Robot Industry, the Biggest Beneficiary of the 4th Industrial Revolution

https://korean-machinery.com///inquiryThe industrial robot parts produced in China and education services in China and Japan are emerging as the most promising in each industry. In order for Korean robot companies to expand into the global market, it is necessary to seek strategies to enter diverse markets such as joint technological development and investment with local companies by targeting core technologies and markets of promising fields.
In regard to the robot industry, which is emerging as the convergence of traditional manufacturing technologies and information and communications technology (ICT) for the future and the biggest beneficiary of the 4th Industrial Revolution, the global market conditions and prospects was presented along with analysis of the latest technological trend, while local companies were offered a substantive roadmap to expand into foreign markets.
According to the report, Global Robot Industry Market Trends and Strategies to Make Inroads, recently published it is essential to secure technological competitiveness in smart factories, machine learning, cooperative robots, artificial intelligence, etc. for invigoration of expansion into Asian global markets based on robust domestic demand with the number of sales.
Demand for industrial robots is on the rise due to the global companies’ efforts to modernize and automatize production facilities, improve energy efficiency, utilize new materials, and improve product quality. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), a 15 percent annual growth rate is expected by 2020.
China is currently the world’s largest market with 30% market share, but its robot density is significantly lower than that of advanced countries, which leaves its potential still high. The robot sales in China are expected to increase by 140% by 2020. In particular, Korean companies have high potential to export to China in terms of core components such as controllers and speed reducers, which are difficult to produce in China. As of 2016, exports of robot parts to China amounted to KRW 36 billion, up 74% from the previous year.
Even in the advanced markets such as the USA and France, where there are no companies within the global top 10, Korean products have a good reputation for their cost-effectiveness and installation technology. Eastern Europe, India, Thailand, and Brazil are also emerging as new sources of demand despite relatively small market sizes at present, anticipating an annual growth of more than 20% by 2020. However, there is only a limited potential for entering into Japan and Germany where robotic technology for manufacturing is the most advanced.
Although it is not easy for Korean companies to narrow the technological gaps against leading global companies in the conventional robot industry, it is necessary to secure technologies related to smart factories and cooperative robots that are currently in the limelight.
Siemens and Adidas have completed the construction of a smart factory equipped with full-blown automation and intelligentization throughout the entire manufacturing processes based on ICT, and are accelerating technological development in the USA, China, and Japan. As machine learning is an essential technology for materializing efficient smart factories, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, a Japanese manufacturer of servos, motion controllers, AC motor drives, switches and industrial robots, has introduced a machine learning software that is capable of mastering a selected craftsmanship within two hours. As for cooperative robots for which the market growth is in full swing from US$100 million in 2015 to US$1 billion in 2020, it is necessary to preempt core technologies such as lightweighting and robot mobile technologies.
It is also expected that the robots market for global services will grow significantly. IFR expects service robots for special purposes and personal services such as housekeeping to grow by 20-25%, 30-35%, and 20-25% each year by 2020. In particular, it anticipates an explosive increase in demand for logistics robots including AGV, an essential item for smart factories, medical robots for surgery and treatments, and promotional robots to provide customers with guides or information.
Held last January in Las Vegas, United States, CES 2018 was dominated by robots equipped with AI. Aibo, a robotic pet produced by Sony, and Sophia, a humanoid robot developed by Hanson Robotics, and some others demonstrated great adaptation in everyday human life through dialogues, questions and answers, and games with human participants. Also, visitors flowed in and out all day at the booths exhibiting displaying housekeeping and entertainment robots.

The most promising field for Korean companies to expand is the educational robots market where global companies have yet to enter. In particular, Korean company’s technological prowess is evaluated positively in the countries with high demand for English education such as China and Japan. It is necessary, however, to develop technologies such as facial recognition for user verification, emotion recognition, speech recognition, and big data in order to ensure product differentiation and competitiveness.
In terms of strategies to make inroads into global markets, it is desirable to reduce the risks involved with overseas expansion by cooperating with local venture capital, accelerators, and start-ups. Meanwhile, American venture capitals’ investments in the U.S. robotics industry are increasing rapidly, while Japan is actively supporting alliances with overseas start-ups and accelerators for the advancement of service robots at the government level. In the case of Chinese companies, the demand for technological cooperation to develop sensors and artificial intelligence is high, thereby making it easy to promote joint research and development programs.
“The robots industry, which is experiencing a rapid increase in global demand, will become a representative food business in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Yoon Won-seok, an executive of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA). “Korean companies need to seek global cooperation such as joint R&D with robot technology leaders and exchange of technology and investment. We will be able to enhance our competitiveness in the global robots market by seizing initiative of future-oriented core technologies such as cooperative robots and AI technologies based on our strengths in IT and manufacturing technology.”

