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Malaysia’s Manufacturing Industry Urged to Leverage Automation to Reduce Workplace Injuries and Improve Employee Morale
February 25, 2021 News


Universal Robots (UR), Denmark-based collaborative robots (cobots) technology market leader, urged local manufacturers to accelerate robotic automation and increase productivity, while reducing workplace injuries.

According to the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) under Ministry of Human Resource, Malaysia recorded 5,422 occupational accidents from January to September 2020 alone with total deaths numbering 152. The accidents were most prevalent in manufacturing sector at 63.2%; agriculture, forestry and fisheries at 14.4%; and the remaining 22.4% across other industry sectors.

Most local manufacturers face a growing skilled talent shortage, which strains its overall productivity and growth. At the same time, employers are also facing immense costs associated with workplace-related injuries.

“Cobots can perform tasks that may be dangerous or injury-prone for humans. With built-in safety features that slow the robot arm when a human enters its workspace, cobots can keep human colleagues safe from occupational injuries as it addresses repetitive and dangerous tasks in the manufacturing sector,” said James McKew, Regional Director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots.

Universal Robots’ adjustable safety system allows companies to adjust a range of parameters to reduce the risks involved with implementing an industrial robot application. These include limiting the force, speed, power or momentum of the robot, or restricting its workspace using safety boundaries. Productivity gains and the inherently safe design of cobot solutions means this new automation technology could reduce up to 72% of the common causes of injury in manufacturing environments.

“As we move closer to the vision of Industry 5.0 – where man and machine work together on the smart factory floor, the need to consider the safety and compliance requirements of this new kind of workplace has become paramount. Undoubtedly, a collaborative workforce featuring human and robots complements each other in their roles and offers significant opportunities to enhance manufacturing productivity, innovation, safety and overall job satisfaction in the workplace,” added McKew.

McKew also pointed out that companies can achieve a faster Return on Investment (ROI) by using cobots to free up workers’ time, allowing them to tackle higher productivity processes and ultimately acquire new skills.

Unlike traditional robots that require engineer-level programming, cobots are designed to make programming simple through human-machine interfaces (HMI) familiar to anyone who has used a smartphone.

For more complex applications, Universal Robots has a comprehensive network of Certified System Integrators and Authorised Training Centres ready to support users with day-to-day operations after the initial installation. Such interfaces and capabilities make the skills gap and learning curve for using cobots diminishingly small by eliminating the need for formal education in programming or robotics. Universal Robots encourages local manufacturers to adopt the perfect man and machine collaboration.

With cobots, manufacturers in Malaysia need not fear the impacts caused by the growing skilled talent shortage. The collaboration greatly reduces time, effort and cost associated with using the same cobot for various tasks as a cobots’ flexibility translates to a significantly faster return on investment.