George Kyaw while also highlighting the ROI: “Obviously, the robot pricing and the payback period are some of the greatest considerations in the decision making process of automating some of the manual tasks in our production. Universal Robots give a good payback period of about 15 months, are user friendly and flexible in the overall sense. This is why we chose a robot from this company.”

CNC jobs carried out by the robot The Universal Robot, model UR5, at Sky Engineering is currently programmed to perform CNC tending comprising of cleaning the parts and jaw in between the process cycle. The main task is to automatically remove finished work pieces from the CNC chuck and onto the holding tray in sequence after the CNC machine has completed the turning process. Having done this, the UR5 also prepares the CNC machine for the next cycle by performing various cleaning tasks such as blowing leftover scraps of metal chips away from the clamping jaw and the CNC tool. In addition, the UR5 opens and closes the CNC door automatically via the in- and outputs found on the controller box of the robot.

About the robots Universal Robots is a result of many years of intensive research in robotics. The six-axis robot arms can easily be implemented in many industries; from a small


robotics

ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

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on at engineering company for specific tasks and tools. The Polyscope programming developer facility needed for this customization is supplied with the robot. The robot is also equipped with digital and analog inputs and outputs I/O ports and Ethernet interfaces for communication with external equipment and other control systems such as PLC and SCADA systems through the I/O or Ethernet socket. The robot and controller can control a small cell as well as sensors, vision systems, activation of conveyors and other external equipment. The UR robots have very low energy consumption and make less noise in comparison with bigger and more expensive robots.

About the company

CNC lathe production to large automobile assembly lines. The product portfolio currently includes the UR5 and UR10 models that handle payloads of up to 5 and 10 kilos and weigh a mere 18 and 28 kilos respectively. Due to their weight, size, safety and ease of programming, the UR robots can easily be moved around and installed in different parts of the production facility. A significant benefit is the robot’s capability to operate with no safety shielding — as soon as an employee comes into contact with the robot arm and a force of at least 150 Newton is exerted, the

robot arm will automatically stop operating. Universal Robots’ intuitive graphical user interface, (GUI) allows the user to set up and program the UR robot in as little as half an hour. The user does not need to be a skilled programmer to do this, programming can be done by dragging and dropping standard routines into an onscreen “script” for the robot, or by simply grabbing the robot arm, showing it the desired movements. Universal Robots developed the GUI, called Polyscope, which runs on top of a Linux OS platform enabling easy customization

Universal Robots is an innovative and globally successful Danish manufacturer of industrial robots. Since the first UR robot entered the market in 2009, the company has seen substantial growth and is now in global distribution through more than 121 partners spanning nearly 41 countries. European portfolio customers include companies such as Lear, Oticon, Bosch, BMW, Scandinavian Tobacco Group, LG, Samsung, LUK and GN Resound. In Asia, UR robots are used extensively by the Bajaj Company in the yearly production of 4 million vehicles, motorcycles and auto rickshaws. Universal Robots is a ”first mover” within a new segment for industrial robots enabling automation not just in large enterprises but also in small and medium size companies that thought employing a robot would be too costly and difficult. For more information on Universal Robots, please go to: http://www. universal-robots.com u www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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news

KAIST’s HUBO Ready for DAR

SOUTH KOREA:

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he Humanoid Robot Research Center (HUBO Lab, http:// hubolab.kaist.ac.kr) at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Rainbow Co., a spinoff venture company of the university, unveiled a new model of HUBO that will be entered in an international robotics competition scheduled later this year.

Unlike the previous models of HUBO, DRC-HUBO boasts several distinctive, enhanced features. Chief among them is the way the robot interacts with the external environment. Without complex sensors installed

The competition is hosted and sponsored by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is called the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). Kicked off in October 2012, the DRC’s goal is to spur the development of advanced robots that can assist humans in mitigating and recovering from future natural and man-made disasters. KAIST’s humanoid robot, HUBO, was originally created by Jun-Ho Oh, a distinguished professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, in 2004. Since then, the robot has gone through technological advancements, with the latest version of HUBO II released in 2012. So far, 12 HUBOs have been exported for further studies in robotics to universities, research institutes, and private companies in the US, China, and Singapore. In tandem with Rainbow Co. (www.rainbow-robot.com), Professor Oh and his research team recently developed DRCHUBO, which will compete as Team DRC-HUBO led by Drexel University at the DRC trials to be held in December 2013. Team DRC-HUBO is consisted of KAIST and nine US institutions. DRC-HUBO is designed to perform difficult but essential activities required when responding to disaster scenes. The robot will have to fulfill eight tasks assigned by the DRC at the upcoming event such as driving a utility vehicle, walking across rough terrain, climbing a ladder, and using hand tools. www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

When walking on muddy or bumpy roads, the two arms of DRC-HUBO become extra legs, enabling stable and agile movements.


ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

news

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RPA’s Robotics Challenge Trials throughout the body, DRC-HUBO can control each joint of the arms and legs in compliance with the dynamics dictated by the external environment. For example, when DRC-HUBO is faced with a rock falling from above while climbing up a ladder, the robot’s arms and legs naturally give in to the force of external changes. Accordingly, as the robot dodges the rock, its body and joints smoothly sway to absorb shock so that the fingers can keep a tight grip on the ladder, and the feet are planted firmly on the rail of the ladder, not losing balance. In addition, DRC-HUBO can switch from bipedal to quadrupedal walking and vice versa. This provides the robot

with greater stability to walk on uneven terrain or to climb up a hill. The robot’s arms and legs are elongated to better meet the challenges demanded by the DRC competition. DRC-HUBO’s two arms swing back and forth to form legs when necessary, thereby walking freely backwards and forwards. The robot has gotten stronger grip as well. The right hand has four fingers (with one triggering finger that operates independently from the other threefingers), and the left hand has three fingers. All three fingers on both hands are actuated synchronously for gripping. The fingers are sophisticated enough to steer the wheel of a vehicle or grab a ladder to climb up, and

strong enough to hold 15 lbs in one hand. “With a full 34 degrees of freedom (DOF), DRC-HUBO stands 4.7 ft tall and weighs 120 lbs. All in all, the robot has been improved and extensively refurbished from the past models of HUBOs to compete at the DRC Trials. It has better vision and coordination. The legs and arms have become stronger,” said Professor Oh. “Although the robot is still a prototype, it has important capabilities that can be utilized in advancing humanoid robots in general. One example is the way its arms can be used as extra legs to support the robot’s body, offering more flexibility in providing aid to humans.” u

Veolia strengthens commitment to F&B Industry

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BANGKOK, THAILAND:

t the 2013 edition of ProPak Asia, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies (Veolia) reinforced its expertise in the food & beverage (F&B) industry with the introduction of a newly-appointed regional market manager for Southeast Asia. In addition, the company presented various technologies specially suited for the specific water and wastewater treatment needs of industry players.

New Regional Market Manager, Food & Beverage In April 2013, Veolia appointed Mr. Kai-Uwe Richter as Regional Market Manager, Food & Beverage, Design & Build Projects, South East Asia Industrial. In this new role, he will lead Veolia in its business development strategies for Southeast Asia’s F&B trade. Prior to his appointment in Southeast Asia, Kai-Uwe Richter was Sales Manager, F&B at Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies Germany (Berkefeld). Through his 20 years of experience in water and wastewater treatment, Kai developed strong expertise in implementing process water

solutions for multinational companies, such as PepsiCo and Coca Cola, and also gained strong technical background in wastewater management.

