As a lecturer of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Dr Yeong Che Fai always wanted to empower and inspire his students to believe that they have the abilities to build a world-class tech company. In 2011, an opportunity knocked on his door.
A Multinational Electronic Manufacturer in Johor looking for innovative solutions to improve their operation. Dr Yeong found out that the Manufacturing Plant was still relying on physical workforces to push bulky goods in the production line.
He joined forces with his students, Ricky Yap Wee Yang and Tan Ping Hua, a design engineer and programming and system designer, respectively, in identifying several potential projects. Finally, they came up with an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV), a programmed mobile robot that moves by tracking pasted magnetic tape on the ground.
Their first production, the prototype, was able to replace at least four operators to push the components in the plant. The client was satisfied with the results, thus repeated orders for several times again. Dr Yeong and his two students realised there is a huge market need for Robotics solutions in Malaysia.
Robotics and AGV have already been in the market since the 1950s. In fact, most manufacturing plants in countries like Japan, German and the US already implemented AGV Systems in their production line. They were yet to venture into Malaysia because our market is comparably smaller.”
For local manufacturers, importing AGV technologies and solutions means expensive costs and poor local support. Therefore, Dr Yeong decided to become the first AGV Manufacturers and Solutions Providers in Malaysia. He quickly gathered his students, especially those who had represented Malaysia in the Robocon Competition, to start DF Automation and Robotics Sdn Bhd.
DF Automation & Robotics is a tech-based company that specialises in automation and robotics. They provide professional services including designing, manufacturing, marketing and maintaining of the Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) systems for various industrial and commercial usages.
Bear in mind, AGV itself is not very useful. It would only work if you had a professional team to diagnose your requirements, then design and customise a comprehensive solution to implement in your business. Our team build all our products from scratch, which make our services very flexible and customer-oriented.”
DF Automation & Robotics covers everything their clients need to build an AGV System in their respective businesses. They produce from the AGV machines to the handlers, charging stations, accessories to the key element, the Fleet Management System (FMS).
Most of the existing AGV software was very complex to use. Therefore, we developed our own FMS Software, NavWiz (Navigation Wizard) to be the brain of our AGV Products. It took us quite some time to build it, but all that efforts paid off.”
The NavWiz software and the experiences that they’ve gained enable DF Automation & Robotics to speed up the production time of new AGV models. In the past, it took them at least one year to develop a new AGV system. Now, for a simple AGV model, they only need three months to roll it out.
With the good reviews from existing clients and the government efforts on pushing Industry 4.0 forwards, many businesses from various industries have come to DF Automation & Robotics. Their main customers are from the Electronic Manufacturing industry, which traditionally use AGVs to transfer loads from warehouses to production lines, or from finished goods to warehouses. DF has exported to various contries including Singapore, India, Vietnam, Thailand and all the way to Mexico.
Recent years, DF Automation & Robotics also started to venture into the F&B Industry. “The F&B purposed Service Robots are much smaller than our standard AGVs. They are used to deliver food orders directly to customers’ tables without the waiters.”
According to a report from Mordor Intelligence, the robotics market was valued at USD 31.78 billion in 2018 and is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25% over the forecast period of 2019-2024. “It’s a huge potential market. For the past ten years, the industry was growing stable, but it becomes very aggressive since last two years. We foresee there are more industries to adopt robotics solutions to revolutionise their operation very soon.”
DF Automation & Robotics has joined ZOM-IN to collaborate in efforts to empower aspiring youths. Join us now at www.zom-in.com to participate in exciting events coming soon!