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Makino Asia Opens Smart Factory In Singapore

April 2019

Makino Asia, a manufacturer of machining tools opened a new smart manufacturing facility in Singapore, built with an investment of SGD 100 million (USD 74 million). The facility is expected to double the double its machine production capacity through automation and data exchange technology.

Makino Asia, under Tokyo-based Makino Asia Makino Milling Machine Company, was amongst the wave of Japanese investments during the early days of Singapore’s industrialisation, establishing itself in Singapore in 1973. Makino transferred its global product charters from Japan to Singapore in 2009 and also sited its Global Training Centre, as well as its headquarters for Southeast Asia, China and India in Singapore.

This facility in Tuas consists of an assembly factory and a newly built machining factory. In the factory machine castings are transported from one factory to another by automated guided forklifts. The disposal of loose chips, replenishment of parts in inventories and all other aspects are monitored and controlled by automated processes. Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are allowing Makino to track all its machines in operation for customers around Asia and predict which units need maintenance, before a breakdown occurs. Makino Asia has also acquired Smart Glasses capabilities, which link engineers based in Singapore directly to shop-floor environment overseas. These Smart Glasses incorporate augmented reality features, displaying crucial information to the user to support accurate decision-making in real-time. These may include isolating a technical fault or recommending changes to maintenance routines. More than 5,000 solar panels power the facility, enabling Makino to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 tonnes annually. 

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Koh Poh Koon, who was the Guest of Honor at the launch talked about Singapore's Precision Engineering (PE) Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in Oct 2016 to sharpen and sustain Singapore’s manufacturing competitiveness. Singapore is investing in promising growth sectors including additive manufacturing and robotics. In 2017, more than 4,400 industrial robots were installed here in Singapore, ranking the city-state second in the world in terms of robot density per worker.

(Sources: Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore; Straits Times; Channel NewsAsia)

SATS Opens New SGD 25 Million Kitchen Facility

March 2019

On 11 March 2019, SATS Ltd. (SATS) unveiled a new SGD 25 million (USD 18.5 million) kitchen with food technologies that can preserve nutritional qualities and optimise taste while extending shelf life. The facility has an automated rice line capable of producing about 4,000 rice portions an hour, auto-fryers with the capacity to cook approximately 120 kg of rice or noodles in an hour, a thermoforming packing line, and the first commercially available pasteurisation and sterilisation technology in Asia.

The facility has digital twin technology that helps SATS to simulate different production scenarios and the cooking process for each recipe to optimise the use of resources in its kitchens. By harnessing digital twin, SATS can capture the culinary insights and experience of its chefs digitally and empower them to reproduce the same recipe faithfully.

A team of food technologists, dietitians, and chefs at SATS has worked to develop a variety of menus using the new technologies. It will offer a selection of these meals to aviation customers in the initial phase and extend the distribution of similar meals to non-aviation customers under its Country Foods brand at a later stage.

SATS is the chief ground-handling and in-flight catering service provider at Singapore Changi Airport. It is also a leading provider of gateway services and food solutions in Asia.

(Sources: SAT; Channel NewsAsia)


Swiss Flavor And Fragrance Manufacturer Opens New Facility In Singapore

February 2019

On 14 February 2019, Givaudan opened its newest fragrance encapsulation centre in Singapore. The Swiss company is the world leader in manufacturing of flavors and fragances, with a nearly 25% global market share. The company said that the new CHF 15 million (SGD 20 million) facility is strategically located to offer an excellent environment for pursuing scientific research and business opportunities while being centrally located within Asia. 

The fragrance encapsulation centre will add to the existing capabilities of the Creative Centre, production hub and Perfumery School which were opened in Singapore in 2015.The four levels of the facility are said to feature cutting edge production technology, warehousing, distribution, and a dedicated lab specialised in the development of long lasting fragrances solutions.

Givaudan first opened its dedicated facility in northern Singapore in 1995. In 2015, flavour and fragrances production achieved 20,000 tonnes – an increment by five times since the company began manufacturing in Singapore in 1995. Currently, the company has close to 600 employees in Singapore.

