Malaysian tyre manufacturer meets the digital 'tsunami' head on

Technology collaborations will help strengthen Malaysia's manufacturing workforce, says Continental Malaysia.

By AvantiKumar
Dec. 6, 2016

tyres smart-car (IDG) 

Photo (IDG) - Tyres smart cars


Continental Tyre PJ Malaysia is preparing to equip its workforce to meet the coming wave of automation into the manufacturing and tyre industries.

Gerhard Janotta, plant manager of Continental Tyre PJ Malaysia, said a new 'first of its kind' training centre has been launched to help local talents upskill themselves to meet emerging digitalisation and Industrie 4.0 manufacturing scenarios.

The new training facility has been jointly launched with automation specialist Siemens Malaysia, which is supplying the technology necessary to impart the knowledge required to operate state of the art industry automation and drives solutions needed for advanced digitalised manufacturing.

At the training centre, employees will learn to use the latest manufacturing solutions, provided by Siemens Process Industries and Drives division.

Trainees will be instructed in applications such as next-level automation, predictive maintenance & remote monitoring, and digitalisation.

Examples of the solutions they will be exposed to include the likes of Siemens Industrial PC Management and SIMATIC S7, which enables individuals to configure and program automated tasks within their manufacturing facilities.

Critical capability gap

Possessing capabilities in these areas will help manufacturers improve their product quality, productivity, flexibility, efficiency, throughput time and time-to-market, Janotta said.

With these technologies, Continental Malaysia will be able to exert higher levels of control over the quality and consistency of products manufactured, ensuring customers get top quality products, he said.

With the growing demand for tyres both locally and in the region, Continental Malaysia wants to help its staff to have the relevant skills to meet this rising demand, he added.

Siemens Continental Malaysia 

Photo - (From left): Adam Yee, Senior Vice President and Head of the Digital Factory and Process Industries and Drives Division, Siemens Malaysia, Cameron Wilson, Managing Director, Continental Tyre PJ Malaysia and Gerhard Janotta, Plant Manager, Continental Tyre PJ Malaysia.

"Through this close collaboration between Siemens and Continental Malaysia, the centre is expected to plug a critical capability gap in the local Malaysian market," said Adam Yee, senior vice president and head of the Digital Factory and Process Industries and Drives Division, Siemens Malaysia.

In the latest edition of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, Malaysia was ranked among the top 20 most competitive economies in the world. However, its weakest sector remained to be technological readiness.

 "During our conversations with customers in Malaysia, we find that while they are keen to digitalise their factories to remain competitive, many feel that they lack the skills and expertise to implement new Industrie 4.0 technologies required to augment manufacturing," said Yee.
Best fit approach

"We are able to draw on our proven global expertise and strong portfolio in electrification, automation and digitalisation, and I am confident that through this collaboration we will be able to make a significant contribution to Malaysia's readiness for Industrie 4.0," commented Prakash Chandran, president & chief executive officer, Siemens Malaysia.

 "This collaboration is one of our many initiatives to support the government's aim to create a highly-skilled Malaysian workforce by 2020," said Chandran. "Our Siemens Mechatronics Systems Certification Program (SMSCP) and Siemens Industry Training (SITRAIN) program are other examples."

In addition, Continental Malaysia hopes to offset increasing competition in this sector by exploring new ways of integrating employees with potential skills, said Continental's Janotta.

The key to this is the 'best fit' approach, which looks beyond formal qualifications. This approach also focuses on finding suitable jobs for staff instead of the reverse.

"Through this significant investment, we aim to have always sufficient qualified operators to support our manufacturing processes," said Janotta. "These are getting more and more digitalised. We regard it as our task to provide a proper training facility and hope to inspire other manufacturers in Malaysia to also actively invest in their staff as Malaysia embraces digitalization and Industrie 4.0."

Continental Malaysia expects the first batch of trainees to be fully trained by the end of 2017. The centre is also intended to serve as a training facility for operators of other selected companies.

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