Naver invests in Israeli sensor maker for autonomous driving technology Korea’s top online portal operator Naver Corp. invested in a self-driving car technology developer in Israel in a move to speed up its goal to foster its autonomous vehicle business.

Naver recently said that it together with world’s leading automotive suppliers Delphi Automotive and Magna International invested combined $65 million in Innoviz Technologies, Israeli startup that makes laser-based sensor technology for autonomous vehicles known as LiDAR. It did not disclose the amount of each company’s investment in Innoviz Technologies.

LiDAR is a sensing technology that calculates distance between objects by discharging beams of light and measuring the time it takes to return. It is one of core technologies that enable autonomous driving. Innoviz Technologies, which was established last year, owns the laser-based sensor technology for self-driving cars, and it currently is upgrading the technology to sense objects based on deep learning techniques, according to Naver.

The Korean investor also praised Innoviz Technologies for lowering the price of LiDAR to one tenth of the generally high price tag of $80,000 per unit with its competitive technology. The startup expected upgrade in its technology is expected to help further cut the LiDAR price to $100 in the near future.

The Israeli tech firm is planning to commercialize its LiDAR product by the first quarter next year and it is getting ready to develop LiDAR that would enable level 3 selfdriving, which allows the vehicle to have limited control of driving, and level 4, which allows the vehicle to have full control under certain conditions, in two years. Naver expected its latest investment would help it advance its own self-driving technology and creates synergy with its Naver Labs Europe, future technology research house that it acquired from U.S.-based Xerox Corp. earlier this year.

< Source: KITA> | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods

Doosan Infracore enters Vietnamese bus market Korea’s top machinery manufacturer Doosan Infracore Co. will supply bus engines for Vietnamese commercial vehicle makers as part of efforts to ride on the burgeoning Vietnamese bus market.

Doosan Infracore recently showcased a compressed natural gas-powered bus at an event celebrating its first supply batch of bus engines to Vietnam-based Saigon Transportation Mechanical Corp (SAMCO) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The company plans to ship nearly 500 bus engines and bare-bone chassis for four commercial vehicle makers including SAMCO and 1-5 Auto JSC in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese bus market has been growing rapidly in recent years. According to Vietnamese auto manufacturers’ association, the number of buses sold in Vietnam last year increased 20 percent to 14,770 units from 12,178 units in the previous year. The large-sized bus market, which Doosan Infracore seeks to win with its bus engines doubled to 6,214 units last year from 3,027 in 2015.

The Korean machinery maker plans to set up auto repair centers and provide trainings for mechanics in Vietnam with a goal to expand out to other Southeast Asian bus market.

It also aims to sell 500 units of bus engines in Indonesia that is scheduled to hold the Asian Games 2018. | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods

Export for Machinery Industry Increased in June, Except for Metal Products June, the machinery industry has shown a small increase both in production and shipment. Export was up for all businesses except for metal products, import was also up except for transportation machines and metal products.

According to the Korea Association of Machinery Industry, production and shipment in the machinery industry increased 2.9% and 1.8%, respectively, compared to the same month of the previous year.

As for production, it increased in precision machines (27.7%), general machines (22.4%), electric machines (0.8%), but it decreased in the fields of metal products (-6.5%) and transportation machines (-4.9%).

The production increased mainly with semiconductor processing equipment for general machinery, electronic measuring instrument for precision machinery and ultrasonic cleaner for electric machinery, while the decrease came from marine metal structure for metal products and bulk ships for transportation machinery.

Shipment went up for precision machinery (28.1%), general machinery (21.8%), electric measuring instrument (1.8%), and it went down for transportation machinery (-6.3%) and metal products (-5.7%).

The shipment was up mainly with environment analysis instrument for precision machinery, semiconductor processing equipment for general machinery, lithium secondary battery pack for electric machinery, while it went down with bulk ships for transportation machinery and marine metal structure for metal products.

Inventory increased 7.1% in all businesses except for metal products compared to the same month of the previous year. It increased mainly with internal combustion engines for vehicles for transportation machinery, small refrigerators for electric machinery, integrating wattmeter for precision machinery and air purifiers for general machinery, whereas metal products decreased with springs.

