Singapore International Robo Expo Recap

With Asia emerging as a major market for industrial robotics, key platforms like the Singapore International Robo Expo (SIRE) will be needed to drive the adoption, collaboration and innovation in leveraging robotics technologies by governments and companies in Singapore and the wider Asia region.

According to the latest World Robotics report published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), automation is becoming increasingly important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the world. The number of industrial robots deployed worldwide will increase to around 2.6 million units by 2019, which is about one million units more than in the record-breaking year of 2015. This development is expected to have a significant economic impact since SMEs comprise 97 per cent of all enterprises, employ over half of the workforce and contribute 20 per cent to 50 per cent of GDP in the majority of APEC economies. Given this scenario, forums like SIRE are poised to act as catalysts, to facilitate the adoption and implementation of automation and robotics technologies by companies in Asia and beyond.

China will be the main driver of growth and is expected to account for 40 per cent of the total global sales of industrial robots in 2019, while the second and third largest markets, Korea and Japan, are projected to grow at an annual rate of 5 per cent from 2016 to 2019. According to IDC, the Asia Pacific spending on robotics and related services, which accounted for 65 per cent of global spending last year, will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19 per cent from 2015 to 2019.

With Singapore making the transition towards an innovation-driven economy, it will be even more important for companies to embrace technological solutions, particularly the adoption of robotics. One of the Singapore government initiatives, the National Robotics Programme, is slated to drive the end-to-end development, test-bedding and deployment of robotics.

Key platforms like SIRE will play a strategic role in enabling Singapore companies to leverage the robotics technologies opportunities by offering a single venue and access to important resources. These include government initiatives, market trends and insights from industry experts and analysts like ABI Research, live demonstrations and showcases of the latest products and innovations by global organizations.

“The Singapore International Robo Expo created a critical mass of knowledge, people, products, services and innovations that will enable companies to accelerate the automation of their businesses,” said Mr Leck Chet Lam, Managing Director, Experia Events. “With an increasing number of companies, industries and countries in the region looking to implement robotics technology in the coming years, Experia is committed to developing SIRE as a dynamic contributor to the future growth of the industry in Asia.”

ST Kinetics, the title sponsor for the inaugural edition of the event, together with other global companies including ABB, Murata, Panasonic, SICK Pte Ltd, Tech Avenue and Yujin Robots, saw SIRE as a new strategic gateway to tap into the vast potential of regional markets. By being part of SIRE, which was held for the first time, key industry players took the opportunity to create more awareness by profiling their senior leaders through speaking opportunities and panel discussions at the SIRE convention, while also showcasing their products and innovations on the show floor.

“IE is a strategic partner of SIRE, as such events bring awareness of Singapore robotics solutions to an international audience, and foster collaboration with strong foreign partners,” said Mr Foong Kah Keong, Group Director, Technology Business Group, IE Singapore. “SIRE has established a good start to becoming a global marketplace for cutting edge industrial robotics solutions. We hope to continue to work with strong trade associations and chambers (TAC) partners such as SIAA to help Singapore companies tap into the burgeoning business opportunities arising from growing global interests in Industry 4.0.”

The sizeable presence of promising local start-ups including H3 Dynamics and Design Tech Technologies illustrated the wide range of robotics solutions available on the market. Local firm, SMP Robotics, also did Singapore proud by showcasing the world’s only autonomous outdoor security robot – SMP S5 PTZ and presented for the first time in Asia Pacific its S5-Rover series of security robots. The confirmation of strategic collaborations including the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Singapore Industrial Automation Association and the Spanish Robotics Association (HISPAROB), also underscored SIRE’s significance as a regional platform.  On another positive note, companies which exhibited as part of the Singapore and Korea country pavilions are also in the process of finalising partnership agreements, further demonstrating the value of SIRE as a strategic springboard in forging business deals.

“The inaugural Singapore International Robo Expo was a resounding success with more than 2,000 government officials, analysts, researchers, business leaders, attendees and students from 26 countries and regions visiting the show,” said Mr Oliver Tian, President, Singapore Industrial Automation Association. “It fully served to address Singapore’s need for a common platform where leading global companies and promising local firms could interact and establish potential partnerships, and I’m confident that the outcome will contribute to the acceleration of robotics adoption and innovation in Asia.”

SIRE is set to return in 2017 with an expanded focus on the practical adoption and implementation of robotics technologies, while also highlighting future innovations in collaborative and social robotics.

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