In July 2017, Anston Tan, Principal of iPlast 4.0 was appointed by the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) to lead its government-backed pilot programme, “First Step to Injection Moulding 4.0” #FSIM40.
Malaysia’s Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF or Pembangunan Sumber Malaysia Berhad), an agency under the Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia, has allocated a fund to four companies to participate in this programme. These companies are involved in the processing of plastic products and were selected by MPMA and iPlast 4.0.
They are: LH Plus Sdn Bhd, Plasform Sdn Bhd, Mah Sing Plastics Industries Sdn Bhd and Triplus Industry Sdn Bhd.
The Principal of iPlast 4.0, Anston Tan spoke at the Opening Ceremony of “First Step to Injection Moulding 4.0” programme at the German-Malaysian Institute in Kajang.
Tan said: “Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution. With Automation and Artificial Intelligence deployed in production, cost of production will be less location dependant. It brings manufacturing back from east to west through regionalisation and manufacturers will have to deliver smaller batch size and customised products with the least cost possible.
The challenges faced by many SMEs include a relatively messy physical world, lack of topic awareness, lack of investment, lack of digital culture and digital skills in the shop floor, thus making it extremely difficult to implement Automation and Digitalisation. Unfortunately, this transformation is not a choice but a must as Malaysia will face more competition from neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The Plastics Industry in Malaysia needs to speed up in the strengthening of basic foundations such as process stability, scientific maintenance and LEAN before embarking on Automation and Digitalisation.
iPlast 4.0 brings retired engineers from abroad (such as Germany, Sweden and Japan) to “recondition” local practitioners. The local practitioners will in turn lead a group of young motivated engineers to help to transform the local traditional manufacturing industry in Malaysia.
Empowering Malaysian workers
The 11th Malaysia Plan also aims to promote automation and to reduce the dependence of unskilled foreign workers – something Tan believes the programme can contribute to.
“While company’s owners cannot protect jobs in this coming Industrial Revolution, we can at least protect our people, who are our loyal employees. We can up skill them to strengthen their resilience for technological changes,” he said.