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SINGAPORE: Universal Robots (UR) has hit 25,000 cobot sales, and to celebrate this milestone, the company awarded 10 of its 25,000 global customers a Gold Edition cobot. Southeast Asian winner is Vietnam’s Vinacomin Motor Industry Joint Stock Company (VMIC), which was presented with the one-of-a-kind UR10 cobot on October 9, 2018. The special edition cobot has the joints painted in a rich, gold-coloured finish, a refreshing take on UR’s iconic blue and grey cobots.

Based in Vietnam’s Quang Ninh province, VMIC is engaged in the manufacture, assembly, maintenance and repair of transportation vehicles. The company’s leading products are heavy duty trucks used in the delivery of mining products, together with light trucks and other utility vehicles. Other business activities include the production of automotive parts, industrial machinery and equipment trading, the construction of industrial and civil infrastructure, as well as the provision of technical consulting services.

“We are thrilled to receive the Gold Edition UR10 cobot which will be deployed to assist in the production of parts for transport vehicles, working alongside our employees,” said Pham Xuan Phi, VMIC Chairman and CEO.

“The need to improve productivity and reduce operational cost led us to opt for cobots as the ideal solution. Since deploying our first cobot in July this year, we have already seen productivity surge 30 per cent and improvements in product quality and takt time stability,” he added.

“We couldn’t have reached this historic 25,000-cobot landmark without excellent customers like VMIC,” said Sakari Kuikka, APAC Regional Director of UR. “With this, we celebrate not just the success of UR in empowering customers, but also the successes of our customers in innovating and changing their workplace with cobots. The Gold Edition cobot reflects our continued commitment towards making the unlimited potential of robotics accessible for all.”

Present in Vietnam since 2016, UR distributes cobots through local distributor and system integrator partners – Servo Dynamics Engineering and Tan Phat Automation JSC. Cobots are deployed in multiple industries including automotive, electronics, textile, footwear and food processing sectors.

Robotics Key to Vietnam’s Industry 4.0 Journey

Vietnam has identified robotics as one of the pillars of Industry 4.0 as automation becomes integral for businesses to remain competitive. However, 82 percent of Vietnamese businesses have yet to take steps to prepare for Industry 4.0 while just 10 percent are ready. Furthermore, a report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that interest among enterprises to invest and apply new technologies was still modest.

Acknowledging this, the government has been aggressively focusing on developing initiatives and legislation to speed progress in the era. Among the efforts are the 2011 – 2020 Strategy for Science and Technology Development to enhance economic competitiveness and speed up industrialisation, prioritising the importance of industrial robots and hi-tech automation.

The government has also identified other measures including collaborations between technology enterprises and science & technology organisations to consult and support local firms as appropriate steps to ensure the successful acceptance of robotic opportunities.

The Vietnamese economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. The country recorded a 6.8 percent increase in GDP last year on the back of a humming manufacturing sector. The economy in 2017 was worth VND5 quadrillion (US$223 billion).

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