Customs duty is a tax imposed to the goods that are imported or exported in a country. In general, there are two types of custom duties rates which are specific and on an ad valorem basis, where it is based on the value of goods.
For instance, when you want to buy a car from Japan and import it back to your own country, you are liable to pay a custom tax of 0% to 30% rate. The same thing goes when you want to buy a robot originated in Denmark, you are liable to either pay a certain custom tax or maybe even 0% rate depending on the countries’ custom duty.
Same goes to AMR and AGV which may be liable to custom duty. The custom tax imposed for the robots normally will differ as stated by the government rules and it will change from time to time. Some countries will charge it at higher taxes and there are certain countries that did not even tax it.
It is crucial to describe the product that you want to import correctly. However, sometimes custom officers may interpret the product differently due to the usage of the name. As discussed in the previous article, Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) and Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) are both basically the same thing, which is an industrial mobile robot. However, by using Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) term with “vehicle” name on it may confuse the officers to categorize the AGV under list ‘vehicles’ which could be of ‘dutiable goods’. In contrast, when the Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) term is applied, the officers can easily recognize it as an industrial robot by looking at its name and categorizing it correctly.
Factories that want to purchase AGV or AMR need to ensure to declare the items correctly so the customs duty is charged accordingly. For example, importing industrial handling machines and vehicles to Malaysia will be charged at 30% tax rates. As for importing industrial robots to Malaysia, there are no taxes charged over it. Table below shows the list of import rates of Vehicle and Industrial Robot for different countries:
Table: List of import rates of vehicles and industrial robots for different countries.
Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam
*Note: SST/GST/VAT may apply according to each country policy. Information is updated on 27 May 2020.
UTM, HCTM & DF Automation Develop Hospital Delivery Robot ‘Mak Cik Kiah 19’ to Ace COVID-19
JOHOR BAHRU , 7 Apr. — Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM (HCTM) and DF Automation & Robotics Sdn Bhd (DF) have joint together in a significant collaboration to develop a Hospital Delivery Robot System.
The robot, named MCK19 or Makcik Kiah 19, is the First Malaysian Made Delivery Robot for hospitals to assist healthcare frontliners in assisting the delivery of healthcare to patients with COVID-19.
The project embarked during the beginning of the Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced.
Figure: A user is interacting with MCK19.
MCK19 uses Zalpha, a DF’s commercial robot that can accommodate weight up to 300kg in its shelves and able to navigate autonomously to assist doctors or nurses in delivering food or medicine to a patient’s room.
The usage of these robots especially MCK19 will reduce the exposure of healthcare professionals and frontliners to patients under investigations (PUI) that may be highly contagious and need to be in isolation.
Hence, it would also decrease in the need for PPEs as hospitals are facing a global shortage.
This prototype had been modified and integrated with compartments’ storage which can be customised according to need.
There is a LCD screen on the robot to show an animated face to make the robot more human friendly, and soon, it can be used for teleconference between doctors from his room/office with patients, without having the doctor to go to the their room.
Figure: Left picture: Compartment’s shelves that can be customised. Right Top picture: LCD screen shows animated friendly face. Bottom Right Picture: Graphical User Interface.
This robot is also an IoT robot where it can be accessed by any PC, tablets or phones, allowing users to interact with the robot even if the users are not at the hospital’s premise.
In addition, there is also a security feature in place to allow access by authorised admin only.
The working prototype that took less than two weeks to develop is made possible with the strong support from all parties especially from MOSTI, MITI, MTDC, HCTM, UTM, DF, Ministry of Health, hospitals and industries.
This project is led by co-founder of DF, Assoc. Prof. Dr Yeong Che Fai from School of Electrical Engineering, UTM.
According to him, as DF has provided robotic solutions to industry since 2012, we leverage the robots and experiences we have to achieve the social distance requirement in hospitals between humans during this critical time.
“Robots can help with many tasks to reduce human presence such as for delivering, disinfection, cleaning, monitoring, service and many more.
It is unfortunate that COVID-19 happened and strikes us without any warning. One of the solutions to deal with COVID-19 is to maintain social distance between humans.
MCK19 will be our first pilot trial, if this robot works well, we will proceed to other applications.” he added.
Meanwhile Director of Hospital Canselor Tuanku (HCTM), Ukm, Prof. Dato’ Dr Hanafiah Harunarashid, expressed gratitude on the collaborations.
“On behalf of HCTM (UKM), I am very pleased to collaborate with MOSTI and the team from UTM and DF to develop a hospital delivery robot hospital, the first in Malaysia.
This would be inaugural which is especially useful to aid our overwhelmed healthcare system during this pandemic and outbreak.
I foresee robotics and automation will play an important part in hospitals in near future to enhance the delivery of health care, ” he added.
UTM Vice-Chancellor, Prof Datuk Ir Dr Wahid bin Omar said the invention of this robot is another UTM’s helping hand in combating the virus, along with university’s initiatives of to prosper lives.
“As a university that is blessed with multiple expertise, we believe it is our responsibility to help the government especially the frontliners who are struggling to serve the people in this trying times for us all.
Thus through this collaboration we hope that together, we can break the the Covid-19 chain soon,” he added.