In June, production and shipment in the machinery industry increased 4.4% and 3.2% respectively, except for shipbuilding. Compared with the same month of the previous year, export in the machinery industry for June increased by 12.6%, except for metal products, recording 22.97 billion dollars while import also increased 18.3% at 10.62 billion, resulting in 12.34 billion dollars surplus in trade balance.

More specifically, exports increased for precision machinery (23.1%), general machinery (19.5%), transportation machinery (17.7%) and electric machinery (4.3%), whereas it decreased for metal products (31.2%). Regionally, it increased in Asia (2.7%) and Europe (2.4%).

As for import, it increased for precision machinery (56.5%), general machinery (50.4%), electric machinery (16.6%), whereas it decreased for transportation machinery (-24.3%) and metal products (-7.9%). Regionally speaking, the import went up in Asia (31.7%), Europe (10.0%) and North America (1.7%). The export in the machinery industry, excluding shipbuilding, was recorded at US$ 15.7 billion (2.3%), and the import at US$ 10.45 billion (17.8%), therefore, the trade balance was in surplus with US$ 5.25 billion.

Export in the machinery industry excluding shipbuilding was recorded at US$ 6.08 billion (-3.6%), whereas import was at US$ 2.03 billion (-27.7%), therefore, trade balance was recorded at US$ 4.04 billion in surplus. | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods

Logistics Robot, the Most Promising Field Among Professional Service Robots are already active in various fields such as manufacturing and service to upgrade our quality of life. Especially, with online shopping becoming popular, the expectation for logistics robots is increasing every day. Global corporates such as Google and Amazon have already adopted logistics robots in the field.

According to IFR, International Federation of Robotics, logistics robots are the most promising robots, accounting for 53% of professional service robots based on expected sales from 2016 to 2019.

Furthermore, as people who purchase goods on the Internet increase, the importance of logistics robots in a non-manufacturing environment has been increasing continuously as well. In 2015, the ratio between manufacturing environment and non-manufacturing environment for logistics robots was 17.9% to 82.1%. However, the ratio is expected to lean heavily towards the non-manufacturing environment for logistics robots continuously, projected to be in approximately 10% and 90% by 2019.

KEIT, Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology, defines ’logistics robot’ as follows. A logistics robot is mainly utilized for packaging, classification, loading and transfer of goods within a robot system that is intended to improve efficiency of distribution through convergence of artificial intelligence technology such as environment and situation recognition and scheduling, by machine learning and robot technologies such IoT technology and autonomous driving at distribution centers, factories, etc.

The distribution center of Amazon, the largest distribution company in the world, employs more than 45,000 logistics robots and saves significantly in matters of costs as well as time. However, these logistics robots are only responsible for transfer functions, therefore, still requiring human-robot collaboration model and relying on humans for picking. As a result, the system cannot operate 24 hours a day.

To overcome this shortfall, Amazon has set up its own objective and is operating Amazon Robotics Challenge, ARC, continuously to acquire related technologies.

Also, logistics robots can be applied to transfer of goods and stock management at large buildings such as hospitals, sanatoriums and hotels, not to mention distribution center.

Kim Gyeong-hoon, PD of the intelligent robot PD team at KEIT, said “The market is expected to be activated in the next few years as companies specializing in robots would be able to finish developing major technologies such as autonomous driving and elevator linkage, which are essential from the perspective of transfer of goods, in the field of logistics robots for large buildings such as hospitals and sanatoriums and they are already in the middle of entering the market.” and “in the medium to longer term, it is necessary to develop logistics robots that are capable of operating 24 hours unmanned, therefore, it requires development of technology that recognizes products based on various kinds and characteristics.” | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods

Hyundai and Kia one step closer to zero defect production based on smart tag system Motor Group has unveiled a wireless smart tag system to bring its car production a step closer to zero defects by further decreasing human intervention.

