Panasonic offers new factory automation solutions
Factory automation is growing as an important business line for Japan’s Panasonic in Vietnam as the firm widens its core-business line from home appliances, thanks to the growing electronics sector and the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community. Lenz Tchong, assistant to the general director at Factory Automation Group, Panasonic Vietnam talked with VIR’s Bao Tram.
Panasonic recently established a group to develop its factory automation business in Vietnam. Could you tell us more about it?
The Factory Automation Group (FAG) is an extension of Panasonic Factory Solutions Asia Pacific (PFSAP) in Vietnam to support this emerging market, especially in terms of electronics related manufacturing. At PFSAP, our core business is total factory automation.
We create and develop innovative high-end Panasonic automation products and services that optimise the manufacturing capabilities of our customers worldwide.
The automation business is growing in Vietnam, what is your forecast of business trends over the next three years?
Panasonic FAG experienced significant growth, especially since the recovery from 2010 until last year. Based on the global focus of electronics related manufacturing growth in the Asia region especially countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. We are confident that Vietnam will be the hottest spot for the migration of manufacturing bases. By observing the actual speed of construction of new factories and media coverage of new investors coming to country, coupled with government commitment to public infrastructure development, we expect energetic growth in electronics in the years to come.
In 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will be established, how will the community affect Vietnam’s industry sector and what is Panasonic’s AEC strategy?
The AEC poses the question about how to develop a strategy to strengthen ourselves based within a single market and production base by 2015. Compared with other countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, Vietnam has still to achieve a high competitive stage in terms of skills, facilities and technology. With the high volume influx of foreign direct investment, especially from 2010 onwards, the availability of sufficiently-skilled human resources remains a concern. In terms of supply chain management, unfortunately most manufacturers at this time face material supply issues and require large amounts of components to be imported.
We see FAG as part of the key solutions providers for the electronics sector in Vietnam. We have a strong operational base here with a training facility that services both in-house members and customers.
Our global scale enables our local team here to offer a variety of solutions to different customers, including new setup advice, productivity enhancement projects for existing customers, and realignment support for customers who intend to change production capability.
Our advanced solutions and technology will help company’s meet their customer’s requirements. For example, for car-makers, we have solutions to assist manufacturers to reduce production costs in terms of material controls, including stringent traceability for all components.
Do you have any products to support these forecasts and trends? Panasonic is set to participate in the forthcoming Vietnam Manufacturing Expo 2014 in Hanoi, what products will you exhibit?
Besides the challenges mentioned, another key issue will be the expected increase in production volume, especially for the manufacturing contract company. In order to minimise the impact of losses in terms of overall equipment efficiency, Panasonic has a range of products which are flexible, intelligent and affordable to meet the different needs of our customers. For the upcoming expo, we’ll exhibit advanced equipment and integrated application software.
These products will include the next production modular series for larger boards and larger components. This product provides higher productivity and quality with printing, placement, and inspection process integration. Another product is the screen printing series, which performs at excellent cost while ensuring both high productivity and stable quality.
Its new type of cleaning unit and solder paste will cut running costs. In short, we hope electronic manufacturers, whether locally, or foreign-owned will benefit and gain insight into Panasonic’s new products and technology at the event.