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Industrial 4.0 emphasizes leveraging the power of data to the manufacturing process for achieving digital transformation, but upgrading the factories and pieces of equipment may cost a lot of money. Smart Tag uses cutting-edge technology to develop a wireless sensor that can help companies move to industrial 4.0 effortlessly.
Smart Tag's main product is the "Thermal Thin Film PCB", which is the most flexible PCB material in the world, and it is fire retardant up to 400 °C. The product was later called the "smart tag". Kim Chang, the founder of Smart Tag, foresaw the potential of wide application of the smart tag. He transformed it into an affordable and weightless sensor that can easily patch onto any machine tool.
Data is like the new oil of the 21st Century, now every aspect of industry needs to learn how to leverage the power of the data, and the manufacturing industry is no exception. Manufacturers now try to collect real-time data from all the machine tools and analyze the data to see if there are any signs of malfunction in order to prevent the machine tools from shutting down.
Traditionally, manufacturers would install a sensor on their machines, but there are problems because sensors usually are too big, too expensive, hard to install, and most importantly, it requires the line to stop for days, which is the last thing manufacturers want to see.
Smart tag is a tiny and weightless tag that can patch on any machine tools without affecting the operation. Manufacturers can adhere to multiple smart tags on the machine to enhance the accuracy of collecting data and the data would be sent to the cloud for further analysis. Manufacturers can then get health reports for their machines.
Smart Tag founder Kim Chang started working in the lab as early as his high school years. He helped his father, Chang Rong-Seng, who is a professor from the National Central University department of optics and photonics, to take care of some lab chores. Spending months and years in the lab, Kim wanted to get involved more deeply in the lab operation.
Thinking of what kind of talent the lab needed, Kim felt that the lab already had enough outstanding engineers and scientists, but lacked people with a business mindset that can bridge the gap between lab research and the industrial market. As a result, Kim Chang chose to major in finance during college life. Furthermore, he went to TIAS School for Business and Society in Holland to pursuit a Master of Financial Management.
Returning back to Taiwan, Kim applied his business knowledge to build a more sustainable model for the lab. He cut off the one-time project and research plan, focusing all the lab resources on research that had long-term plans, and the smart tag is one of the projects being kept.
The potential of the smart tag also drew attention from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). MOST funded Kim to bring the product to SingularityU APAC Global Impact Challenge. Kim won the competition and got invited to Singularity University for training.
"In the Singularity University, every classmate, every workshop, and every mentor are expanding my horizon. Mentors there always taught me to come up with ideas that can solve the problem for 1 billion people, and the experience there shaped how I lead the Smart Tag," Kim said.
Smart Tag now is focusing on customers in the semiconductor industry, petroleum industry, panel manufacturers, and PCB manufacturers. Kim targets the industry with a high gross margin first, and instead of selling the products to customers directly, he chose to cooperate with the system integrators. Let smart tag become part of the industrial 4.0 total solution.