Water & Wastewater Solutions for F&B Manufacturers At ProPak Asia 2013, Veolia showcased a myriad of water management solutions for F&B manufacturers – breweries and dairy producers in particular. Amongst the innovations that will be on display are: • Biothane anaerobic technologies that treat wastewater, while reducing pollution and recovering

energy to achieve minimal environmental impact. Compared to aerobic alternatives, Biothane solutions use less energy and chemicals, occupy less space, and incur lower sludge handling costs. • Compact Actiflo systems use proprietary Actisand to develop a large surface area that enhances flocculation. The microsand also acts as a weight to aid rapid settlement. Compared to conventional clarifiers, Actiflo has a smaller footprint and a high turbidity removal rate (90%). • AnoxKaldnes MBBR (moving bed biofilm reactor), an efficient and compact wastewater treatment technology operates as a fixed-film process without activated sludge. Specially engineered plastic carriers coated with biofilm are suspended in a reactor to provide a large surface area for effluent exposure to the biofilm, which contains different microorganisms that work to trap sewage. u www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

case study

How sweet it is: Cane processors profit wit

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global leader in the production of green energy from food and agribusiness wastewater is deploying advanced anaerobic technologies that achieve high returns of biogas from the world’s largest crop, sugar cane.

The crop – which is grown in more than 90 countries with a worldwide harvest exceeding 1.6 billion tons – has historically not been suited to biogas production because the vast amounts of water used in its processing were too weak in their organic carbon concentration to yield profitable amounts of methane. However, Global Water Engineering, represented in Australasia by CST Waste Water Solutions, says the industry has progressively used less water in recent years, increasing its waste stream concentrations to levels where it can be very successfully exploited for biogas and produce less effluent pollution through the latest anaerobic technologies.

“Use of less water can produce major environmental benefits in the cane industry, where the size of a processing plant bears little relation the huge amount of waste water it has traditionally produced,” says GWE President and CEO Mr Jean Pierre Ombregt. “We are now getting towards the stage where, instead of having a series of huge anaerobic, and aerobic lagoons impacting the environment, we can treat the effluent in contained anaerobic reactors where biogas is extracted and influent waste water is cleaned of most of its impurities without release to the environment.” GWE has installed more than 300 anaerobic waste water

plants globally, including use of the technology by CST Wastewater Solutions at the at new Bluetongue Brewery in NSW where it simultaneously cleans process water to high discharge standards while producing biogas (methane, CH4) to fuel boilers. In other installations, biogas can be used to generate green electricity for sale to the local grid or to other factories or plant consuming fossil fuel. Many of the plants utilising the biogas in this way achieve payback of plant costs in two years - or even a year in some cases – as they permanently reduce the amount of fossil fuel used and generate permanent environmental gains and financial savings. One of the latest cane sugar mills to use GWE Anaerobic technology incorporating its ANUBIX B reactor is the United Farmer and Industry cane sugar mill at Khon

United Farmer and Industry plant commissioning by GWE www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


case study

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th green energy and environmental benefits Kaen in Thailand, a country which is one of the world’s largest cane sugar producers, along with Brazil, India, China, Pakistan and Mexico. Australia is the third largest raw sugar supplier in the world, with 4000 cane farm businesses producing 4-4.5MT of raw sugar, worth $1.7-2.0 billion, through 24 sugar mills. The plant commissioned at Khon Kaen this year has a capacity of 3500 m3 a day of waste water containing 22750 Kg a day COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) of natural origin that can be broken down into biogas by anaerobic bacteria. The process employed at United Farmer and Industry comprised influent screen, equalisation, pH control, anaerobic treatment, biogas flare, two-stage biogas sweetening (Bio-Sulfurix followed by activated carbon filtration).

has attained amazing COD removal efficiencies, in some cases up to 99 percent. “In addition to substantial environmental benefit from cleaner water being treated in reactor tanks rather than lagoons, the United Farmers Plant achieves a supply of green energy that delivers energy savings virtually in perpetuity,” says Mr Ombregt. Existing GWE anaerobic technologies of the type employed at United Farmer and Industry typically produce enough green energy to pay for the cost of their installation in typically one or two years. In addition, the reactors reduce

the need for huge lagoons with their associated odour, land use and environmental leaching issues. Such issues are strongly relevant to the use of such technology in Australia, says the Managing Director of CST Wastewater Solutions, Mr Michael Bambridge. Energy savings alone can amount to millions of dollars or Euros a year. For example, Corn Products a major producer of native tapioca starch, sweeteners and modified starch - uses GWE anaerobic technology within one of its wastewater plants in Thailand to produce up to 70,000 Nm3 a day of biogas at 70 per cent CH4. This corresponds with circa 43,750 kg

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Biogas production is currently building to 9000 Nm3 a day (75 per cent CH4), which will be used as fuel in several factory steam boilers. Waste water effluent levels have also benefitted substantially, with a minimum of 85 per cent removal of COD being achieved (to a maximum 975 mg/l COD, produced from influent with 6500 mg/l COD, or 3250 mg/l BOD5 Biochemical Oxygen Demand). GWE’s “workhorse” ANUBIX™ B medium-to-high loading rate UASB (Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Bed) reactor employed at the plant is of a type used for most low-to-medium strength mainly soluble carbohydrate containing effluents. The effluent COD reduction achieved at United Farmer and Industry is outstanding by cane industry standards, while in broader food and beverage industry service such technology www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

case study

a day of heavy fuel oil, worth $US 12.7 million ((9.5 million Euro) a year. (This assumes a plant running 330 days a year at full capacity and a Heavy Fuel Oil, HFO, price of 0.83c US or .62 Euro a litre) The advanced anaerobic technology such as that installed at United Farmers and Industry is strongly applicable to any factory or process with one or more digestible solid waste streams. Such plants – including breweries, fruit, food waste, agro industries, and energy crops including corn and cane used for ethanol – can easily use this technology to generate energy. It opens the door to environmental and production efficiency gains globally, says GWE. As a result of their efficiency, anaerobic digestion facilities have been recognized by the United nations Development programme as one of the most useful decentralized sources of energy supply, as they are less capital-intensive than large power plants. They can also benefit local communities by providing local energy supplies and eliminate the need for large and often smelly and environmentally challenging settling lagoons. With increased focus on climate change mitigation, the re-use of waste as a resource and new technological approaches which have lowered capital costs, anaerobic digestion has in recent years received increased attention among governments in a number of countries concerned about environmental and energy issues. About Global Water Engineering (GWE) and CST Wastewater Solutions With more than 30 years of experience, GWE has built up a unique range of seven anaerobic reactor types, each specifically designed for dedicated organic loads and specific wastewater types, which is unique in the market. www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

GWE is therefore very proud of its impeccable track record of meeting and regularly exceeding its performance guarantees. It is GWE’s mission to be an ambassador for anaerobic wastewater treatment and to gain credibility for the technology by delivering quality installations that meet their performance guarantees. CST Wastewater Solutions is one of Australasia’s leading wastewater solution groups. The company has provided a broad range of quality cost-effective solutions for 25 years, now as CST Wastewater Solutions to reflect its expanded scope operating from its new combined office and warehouse in Roseville. CST Wastewater Solutions Managing Director Michael

Bambridge says the facilities will help the company broaden its industrial and municipal services and equipment focus, while retaining the full range of mechanical and process technologies that have made it a premier provider of innovative wastewater treatment solutions throughout Australia and New Zealand, with projects also completed in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Clients include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Carlsberg, Heineken, SAB Miller and Lion Nathan. CST is a member of the Global Water and Energy Alliance, a group of select companies around the world committed to providing solutions in water and wastewater treatment for the recovery of green energy and water. u


developments

ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

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Hybrid carbon nanotube yarn muscle

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rofessor Seon Jeong Kim of Hanyang University has created a high capacity yarn muscle that does not require electrolytes or special packaging. It will have a big impact in the motor, biological and robot industry.

