It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon when members of SMBA and their guests gathered in
one of the conference rooms located at ABB Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., Subang Jaya. After 10 minutes of personal introductions, the attendees took their seats as they were briefed on the safety regulations around the factory and evacuation precautions to take in case of an emergency.
After the briefing, the speakers for the day were warmly greeted by SMBA Board Member, Ms. Pauline Goh of Invest KL. Mr Laurent Maillefer, Vice President of Business Unit in ABB, and Mr Jukka Poutanen, Managing Director of ABB Malaysia, were both welcoming and friendly as they gave short introductions of themselves and ABB’s presence in Switzerland and Malaysia.
Mr Laurent got the ball rolling by giving the attendees a slide presentation about the background of ABB Switzerland. ABB, the product of merging ASEA, Brown and Boveri, was founded in 1883 and has been making electrical engineering history ever since. Known to many as a global leader in power and automation technologies, ABB aims to improve the efficiency, productivity and quality of their customers’ operations while minimizing environmental impact. Mr Laurent then played a video created in honour of celebrating 125 years of innovation at ABB Switzerland. The video also showcased some of ABB’s projects such as its role in creating the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel through the Swiss Alps.
One of the most impressive projects that ABB Switzerland is currently working on involves Solar Impulse, a zero-fuel ambassador for sustainable transport. The solar powered plane, made with ABB’s software and technology, took on a mission to fly across the Atlantic, from New York to Seville, Spain in 2016. The project was presented with many challenges during flight – such as unaccommodating weather and the risk of not storing enough solar energy to fly across those countries. Deemed as ABB’s most successful development yet, the project showcases the company’s skill in producing life-changing innovations.
Mr Jukka then took the floor to explain the development of ABB Malaysia through their high-level software and data tracking systems. He further explained that by using data and gaining pertinent information, the company is able to create better processes for their customers other advancement of ABB comprises of a next-generation, two-handed robot named YuMi, which is programmed to help assemble and participate in collaborative work. “Studies show that when you put two humans together, you get 75% productivity. When you put two robots together, you get 100%. But when you combine robots and people, you will get 150% productivity,” said Mr Jukka with a smile.
The growth of ABB Malaysia during the past decade has been tremendous, expanding to Penang, Johor and Miri with nearly 700 employees. The company has also managed to secure high-profile clients around the country such as Petronas, Shell, Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Sime Darby. The company’s advanced technology has also helped it gain customers across various industries such as Proton, a Malaysian heavyweight in the automotive industry, as well as Mattel, the popular producer of children’s dolls. In closing, Mr Jukka shared that ABB Malaysia has the potential to save up to USD$ 1 billion worth of fuel consumption and aims to drive the digital revolution with its products.
Once both speakers had concluded, both Mr Laurent and Mr Jukka were presented with tokens of appreciation by Ms Pauline Goh on behalf of SMBA for their enlightening presentations. The attendees and speakers then proceeded to the foyer for a group photo session. Later, ABB’s personnel team hosted a short tour of the factory where guests were given a behind-the- scenes preview to the company’s inventions and innovations.
One of the most interesting prototypes was a single-handed robot that could sketch any photograph or image which was imported into its system. Attendees gathered closely as they listened to the factory’s supervisors explain the functions of certain machinery. It was evident that ABB highly prioritized efficiency by adopting Swiss and Japanese storage systems in order to allow continuous production and maximum productivity.
The tour ended around an hour later, as attendees grouped around the lounge area for light refreshments including delicious sandwiches, cheesecake and spaghetti. Friendly chatter ensued as the event came to a close and everyone resumed networking over the delicious servings.