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Staying Ahead of the Competition in the Robot Industry through Cooperation and Service Robots

https://korean-machinery.com///inquiryThe Korean government made a full-fledged start to advance the robot industry. According to the “New Government’s Industrial Policy Direction” announced in December last year, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) recently held the Intelligent Robot Industry Development Strategy Conference at the Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement to discuss development plans for the robot industry.
While the world’s leading companies are competitively launching high-tech robots equipped with artificial intelligence, and the market for cooperative robots design to work with humans in industrial fields, is expected to grow rapidly from US$200 million in 2016 to JPY$ 3.24 billion in 2022. The United States and Japan invested US$22.5 million and JP¥ 29.41 billion in 2016, respectively. With the growing demand for service robots to improve the quality of life due to the increase of the elderly population and the demand for personalized service, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) expects an average annual growth rate of 10% with US$ 14.9 billion in 2020.
On the other hand, the growth of the Korean robot industry is centered on large companies manufacturing automobiles and electronic appliances. This resulted in more than three times the difference in manufacture robot production with KRW 2.67 trillion and service robot production with KRW 770.4 billion in 2016, thus posing a concern that it will be fixed as manufactureroriented.
Therefore, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced a plan in the conference to create leading markets and support growth centered on cooperative and service robots, which are expected to lead the global market in the future.
First, the companies equipped with smart factory construction and root companies will be provided with cooperative robots to improve the productivity of small and medium-sized manufacturers suffering from the burden with minimum wage and manpower shortage. In addition, the commercialization of service robots is planned for the five promising areas including smart home, medical, rehabilitation, disaster and safety, unmanned transportation, and agricultural robots.
In order to strengthen the innovation capability, MOTIE will concentrate its support on research and development of the three major robot parts including operation, sensing, and control, for the robot-mounted platform and the CNC control machine standard model, with a plan to specialize the research and support organizations by dividing them into three regions. This growth support measures include preparing cooperative robots safety guidelines, improving regulations that may impede the proliferation of robots, and expanding new jobs related to robot service.
Moon Seung-Wook, Director-General of MOTIE, urges the industry, academia, and research field to work together to contribute to the global competitiveness of the robot industry and to the creation of jobs for youths. The government also emphasized efforts to create tangible outcome through speedy promotion of development strategy regarding the intelligent robot industry.

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KEPCO Plays a Catalytic Role in Exporting Korean Power Equipment to Cambodia

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KEPCO Signs MOU for an Export Demonstration Project with Local Companies in Cambodia and Domestic SMEs.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) has served as a stepping stone for advancing into the market for power equipment in Cambodia in cooperation with domestic SMEs.
Recently in Cambodia, KEPCO signed an MOU for an export demonstration project with Best Partner Co. (BPC), a Cambodian power supply company, and Icel E&C, a demonstration project agency, as a pilot project to export Korean electric equipment to Cambodia.
The Export Demonstration Project is designed to install the quality products and systems developed for KEPCO and SMEs through coordinated R&D and demonstrate their suitability for the local environment to win export contracts.
This export demonstration project is a stand-alone microgrid (MG) power supply solution that utilizes solar power and batteries simultaneously based on the energy self-sufficient island project that KEPCO has promoted for many years. Starting with the demonstration project of the Cambodia stand-alone microgrid system, it is expected that an export contract worth about US$4.6 million will be signed for installation in 100 locations in Cambodia in 2019 and beyond.
Icel E&C is scheduled to install three independent MG systems consisting of 16 kW photovoltaic system and 2600AH batteries for power supplies used in mobile phone base stations in Cambodia.
Hwang Kwang-soo, Director- General of the Export Cooperation Department at KEPCO, attended the MOU signing and explained, “We hope that this project will improve the overall performance of electric power facilities in power stations in Cambodia by using high-quality Korean equipment. I also wish Cambodia and Korea have a long-lasting partnership.”
“KEPCO’s power technology is the best in the world,” remarked Paul Sabandi, president of BPC in Cambodia, adding, “We hope that KEPCO and Cambodia will maintain continuous exchange and cooperation through this project.”
Starting with this MOU, KEPCO is expecting to sign an agreement for export demonstration projects with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), the only electric utility company in Malaysia and also the largest publiclylisted power company in Southeast Asia, and Indonesia Electric Power Corporation Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), an Indonesian government-owned corporation providing electricity distribution.

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Deep Learning-Based Artificial Intelligence Changes Autonomous Vehicle Technology Landscape

https://korean-machinery.com///inquiryUntil recently, only a small number of companies with expertise in high-priced specialized sensors and the automobile industry could implement autonomous navigation technology. High technological and financial barriers formerly allowed only ICT giants and a small number of companies in the automobile industry with capabilities for long-term investment and technology development to take the initiative in the development of autonomous driving technology.

In fact, a single car used in the early days of Google’s development of autonomous driving was priced at about 170 million won. The price of a LIDAR sensor used as the core sensor of the car stood at 80 million won. In addition, about 170 staff members brought in mainly from automakers spent more than four years in R&D to develop a self-driving vehicle.

However, these high technological barriers are being broken down by artificial intelligence, especially deep learning. Companies that implement self-driving technology using deep- learning have been emerging rapidly over the past two years, particularly in Silicon Valley.

Unlike previous autonomous driving technology, which was implemented by automobile experts using a rule-based approach, these companies implement autonomous driving technology in a process as if people improved driving skills by repeating drives based on deep learning. A small number of developers are implementing autonomous driving technology in a very short time by using low-cost, general-purpose sensors rather than expensive ones.