Kim’s article, “Electrically, Chemically, and Photonically Powered Torsional and Tensile Actuation of Hybrid Carbon Nanotube Yarn Muscles,” was published in the journal of Science. He is currently the director of the National Creative Research Initiative Center for Bio-Artificial Muscle at Hanyang University (HYU). In 2006, the research center was designated as the “Leader’s Research Support Business” by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology. Traditional methods of electrochemically powered yarn muscles were destined to include slow responses, low strain and force generation, a short cycle life, and low energy efficiency. They were also in need of electrolytes, counter electrodes, and device packaging. Such requirements increase the weight of the actuator leading to a decrease in performance.

weight ratio of common internal combustion engines. Application of the ‘Hybrid Carbon Nanotube Yarn Muscles’ are diverse because the yarn muscles can be twisted together and are able to be woven, sewn, braided and knotted, they might eventually be deployed in a variety of selfpowered intelligent materials and textiles. For example, changes in environmental temperature or the presence of chemical agents can change guest volume; such actuation could change textile porosity to provide thermal comfort or chemical protection. Such yarn muscles also might be used to regulate a flow valve in response to detected chemicals, or adjust window blind opening in response to ambient temperature. Kim stated, “The ‘Hybrid Carbon Nanotube Yarn Muscles’ is a new form of yarn muscle due to

Professor Seon Jeong Kim

its torsional rotation and tensile contraction which functions in an electrolyte-free environment.” In addition, “Its simple operating method and structure will have a big impact on the motor, biological, and robot industry.” u

The ‘Hybrid Carbon Nanotube Yarn Muscles’ created by Kim however, has overcome such limitations by confining paraffin waxes, a thermally or electrothermally powered actuators, within the yarn. By doing so, the response rate is enhanced and a helical geometry enables both torsional rotation and tensile contraction. Muscle contraction – also called actuation – can be ultrafast, occurring in 25-thousandths of a second. Including times for both actuation and reversal of actuation, the researchers demonstrated a contractile power density of 4.2 kW/kg, which is four times the power-to-

The ‘Hybrid Carbon Nanotube Yarn Muscles’ is a new form of yarn muscle incorporating large-stroke, high-power and high-work compacity. www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

developments

Koreans demonstrate new stretchable electrodes ULSAN, SOUTH KOREA

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lsan National Institute of Science & Technology (UNIST) has demonstrated that a live rabbit could wear contact lenses fitted with inorganic light-emitting diode with no side effects. This new class of hybrid transparent and stretchable electrode paves the way for flexible displays, solar cells, and electronics.

Due to these drawbacks, neither is good for conducting electricity, but a hybrid structure, combined from two materials, is. The hybrid material presents a high electrical and optical performance with mechanical flexibility and stretchability for flexible electronics. The hybrid transparent electrode has a low “sheet resistance” and high transmittance. There’s almost no change in its resistance when bent and folded. Where the ITO is bent, its resistance increases significantly. Additionally the hybrid material preserve its electrical and optical properties against thermal oxidation condition. 

LED fitted soft eye contact lense.

UNIST scientists have combined graphene with silver nanowires to form a thin, transparent and stretchable electrode which overcome the weaknesses of each individual material, resulting in a new class of electrodes with widespread possible applications including picture taking and scanning using soft contact lenses. Transparent electrodes have been widely used in things like touch screens, flat-screen TVs, solar cells and light-emitting devices. Commonly made from indium tin oxide(ITO), it is brittle and cracks thus losing functionality if flexed. It also degrades over time, and is expensive due to the limited quantities of indium metal. As an alternative, the networks of randomly distributed mNWs have been considered as promising candidates for next-generation transparent electrodes, due to their low-cost, high-speed fabrication of transparent electrodes. However, the number of www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

disadvantages of the mNW networks limited their integration into commercial devices. They have low breakdown voltage, typically high NW-NW junction resistance, high contact resistance between network and active materials, material instability and poor adhesion to plastic substrates. Graphene is also well known as good a candidate for transparent electrode because of their unique electrical properties and high mechanical flexibility. However, scalable graphene synthesis methods for commercialization produces lower quality graphene with individual segments called grains which increases the electrical resistance at boundaries between these grains. Silver nanowires, on the other hand, have high resistance because they are randomly oriented like a jumble of toothpicks facing in different directions. In this random orientation, there are many contact between nanowires, resulting in high resistance due to large junction resistance of nanowires.

The graphene-mNW hybrid structure developed by the UNIST research team is a new class of electrodes and may soon find use in a variety of other applications. The research team demonstrated Inorganic light-emitting diode (ILED) devices fitted on a soft eye contact lens using the transparent, stretchable interconnects of the hybrid electrodes as an application example.  As an in vivo study, this contact lens was worn by a live rabbit eye for five hours and no abnormal behavior, such as bloodshot eye or the rubbing of eye areas were observed in the live rabbit. Wearing eye contact lenses, picture-taking and scanning, is not science fiction anymore.  The research was led by Jang-Ung Park, professor of the School of Nano-Bioscience and Chemical Engineering at UNIST. “We believe the hybridization between twodimensional and one-dimensional nanomaterials presents a promising strategy toward flexible, wearable electronics and implantable biosensor devices, and indicate the substantial promise of future electronics,” said Prof. Park. u


technology

ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

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New standards in SmartInspect software

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ARO Technologies has announced the new CAM2 SmartInspect measurement software.

The software is highly suited to take measurements without CAD data. In developing the software, the focus was on - Simple, Intuitive operation and A Short learning phase. This means that even users with minimal background knowledge of 3D measurement technology can achieve very good measuring results within a short period of time. The software is available in two versions: a Basic version, and a Pro version with an extended range of functions.

suggests to the user a range of functions and commands which might be needed during the measuring process. In this way, inexperienced users get tips and tricks regarding the software’s capability and professionals can use this function to speed up their working process. The combination of CAM2 SmartInspect and the FaroArm or the FARO Gage can be used in all sectors that demand excellent manufacturing and product quality. Its flexibility and user-friendliness enables the CAM2 SmartInspect to support a range of applications;

from incoming goods inspection, initial sample inspection, to various inspection needs in manufacturing. “Our new software, CAM2 SmartInspect, offers innovative functions which speed up and simplify the measuring process. Furthermore, we aim to continually improve the userfriendliness of our measurement software packages. This new software is the simplest and most intuitive measurement software in the market”, explains Markus Grau, Product & Business Development Manager at FARO. u

The Basic version of CAM2 SmartInspect has an impressively clear and self-explanatory user interface, as well as very usable functions. For example, helpful images can be added to the features to be measured, so that even untrained personnel can handle the programs very easily. In the Pro version of CAM2 SmartInspect, the 3D live view functions as a visual interface to present the recorded dimensions to optimum effect. Other feature includes measuring length and angle in combination. The automatic feature-recognition function makes the measuring process faster, as it assists the user significantly in processing a measuring sequence with few clicks. The other advantage of the software is, it automatically

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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

telecommunications

Silicon-based optical modulator

SINGAPORE:

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n affordable optical modulator to enable high-definition online gaming experience in real-time with multiple players from anywhere in the world. Imagine being able to download 10 high-definition movies (each of 4 GB capacity) in less than 1 second or be able to enjoy superior lag-free online gaming experience with multiple players from anywhere in the world. Researchers from A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics (IME) have designed and developed a silicon-based optical modulator for ultra fast long-distance telecommunications. The device would enable 50% faster download speed than the latest Ethernet standard. The technology can be realised with existing industry fabrication processes, paving way for affordable high speed data communications to the masses. A modulator in an optical telecommunication network transforms electrical signals into optical signals. It performs one of the most critical steps as its switching speed in the signal conversion process dictates the overall rate at which data packets are sent out. In long distance optical communications, the quality of signals transmitted takes on greater significance - a critical performance feature defined by the extinction ratio of the modulator. At record-high extinction ratio of 5.5 dB with 50Gbps data speed, IME’s modulator exhibits the highest reported immunity against data distortion to deliver high quality optical signals over even longer distances. The modulator uses the on-off keying (OOK) format, which is widely used commercially. www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

When this format is applied to advanced multilevel modulation format such as QPSK and DPQPSK, the information capacity and total data communication can be increased to 100 Gbps and 200 Gbps, respectively. Compared to current state-of-the-art, IME’s modulator would need 50% less input power to impart optimised cooling, energy and cost savings in high-performance computing and data centres. On the breakthrough, Dr Tu Xiaoguang, the IME scientist involved in the project, said, “By applying a novel structure design, our team was able to achieve a precisely-defined P-N junction profile that can reach high modulation speed without compromising optical signal quality, which has troubled designers in the past. This leads to the remarkable performance of the silicon modulator. Work is underway to develop new designs for pushing the switching speed further.” Professor Dim-Lee Kwong, Executive Director of IME, said, “Silicon photonics offers promising solutions to marry photonic functionality with electronic intelligence. With the results achieved using CMOS technology, we expect IME’s silicon modulator to offer a distinct lead that is competitive with optical modulators in the market.” The Institute of Microelectronics (IME) is a research institute of the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Positioned to bridge the R&D between academia and industry, IME’s mission is to add value to Singapore’s semiconductor industry by developing strategic competencies, innovative technologies and intellectual property; enabling

enterprises to be technologically competitive; and cultivating a technology talent pool to inject new knowledge to the industry. Its key research areas are in integrated circuits design, advanced packaging, bioelectronics and medical devices, MEMS, nanoelectronics, and photonics. For more information about IME, please visit http://www.ime.a-star.edu.sg. u


technology

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PlantPAx offers enhanced visualisation

SINGAPORE:

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he latest release of the PlantPAx process automation system allows companies across multiple industries to improve operator effectiveness with automated procedures, enhanced visualisation and new skidintegration capabilities.

