Taipei (Taiwan News) -- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) highlighted major functions of the newly established Smart Machinery Promotion Office in Taichung to help strengthen Industry 4.0 developments, during the opening ceremony on Tuesday.
The new office is an important milestone for Taiwan’s Industry 4.0, she added. The Smart Machinery Promotion Office has been established under the ministry of economics Smart Machinery Promotion Program, other agencies involved in the program include the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) and the Precision Machinery Research and Development Center (PMC).
"Taiwan cannot miss out on opportunities in Industry 4.0, if we want to hold fast to 'made in Taiwan' policies or strengthen the nation through industry," said Tsai.
The global demand for smart, automated manufacturing equipment has been dubbed Industry 4.0, and is earmarked for priority development by the new administration led by Tsai out of five innovative technologies. The other four technology industries high on the administration’s development agenda are green energy, biotech, defense technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
To accelerate the development of these five innovative technologies, and assist the transition of manufacturers into Industry 4.0, Tsai said the initiation of the new Smart Machinery Promotion Office opened in central Taiwan’s primary objectives will be: establish a local talent pool, accelerate innovation in the industry, and help manufacturers expand sales, exhibition and distribution channels.
The outlook for Taiwan to develop a smart machinery sector is positive because of the country’s strong foundation in the machine-tool industry that is mostly concentrated in central Taiwan and around the city of Taichung, according to an Amcham article published last September.
During a visit to Taichung Municipal Taichung Industrial High School in January 2017, Tsai observed some early developments under the Smart Machinery Promotion Office where local manufacturers offered their in-house designed machines to the school and provided internship opportunities to students. The high school has a long tradition of collaborating with local manufacturers.
More than 28 universities are participating in the Smart Machinery Promotion Office, which will prioritize the establishment of a pool of local smart machinery talent based on business collaboration between academia and industry. The aim is to let students become more familiar with digitization and smartification technologies in different industries.
Another aim of the project is to provide experienced employees with the opportunity to return to schools for advanced education.
The new office will also integrate resources from government agencies, research institutes and the private sector to accelerate smart machinery R&D, so the country can eventually wean itself off reliance on foreign imports. Especially in high-end component assembly, system applications, and services.
It is hoped by the Tsai administration that the smart machinery promotion program can facilitate the machinery industry’s domestic market growth, enabling local manufacturers to invest and eventually shift towards smart manufacturing.
Lastly, the office will assist manufacturers in expanding sales and distribution channels.
"The mission of the office is to introduce resources for industrial design and marketing to help manufacturers build up their own machine-tool and component brands," said Tsai.
In 2015, Taiwan ranked globally as the world’s seventh largest producer of machine tools and is the fifth largest exporter, according to research from Taiwan market research company Topology Research Institute.
Additionally, Taiwan has made progress in crucial technologies related to smart machinery, such as cloud computing, big data, IoT and smart robots.