Industry 4.0 needs to be more pragmatic: Hiwin
The government should be more pragmatic when encouraging local machinery makers to develop “smart machinery” technologies, Hiwin Technologies Co (上銀科技) chairman Eric Chuo (卓永財) told a forum in Taipei yesterday.
Taichung-headquartered Hiwin is one of Taiwan’s leading machinery makers, manufacturing ball screws, linear guideways and industrial robots for global customers through its subsidiaries in 13 countries.
The government has put a lot of effort into promoting “Industry 4.0” for the nation’s long-term industrial development, but the measures are “too idealistic,” Chuo said.
Last year, the Cabinet launched a plan to transform the nation into a global manufacturing hub for “intelligent” machinery, which is one of the “five plus two” innovative industries to boost industrial development promoted by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Industry 4.0, or the “fourth industrial revolution,” refers to an industrial transformation aided by smart manufacturing and data exchange, such as high-level factory automation and Internet of Things applications.
However, Chuo said that some companies in the intelligent machinery sector have not even reached the level of Industry 3.0.
“Many local manufacturers are still in the Industry 2.0 phase and risk their chance of survival amid competition from rivals in China and Southeast Asia over the next five to 10 years if they do not seek transformation,” he said.
Chuo said that China has made a series of practical measure, to upgrade its manufacturing industries, aiming to popularize the technologies of Industry 3.0 first, after it in 2015 unveiled its Made in China 2025 policy, with a focus on advancing smart production.
Chuo — who previously served as a board director for the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association — said the government should first help some companies migrate toward Industry 3.0 and the transition to Industry 4.0 should be a gradual process for local manufacturers, who face the immediate challenge of surviving in a rapidly changing world.
“Too many people are talking about Internet of Things applications and cloud-computing techniques, but they fail to develop basic infrastructure or collaborate with business partners [for those technologies],” Chuo said.
Chou said that Taiwan should have more system integration service providers to help small and medium-sized enterprises improve their manufacturing processes with information technologies.
Citing top-quality talent for businesses and industries in the home market, Chuo said that Taiwan still has opportunities to adopt ideas in the new era of manufacturing.