Credit: Rockwell Automation

interface helps operators see and understand the information they need and makes procedures repeatable and easier to track.”

The new PlantPAx sequencer tool

The system’s new sequencer tool enables companies to easily automate process procedures, perform system modifications, and sequence actions directly through human-machine interface (HMI) faceplates. If a process change is necessary or an abnormal event occurs, a user with the appropriate login privileges can modify the sequence directly from the HMI screen, rather than waiting for a control system expert to modify the procedure code. “The new PlantPAx sequencer tool eliminates the need for custom-coded configurations to automate procedures for continuous processes,” explained Jason Wright, PlantPAx Product Manager, Rockwell Automation.  “Its intuitive, user-friendly

The PlantPAx system further extends operator effectiveness with a comprehensive HMI toolkit for effective display design and enhanced standards-based alarming. This allows the operator to focus directly on the process itself, reducing system downtime and incidents.  The latest PlantPAx system also features an enhanced independent workstation (or network station) that offers companies more flexibility in plant design – especially when integrating best-of-breed skids into multiple plants worldwide. “There is an industry trend to leverage process skids for quicker line and plant expansion to help reduce time-to-market,” Wright said.  “However, integrating these process skids into a traditional distributed control system (DCS) can create complexities and increase costs.  In fact, for a traditional DCS, integration accounts for 50 to 60 per cent of the project costs for end users.” For example, skid integration often requires custom datamapping or duplicated code on the DCS.  This is not the case with the PlantPAx system – the skidbased controller can be added as a native controller to the system. 

Enhanced independent workstation capabilities help reduce the cost of integration by allowing the skid to share common infrastructure resources, such as user accounts and security settings, without losing application independence. This allows companies to leverage the specific application expertise of multiple skid vendors whilst providing a consistent operator experience. These features further enhance the PlantPAx system, which integrates process control, power, information and safety together into one infrastructure.  Combined, these reduce the total cost of ownership, and enable a highly distributed and cost-effective system. u

Polymer protects multiple substrates

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overite 100 polymer is a novel, proprietary technology that provides shine and protection in floor cleaners and polishes, furniture polishes and sprays, multi-purpose cleaners, and kitchen and bathroom cleaners.

Noverite 100 polymer is based on a new film-forming technology that provides gloss and stain protection benefits that can be used in a variety of surface cleaners and is suitable for use in a wide range of substrates, from hard woods to granite and synthetic surfaces. Customised performance from a typical cleaner application to premium surface appearance restoration can be obtained by choosing a use level that balances the cleaning performance with the visual impact of shine, protection and micro-scratch filling abilities. u www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

events

MTA Vietnam delivers

HO CHI MINH CITY:

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fter four successful show days, it is evident that MTA VIETNAM has held up its reputation as the country’s premier trade show and largest display of machining tools and metal forming machinery in Vietnam. This year saw a record number of more than 12,000 attendees comprising trade visitors, exhibiting staff, seminar speakers and delegates, competition participants and members of the press gathered at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre (SECC) for the 11th edition of the show from 2 - 5 July.

The Local Industry Levels up The manufacturing sector plays a pivotal role in the progress and development of Vietnam’s economy. The influx of foreign-owned manufacturing conglomerates setting up production bases in Vietnam has created new demand throughout the entire manufacturing value chain. Smaller firms wanting to keep up with the fast developing industry, and local support services looking to join the global supply chain are taking ready steps to level-up their capabilities. “Vietnam’s mechanical and production engineering capabilities have increased significantly over the last few years. Local manufacturing firms moving up the value chain and competing globally have created consistent, growing demand for new machines tools and equipment in Vietnam. MTA VIETNAM with its large percentage of international exhibitors, is the ideal platform for technology sourcing,” said Mr. Tee Boon Teong, Deputy Chief Representative, Singapore Exhibition Services’ Representative Office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, organiser of MTA VIETNAM2013. Major local buyers that were seen trolling the MTA VIETNAM2013 show floor include Duy Tan Plastic, HAI HA Machinery and Trading, Kien Giang, Mida Mold Precision, Saigon Precision, Soc Trang Mechanical, Mechanical, Vina Kyoei and Vietsopetro. www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

Veteran exhibitor and global machine tools leader, Dr. Christian Braun, Managing Director of DMG MORI SEIKI (SEA) gave his comments on the quality of visitors at MTA VIETNAM2013, he said: “It is evident that the local industry is developing towards a higher level of capability. “The visitors we have met far exceeded our expectations - in terms of the type of customers, and the discussions we have had with them, showed that there is indeed a continuous growing demand for more sophisticated machines in the local market. As the leading provider of 5-axis machines, we are seeing a trend where smaller local manufacturers are showing greater interest and beginning to adopt more high-tech machinery that allows for better accuracy and greater integration of processes.” Mr. Hisao Kawano, General Manager, Mitsubishi Electric Asia also commented on the growing popularity of his machines among local companies, he said: “MTA VIETNAM2013 is a show that connects the latest manufacturing solutions with Vietnam’s manufacturing sector. As Vietnam’s manufacturing capability increases, Mitsubishi Electric’s MV Series of Wire-Cut Electric Discharge Machine (EDM) Systems - with its easy operation, complements Vietnam’s drive towards greater productivity. It has proven to be popular with the local manufacturing community and we have already sold quite a number of units!”

International Showcase Impressed Visitors Hailing from 21 countries and regions, 80 per cent of the 341 exhibitors were from overseas. Together, they made up an impressive global marketplace of machine tools and equipment from the world’s top brands that left trade visitors spoilt for choice. Commenting on the wide variety of products on display, Mr. Cao Thanh Trong, Assistant Section Chief, MTEX Vietnam said: “I have visited MTA VIETNAM several times and I am impressed with the exhibition this year, as there are more new products and solutions available. Also, the Germany pavilion has expanded, showing a greater range of high quality technologies. I am here to search for drills, laser machines and tapping equipment and have exchanged contacts with potential suppliers such as Bessey Tool and Minitec. I will be back to visit the next MTA VIETNAM.” The show this year saw a large turnout of group delegates. 163 groups in all, they arrived from provinces such as Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Long An and Tra Vinh. “MTA VIETNAM is our company’s the regular sourcing platform. I used to visit the show on my own and this is the first time we have brought along a group of leaders, supervisors and engineers. We are here to get updated on the latest technology trends and testing equipment as well as look for metalworking machines that serve our production needs,” said


events Mr. Le Minh Phuong, Chief of Production, Nidec Servo Vietnam Corporation. In addition to a comprehensive showcase of machine tools, MTA VIETNAM2013 also featured a series of seminars and an exciting welding skills competition. The three seminars, organised by the Vietnam Welding Society, the Vietnam Association of Testing Laboratories - VinaLab; and the Multi Engineering Solutions Laboratory - MESLAB, provided insightful dialogue that touched on pertinent industry issues. Held for the first time, the welding skills competition saw a healthy turn out of competitors, ultimately, the team from Vietsopetro emerged victorious.