The smart tag can control a car manufacturing process in real time wirelessly and requires no need to manually check car types and specifications on the assembly line. Once installed, multiple accessory tools to monitor cars in production such as ultrasound sensors and barcode scanners are no longer necessary, allowing the company to save money, according to Hyundai. Real-time data collection is also expected to enable immediate responses to even a small error.

It is the first time the company is applying the smart tag system. The system was tested and validated at some plants of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors and will soon be applied to all 34 plants around the world, transforming them into smart factories, Hyundai Motor Group recently announced.

The new technology developed by its production technology development center consists of a high-capacity memory, wireless chip and location-tracking sensor units. It has an embedded magnet, making it easy to attach the device on a steel chassis without tools.

The small-sized tag enables two-way wireless communication between a car on the assembly line and an array of production equipment, sending and receiving key processing information such as car type, shipment destination and stocking order to and from surrounding machines.

A wireless communication chip is thus integral to this system. It uses a frequency band unique to each plant, sharing car production and location data with in-plant equipment. All data are stored on a central server.

< Source: KITA> | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods

Presenting core technologies of the 4th indstrial reoltion at KOFAS 2017 Changwon 2017, which is the biggest automation system show in the Youngnam area, was held successfully from June 13 to 16 at CECO to promote creation of demand and expansion of exportation for smart factory, automation-related equipment, facilities and related equipment.

According to the Korea Association of Machinery Industry (KOAMI), (Chairman Jeong Ji-taek), a total of 174 companies from 18 countries participated in the exposition, which was hosted by Gyeongsangnam-do and Changwon city, and along with 19,800 visitors, it succeeded in achieving consultation contracts worth US$480 million.

Under its slogan, ‘Another World Experienced through Automation,’ the exposition could offer opportunities to experience and confirm core technologies of the 4th industrial revolution, such as automation equipment, control & measurement devices, metal working machines, 3D printers for mold & tool, and 3D laser measuring instruments.

A spokesperson for Sechang International, Inc., which showcased a conveyer system for smart factories, said “I could see how much interest there is out there for cutting edge automation facilities in the machine industry through this exposition.”

Moreover at this year’s KOFAS various events were held for visitors, such as ‘Export Consultation for Overseas Vendor Registration PICs,’ ‘Seminar for Smart Factory Establishment Strategy for Small & Medium Companies,’ ‘Machine Technology Seminar,’ and ‘Master Worker Invitational Lecture.’

Han Geun-seok, the manager of the exposition team at KOAMI, said “For the export consultation, we have invited vendor registration PICs from 15 overseas leading EPC companies to hold 1:1 consultations with 60 domestic companies to strategically focus on the Middle East, India and Japan as there is great demand for plant equipment and materials. Even in the following years, we will make efforts to uncover new products and technologies from Korea as well as overseas for the expositions to bring in cutting edge automation technologies that lead the machine industry and to focus on capabilities to secure potential buyers”. | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods

S. Korean businesses become less profitable due to faster rise in operating costs Korean companies delivered lower gross profits over the past five years despite a revenue increase mainly because operating costs outgrew sales, government data showed recently.

Annual sales totaled 5,311 trillion won ($466 billion) in 2015, up 979 trillion won or 22.6 percent from 2010, but operating profits fell by 11 trillion won to 349 trillion won. Specifically, operating costs jumped 24.9 percent to 496.2 trillion won, outpacing the 22.6 percent growth in sales during the five-year period, according to the data released by Statistics Korea.

The number of business entities across the country totaled 3,874,000 at the end of 2015, up 520,000 or 15.5 percent from 2010. The most common businesses were wholesale and retail business (1,015,000, 26.2 percent), followed by lodging and food services (711,000, 18.3 percent) and manufacturing (414,000, 10.7 percent).

The number of employees totaled 20,890,000 persons, up 3,240,000 or 18.4 percent from five years ago.

< Source: KITA> | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods

Asia’s Largest Renewable Energy Multi-Complex to be Built in Dangjin group of South Korea’s public and private energy suppliers will chip in a total of 257 billion won ($227.4 million) to build Asia’s largest renewable energy multi-complex in Dangjin, South Chungcheong. The 1.12 million square meter complex is expected to consist of various renewable energy-related facilities including a solar energy complex with 80 megawatt (MW) capacity.

