Hyundai Heavy opens Ulsan innovation center

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Hyundai Heavy opens Ulsan innovation center

Hyundai Heavy Industries joined the government’s creative economy initiative by opening the nation’s 15th creative economy innovation center in Ulsan.

At the Ulsan Creative Economy Innovation Center, Hyundai Heavy aims to boost its long-term technological competitiveness and help the city develop into a mecca for eco-friendly and auto-operating ships and automated medical services, with its cutting-edge shipbuilding and industrial robot manufacturing technologies.

President Park Geun-hye, Hyundai Heavy Industries Chairman Choi Kil-seon and Ulsan Mayor Kim Ki-hyeon attended an opening ceremony held at the University of Ulsan campus in southern Seoul, on Wednesday morning.

“Ulsan is the industrial capital of Korea, where per capita production and incomes are the nation’s highest, specializing in major heavy industries such as shipbuilding, automotive and petrochemicals,” Park said during a congratulatory speech. “However, as Korean heavy industries are challenged by nearby countries’ technological advancements, I hope to see the Ulsan Center contribute to giving new life to existing industry by integrating ICT and making it a next-generation growth engine.”

The Ulsan Center consists of two separate branch locations, one inside the University of Ulsan and another in the city’s start-up assistance center building.

The center will foster start-ups in 3-D printing and automated medical services industries. It is hoped that the sluggish shipbuilding industry can boost its cost efficiencies by easily manufacturing key ship parts using 3-D printers.

Hyundai Heavy Industries, in cooperation with two other shipbuilders - Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, and Samsung Heavy Industries - will share some 2,500 patents with start-ups fostered at the center so that small manufacturers based in Ulsan can come up with new business projects customized to each shipbuilder’s needs.

The three large shipbuilders, engineering students and parts and software developing start-ups will jointly work at the Ulsan Center on long-term research of new technologies and commercialization of existing technologies.

Start-ups at the Ulsan Center can develop ICT businesses to supply software and network systems to the shipbuilding industry, which is gearing up to produce eco-friendly and smart ships as new export products.

Hyundai Heavy Industries will research eco-friendly ships in cooperation with three other creative economy innovation centers, in Busan, South Gyeongsang and South Jeolla, specializing in shipbuilding machinery and eco-friendly fuel. The center aims to develop new fuels that emit fewer greenhouse gases and are more energy-efficient.

Another focus is developing driverless sailing software and auto-control systems for smart vessels to better compete with China and Japan.

Retirees and senior workers from Hyundai Heavy Industries and other companies will work at the Ulsan Center to help pass down technological details to the start-up owners.

The Ulsan Center aims to localize production of some 15 key ship parts by the end of this year, and 165 by 2018. Local production of these parts will save Korean shipbuilders an annual average of $1.8 billion, which has been spent on importing them.

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