Happy Exhibitors at MTA VIETNAM2013 With a 23 per cent increase in trade visitors this year compared to the previous edition of MTA VIETNAM, exhibitors were

ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

undoubtedly pleased with the quality turnout. “We have had a good show this year. Compared to other years, we saw about 20 to 30 per cent increase of visitors to our booth at MTA VIETNAM2013. The quality of visitors is also a lot better. We are here to expand our business network within the local Vietnamese market and so far we have sold two machines and established contact with quite a few new local potential customers,” said Mr. Naoki Mori, Director, Sales Division, Sodick (Thailand). “Our objective taking part in MTA VIETNAM is always to meet more new local customers. This year we have had a very encouraging crowd, especially during the first two show days. We have met a number of potential local customers and also managed to sell our BySun 3015 laser cutting machine,” said Mr. Philip Loh, Managing Director, Bystronic.

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In addition to marketing their machine tools to the local manufacturers, many international exhibitors were at MTA VIETNAM2013 to look for local agents and distributors for their products as well. One such exhibitor was Mr. Wataru Izumi, Section Leader, Overseas Group Asia Team, MST Corporation, he said: “We took part in MTA VIETNAM2013 to look for local distributors for our products. Currently we have two Japanese distributors here that serve the local Japanese manufacturing base in Vietnam. However we would like to expand our business networks to include local Vietnamese companies. During the last four days, we have met about five potential distributors for our products. We are very happy with MTA VIETNAM2013, and have already signed up to exhibit next year!” The next edition of MTA VIETNAM will be held from 8 - 11 July 2014. u

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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

supply chain

Empowering Ajinomoto Ind

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eal-time, accurate information of product stock availability is extremely vital to a sales team. Experts observe that availability issues in a supply chain are often due to underlying inefficiencies rather than insufficient stock. An established Indonesian company, PT Ajinomoto Indonesia, experienced this first-hand when it realised its need for a Sales Force Automation (SFA) system a few years back.

Founded in 1969, PT Ajinomoto Indonesia is the company behind household brand AJI-NO-MOTO as well as several other seasoning and beverage products well-loved by Indonesian families. For 40 years, the business enjoyed great support and has grown to offer a diversified portfolio of products today. In 2009, the management at Ajinomoto Indonesia noticed a growing problem with its mode of operations.

Relooking at capabilities With 500 teams of salesmen and supervisors spread across Indonesia, the sales force operates in a decentralised manner like a well-oiled machine. However, the management noticed that its staff productivity and sales data accuracy were lower than they had expected. A closer look revealed that the primary cause was the operation’s reliance on paper based records for all sales transactions. Clearly, Ajinomoto Indonesia needed a better alternative to document and tracks its processes. “While the existing system served us well for many years, it was not sufficient to keep up with the times or the size of the business”, shared Kaspar Situmorang, IT Architect Manager of Ajinomoto Indonesia. “At the end of each day, the sales team would have to manually submit each transaction to the finance team for processing. It was counterproductive as both departments would often have to clock over time just to complete the handover and it would slow down the monthly financial closing.” www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

Aside from human error and lowered productivity, the sales teams were also not maximising sales due to the inaccurate information it had on stock availability. Ajinomoto Indonesia supplies to its customers from almost all cities across Indonesia, including Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, Yogja, Makasar, Palembang and Denpasar. With so many locations to serve, Ajinomoto Indonesia’s supply chain network is intricate and can be tricky to manage. A lack of clear visibility on how much stock remained in the warehouses meant that the sales teams were wary about overpromising customers. The fear of an inability to deliver would often result in loss of sales as various teams underestimated the true volume of units in stock. As a result, the management of Ajinomoto Indonesia was determined to find a solution to overcome these issues.

Adopting new technology Ajinomoto Indonesia’s search for a solution led them to PT Autojaya Idetech, one of Datamax Neil’s trusted partners in Indonesia. With 21 years of experience in Automatic Identification and Data Collection solutions, Autojaya Idetech is well-versed in the technology, and is an established leader of the industry. In its consultation with Ajinomoto Indonesia, Autojaya Idetech recommended a combination of Datamax-

O’Neil’s portable thermal receipt printer, OC3 BT, with an integrated wireless mobile computing system. The portable printer is a crucial component of the SFA, as sales teams must be able to bring them wherever sales visits are made. Ajinomoto Indonesia identified the need for a rugged receipt printer that was portable enough for salesmen travelling in their vans. With its robust nature, compact size, wireless connectivity and long battery life, the OC3 was a perfect match for Ajinomoto Indonesia’s needs in the field. Since Ajinomoto Indonesia’s implementation of the SFA, its problems of human error and inaccurate stock availability have been resolved. When asked for their feedback on the Datamax-O’Neil OC3, Kaspar commented, “Instead of issuing hand-written chits and orders, we can now generate receipts with these printers while orders are being made. Meanwhile, stock availability is also updated at realtime, so we have full confidence that the information is accurate. Our sales orders have even increased by more than 30%!” Importantly, other than increased confidence in their stock availability, Ajinomoto Indonesia’s staff is also much more productive with the new SFA in place.”In the past, our staff spent a lot of time handling paperwork after work hours” said Kaspar. “With the new system, that step is no longer required.


ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

manufacturing report

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donesia to higher productivity The precious time saved can be put to better use elsewhere.” Another factor that influenced Ajinomoto Indonesia’s final decision to appoint Autojaya Idetech was the strong pre- and post-sales customer support offered. Together with the company’s expertise and competitive prices,Ajinomoto was assured of the best returns on investment in both products and services it purchased. “The level of commitment demonstrated by Autojaya Idetech was commendable,” revealed Kaspar. “Their Ajinomoto Indonesia staff undergoing product rich experience tells us we can trust them to provide complete training conducted by Autojaya Idetech solutions for our business needs.”

PT Ajinomoto Indonesia Founded in 1969, PT Ajinomoto Indonesia is the company behind household brand AJI-NOMOTO as well as several other seasoning (MASAKO,SAJIKU ,SAORI,MAYUMI) and beverage products(CALPICO,BIRDY)wellloved by Indonesian families. For more information, please visit http://www.ajinomoto.co.id.

PT Autojaya Idetech Established in 1991, PT Autojaya Idetech focuses on Automatic Identification and Data Collection (AIDC) Solution and Integration. Over the years, the company has established its leadership in Indonesia for AIDC solutions (e.g. Bar code system, Integrated Wireless and Mobile computing system).

For more information, please visit http://www.autojaya.com/.

Datamax-O’Neil Datamax-O’Neil is a trusted global provider of stationary and portable label and receipt printing solution products that enable manufacturing and supply markets to capture the benefits of automated product identification and automated legal and financial transactions. Datamax-O’Neil is the barcode and mobile printing business company within Dover Corporation’s Printing and Identification segment. The company’s products address a wide variety of applications, including those in the industrial, healthcare, retail, automotive and ticketing market sectors. u

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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

developments

Cheaper, more durable catalyst for electric vehicles

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orean researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) have developed a novel bio-inspired composite electrocatalyst which outperforms platinum, in terms of cost, production simplicity and has a longer cycle life reaching above 1000 cycles.

Copyright: UNIST

for ORR in an alkaline media, offering better performance than a commercial Pt/C catalyst. Compared to other unpyrilysed metal macrocycles catalysts, this bio inspired FePc-Py-CNTs catalyst has achieved a much longer cycle life , reaching more than 1,000 cycles in a durability test.

Li-ion battery and Zn-air battery

The research team developed an inexpensive and scalable bioinspired composite electrocatalyst, iron phthalocyanine with an axial ligand anchored on single-walled carbon nanotubes, demonstrating a higher electrocatalytic activity for oxygen reduction than the state-of-the-art Pt/C catalysts as well as an exceptional durability during cycling in an alkaline media. Electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction are critical components that may dramatically enhance the performance of fuel cells and metal-air batteries, which are perceived to be the power for future electric vehicles. Currently Pt and its alloy are known as the most efficient catalysts for activation of the oxygen reduction reaction. However, their application is limited due to high costs and scarce reserves.