(Sources: Givaudan; Business Times)

Singapore Launches First Half 2019 Industrial Government Land Sales Program

January 2019

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) of Singapore has launched its Industrial Government Land Sales (IGLS) programme for the first half of 2019 (1H 2019). There will be 5 sites in the Confirmed List and 7 sites in the Reserve List, with a total site area of 11.86 ha (118,600 sq m). This is slightly lower than the total site area of 12.59 ha for the previous launch in the second half of  2018. Under the Reserve List, the Government puts up a site for tender if an interested party submits an application with an offer of a minimum purchase price that is acceptable to the Government; or if there is sufficient market interest in the form of more than one unrelated party submitting minimum purchase prices that are close to the Government’s Reserve Price for the site within a reasonable period.

These plots are zoned as B2, which means that these areas can be used for clean industry, light industry, general industry, warehouse, public utilities and telecommunication uses and other public installations.

Previously, in December 2018, logistics group Logos signed a long-term sale-and-leaseback agreement with solar panel company REC for an undisclosed amount in Singapore’s largest single-asset industrial transaction of 2018. The deal involves 150,000 sq m of space, on a 25-hectare site in Tuas South. The property is located next to the future Tuas Mega Port which when completed by 20203, will handle all of Singapore’s container activities and handle up to 65 million standard-sized containers. 

(Sources: Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore; Straits Times; Singapore Business Review)

Dyson To Manufacture Electric Cars In Singapore

November 2018

UK-based manufacturer of household appliance, Dyson, announced recently that it is going to set up a plant in Singapore for making electric cars. Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in December 2018 and finish in 2020. The first cars expected to roll off the assembly line by early 2021. The manufacturing facility is described as "a highly sophisticated one, using the latest technologies, including robotics and automation".

Dyson, which is renowned for its stick battery-powered vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans, revealed plans for an electric car last year. In the process of innovating and engineering these household products and others, it is aquired expertise in the areas of electric motors, rechargeable solid-state batteries , and navigation system (for its robotic vacuum cleaner). The Dyson motor used in its V10 cordless vacuum, spins at 125,000rpm – approximately eight times faster than the engine of an Formula One car. The company already manufactures around 6% of all rechargeable batteries in the world. The company plans to leverage on its expertise in these areas and scale them up to build its electric car. It plans to invest £2.5 billion (USD 3.25 billion) towards the venture.

Media reports suggested that unlike all car manufacturers which source parts from suppliers, Dyson is planning to make every part itself. In the current uncertain trade environment, that could be an advantage. In August 2018, Dyson revelead plans for a 10-mile test track for its electric vehicles in Wiltshire, UK. 

In  a Facebook post, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Dyson has selected Singapore for its expertise in advanced manufacturing, global and regional connectivity, and the quality of research scientists and engineers. Dyson has been operating in Singapore for over 10 years. Staring with a small, focused engineering team. today Dyson employs more than 1,000 people in its Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Centres. In 2017, Dyson announcedan addiitonal investment of £330 million (USD 430 million) into a new R&D centre in Singapore.

(Sources: Economic Development Board, Singapore; Straits Times; Channel NewsAsia; BBC; GQ)

ABB Launches Innovation Center In Singapore

October 2018

On 11 October, 2018, ABB  inaugurated its Singapore customer innovation center  to co-develop solutions that address business problems and produce tangible business opportunities for customers in the infrastructure, manufacturing, process industries, transportation and utilities sectors. The Center is built on ABB Ability™ – a unified, cross-industry digital technology platform extending from device to edge to cloud.

The center aims to help customers to harness major leaps in productivity and efficiency, driving competitiveness, quality and security, through smart grid technology, electrification of all points of energy consumption and advanced automation solutions, important building blocks to a future of autonomous operations.

Facilities include an ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Center, which enables clients to extract higher value from data through information analytics. The center opens with a number of customers already being served through its advanced data analytics and access to experts. Additionally, the facilities house a Digital Solutions Center, Digital Services Center for Drives, Power & Water Innovation Center, Robotics Applications Center, a Smarter Building Center, and state-of-the-art customer training facilities.

