Danish robot firm sees industrial potential in Thailand

Denmark’s Universal Robots A/S may set up a Thai subsidiary once the South-East Asian market has a sizeable demand for industrial robots, probably in the next five years.

Rising wages and restrictions on foreign workers make South-East 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 South-East 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, Universal Robots entered Asia in 2011 via China.

The company opened a New York office last year and plans another in China this year.

Robots from the Danish firm 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, Universal Robots 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. Thailand is interesting for Universal Robots because of the auto industry.

“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.

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