Four companies – SK Gas Co., SK D&D Co., Dangjin Eco Power Corp., and state-owned Korea East-West Power Co. recently signed a memorandum of understanding to invest a combined 257 billion won in creating a renewable energy multi-complex on a 1.12 million square meter site in Dangjin. The complex is expected to be Asia’s largest renewable-related facility.

According to the companies, the multi-complex will have an 80MW solar energy complex, a 160 megawatt-hour (MWh) energy storage system complex, and other fuel cell and wind power related facilities. There will also be facilities on a 70,000 square meter site like a theme park devoted to raise public awareness for renewable energy. Part of the investment will also include installing a solar power plant on water and wind power generator at a nearby island to create a self-relying energy space.

The multi-complex will be aimed at providing visitors the opportunity to experience various environmental-friendly energy facilities and eventually turning into a tourist attraction.

Currently, Korea East-West Power, a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power Corp., operates eight coal power plants with total 4,000 MW capacity in Dangjin. SK Gas is also in its final stage of receiving approval by the government to newly build two coal power plants with 1,160MW capacity in the area by 2022 through its subsidiary Dangjin Eco Power.

Korea East-West Power, which also operates eight thermal power plants, has plans to invest 2.5 trillion won in improving environmental facilities with an aim to reduce pollutants by 50 percent by 2020 and 74 percent by 2030. In particular, the power provider plans to invest 470 billion won to move two outdoor coal yards indoors by 2024 to completely get rid of scattering dust. | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods

Korea-US free trade ‘’mutually beneficial’’

South Korea continues to profit from its bilateral trade with the United States, but its trade surpluses largely come from outbound shipments of intermediate goods needed by U.S. manufacturers to produce their own finished goods, making their trade both complementary and mutually beneficial, a report said recently.

According to the report from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), intermediate products accounted for 46.3 percent of overall South Korean exports to the U.S. in 2015, when such goods accounted for only about 37 percent of the United States’ total imports.

Such a high ratio of intermediate goods may indicate that South Korea was shipping items mostly needed by the U.S., it noted. The report comes amid a move by the new U.S. administration to consider imposing what it calls border adjustment tax, citing its country’s chronic trade deficits with key trading nations, including South Korea. | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods

Asiana to add luxury image with new fleet, refurbishment

South Korea’s full-service carrier Asiana Airlines Inc. will confidently confront the multiple challenges from domestic budget carriers and cheaper airlines from China and Middle East. This comes on top of higher oil prices and volatile foreign exchange rates, which has led to the enhancement of Asiana’s fleet with fuel-efficient aircraft and cost-saving efforts, according to its chief executive officer.

“This year will be a turning point for us to go offensive from defensive,” said Kim Soo-cheon during an interview with Maeil Business Newspaper recently.

The airliner is ready to adopt an aggressive posture and invest, having streamlined through restructuring over the past three years. Its first weaponry is the deployment of the A350-900, the latest product of French maker Airbus boasting lightness with its frame made 53% out of carbon composite material and in aerodynamic design to offer 20 percent to 25 percent better fuel efficiency than others in the same class. Industry experts estimate the average operating expense per seat could be reduced by 10 percent when fuel efficiency is improved by 20 percent.

The second largest air carrier in Korea would bring in the first four this year to run a fleet of 30 and deploy them on the longer-haul routes. At the same time the company would be refurbishing the business-class section of the flagship B777 aircraft tor differentiated look and service, according to the CEO.

Thanks to restructuring through sales of unprofitable assets and rationalization of routes, the company registered an operating profit of 257.0 billion won ($224.8 million) last year, the highest in five years on a consolidated basis. Net profit reached 54.3 billion won for for the whole of 2016. The company will focus on long-haul routes while short destinations are covered by its budget carriers Air Seoul and Air Busan, explained Kim. The company’s operating profit was boosted by 6.4 billion won by scrapping money-losing money-losing short-distance routes. | Blog Magazine of korean-machinery, brands and Goods