The space will also serve as a living laboratory where ABB will deploy its own products and technologies to intelligently manage its own energy use. These include wireless intelligent sensors, building management systems, control room solutions, renewable energy integration and digital grid technologies.

(Sources: ABB; Straits Times)

(Image credit: ABB)

A*STAR Launches Second Model Factory As Sandbox For Industry 4.0 Technologies

September 2018

On 23rd August 2018,  Singapore's largest public sector research agency, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), launched its second Model Factory at the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) to help Singapore manufacturers test latest technologies. The first model factory was opened at the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) in October 2017. A*STAR’s Model Factory Initiative provides an applied test-bedding and learning environment to help manufacturing companies across the value chain deepen their capabilities, and achieve greater productivity and efficiency. 

Under Singapore's Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020) plan, the government has committed SGD 3.2 billion (USD 2.3 billion) from 2016 to 2020, to develop research and technological capabilities in the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) Domain. The Future of Manufacturing (FoM) Initiative, a key initiative under the AME Domain, was established in 2015 to support the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector.  The Model Factory Initiative is a key platform under the FoM Initiative. It serves as a sandbox for manufacturing companies to experience and co-develop Industry 4.0 technologies in an applied learning environment. 

The Model Factory at SIMTech supports the adoption and co-development of digital manufacturing technologies, especially by SMEs. The Model Factory at ARTC taps on industry’s expertise, and A*STAR’s multi-disciplinary R&D capabilities to develop capabilities ranging from manufacturing data analytics, machine-to-machine connectivity, and digital solutions to complex manufacturing processes. The key features of the Model Factory at ARTC include a Virtual Manufacturing Lab which mirrors actual production processes to allow companies to conduct virtual planning in product and process design and development as well as Digital Twinning; and a Manufacturing Intelligence Control Room that allows companies to visualise the end-to-end digital thread along the operations value chain, and more importantly, control and optimise production.So far, around 50 companies have participated in the Model Factory Initiative.

ARTC also embarked on new partnerships with Nestlé, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Shell, signing agreements with them during the launch. 

(Sources: Ministry of Trade and Indusry, Singapore; Business Times; Agency for Science, Technology and Research)


Shared Facility Being Set Up For Small Batch Food Production In Singapore

August 2018

On 31 July, 2018, JTC officially opened its Food Hub @ Senoko, a purpose-built food facility that is designed to help food companies reduce capital and operating costs through shared facilities and services. A key feature of the facility jointly conceptualised with the Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association (SFMA) and Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF),  is an integrated cold room and warehouse facility (CWF) that tenants can tap on a pay-per-use basis, instead of committing capital and operating expenditure to build and operate their own CWF.

At the opening ceremony, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Enterprise Singapore, JTC and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to set up a  1,130 sqm shared facility for small batch production at the Food Hub to support innovation in the industry. The facility, to be operated by SIT, aims to address hurdles faced by food manufacturers in the development of new food products, such as a lack of facilities, costly equipment, high opportunity costs and high minimum order requirements from outsourced manufacturers. 

The availability of production rooms and food processing equipment such as spray dryers, extruders, as well as advanced equipment such as Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (MATS)  and Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) equipment on a pay-per-use basis, will allow food manufacturers, especially start-ups and SMEs, to validate new products after R&D and test their commercial viability before scaling up production. 

On top of hardware support, there will be workplace training courses, masterclasses and seminars organised at the Food Hub for industry players to deepen technical capabilities and skills.

(Source: JTC Corporation; Channel NewsAsia)

ExxonMobil Begins Production At New Butyl And Resins Plants In Singapore

July 2018

On 21 June, ExxonMobil started production of hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin and halobutyl rubber at its integrated manufacturing complex in Singapore. This is the company's largest integrated refining and petrochemical complex in the world.

The new EscorezTM hydrogenated hydrocarbon resins plant will be the world’s largest with a capacity of 90,000 tonnes per year. It is intended to meet long-term demand growth for hot-melt adhesives used in packaging or baby diapers. The new 140,000-tonnes-per-year butyl plant will produce premium halobutyl rubber used by manufacturers for tires that better maintain inflation to improve fuel economy. 

