MTDC calls for teamwork in embracing Industry 4.0

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By TMR File

Malaysian Technology Development Corp Sdn Bhd (MTDC) CEO Datuk Norhalim Yunus (picture) has called upon industry players and companies to forge closer collaboration to leverage on Industry 4.0.

“Anything you have to do with technology development, you have to do a collaboration. To develop Industry 4.0, nobody can do it alone.

“For us as a nation to grow our Industry 4.0, indigenous capacity and capability, we need to work together,” he said at the soft launch of the MTDC Industry 4.0 hub, Centre of 9 Pillars (Co9P), at Universiti Putra Malaysia yesterday.

The Co9P, which is built on a community- based concept, will be a dedicated centre for Industry 4.0.

The centre will be equipped with the required tools and equipment to allow development of proof-of-concept and prototypes at a fraction of the cost of imported solutions.

It will also enable MTDC to assist in identifying local talents and in the creation and development of Industry 4.0 technopreneurs.

Norhalim said currently there are many industry players who are producing their own products in the field alone.

However, these players often find it difficult to grow further later on.

“When we are visible, when we reach critical mass, people will see us. Hence, we need to create an ecosystem which will be able to foster collaboration between our local entrepreneurs and international companies,” he said.

“Obviously, not everything can be develop in-house by ourselves and in this country. Of course, there will be competition. Competition is unavoidable,” he added.

Norhalim said technology developments will happen as long as “you don’t go against the rule of physics”.

“Hence, we are trying to create an environment, an ecosystem where we collaborate. We are here because we want to collaborate and foster this collaboration, so that we can develop an indigenous ecosystem which is capable of developing solutions and products,” he said.

The soft launch also saw MTDC expanding its network and resources by signing a memorandum of understanding with five Industry 4.0-related partners.

The five partners are the Malaysian Robotics and Automation Society; Malaysia Internet-of-Things Association; RESPECT Business and Advanced Technology Solutions Sdn Bhd of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia; RTI International; and Human Life Advancement Foundation.

The five agencies were in addition to another group called MyEdtech Community, which MTDC signed a deal with earlier, and will be the key partners towards its Industry 4.0 initiatives.

“The setting up of the Co9P and the partnership with five strategic partners mark another milestone for MTDC as the leading agency in the development of Industry 4.0 in Malaysia.

The Co9P will be a dedicated platform for the localisation of Industry 4.0 technologies and in the creation of Industry 4.0 technopreneurs “MTDC, with the assistance provided by the partners, will play a role to synergise the interactions between companies (small and medium enterprises or SMEs and larger corporations) wishing to acquire Industry 4.0 solutions with the local providers of Industry 4.0 technologies and services in the Co9P. The Co9P, therefore, will be the nucleus for these interactions,” Norhalim said.

The signing yesterday comes a week after the launch of the national Industry 4.0 policy, designated as Industry 4WRD, by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

According to Norhalim, the Co9P aims to position MTDC as the platform to allow SMEs to seek local Industry 4.0 solutions for their existing processes, and will provide the avenue for MTDC to support Industry 4WRD.

“We can also work with them to develop and expand their networks. Because a lot of start-up companies have challenges in developing their networks. They know their thing, but they don’t know other things.

“Eventually, we hope to have a critical mass of companies here which will be producing products and services for our SMEs. Norhalim said large corporations are also welcomed to join this collaboration as part of their effort to identify local talents that can reduce the former’s dependency on foreign Industry 4.0 solution providers.

When asked about whether MTDC has allocated some funds for this initiative, Norhalim said “we will fund them in any five of our funds, if they are eligible”.

“We have not allocated any particular amount for them. It is best on a success basis. Companies which have good products and are fundable, we will look at it.

“At the end of the day, you must develop good products and are able to show us there’s a market, then we can consider funding,” he said.

Currently, MTDC manages five technology funds entrusted by the government — specifically the Commercialisation of Research and Development Fund; Technology Acquisition Fund; Business Start-up Fund; Business Growth Fund; and the Halal Technology Development Fund.

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