Denmark's Universal Robots A/S (UR) may set up a Thai subsidiary once the Southeast Asian market has a sizeable demand for industrial robots, probably in the next five years.
An employee of Universal Robots’ Chinese office demonstrates the potential of one of the company’s offerings. Rising wages and restrictions on foreign workers make Southeast Asia a prime target for the Danish company’s further expansion, with an office in Thailand possible within five years.
"With minimum wages in many countries in Southeast Asia and levies imposed on foreign workers, the robot outlook is very positive, as manufacturers will be forced to look for alternatives," said Shermine Gotfredsen, the business development manager.
Founded in 2005, UR entered Asia in 2011 via China.
The company opened a New York office last year and plans another in China this year.
UR robots feature an arm, a touch screen with a graphical user interface, and a controller box.
Prices range from 700,000 to 4 million baht based on the typical size of projects. Most end-users are small and medium-sized enterprises.
Globally, UR expects to sell 800 to 1,000 robots this year, with Germany the largest market, followed by Denmark and India, the last of which is the biggest market for industrial robots in Asia.
With 121 sales partners in 41 countries, UR recently signed up three distributors in Thailand _ M.I.A.C. Automation Co, TJ Solution Co and SP Vision Technology Co. It plans to add two more in the next couple months.
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) said 160,000 industrial robots were sold last year, on a par with 2011.
The IFR has identified Thailand as the most promising Southeast Asian market, with sales of 2,450 units in 2010.
"This is also because a lot of automotive suppliers have moved production to Thailand, as the country is known to be a hub of the auto industry," said Mrs Gotfredsen.
Thailand has 9,600 industrial robots. Asia has the highest annual supply of industrial robots, mainly involved in handling and welding in the automotive sector.
About the author
- Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Position: News Reporter