MCK19 is expected to be tested at HCTM at the end of this week. If the robot is found useful, DF will commit to mass produce the robot to supply to hospitals in Malaysia or any organisations who need it.
For the long term, the team is planning to produce a more human friendly look and design as in the figure below.
31st of December, 2019 marked the date where several pneumonia cases arose in Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China. The World Health Organization (WHO) was the first to recognize that this case did not match any other known viruses. After going through some research, the Chinese authorities later confirmed that it is a new virus and it is temporarily named as “2019-nCOV”. Later, WHO named it as “COVID-19” which stands for ‘CoronaVirus Disease 2019’ on the 11th of February.
The virus somehow spread rapidly and on the 11th of March, the United Nations agency responsible for international public health declared it a pandemic. The government is currently committed to tackle this problem by reducing the number of new cases rapidly.
COVID-19 in Malaysia
On the 25th of January, Malaysia announced the first COVID-19 case involving three tourists from Singapore who entered Malaysia through Johor on the 23rd of January. The first wave of these cases were detected on the 16th February where the cases rose to 22. By the 27th, the second wave started after 11 days of no new cases being reported. The number of affected people had risen to more than 1000 cases later on.
The Malaysian government took proactive actions to fight over the number of new cases by imposing a two-week RMO (Restriction of Movement Order) which started on the 18th of March and will end on the 31st of March. However, the number of new cases is not reducing; hence the government decided on a two-week extension of RMO, which will end by the 14th of April.
In this hectic situation, solutions are needed to effectively combat the disease. One of the solutions is by preventing individuals from being in direct or indirect contact with the virus. Besides quarantining the infected ones, there are risks that the healthy ones might have been infected. For example, nurses might be infected while they were serving their patients; a bus driver has the chance to contact the infected one in the bus; an officer has a risk too during the disinfection activity. Considering the aforementioned risks, the usage of the Autonomous mobile robot (AMR) could be a helping hand in replacing humans to do all these high infection risk tasks. Robots are immune to the virus and they can be run in a long period of time. You can learn more about AMR here AMR: The new look of AGV.
How can AMR help to fight against Virus?
AMR can potentially assist frontliners to fight COVID-19 in many areas such as to carry out disinfection activity, temperature measurement at public space, medicine delivery in hospitals and food delivery. Other advantages are outlined here: Advantages and Disadvantages of AMR.
Disinfection is one of the main activities in combating COVID-19. Certain areas where the risk of infection is high have to be disinfected, such as hospitals, markets and public transports. For example, in disinfecting a bus, the process involved people to spray disinfectant on the entire surface in the bus before wiping them down. One disinfect process will take around 40 minutes with two human powers. Plus, there are always certain corners that cannot be reached or covered by humans.
Another great alternative is by using the Ultraviolet (UV) Rays which can disinfect the area in five minutes only (source). According to the latest diagnosis and treatment guideline of the novel coronavirus released by the National Commission, the virus is sensitive to UV light and heat. In other words, UV radiation can eliminate the virus effectively. As stated in the guideline, UV light with an intensity of over 1.5 watts per square meter can be used to disinfect indoor spaces. Ventilation should be done to a room after UV disinfection, and people are suggested to enter the room 30 minutes after the process. Although it is effective to kill the virus by using UV lamps, the usage of UV lamps should be cautious as UV radiation can result in skin irritation. Thus it is not suitable for sterilising hands or other parts of the skin (source).
Although UV is able to disinfect the area in five minutes, it requires manual labor to transport the platform from one location to another. In addition, UV rays require a 30 minutes settling time which increases the cycle time. This is where the AMR has the advantage as AMR is able to complete the process automatically without involving any human presence. This also minimizes the chance of infection and reduces exposure to the UV light too. The figure below illustrates the proposed design of AMR with UV and Spraying disinfect equipment.
DF is looking for partners – it could be you!
As the government has pulled out tremendous actions to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, DF intends to contribute an effort for the government in fighting COVID-19 by developing solutions like autonomous UV disinfecting, disinfectant spraying or temperature reading by using AMR. We are actively looking for partners who are experts especially in the field of cleaning, disinfection, sterilisation or hospital operation to collaborate with us to make this project a success. We do hope that we can help to eliminate the virus with these innovations. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you are interested to explore further. Take care and stay safe.
Figure: Illustration shows proposed AMR design in performing autonomous disinfection using UV and Spraying.
Figure: Another concept of disinfection using spraying with Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)
Automated Guided Vehicle or AGV was first introduced by Arthur “Mac” Barrett in 1953. The earliest version of an AGV was a modified tow truck which followed a wire under the floor, allowing it to move and navigate by itself.
AGVs are used to move things around in the plant facility repetitively. Since its invention, AGVs have been improved to allow it to use alternative guidances such as coloured tape, induction or magnetic tape embedded on the floor plant. However, the AGVs still follow a fixed route, and any route change will require reinstallation of the guidance system. Besides, an AGV is equipped with sensors to detect any obstacles that pop up along its route. To avoid hitting the obstacles, the AGV will slow down or stop moving and alert users by sounding its alarm. It will not be able to change its route or direction.