The construction project employed more than 5,500 contract workers at its peak. The plants add 140 jobs to ExxonMobil’s existing workforce of more than 2,500 at its Singapore manufacturing complex. ExxonMobil has more than 4,000 employees in Singapore. 

The startup of these two new plants follows ExxonMobil’s earlier acquisition of one of the world’s largest aromatics production facilities in Singapore last year. The new plants expand on ExxonMobil’s flexible steam cracking capability in Singapore, which provides a range of feedstocks for upgraded specialty products to meet growing long-term demand in Asia Pacific. The Singapore complex also includes a new cogeneration unit at the refinery, bringing the total cogeneration capacity of the site to over 440 megawatts.

In a separate announced on 26 June, Exxon Mobil revealed that it is progressing a multi-billion dollar project at its integrated manufacturing facility in Singapore to produce higher-value products, including high-quality light and heavy lubricant base stocks, to meet growing demand. The Singapore refinery expansion project will also eanble the production of more clean fuels with lower sulfur content, including high-quality ExxonMobil Marine Fuels that comply with the International Maritime Organization’s 0.5 percent sulfur cap to help customers continue to meet the reduced sulfur limit. If the project proceeds, it is expected to start in 2023. 

ExxonMobil is one of Singapore’s largest foreign manufacturing investors with over SGD 25 billion (USD 18 billion) in fixed asset investments. Its Singapore affiliate, ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, (EMAPPL) runs refinery operations in Jurong and a world-scale petrochemical plant on Jurong Island. 

(Sources: Exxon Mobil; Business Times)

WuXi Biologics Setting Up S$80 million Biologics Manufacturing Facility In Singapore

June 2018

Open-access biologics technology platform company, WuXi Biologics is investing S$80 million (US$60 million) to establish a biologics manufacturing facility in Singapore. It will be the tenth global drug substance manufacturing facility of WuXi Biologics. Around 150 employees will be hired at the facility. 

Headquartered in Wuxi city, Jiangsu province, China, and listed on the Hong Kong exchange, WuXi Biologics offers multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies in the world end-to-end solutions helping them to discover, develop and manufacture biologics from concept to commercial manufacturing. The new manufacturing facility, supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board, is the company’s first overseas site in Asia and second site outside of China.

The facility will use single-use bioreactors, which use a disposable bag instead of a stainless steel or glass culture vessel.  They add flexibility to the manufacturing process and enable quick adaptation to market needs by allowing quick changeovers. Single‑use bioreactors provide  savings on the time spent to prepare the bioreactor for the next batch and minimize contamination risk, as all components that contact the process material are enclosed within disposable units. This new facility is also designed to be able to run continuous bioprocessing (as opposed to batch processing). A total of approximately 4,500 L bioreactor capacity will be installed with two 2,000 L traditional fed-batch and one 500 L perfusion based continuous processing. This facility will be able to handle both clinical and small volume commercial production. An early-stage bioprocess development lab is also planned to be included.

“We are delighted that WuXi Biologics has chosen Singapore as its first overseas manufacturing site in Asia. This will introduce the company’s next-generation bioprocessing technology platform to this region. WuXi Biologics’ decision is a testament to Singapore’s strong talent pool for the biomedical sciences sector and our capabilities in advanced manufacturing. Its presence here will also strengthen our ecosystem for supporting biotech companies from Singapore and beyond,” said Dr. Beh Swan Gin, Chairman of EDB.

(Sources: WuXi Biologics, Straits Times)



Singapore and German Firms Ink Partnerships During Biennial Forum

May 2018

Singapore’s manufacturing scene is likely to get a boost, as new agreements between German and Singapore companies were inked during the biennial Germany-Singapore Business Forum 2018. Some of the notable deals include:

To improve market access for start-ups form both countries and promote Singapore as an ideal regional launchpad for German startups, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the German Accelerator, which supports German high potential startups to enter South East Asia through acceleration programmes. Both organisations will facilitate bilateral partnerships for innovation, knowledge exchange and the sharing of best practices.

Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association (SPETA) has also announced its partnership with the German industry association IVAM Fachverband Für Mikrotechnik (IVAM) to collaborate on the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies and microtechnology. As a start, both parties will list their members in each other’s member directory to enable companies to connect to potential partners.

The third MoU was signed between Composite Cluster Singapore, Sakuta Tech and German companies COvestro and Hufschmied to establish a Composite Application Centre (CAC) in Singapore as a regional centre of excellence. The CAC will work closely with international leaders in composites research and provide a platform for companies to tap the latest technologies and create solutions. The four parties will drive innovation efforts and promote their products and services in overseas markets, especially in Asia.

Germany is Sngapore’s largest trading partner in the European Union. Conversely, Singapore is Germany’s largest trading partner in ASEAN. Close to 1,700 German companies are based in Singapore.

(Sources: Business Times; Straits Times)

Micron Breaks Ground On Multi-Billion Dollar Cleanroom Expansion

April 2018

U.S.-based semiconductor giant, Micron Technology, is set to expand its NAND flash memory fabrication plant in Singapore. The investment, built on a 165,000 square meter land plot, will be based adjacent to its Fab 10, an existing manufacturing complex for NAND flash memory fabrication. The new project is the second expansion that has taken place at the Micron’s facility in Singapore. In September 2016, the company added approximately 255,000 square feet to the site facility, almost doubling the cleanroom space.

According to the company’s announcement, the facility will be equipped over the next five-plus years and will add more than 1,000 jobs to its existing workforce of 7,500 in Singapore.

Over the past 20 years, Micron has invested more than USD 15 billion in Singapore. The 3D NAND flash it creates in Singapore is at the leading edge of all flash today. Its flash has 64 layers of data cells and is manufactured through many precision process steps. The cleanroom that has been launched in April 2018 will allow Micron to continue to advance its technology to even more intricate designs. Construction of the new facility is expected to be completed in mid-2019, with initial wafer output planned for the fourth quarter of 2019. 

(Source: Cleanroom Technology)

Robot Facility Launched In Singapore

March 2018

Singapore’s first collaborative robot production facility was launched in February 2018, by Korean industrial robot company Hanwha Techwin and local precision engineering firm PBA Group. The partnership is a first of its kind between a listed Fortune 500 company and a Singapore SME.

The new Singapore-based facility, located at Yishun Industrial Park, will manufacture a co-branded range of collaborative robots, known for their ability to work alongside humans in a shared workspace. They can perform simple tasks such as picking and placing items, palletising, screw-driving, polishing and dispensing – helping companies automate manual work as well as cut investment and operating expenses.

Currently, most robots and automation equipment in Singapore are manufactured overseas in places such as Europe, Japan and China. However, the robots take more than months to arrive to Singapore due to limited order volumes. In comparison, locally-made robots would be delivered within four weeks and could be serviced locally as well.

(Sources: Singapore Economic Development Board; Channel News Singapore)

Singapore Well-Positioned To Benefit From Industry 4.0

February 2018

According to the World Economic Forum’s Readiness for the Future of Production Report, Singapore is ranked among the 25 countries, which are best positioned to benefit from the changing nature of production.

Assessing how well-positioned global economies are to shape and benefit from changes in production being driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Report ranked Singapore 11th for the Structure of Production, and 2nd for Drivers of Production. The country also ranks in the top 20 for economic complexity and performs well across all Drivers of Production, except Sustainable Resources. Within the Sustainable Resources driver, Singapore contributes less emissions than other leading countries, but has challenges related to baseline water stress and alternative energy sources.

The assessment finds Singapore to be a leader on the Global Trade & Investment driver as one of the most open and trade-friendly countries in the world. It also highlights Singapore’s strong institutional framework and future-oriented approach of the Government as key strengths.

Singapore’s strong performance in the Drivers of Production reflects the country’s commitment and early efforts in building an ecosystem to drive the adoption of advanced manufacturing among its MNCs and SMEs.

