Supply chain
IPC maker Nexcom teams up with academics on robotics education
Chloe Liao, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES

Taiwan's leading IPC maker Nexcom International has, through its subsidiary AIoT Cloud, teamed up with 16 domestic universities and research labs to carry out a "robotics" education program in a bid to effectively cultivate AI-based robotic talent to better serve industrial needs, making it the first industry player to do so, according to YC Shen, director of AIoT Cloud's business department.

Shen said that robotics is a cross-domain science, covering mechanics, automation control, information technology and electrical engineering, but there have been no robotics departments at universities.

Accordingly, Shen continued, his company will collaborate with local universities and labs to enforce the "robotics" education program, including National Tsing Hua University, National Chiao Tung University and National Cheng Kung University, among others, as well as research labs at Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) and Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP). Under the program, robotic engineers from the industry sector will be invited to foster seed teachers, which, if certified, will teach students at robotics courses.

Shen stressed that the courses will be open not only to students at the universities, but also to startups, individual "makers" and businesses interested in developing robots. The courses will comprise fundamental robotics knowledge, structural types, and a variety of design and development aspects including kinematics, control technology, communication technology, vision incorporation, and practical applications.

Smart manufacturing

Shen said that robots will play a crucial role in the future smart manufacturing era, incorporating massive AI elements and diverse IoT technologies, such as sensing capabilities and vision and hearing, and therefore both robot suppliers and end users should be well prepared for upcoming disruptive designs in future robots.

Meanwhile, YT Chen, robotic product manager at Nexcom International, said Taiwan's electronics industry is very suitable for incorporating robots, reasoning that contract production of 3C products in Taiwan usually requires intensive labor to handle the assembly of a large variety of small parts and components, but the shrinking demographic dividends in the country will make robots rise as best helpers.

At the moment, Epson's 6-arm robots are mostly shipped to the electronics industry in Taiwan, according to industry sources.

The sources said that future robots will feature low loading capacity, collaborative operation, and smart and accurate movement enabled by 3D sensors. Beyond the electronics sector, they continued, traditional labor-intensive manufacturing industries and food processing industry will also be suitable for mass incorporation of robots.

YC Shen, AIoT Cloud business department director   Photo: The company

YC Shen, AIoT Cloud's business department director
Photo: Company

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