What is AMR?
AMR stands for Autonomous Mobile Robot. It is a wheeled robot that moves autonomously. Both AMR and AGV share the same functions – moving items from place to place. Sometimes these robots are also called industrial mobile robots. For nearly half a century, AGVs have been moving things around in factories, warehouses and places where material transporting is needed. However, they are challenged by the introduction of new technologies implemented by the AMRs, especially in the demand of achieving Industry 4.0, factory automation and smart manufacturing.
The greatest advantage of AMR over AGV is that AMR provides alternative navigation options. An AMR navigates using a predefined map and plans its own routes to the destination. It can detect obstacles similar to an AGV, but it is slightly smarter because it can avoid the obstacles by navigating around it. Therefore, the AMR is considered more flexible because it can change its path dynamically with less effort. Meanwhile, an AGV is always “guided”, which means that the AGV operates on a fixed route – usually running along magnetic paths or wires. This shows that there are more possibilities for the AMR to perform better in running its job since space limit is not an issue.
Although an AMR is sometimes perceived to be much more costly compared to an AGV, in reality, the AMR could be more cost effective due to its flexibility and ease to set up.
The AMR’s main components include the controller board, computing unit, battery, motors, sensors and camera. It also requires some electronic integration including the safety system, drive system, power switch and warning lamp. Another important and often-overlooked component is the software which acts like the brain for the robot. The software allows users to program and interact with the AMR, besides allowing it to move autonomously. For example, DF uses our in-house NavWiz (or Navigation Wizard) software as the brain to run the whole AMR.
AGV vs AMR – what is the difference?
AMR and AGV have been defined differently by various sources. Technically, AGV always refers to a guided vehicle because its navigation is based on physical guides such as coloured tape, magnetic tape and induction wire, while AMR is a mobile robot that plans its own route based on the map which it had created earlier.
In short, both AGV and AMR are similar in terms of their features and functions in supporting logistics activity. This is because both AGV and AMR can autonomously travel in the manufacturing plants and warehouses after being programmed without needing any assistance from humans. By definition, “autonomous” describes the capability of the device acting alone or independently, while “automated” indicates control or operation by a machine or an automatic equipment. This shows that both AGV and AMR have similar meanings, yet they are introduced with different names. The only difference is the ‘navigation technique’ used by AGV and AMR in moving them autonomously.
The usage of the term ‘AGV’ and ‘AMR’ somehow have given some implications on the custom duty when these robots are being imported to certain countries. The word ‘vehicle’ in AGV may mislead the custom officer into thinking AGV is a ‘vehicle’ or ‘car’ which normally has higher custom duty compared to a robot.
Author by: Noor Atikah Soleha Mad Alim I Ken Wong I Muhammad Sofwan Bin Zamri
Automation and robotics have been part and parcel in today’s industry. Industries ranging from automotive, F&B, healthcare, and many others are constantly looking for ways to further maximize their production and productivity. In many cases, Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) is seen to have potential of increasing the productivity of any operations. Usually, business owners will consider the advantages and disadvantages of AMR before purchasing one. Hence, let’s analyze the pros and cons of it.
In many cases, Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) is seen to have potential of increasing the productivity of any operations. Learn more what is AMR here – AMR: The New Look of AGV. Usually, business owners will consider the advantages and disadvantages of AMR before purchasing one. Hence, let’s analyze the pros and cons of it.
Advantages of AMR
Unlike humans, robots do not get tired. AMR can work consistently around-the-clock to meet the targeted production of a company. This is very beneficial for companies operating 24/7 as owners would not have to worry about the shortage of shift workers. Furthermore, AMR is more accurate than humans as it is assisted with precise algorithms.
✓Lesser harm to employees
Acco car engines, bins and raw materials. The recommended load for men to carry is 25kg which can be very restrictive. With the help of AMR, more loads can be transrding to statistics given by the National Safety Council, one employee will be injured while at work every 7 seconds. In the heavy industry, it is a norm for workers to carry heavy loads such asported simultaneously with lesser time needed. AMR can also replace workers in unmanned and hazardous working environment such as nuclear plants.
✓Minimize operational cost
The existence of AMR in a facility will enable employees to reduce labor cost. This is because the employee would not have to hire many unskilled workers as well as to provide overtime pay. Product damage during transportation caused by human errors can be eliminated too.
Disadvantages of AMR
✓High capital cost
The initial cost of an AMR can be very expensive especially if it is being evaluated on a short-term outcome. Nevertheless, AMR can result in a positive Return on Investment (ROI) in the long run. In most cases, purchasers will be encouraged to calculate their targeted ROI which can be done easily using a ROI calculator.
Some AMRs such as the magnetic tape guided AMRs require a devoted track for them to move around. This can be troublesome especially if changes need to be done to the facility layout. In addition, some AMRs could only move forward which can be a limitation if it needs to be reversed suddenly. Regardless, customization of AMR can be done according to customers’ needs.
All in all, there are always two sides to every coin. DF Automation & Robotics will always strive to provide the best AMR and service to our customers in making sure that the purchase will be beneficial to them.