Last update: 07:40 | 13/01/2018
The technology boom of recent times has, generally, had a positive impact around the world. There are now increasingly intelligent robots supporting and interacting with people, and one young engineer in Vietnam, Truong Trong Toai, created the ROBOT 3T startup to turn the dream of a “Made in Vietnam robot” into reality.
Solution for SMEs
Mr. Toai told VET that his idea came to him during his first year at university. Though he received a scholarship in South Korea he decided to conduct research on robotics.
Established at the end of 2014, ROBOT 3T was founded to meet the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam’s manufacturing sector, to improve their competitiveness through technological innovation. “With the limited potential of SMEs, many don’t have sufficient capital to invest in expensive robotics,” he said, “ROBOT 3T is focused on resolving this problem by providing highly efficient and suitable robot solutions for SMEs.”
Though robotics has become increasingly common in developed countries, it remains something of a novelty in Vietnam. The ROBOT 3T team has therefore had to cope with a host of challenges. The first matter Mr. Toai touched on is initial capital. Research and development (R&D) investment costs are high, so ROBOT 3T has been flexible in raise capital from many channels.
One thing in ROBOT 3T’s favor is that domestic enterprises are generally very supportive and willing to use domestic technology. After three years of operations, ROBOT3T has clearly defined its target customers as being SMEs and its mission to universalize the application of robotics in the country.
Existing customers include Truong Hai Auto, Rang Dong Plate, Ansell Vina, the Southern Petroleum Joint Stock Company (Anfa ECC), and Nam Hai Rulo.
Robotics has been researched and produced in many countries and there are various types that meet enterprises’ demand, but prices tend to be beyond the budget of most SMEs. ROBOT 3T’s products, meanwhile, are cost-competitive compared to imported counterparts, with prices from VND600-800 million ($26,445-35,250) and affordable maintenance and repair costs.
A ROBOT 3T embossing robot costs about VND60 million ($2,645) and improves productivity by three to five times compared to workers. Quality and uniformity improve significantly and the return-on-investment period can be quite short. ROBOT 3T products are also suitable for small production facilities, of which there are 53,000 in Vietnam.
What differentiates ROBOT 3T’s products is the creation of specific and specialized robots with simple structures at optimal cost and flexibility for group application. “There are many robotic companies in the world and many have representative offices in Vietnam,” Mr. Toai said. “But they don’t have solutions that are suitable for SMEs in Vietnam.”
In order to resolve the problems facing SMEs, ROBOT 3T focuses on building specific robotic ecosystems, with software, standard controllers and connectors, and robotic configurations and providing a complete solution ready for application. It also uses advanced technologies to improve its own productivity and product quality.
Mr. Mac Quoc Anh, General Secretary of the Association of Hanoi Small and Medium Enterprises, said that using robotics to replace people in dangerous work is an intelligent solution. “Most products from ROBOT 3T are based on actual demand among SMEs and can resolve serious problems immediately,” he said. “Robotic manufacturing, however, is much more complex than component manufacturing, so ROBOT 3T must carefully conduct R&D.”
VN Economic Times