(Sources: World Economic Forum; OpenGov Asia)

Evonik Sets Up Its First Asia Research Hub In Singapore

January 2018

Germany-based specialty chemicals company Evonik is set to build its first research hub in Singapore, which is expected to start operations in 2018. Acting as the Asian platform for high impact R&D with a special focus on Functional Surfaces and Additive Manufacturing, the research hub will also serve as a leading hotspot for top local and international talents to develop a strong R&D ecosystem in the region. In its first development stage, the new complex will offer around 50 jobs at the location. The development of the research hub is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), which has been the company’s strategic partner in Singapore over the past years.

As part of its development blueprint for R&D excellence, the research hub will be situated in Biopolis, the center for entrepreneurial and ground-breaking R&D activities in Singapore, and will host an agile team of scientists and researchers from domain specialties.

Alongside other public and private research institutions and organizations, Evonik is expecting to leverage on the existing R&D value chain to make the research hub a fertile ground for synergies within and across the scientific research community.

(Source: Evonik)

Strategic Partnership Between Fujitsu & ARTC To Transform Manufacturing

December 2017

Fujitsu and the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) announced a strategic partnership to accelerate the pace of digital transformation for the Factory of the Future. The collaboration seeks to allow businesses of all sizes to tap the potential of smart manufacturing solutions. ARTC is a public-private collaboration between A*STAR, NTU and over 50 industry partners working together to bridge technological gaps in the adoption of advanced manufacturing and remanufacturing capabilities.

The three-year partnership will leverage the expertise of Fujitsu, and ARTC’s research and development expertise and state-of-the-art facilities to develop strategic capabilities that address key challenges faced by the manufacturing sector, and prepare for a future ecosystem of intelligent manufacturing. Through the partnership, Fujitsu and ARTC will jointly identify and develop solutions to comprehensively realise the digital transformation of a wide range of enterprises involved in the manufacturing supply chain, including small and medium companies (SMEs), offering potential productivity and efficiency gains, minimise security risks and enhance workplace safety.  

Fujitsu and ARTC will collaborate to apply technologies in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, Head Mounted Display and Industrial Augmented Reality, Cybersecurity, Wearable technology, Human and Robotics Harmonization to the manufacturing industry. In light of Fujitsu’s initial experience in Japan, the partnership will see the roll-out of Fujitsu’s integrated design environment for product development to businesses to better integrate processes such as design development within the manufacturing environment.

(Source: A*STAR)

Shell Opens Its Third Lubricant Plant In Tuas

November 2017

Royal Dutch Shell has opened its third lubricant plant in SIngapore, boosting the country's position as a production hub for the industry. The 10 hectare-plant is Shell’s third largest lubricant plant in the world, and second largest in Asia Pacific. The plant is capable of producing up to 430 million litres (equivalent to 390 kilotonnes) of lubricants and greases every year, and will be a production hub for products that will be shipped to more than 40 countries, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region. It will produce lubricants carrying Shell’s globally renowned brands, such as Shell Helix (passenger car motor oil), Shell Rimula (heavy duty engine oil), Shell Tellus (hydraulic oil), Shell Alexia (two-stroke marine engine oil) and Shell Gadus (greases).

According to Shell, the state-of-the-art, highly automated facility in Singapore was built to support the company's business ambitions in the Asia Pacific region. It serves as a strategic production hub, and will be the centrepiece of our lubricants supply chain network to reliably supply our world-class lubricants to millions of customers in the region. Asia represents over 40% of the world’s lubricants demand, and is home to half of the world’s largest lubricants markets. The facility will also strengthen the company's marine lubricant business’s presence in Singapore, which is the world’s second busiest port.

(Source: Shell)

Singapore Assists SMEs Innovate

October 2017

Manufacturing is an important pillar of Singapore's economy, contributing about 20% of its GDP and accounting for 14% of its total employment in 2016. A large percentage of the local manufacturing businesses are SMEs. This can be an advantage for Singapore as SMEs can be adaptable and nimble to capture the opportunities and benefits of Industrie 4.0. The Government is demonstrating a strong commitment to supporting SMEs, in continually upgrading their technological capabilities and in overcoming their limitations to achieve higher efficiency.

The Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) has this month launched its Tech Access Initiative and the new Industrial Additive Manufacturing Facility (IAMF). The Tech Access scheme aims to support Singapore companies, especially SMEs in the manufacturing sector, in using advanced machine tools for prototype testing and product measurements in ARTC. This includes the utilization of specialised equipment such as high-pressure cold sprays and robotised 3D scanning and inspection.

One of the new facilities under Tech Access is the Industrial Additive Manufacturing Facility (IAMF), where production of high-quality, complex metal components is now enabled. These advances in additive manufacturing technologies can help improve the performance of products through the integration of existing operations. The facility allows SMEs to use these equipment with the support of A*STAR’s user training and technical advice, so that SMEs are able to identify opportunities to leverage additive manufacturing technologies to improve and integrate technologies to their current operations, with no high-cost investment of acquiring equipment in advance.

(Sources: Ministry of Trade & Industry; A*STAR; ChannelNewsAsia; Metal AM)

Singapore's Electronics Industry Transformation Map

September 2017

JTC, the lead agency in Singapore to spearhead the planning, promotion and development of a dynamic industrial landscape, has launched the JTC nanoSpace. This facility is strategically located within Tampines Wafer Fab Park, and offers a plug-and-play, quick-start solution and purpose-built to meet the requirements of niche semiconductor-related manufacturing activities.

In tandem with the opening of the JTC nanoSpace, Singapore has launched an Electronics Industry Transformation Map (ITM) which has a two-pronged strategy to ensure that the country's electronics continues to grow - by moving into new growth markets and transforming the existing electronics base and attract new investments in high-value components. 

The electronics industry is a key sector of growth for Singapore’s economy.  In 2016, electronics manufacturing accounted for 4.4% of Singapore’s GDP, with SGD 90 billion in manufacturing output, and employment of about 70,000. Singapore, which wants to attract high value-add activities and capture new growth areas, is looking to invest early in facilities such as the JTC nanoSpace to support investment into, and growth of the sector.  

(Sources: Ministry of Trade & Industry; JTC)

Asahai Kasei Chemicals To Expand S-SBR Capacity In Singapore

August 2017

Asahi Kasei Corp. will increase production capacity at its solution-polymerized styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) plant in Singapore. Approximately 5 billion yen (US$ 44.78 million) is expected to be invested in the upgrade, which will boost annual production capacity from the current 100,000 tons to 130,000 tons by January 2019, when the new facility is ready. Asahi Kasei has successfully achieved a high-level balance of braking performance and fuel efficiency while also improving abrasion resistance and handling stability characteristics, mainly with the continuous polymerization process. S-SBR made with technology developed by Asahi Kasei enjoys a strong reputation among tire manufacturers around the world as an optimal material for tires. Asahi Kasei currently has S-SBR plants in Japan (Kanagawa and Oita prefectures) and Singapore. The Singapore plant, which is located on Jurong Island, began operation in 2013 and produces the latest high-performance grades.

(Source: Asahi Kasei, Japan Chemical Daily)

Feinmetall Singapore Opens New Digital Manufacturing Plant

July 2017

Local precision engineering firm Feinmetall launched a new SGD 6 million (USD 4.4 million) digital manufacturing facility in Marsiling. Feinmetall Singapore is a local precision engineering enterprise that specialises in the design and manufacturing of wafer probe cards for semiconductor wafer tests. Established in 2007, the company has grown from a five-man team to 50 employees today. In the last decade, Feinmetall has invested more than S$1.5 million in R&D, and seen its revenue grow six-fold. The new plant incorporates a manufacturing control tower dashboard housed within a control room to integrate and display information of business operations on multiple screens. This enables real-time tracking of business operations for effective decision-making. Another innovation is a monitoring system that provides live machine status updates and automatically collects data on machine stoppages.

(Sources: The Business Times, Singapore Business Review, Channelnews Asia)

Feinmetall Singapore Opens USD 4.39 Million Digital Manufacturing Facility

June 2017

Singapore’s local precision engineering, Feinmetall Singapore opens its SGD 6 million (USD 4.39 million) digital manufacturing facility. The facility, covering an area of 6,700 square foot in Marsiling is equipped with advanced technologies with monitoring system that is able to provide live machine status updates. It collects data when the machine stops, enabling real-time tracking of the operations for effective decision making.