In addition, the rapidly evolving artificial intelligence technology is expected to be applied to autonomous navigation and will accelerate the revolutionary change of technology competition in the future. Leading research institutes in the field of autonomous navigation are already conducting studies to integrate the latest research in artificial intelligence such as reinforcement learning, relational networks, and transferring intelligence into the development of autonomous navigation technology.

Especially, as these researches realize a process where artificial intelligence learns, reasons, and forecasts in a way similar to that of human beings, when applied to autonomous driving technology, it will be possible to develop a car that runs by thinking and judging like a human being.

In academia and the start-up world, autonomous driving technologies based on deep learning have already been introduced one after another. With innovative cases taking place every year, experts in the fields of artificial intelligence and deep learning, not experts in the automotive industry, are integrating their research into the automotive field and presenting their technology.

In particular, these companies are announcing their technologies as open sources and they are accelerating technology through researchers’ participation and competition. This method differs greatly from technology competition among major companies in the automobile industry which have developed technology through the development and internalization of their own technology.

Automakers that have adhered to existing methods are also responding to the new technology paradigm by rapidly securing their deep-learning capabilities. Major automakers with OEM systems such as Daimler, VW, and Toyota have been rapidly introducing external technologies by investing in and acquiring start-ups related to deep learning since 2016. Internally, they have also invested heavily in developing their own technologies by setting up AI-specialized research centers. In particular, GM and Ford are responding to technological competition where they have been lagging behind their rivals by acquiring or investing in self driving start-ups based on deep learning with more than one trillion won in investments each.

“The core of autonomous technology competition has already started to move to deep learning. Artificial intelligence experts in the field of deep learning are rapidly implementing autonomous navigation technology with low-cost general-purpose sensors. Most companies are also developing autonomous navigation technology based on deep learning and competition in the automobile industry is expected to focus on securing competence in artificial intelligence field and securing driving data in the future,” said Lee Seung-hoon, a researcher at the LG Economic Research Institute. “This is because the technological quality of AI based on machine learning such as deep learning will be determined by data collected more diverse driving environments and the utilization of learning processes.”

In addition, he said, “Companies such as comma.ai and Tesla that have already recognized the importance of securing actual driving data have already gathered driving data from millions to hundreds of millions of kilometers and are using them in self driving learning processes. It is expected that when the autonomous driving market is full-fledged, technology gaps between companies with such data and advanced intelligence and those without them in the beginning of the market will be very large and it will be a big challenge for latecomers to narrow such gaps,” Lee added.

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New Super-Plastic Steel Material

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Expected to Be Applied to Machining Hard-to-Manufacture Parts of Complex Shapes

The National Research Foundation of Korea (KRF) recently announced that a research team led by professor Lee Young-kook (Yonsei University) developed a new super-plastic steel material that is economical and relatively easy to produce.
Recently, shapes of components used in various industrial fields such as automobiles and aircraft have become increasingly complicated, and it is necessary to mold and assemble such hard-to-machine components of complicated shapes. In order to overcome these disadvantages, much attention is being paid to super-plastic steel materials and moldings that can create parts of complex shapes through a single process.

So far, various super-plastic materials have been developed but are difficult to commercialize. Zinc and aluminum alloys have low strength after molding. Raw materials for nickel and titanium alloys and stainless steels are expensive, and high carbon steel has a problem of a complicated manufacturing process.

The research team successfully developed an ultra-fine, medium manganese steel material with an elongation rate of up to 1341%, using medium manganese steel actively studied recently.

The researchers used medium manganese steel with manganese (6.6%) and aluminum (2.3%). This alloy can produce fine grains which are important prerequisites for a super-plasticity phenomenon due to a difference in the distribution of manganese and aluminum when undergoing heat treatment after a rolling process.

In addition, the research team conducted a tensile test at a temperature range of 650°C to 900°C, and found that the elongation rate was up to 1,314% at 850°C and rose over 300% at 650°C, a relatively low temperature.

The super-plastic medium steel material developed in this study is economical compared to conventional super-plastic stainless steel and high carbon steels because small amounts of manganese and aluminum go into the material and can be manufactured using a conventional steelmaking process. In particular, medium manganese steel has an advantage of easily forming crystal grains of several hundred micrometers to several micrometers, which are important for super-plasticity.

“We anticipated that this research will make it easier for various industries to manufacture parts of complex shapes difficult to mold, while requiring high strength by using new super-plasticity steel materials with excellent cost-cutting effects,” Professor Lee said.

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Naver invests in Israeli sensor maker for autonomous driving technology

https://korean-machinery.com///inquirySouth 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>

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Doosan Infracore enters Vietnamese bus market

https://korean-machinery.com///inquirySouth 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.

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Export for Machinery Industry Increased in June, Except for Metal Products

https://korean-machinery.com///inquiryIn 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.

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Logistics Robot, the Most Promising Field Among Professional Service Robots

https://korean-machinery.com///inquiryRobots 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.”

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Hyundai and Kia one step closer to zero defect production based on smart tag system

https://korean-machinery.com///inquiryHyundai 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>

 

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