The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy announced on February 2 that the South Korean government invests 90.5 billion won and the private sector invests 20.3 billion won this year so that smart factories can be built for at least 2,200 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the number of such factories in South Korea can be increased to 5,000 before the end of this year.
The ministry is planning to diversify the types of smart factories, too. For example, the new smart factories are slated to include 500 clean energy-based ones for a higher level of energy efficiency and 50 cloud-type smart factories that are capable of connecting regions and various sectors of the manufacturing industry.
The government is also planning to invest 99.1 billion won this year in order to enhance the competitiveness of smart factories with regard to the manufacturing of controllers, sensors, etc. Specifically, the investment is divided into 61 billion won in advanced equipment like controllers, 13.8 billion won in sensor development, 10.9 billion won in solution development and 13.4 billion won for other purposes. Assistance for international M&A is to be provided as well for those having a hard time developing technology on their own.
At the same time, new demands are to be created for controllers, sensors and the like in the framework of the smart factory construction project while idle facilities attributable to the project are recycled in connection to the Korea Machinery Auction & Exchange’s online mall. Also scheduled are joint R&D by the South Korean firms and global companies and research institutes, international cooperation in the field of standardization, etc.
In the first half of this year, the ministry works with various organizations, such as the Korea Federation of SMEs, to find 3,000 firms in need of smart factories. Until the end of last year, a total of 2,800 smart factories were built in South Korea and these factories have improved the productivity of the firms running them by 23%, reduced their ratio of defective products by 46% and cut their costs by 16% while contributing to a quick and timely supply of products. The ministry is planning to increase the number of such factories in the country to 10,000 by 2020.