Far more than just the country of origin for resources such as crude oil, rubber, tin, or palm oil, Malaysia is gaining increasing importance in modern technologies, Industry 4.0, and robotics. With the opening of a new facility in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Pepperl+Fuchs is expanding its Asian sales network and focusing on extensive and sustainable customer support on a local level.
In the Land of Many Facets
The annual transformation of Merdeka Square into a sea of colors is accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display that lights up the night sky above the city, providing a fascinating pageant that simply has to be seen. The "Citrawarna Malaysia" festival, also known as the "Colours of Malaysia," takes place every May in Kuala Lumpur and proves to be just as colorful and multifaceted as the country itself. The event has a different theme each year and represents the diversity of Malaysian culture that forms a colorful mosaic of religions and ethnicities. Even in Kuala Lumpur itself, Indian meets Chinese, Buddhism meets Islam, old meets new, and the city meets nature: "You can experience the contrast between tradition and technological advances close up," explains Steven Lim, Country Sales Manager at Pepperl+Fuchs in the neighboring city of Petaling Jaya. In addition to historical buildings and temples, the cityscape of Kuala Lumpur is increasingly shaped by striking skyscrapers that are evidence of the evolution of the metropolis. "These include the famous Petronas Towers from the petroleum company of the same name, which at 452 m tall are landmarks of the city," adds Lim.
Shaping the Future from Up Close
Malaysia’s progress is not only shown by the rapid growth of the city, but is also reflected in the local economy that has been able to record an annual increase in GDP of 4 – 5 % over the last 15 years. The country, where almost 31 million people live today, has developed as an emergent economic power in the era of globalization. The contribution that the industrial sector provides to GDP is now on par with that of agriculture. "There is a correspondingly high market demand for innovative sensor technology," Lim points out. Pepperl+Fuchs has had a presence in Asia since the late 1970s and has dedicated itself to internationalization and the development of the Asian market at an early stage. "Our long-term customers include Braun Medical Industries Sdn Bhd, who rely on modern technologies in the production of medicinal devices and products," states Lim.
Their production facility is located on Penang, an island that was once known for tin mining and being a tourist hot spot, and is now known as the silicon valley of Malaysia. "And not without reason," adds Lim: "Today, there are countless IT companies based here with production facilities for PC processors that are then shipped all over the world."
Notably, Malaysia has established itself as the market leader for rubber gloves: "To meet the global demand and stand out from the competition, producers in this country rely heavily on highly automated plants," explains Regional Sales Manager, Simon Summer. "The packaging industry is another important customer for us in the increasingly large Asian market, because several manufacturers of packaging and filling plants are based here. We offer comprehensive solutions for this sector, ranging from ultrasonic sensors for level measurement through to fully automated warehouses, where positioning systems and barcode scanners are used in addition to photoelectric sensors for object detection."
An upward trend can also be seen in the oil and gas sector: "Estimates suggest that the market will grow by 5 % in real terms by 2020 and slowly but surely recover," says Sumner. He adds optimistically: "Needless to say, as a provider of solutions and technologies for industrial automation, this is a welcome development."
The experienced team of sales managers and product experts has been on hand to support customers with product solutions for factory and process automation since the start of August 2017 at the new Pepperl+Fuchs facility in Petaling Jaya. "Customer relationship management is a crucial factor for the success of a company in the Malaysian market," emphasizes Lim. "As a sales manager, you are directly on site with customers and can fall back on the comprehensive expertise of our product experts in the sales office, if necessary. Thanks to help from our Asian headquarters in nearby Singapore, we were able to offer outstanding customer support from the start, which shows how much we value this topic."
A Promising Outlook
"Opening a new sales office was an important step for us in continuing to be a successful player in materials management, assembly automation, and the constantly growing robotics industry," says Lim. At the opening ceremony for the new sales office, it was possible to experience live how automation solutions from Pepperl+Fuchs are used in robotics. The team from DF Automation and Robotics Sdn. Bhd took the opportunity to present one of their robots, which is equipped with the R2000 photoelectric sensor from Pepperl+Fuchs. "Together with our partner company in the field of system integration, we have already been able to implement some projects that have led to award-winning products," says Sumner looking back on the opening ceremony. Lim also states confidently: "Just like the Malaysian economy, at Pepperl+Fuchs we have also grown with our customers and have constantly developed our products. We still see significant unexploited potential in the Malaysian market and look forward to a successful future alongside our customers with many more exciting projects."