Daegu’s Mechanical Past Meets its Robotic Future

12 December, 2014, Daegu, Republic of Korea : Daegu was home to a series of simultaneously held industrial exhibitions and a forum from November 19th-22nd.  All four events, dubbed the International Machinery Expo, were held at the EXCO Center in the Main Halls drawing in excess of 17,000 visitors.

The events highlighted the city’s long-standing strength in the industrial sector, bolstered relations with buyers and portended its shift towards robotics and newer technology.  This transition can be further seen in the modernization of existing manufacturing technology and the formation of a robotics cluster.

The region’s bright future is possible because of decades of steady growth and expansion.  Automobile manufacturing, shipbuilding and semiconductor production form the core of Korea’s industrial sector; machinery parts, cutting machines and automobile parts are vital subsets.  The latter is also where many of Daegu’s strengths lie.  The city’s cutting machine manufacturers comprise nearly 40% of Korea’s total output and 10% of the country’s auto part makers call Daegu home.

Additional strength can be seen in the city’s human resources and proximity to neighboring manufacturing clusters.  Eleven universities and twenty-seven colleges call Daegu home.  Neighboring Ulsan’s automotive industry, Gumi’s electronics manufacturing and Gyeongnam’s shipbuilding further augment Daegu’s robust industrial sector.

Much of the region’s past and future can be seen in two key areas: the Sungseo Industrial Complex (SIC) and Daegu Technopolis.  The SIC was established in 1965 has been vital in the region’s rise to industrial prominence. It will also be key to securing the future.  Currently, the area is constructing several research and development infrastructures aimed at forming a Mechactronics innovation cluster.

Seventy companies have or are building factories in Daegu Technopolis.  The area will house a variety of manufacturers as well as researchers in an effort to improve efficiency, foster innovation and expedite growth.

Past industrial success paved the way for the city’s current foray into robotics.  To stave off complacency, robotics were incorporated into machinery plants and a robotics cluster has been made. Currently, twenty robot institutes reside in Daegu and Gyeongbuk but the city’s strong pool of human resources, ties to local universities, existing manufacturing strength and robust infrastructure could see that figure expand significantly in the coming years.  The decision from Yaskawa Electric, an international industrial robotics leader, to come to Daegu will further improve the outlook for the region.

The recent series of industrial exhibitions reflects the city’s ongoing shift.  The 2014 Daegu International Machinery Industry Expo (DAMEX 2014) put the city’s proud tradition of being a leader in the production of automatic machinery, packaging machines and metal mold casting on display.  The 9th International Materials, Parts and Components Exhibition similarly showed the city’s past prowess and promising future.  An uptick in foreign manufacturers at both the expo and in the city is also indicative of a still expanding industry. 

The 3rd Daegu International Robot Industry Expo (ROBEX 2014) was held from the 19th to the 22nd and provided an incisive glance at the burgeoning sector.  The 2014 International Robotics Experts Forum featured ten lectures from some of the world’s leading minds.  ROBEX put the practical applications on full display while this event highlighted academia and the theoretical.

Youngjin Gwon, the mayor of Daegu, echoed this sentiment: “I hope that the ‘Daegu International Machinery Industry Expo’ is the place where companies can exchange information and communicate each other while making a new market and helping Daegu’s machinery and metal industry develop.”

All four events reveal the progress Daegu has made over the past few years.  It has long been seen as a hub of traditional industrial part manufacturing and component production while the presence of the robotics expos and the formation of a robotics cluster effectively demonstrate where the city is moving. 

Furthermore, the success of this year’s concurrent events along with industrial expansion will likely make Daegu and increasingly attractive destination for events and commerce alike. -END


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Sung-mi JANG

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Myung-hee KWON

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