KESM to upgrade plants into ‘smart factories’

By KEVIN WONG / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

KESM Industries Bhd will be looking to upgrade its existing plants in Kuala Lumpur and China into “smart factories”, with the aim to produce higher quality products for the automotive industry.

KESM CEO Samuel Lim Syn Soo (picture) said the group will be shifting its focus to enhance the smart factories, where they will be able to test more complex semiconductors.

“We have invested our capital expenditure (capex) mostly on facilities in the past year. However, because car manufacturers today are moving into designing cars that can communicate with other cars as well as street lights, we are therefore planning to change our focus.

“With that said, we are getting ready to test and burn-in a wave of these new semiconductors for devices with stringent requirements that are much more complex,” he told reporters after the group’s AGM and EGM in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

KESM will be spending more of its capex this fiscal year to July 31, 2018 (FY18), compared to FY17 of RM144.3 million.

Lim explained that the smart factories will go beyond just automation, and they will also be providing manufacturing information online.

“The information which includes the quality and production volume and every process steps will be made available to the management to analyse and figure the next best step of action,” he said.

In regards of Industry 4.0, Lim said with current industrial revolution KESM is initiating its move forward.

“As we are still in our infancy stage, KESM is increasing its technical resources to develop programmes that would optimise the processes, as well as quality. We are also increasing our investment in automation as it provides real-time information on the manufacturing processes,” he said.

Lim noted that the realtime information will greatly help the automation processes as it detects the quality as well as issues in real time. “It will ensure our automation processes are free of issues and of top qualities. It will also keep us up-to-date,” he said.

Lim said if the company’s profile meets KESM’s requirements, the group would consider future joint ventures.

“Our processes are quite customised and we have yet to see any companies that will be a great fit with us. We are, however, still open if the company has the right capabilities for us to grow,” he said.

The semi – conduc tor burn-in and test specialist surpassed its RM300 million sales target for FY17, and aims to continue the sales momentum for FY18.

The group’s sales for FY17 rose 18% year-on-year to RM338 million compared to RM285 million in FY16.

The increase of sales was contributed by the demand for burn-in and test services.