Energy, UNIST, demonstrated a new strategy to rationally design inexpensive and durable electrochemical oxygen reduction catalysts for metal-air batteries and fuel cells. The research team designed a new class of ORR catalysts using pyridine-functionalized carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to anchor FePc molecules and provide the axial ligand for the iron centre. At the same time, the CNTs provide an easy pathway for fast electron transfer from the current collector to the ORR active sites. The resulting material, bioinspired FePc-Py-CNTs catalyst has shown outstanding durability and electrocatalytic activity

“I believe the FePc-Py-CNTs catalysts is a technologically promising candidate for practical applications in metal-air batteries and alkaline fuel cells,” said Prof. Cho. “The origin of the enhanced performance for this bio-inspired catalysts in aromatic macrocycle, provides important insight into rational design of metal macrocycles catalysts for other applications such as solar harvesting and catalysts for other redox reactions.” The fellow researchers include Ruiguo Cao, Ranjit Thapa, Hyejung Kim, Xioadong Xu, and Prof. Noejung Park from UNIST and researchers from Pohang Accelerator Laboratory (PAL), Loa Alamos National Laboratory and Georgia Institute of Technology. The research was supported by the Converging Research Centre Program through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), Korea. The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), Korea is also acknowledged. u

The UNIST research team led by Prof. Jaephil Cho, dean of the Interdisciplinary School of Green www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

Copyright: UNIST

Scientists worldwide are looking for better catalysts which outperforms platinum, costs less and has a simpler production process.

Diagram of synthesis of new carbon nanotube-based catalyst


technology

ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

25

Smaller offices hiring while larger firms upskill SEOUL:

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xpansion strategies by international firms for their smaller branches in Korea drove new hiring activity, according to the 2013 Robert Walters Half-year Market Update. New entrant and existing branch offices sought experienced professionals for newly-created positions to support their growth strategies in Korea. However, larger multinational firms slowed their new hiring and focussed on recruiting for replacement and up skilling their current staff.

While established firms continued to hire in comparatively larger volumes, small- and mediumsized branch offices generated proportionally more recruitment activity for new openings. In particular, a number of foreign technology vendors entered the Korean market in quarters one and two and sought bilingual professionals to fill new openings. Professionals able to develop new business were in the highest

demand for functions such as account managers, pre-sales and business development professionals. Technical experience was also highly sought after, which created a worker shortage for technical sales, technical support and engineer positions. Branches in the industrial and manufacturing sectors also recruited for experienced staff. Specialist product knowledge was

required for most sales engineers and business development roles, which created a shortage of experienced candidates in the market. While many smaller offices recruited for new openings, companies of all sizes continued to seek professionals with specialist abilities to up-skill their current teams. Companies within fast moving consumer goods and luxury retail were the most active with their replacement hiring through the first half of 2013. These employers recruited for marketing professionals at the junior- and mid-career level with specialised skills in areas such as e-commerce and digital marketing. u

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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

mining

Innovative solutions for urban mining

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rban mining is performed by extracting metal resources from electronic products. Gold from PCBs and Lithium from seawater. While alternative energy is considered a substitute for our reliance on oil, as of yet there has not been found a substantial replacement source for metal resources. Limitations of natural resources and constant increases in prices have brought a sense of urgency to the importance of ‘urban mining’.

Urban mining is a performed by extracting metal resources from electronic products. The traditional form of mining involves prospecting, mining, and processing. However, urban mining only requires processing, thus reducing the costs of investing in prospecting and mining. The question lies on the methodology. After comminution, a proper crushing and grinding process, the materials go through concentration and separation. The particle comparatively affluent with metal element, placed in an aqueous solution, will then be divided via leaching.

of his technique separates valuable metal from pulverized PCB. In addition, Park’s research interest also lies in securing lithium. Major growth in the lithium-ion battery industry has led to an increase in lithium demand. Lithium ionsieves (LISs) have found to be suitable for lithium recovery from seawater due to their low toxicity, low cost, and high chemical stability. An alternative solution was provided by Park in which he succeeded in recovering lithium from seawater by using millimetersized spherical ion-sieve foams.

Park diligently researched to find an absorbent for lithium and was finally able to determine that millimeter-sized SIFs prepared from spinel lithium manganese oxide via a combined process of foaming, drop-in-oil, and agar gelation was the solution. Park’s method uses an aqueous agar solution as the binder, resulting in an environmental friendly, rapid gelation at low temperatures, that has high gelling strength, low manufacturing cost, and involves a simple manufacturing process. Current research is underway in extracting medium and heavy rare earth minerals such as Ce and La from heavy minerals such as monazite or illmenite recovered from sub-marine sediment. Moreover, Park is focusing on developing a minetailing geopolymer for back filing of mine goaf as a means of recycling byproducts of mines. u

During comminution, importance lies on the liberation of valuable metal. After solvent extraction, porous nano-materials are applied in the process of separating metallic ions from the aqueous solution. In the past, Park focused his research on creating innovative porous ceramic materials. By redirecting his expertise in porous ceramic materials, Park applied his work to the recovery of materials. For example, in an effort to effectively recover Au (gold), Park devised innovative methods of liberating and separating valuable metal sources from printed circuit boards (PCBs). One technique of Prof. Park’s for recovering valuable metal sources from PCBs of disposed small domestic appliances involves using a device for separating electronic components from printed circuit board assembly (PCBA). Another www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

Professor Park will continue his research on recovering materials with his expertise in porous ceramic materials.


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www.flowform.net www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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case study

Dyeing & Finishing Equipment

A

utomation is often touted as a key solution to raising efficiencies and output. And in China, where competition amongst local and international manufacturers is rife, businesses are increasingly looking to mechanize their processes in order to maximize inventory turnover. But sometimes, a company’s initial purchase produces less-than-desired results, and time then has to be spent searching for a more suitable solution.

Increasing Productivity through Automation

Sourcing for a Better-suited Option

In 2012, Wuxi Yusheng Dyeing & Finishing Machinery Factory (Wuxi Yusheng) aimed to increase its output with the adoption of a computer numeric control (CNC) cutting table. This required the company to also purchase a nesting software, which was meant to help the company manufacture parts from flat raw material more efficiently.

The negative feedback led Wuxi Yusheng on a quest to source for the most suitable nesting solution to meet its needs. Based on recommendations from Wuxi Qiaolian Welding & Cutting Equipment Co., Ltd., a supplier of mechanized cutting systems, Wuxi Yusheng decided to acquire TurboNest, a fullfeature intermediate level nesting software from Hypertherm. This time, operators had a positive experience from the get-go.

GU Leyi, Programmer, said, “ We decided to upgrade our cutting processes in August 2012 with the purchase of a cutting table, and along with this, we bought a nesting program that has been commonly used in China for some years.”

“The Hypertherm CAM (computeraided manufacturing) solution had a user-friendly interface that’s similar to a popular

word processing program that operators are familiar with, so we took a much shorter time to get acquainted with TurboNest,” commented Gu. “ On top of that, Hypertherm technicians provided training to ensure that the transition between our previous and current software was a smooth one.”

Reaping Immediate Benefits With an automated nesting procedure, the key benefit Wuxi Yusheng looked forward to was maximized usage of raw materials, and the end-user achieved this almost immediately after the induction of TurboNest. Parts to be cut were well-arranged in a manner that minimized wastage with little need for manual intervention, and Gu noted that the Common Line Cutting module was the most useful in this aspect. This feature automatically or interactively arranges an array of profiles with a straight edge together so that they can be cut with a common line. Common Line Cutting as anticipated,

The Jiangsu-based company had hoped that the software would be able to help arrange parts on metal sheets in a way that maximizes use of raw materials, and minimizes wastage. But within two months, operators at Wuxi Yusheng gave feedback that the program did not meet their needs well. Gu shared that colleagues found difficulty in using the program. “The first nesting software that we purchase wasn’t user-friendly, and we had problems familiarizing ourselves with the interface. At the same time, it posed many limitations to our work, which made us realize that the software wasn’t the best fit for our operations.” www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

Wuxi Yusheng is a modern enterprise engaged in the production of dyeing and finishing machinery. The Jiangsu-based company strives to provide first-rate equipment, coupled with excellent after-sales service.


ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

case study

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Manufacturer raises productivity instant messaging group set-up by Hypertherm. Hypertherm has been very helpful in the transition and adoption process, and I believe this positive working relationship will continue.”

About Wuxi Yusheng Dyeing & Finishing Machinery Factory

TurboNest helped Wuxi Yusheng minimize material wastage.

resulted in shorter cut times also, as pierce cycles were reduced.

needs. This was almost impossible to achieve in the past.

Besides Common Line Cutting, operators at Wuxi Yusheng also took to two other productivityenhancing features - Bridge Cutting & Chain Cutting - which allow the development of a single, continuous cutting path for multiple parts. By eliminating pierce cycles and connecting parts to the plate as long as possible, these functions decreased production time, improved part accuracy and also maximized consumable lifespan.

Besides a user-friendly interface, TurboNest also allowed operators to easily save and export the nesting job files. These job files can be imported into TurboNest for future editing when subsequent orders featuring similar profiles arise. With the previous software, Wuxi Yusheng was forced to redraw similar shapes from scratch because the process of saving a project was complicated.

Gu remarked, “TurboNest is able to cleverly arrange parts to be cut in a way that reduces material wastage, as well as cutting times. This gives the Hypertherm solution a clear edge over our first software.”

Having adopted a more intuitive program, operators at Wuxi Yusheng now carry out nesting as efficiently as a well- oiled machine. With Hypertherm’s guidance, Gu and her colleagues are now proficient in using TurboNest, and she has even decided to pay the help that she has received forward.

With the new purchase, Wuxi Yusheng also found that nesting was a much easier procedure. Although the previous program had productivity modules, the end-user was not able to easily grasp these functions. Using TurboNest, on the other hand, was much more intuitive. In addition, operators are now able to edit the cut path without much difficulty, where necessary, to suit their

A Positive Experience

Gu concluded, “I am very happy with TurboNest, and am pleased with the benefits we have reaped. Now that I am more adept at using the program, I’ve decided to extend a helping hand to other manufacturers who need troubleshooting while using the software, through an

Wuxi Yusheng is a modern enterprise engaged in the production of dyeing and finishing machinery. The company possesses many years of experience in manufacturing advanced dyeing and finishing equipment, backed by an expert technical scientific research team. Wuxi Yusheng’s goal is to offer first-rate products, coupled with excellent after-sales service.

About Hypertherm Hypertherm designs and manufactures advanced cutting products for use in a variety of industries such as shipbuilding, manufacturing, and automotive repair. Its product line includes handheld and mechanized plasma systems and consumables, as well as fiber laser and now waterjet products, in addition to CNC motion and height controls and CAM software. Hypertherm systems are trusted for performance and reliability that result in increased productivity and profitability for hundreds of thousands of businesses. The New Hampshire based company’s reputation for cutting innovation dates back more than 40 years, to 1968, with Hypertherm’s invention of water injection plasma cutting. The associate owned company, consistently named one of the best places to work in America, has more than 1,300 associates along with operations and partner u representation worldwide. www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

developments

Halogenated graphene may ULSAN, SOUTH KOREA:

T

he research team of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) paved a new way to affordable fuel cells with efficient metalfree electrocatalysts using edge-halogenated graphene nanoplatelets. The research team of Profs. Jong-Beam Baek and Noejung Park of UNIST, and Prof. Liming Dai of Case Western Reserve University, for the first time, reportedly synthesized a series of edge-selectively halogenated (Cl, Br and I) graphene nanoplatelets (XGnPs) by ball-milling graphite flake in the presence of chlorine (Cl2), bromine (Br2), or iodine (I2), respectively. The newly prepared XGnPs as metalfree electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) stand as a possible replacement for platinum (Pt), which is currently the most reliable material for cathodic ORR electrocatalysts in fuel cells.

www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

Edge-halogenated graphene nanoplatelets (XGnPs) are solution processable, and show remarkable electrocatalytic activity toward ORR with a high selectivity, good tolerance and excellent long-term cycle stability.

One of the major drawbacks for commercialization of the fuel cell technology is the dragging ORR at cathode. So far, costly and precious Pt and its alloys have been considered to be the most reliable cathodic ORR


developments

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31

y replace expensive Platinum

electrocatalysts in fuel cells. However, Pt and its alloys have a drawback in that they suffer from methanol crossover/carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning effects and poor operation stability. Although extensive efforts have been devoted to the development of non-precious metal-based electrocatalysts, their practical application is still far from being a reality due to their limited electrocatalytic activity, poor cycle stability, and sometimes environmental hazard. Alternatively, carbon-based materials, doped with heteroatoms such as boron (B), halogen (Cl, Br, I) nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S) and their mixtures, have attracted tremendous attentions as metal-free ORR electrocatalysts. However, full potential of these carbon-based, metal-free catalysts is hard to achieve without the synthetic capability for largescale, low-cost production of the heteroatome-doped, carbon-based

materials. These novel metal-free electrocatalysts were synthesized by ball-milling at high speed rotation (500 rpm) using stainless steel balls, generating sufficient kinetic energy to cause bond cleavages of the graphitic C-C framework. As a result, active carbon species formed at the broken edges of graphite, which were sufficiently reactive to pick up halogens in the sealed ball-mill capsule. The resultant XGnPs were tested as cathode electrodes of fuel cells and revealed remarkable electrocatalytic activities for ORR with higher tolerance to methanol crossover/CO poisoning effects and longer-term stability than those of the original graphite and commercial Pt/C electrocatalysts. Jong-Beom Baek, professor and director of the Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy/Low-Dimensional Carbon

Materials Center, UNIST, Ulsan, South Korea, led the effort. “Our result presents new insights and practical methods for designing edge-functionalized GnPs as high-performance metalfree ORR electrocatalysts through low-cost and scalable ball-milling techniques,” said Prof. Baek. A description and details of the new research was published on June 5, 2013 (British Time) in the (Nature Publishing Group) Scientific Reports. (Title: Facile, scalable synthesis of edge-halogenated graphene nanoplatelets as efficient metalfree electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction, DOI: 10.1038/ srep01810) World Class University (WCU), Mid-Career Researcher (MCR) and Basic Research Laboratory programs through the National Research Foundation of Korea, US-Korea NBIT and the U.S Air Force Office of Scientific u Research funded the research. www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

the future of manufacturing

MIR VALVE Enlists FA

S

trategic planning is a process that helps an organization articulate its mission and define its direction. Recognizing this as a vital exercise lays down firm foundations for an organization, allowing it to grow and thrive, whatever the fabric it exists within. One such company that understands this principle well is MIR VALVE SDN. BHD., a top-tier manufacturer of ball valves that serves the international oil and gas, petrochemical, refining and power industries.

MIR VALVE’s success certainly did not come by chance. Rather, it can be attributed to the foresight that its founders, Mr. Stasi Prandalos and Mr. Ahmad Hisham Kamaruddin, had in setting up this Malaysian based company in 2007. The management spent 16 months on pre-planning to ensure that every aspect of its operations would be thoroughly mapped out.

• Quality Management & Certification The team at MIR VALVE was cherry-picked for their rich experience in respective fields, which allowed the company to enjoy success at the get-go. From the very beginning, MIR VALVE placed great emphasis on Quality Management, and received certification in an extensive range of standards from Bureau Veritas, American Petroleum Institute (API) and Standards Malaysia amongst others. In fact, MIR VALVE was the first Malaysian manufacturer to supply the market with API 6D Ball & Gate Valves and Actuators.

MIR VALVE’s plant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com

The MIR VALVE Group asserts global presence with production facilities in Kuala Lumpur and Milan, Italy. Across its manufacturing plants, MIR VALVE has a quality control process that puts all its products through stringent tests, including inspections on its valves and even components from its supply sources. The company has earned a high level of trust from its customers, and has manufactured over 5,000 valves in less than 5 years, all of which are now in service in various onshore, offshore and subsea installations worldwide.

• Enabling Technology MIR VALVE’s commitment to high standards led its quality control (QC) department to recommend the purchase of a portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) quite early on.

