Industry 4.0: What you need to know about PH’s state-of-the-art mechatronics, robotics, and industrial automation lab

As the Philippines gears up for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) initiated a 40.9-million project that sought to establish the Advanced Mechatronics, Robotics, and Industrial Automation Laboratory (AMERIAL) in support of the country’s metals and engineering industry.

(DOST Facebook page)

The DOST-MIRDC said the project started on Jan. 1, 2019 under the DOST Grant-In-Aid program in partnership with the Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines (MRSP).

It was on June 16, 2021 when AMERIAL was launched to strengthen the metals and engineering sectors and allied industries and to create innovation ecosystems that will fuel country’s inclusive growth amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“AMERIAL will serve as a complementary facility that will make enabling technology-based processes available to more industries – this is to further support manufacturing resurgence efforts of the country,” the DOST-MIRDC said in a briefer sent to Manila Bulletin.

"AMERIAL is also envisioned to become an accredited training and development facility in industrial automation. AMERIAL’s services and capabilities will help create a pool of skilled and highly qualified workforce,” it added.

The major technologies that can be found in the AMERIAL are the state-of-the-art Smart Factory Learning System, six-Axis Industrial/Collaborative robot, a Mechatronics Training Kit for pneumatics, programmable logic controllers (PLC), and human-machine interface (HMI) Programming.

AMERIAL houses tools and equipment for training, simulation, and research and development.

The Institute said the Smart Factory is a fully connected and flexible manufacturing system that connects physical systems, operational information, and human assets.

“These connections of systems can control manufacturing, maintenance, inventory, and supply chain operations,” it explained.

The DOST-MIRDC said the cutting-edge technologies in the AMERIAL are open to various industries through facility sharing and may also be used as areas for showcasing new developments in automation, mechatronics, and robotics.

“Activities of the AMERIAL are focused on workforce improvement, through curriculum development and conduct of seminars/training such as Introduction to Programmable Logic Controls, and Introduction to Automation Studio, among others,” it said.

The Institute said its consultancy engagements are geared toward the advancement and increased competitiveness of the metals and engineering industries.

“Close coordination with the DOST Regional Offices and partner universities enables the AMERIAL team to conduct on-site visits, provide recommendations/trouble-shooting, and attend to the actual set-up of automation requirements of the DOST SETUP beneficiaries and assisted companies.”

It said the AMERIAL team has ongoing development projects on medical devices and other control systems for agro-industrial applications.

“Assistance to start-up firms, particularly those focusing on industrial automation, systems integration, and training services, will be provided,” it assured. “Training rooms and equipment will be made available for use by the assisted firms.”

The DOST-MIRDC noted that AMERIAL is the newest addition to its ever-growing facilities that include the Automotive Testing Laboratory (ATL), Die and Mold Solution Center (DMSC), Gear-making Center, Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCen), and other testing and metalworking facilities.