South Korean Shipbuilders Are Turning To Robots


  • Samsung Heavy Industries Co. recently introduced robots at its shipyard in Geoje Island to cut steel materials and weld them into blocks.
  • The robots have reportedly raised overall productivity by 40%.
  • The company said it now saves more than 2 billion won (US$1.64 million) each year, and the use of robots prevents workers from suffering from certain diseases.

To compensate for a dearth of people, South Korea’s top shipbuilders are using robotics. At its shipyard in Geoje Island, Samsung Heavy Industries Co. recently employed robots to cut steel materials and weld them into blocks as reported by Maritime Economy.

Collaboration robots

Instead of being completely replaced by automation, a human employee collaborates with the so-called “collaboration robots” during sub-block assembly.

Employees may work with these collaborative robots without having to set up a safety fence because they can detect collisions.

The robots are said to have increased total production by 40%.

A 13-kilogram robot for welding will be deployed at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co’s shipyard in Yeongam, South Jeolla Province.

The robot’s small size allows it to reach into tight spots inside the ship to perform surgical welding activities.

Worker shortage

The robot can also weave, which is a challenging welding skill that needs the flame to travel in a zigzag pattern, allowing even an inexperienced person to use it to complete complex tasks.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. is utilising robots to install electric cables inside ships and marine plants, which was formerly done by a team of people carrying bundles of wires the size of a person’s forearm.

The company claims that it currently saves more than 2 billion won (US$1.64 million) each year and that the usage of robots keeps workers from contracting infections.

Following the implementation of the Serious Accidents Punishment Act in January of this year, shipbuilders have become more enthusiastic about deploying robots.

Between 2016 and October of last year, 88 people perished in shipyard accidents, according to the Ministry of Employment and Labor.

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Source: Maritime Economy


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