MIR VALVE’s measurement needs revolved around inspection, alignment and dimensional calculations. Traditionally, taper gages and micrometers of various sizes would be used to take these measurements. While manual measurements taken with hand tools were generally acceptable, it required highly-skilled technicians to perform the task with a lot of care, which was very timeconsuming. The QC team also had the additional goal of simplifying inspection checks to further enhance its capabilities and efficiency. As MIR VALVE’s products came in a variety of sizes, ranging from 2 to 60 inches, the company owned 7 sets of micrometers of different sizes to cater to a variety of measurement needs. The larger micrometers were very bulky and difficult to handle, and the team

MIR VALVE has complex measurement needs that involve spherical objects most of the time.


case study

ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

33

ARO in its Strategic Plan soon realized too that the working volume was exceeding what the hand tools could manage. What MIR VALVE needed was a solution that would give accurate measurements more quickly. Mr. Aziz Mustaffa, Quality Control Manager in the Shah Alam plant, shared, “As our work frequently involves measuring spheres, using traditional methods would be exceptionally tricky. We wanted to minimize time wastage and eliminate the possibility of human error.”

• Trust in a Reliable Name During the evaluation process to search for options available in the market, several employees’ prior experience with FARO solutions swayed the management in that direction. “Some of us used FARO in our previous jobs, and we were familiar with the features and capabilities that the products offered,” said Mr. Aziz. “Despite the competitive pricing that other brands proposed, we decided on the FaroArm because of the trust that our industry folk had in the brand.”

MIR VALVE procured a FaroArm Platinum and FARO ScanArm V3, which allowed technicians to perform measurements in two ways — one with a ball probe, and the other by scanning without coming into contact with the object. The FaroArm replaced both the taper gage and micrometers in performing hard dimensional checks and ring-type joints (RTJ) dimension calculations, bringing great convenience to the QC team. In addition, portability of the FaroArm enabled MIR VALVE to conduct source inspections easily at its suppliers’ facilities, even before components are sent to the plant. “In more ways than one, we appreciate how portable the FaroArm is,” revealed Mr. Aziz. “Our larger valves can weigh up to a ton, making it very laborintensive if it had to be moved to a measuring room. Setting up the FaroArm right where the product is saves us all that trouble!” Utilized every other day, FARO helped MIR VALVE improve on the consistency of its product quality. Measurements taken by the FaroArm are highly accurate

and compliant to the oil and gas industry’s typical requirement of 50 microns (or 0.002 inch). Compared to using traditional hand tools, readings were also much more reliable and repeatable.

• Reaping the Benefits Since switching to the FaroArm in February 2009, the QC team enjoyed significant time-savings in their work flow. In fact, the team reported more than 80% reduction in the amount of time taken for inspections. Mr. Aziz added, “Normal inspections would have taken us about two hours, but the FaroArm allows us to complete the same task in just 15 minutes. The time and manpower saved is now spent elsewhere, enabling us to meet our customers’ evolving needs.” MIR VALVE’s strategic planning and astute investments provided the right conditions for the company to flourish in its niche. FARO is glad to have been involved as a partner in enabling MIR VALVE Group’s success, and looks forward to future opportunities to work together.

• About MIR VALVE SDN. BHD. MIR VALVE SDN. BHD. is a top-tier manufacturer offering the complete range of ball, gate and control ball valves serving the international oil & gas, petrochemical, refining and power industries. In less than 5 years, the company has manufactured over 5,000 valves which are in service in onshore, offshore and subsea installations worldwide today. MIR VALVE’s technology and quality are proven in service. FARO enabled MIR Valve to measure spherical objects much more easily.

For more information, please visit www.mirvalve.com

a

www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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case study

a • About FARO FARO is a global technology company that develops and markets computer-aided coordinate measurement devices and software. Portable equipment from FARO permits high-precision 3D measurement and comparison of parts and compound structures within production and quality assurance processes. The devices are used for inspecting components and assemblies, production planning, inventory documentation, as well as for investigation and reconstruction of accident sites or crime scenes. They are also employed to generate digital scans of historic sites. With FARO, 3D measurement and documentation needs can be fulfilled confidently. As a pioneer and market leader in portable computer-aided measurement, FARO consistently applies the latest advances in technology to make its industry-leading product offerings more accurate, reliable, and easy to use. The focus is on simplifying workflow with tools

The FaroArm can be deployed anywhere on the shop floor.

that empower customers, thereby dramatically reducing the on-site measuring time and lowering overall costs. Worldwide, approximately 13,000 customers are operating more than 26,000 installations of FARO’s systems. The company’s global headquarters are located in Lake Mary, Florida, with its European

head office in Stuttgart, Germany and its Asia-Pacific head office in Singapore. FARO has branch locations in Japan, China, India, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, and The Netherlands. For more information, u please visit www.faroasia.com

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plastics

ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

35

“Plastics move the world”

P

lastics move the world – particularly in connection with the major challenges faced by our modern society. Incredibly versatile, lightweight, safe, durable, economic and impressively energy-efficient – with their multitude of positive properties, polymers are indispensible in most areas of our daily lives.

And the material’s success story is far from over, as it moves into new areas of application all the time. Plastics move our lives in more ways then one, both in the figurative and the literal sense. About 3,100 exhibitors will document this enormous potential at the K 2013, the largest international trade show for plastics and rubber, which starts on 16 October and ends on 23 October in Düsseldorf/Germany. Selected exhibits will also be presented at a special show with the title “Plastics move the world”. They illustrate the many improvements already attributed to plastic products today and their potential contribution to future challenges, e.g. by protecting global resources in the future. The special show in Hall 6 takes a broad approach to the meaning of the word “to move”. It includes not merely the direct contributions of plastics to different areas of mobility, but also emotional aspects, e.g. their effect on art and design, and their potential for solving future problems such as demographic growth, increasing energy consumption and climate change. As usual, the special show will be hosted in a special area which provides a combination of information, interaction and show elements. The focus will be on five topical areas which represent the vast applications and properties of polymer materials. The motto “Plastics move – people” for example focuses on personal mobility with the help of cars, trains, public transport and aircraft as well as on the mobility of the

disabled, who benefit from the ongoing advancement of modern aids. The sustainability of plastic products is taken into account by all topical areas. Emotional aspects are also considered. Polymer materials often move people in sports or art – in both categories the show presents surprising examples of the potential of plastics. This also concerns competitive sports, sports for the disabled and leisure sports. Without polymer materials, modern design would not be possible. These materials can be found in theatres and museums as well as in architecture. Innovations and visionary developments are presented in the “Plastics move – the future“ section of the special show. This includes energy-efficient living as well as future medical applications, water treatment and the food supply for a growing global population. Polymer materials act as versatile troubleshooters in many areas of application. In addition to presentations, the special show also features VIP lectures as well as daily discussion panels (except for Sunday and the last day of the exhibition) with experts from science and the industry. On the second day of the trade show, the first VIP, Bertrand Piccard, renowned pioneer in the are of solar-powered aircraft, will present his project. His Solar Impulse craft is currently on its longest mission, crossing the USA from San Francisco to New York using only solar energy. In 2015, he plans to complete a non-stop

flight around the globe with a solar-powered aircraft. The daily discussion panel will also deal with complex issues such as marine debris, which threatens oceans and coasts. Due to the fact that these discussions are attended by international K 2013 visitors and exhibitors, they will be conduced alternately in German and in English. The special show’s traditional “Youth Day” will take place on Sunday, 20 October. This event will feature several panel discussions between young adults and high-ranking scientists and representatives of the plastics industry. The special show will provide interesting information, not just for exhibitors and specialists visiting the K 2013, but also for a wider public audience. This wellestablished event enhances the presentations given by exhibiting companies as it provides an insight into pioneering, innovative aspects and promotes the unique position of the K Düsseldorf as a trend indicator and innovation forum for the entire industry. The show is hosted by the German plastics industry under the aegis of PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V. and Messe Düsseldorf. u www.asiamanufacturingnewstoday.com


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ASIA MANUFACTURING NEWS • AUGUST 2013

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