In 2016, the manufacturing sector contributed 20% to the country’s GDP and 14% of the total employment. Feinmetall started with a five-man team, and has grown to 50 employees. During the inaugural, Singapore’s Ministry for Trade and Industry S Iswaran said that “Feinmetall Singapore’s digital manufacturing is an excellent example on how our SMEs are stepping up to build capabilities, through digitalisation, to seize new growth opportunities and serves as a success story and role model for other SMEs.”

(Source: Business Times, Today Online)

Technica Launches New FBG Manufacturing Facility In Singapore

May 2017

To manage the companys growth, Technica has opened a new Fibre Bragg Gratings (FBG) manufacturing facility and advanced technologies center in Singapore. This company specializes in developing FBG sensors and filters, FBG array sensors and gold-coated fibres as well as other optical devices.

Technicas earlier Asian manufacturing operation is located in Beijing, China and this new development in Singapore is called Technica Singapore. The facility will be equipped with state-of-the-art femtosecond laser stations, nano-scale positioning, micro-machining equipment, and advanced proprietary fibre processing technologies. In addition, the engineering and manufacturing team in Singapore will be responsible for worldwide customers with special FBG sensor requirements that are currently not addressable by the company’s existing volume production facilities in Beijing.

(Sources:, Business Wire)

Business Expectations Of The Manufacturing Sector

April 2017

The manufacturing sector expects business situation to improve in the next six months ending September 2017. A weighted 12% of manufacturers anticipates business conditions to progress while a weighted 5% foresees a softer business outlook.  Overall, a net weighted balance of 7% of manufacturers expect a favorable business situation for the period April – September 2017, compared to the first quarter of 2017.

For the second quarter of 2017, a weighted balance of the growth of total output forecast is 16%. Apart from chemicals sector with a forecasted decline of 2% in output, every other sector including precision engineering, biomedical manufacturing, electronics, general manufacturing, and transport engineering are expected to have positive outputs.

(Source: Singapore Economic Development Board)

Emerson Opens Additive Manufacturing Center in Singapore

March 2017

US tech and engineering giant Emerson officially opened its Global Additive Center in Singapore.  This is its second location to have additive manufacturing capabilities (making 3D objects from a digital model). The Singapore center together with Marshalltown will actively work on research & development and pilot production services for all Emerson businesses around the world.

In conjunction with the launch of its additive manufacturing center in Singapore, Emerson has entered into a five-year research collaboration agreement with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), a world-leading research-intensive university.

(Sources: Emerson, Singapore Economic Development Board)

Singapore: Manufacturing Sector Rises 11.5% In Q4 2016

February 2017

The manufacturing sector in Singapore rose by 11.5% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2016, thanks to strong growth in the electronics and biomedical manufacturing clusters. The growth in electronics cluster is supported by a global demand for semiconductors. As for the biomedical manufacturing cluster, it was the output growth of pharmaceuticals and medical technology segments that helped to boost this cluster.

On a quarter-to-quarter seasonally adjusted annualized basis, the manufacturing sector rebounded strongly from the 5% fall in Q3 to post growth of 39.8% in Q4. Overall in 2016, the manufacturing sector expanded by 3.6%, which is an improvement from 2015 where there was a decline of 5.1%.

(Sources: The Business Times, Today Online)

December’s Manufacturing Output: Best In Five Years

January 2017

In December 2016, Singapore’s manufacturing output surged 21.3% from a year ago, marking it as best monthly performance since December 2011. Omitting the biomedical manufacturing, output in December expanded quite significantly at 16.1%. Production rose 6.4% on a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis in December compared to November which exceeded the expectation of the analysts.

According to the Economic Development Board, this growth is fuelled by a boost in electronics exports at 49.4%, mostly attributed to the semiconductors segment. This cluster expanded 15.9% in year 2016 compared to 2015. Production in the biomedical industry jumped 44.9% in December from a year ago, driven by a 53.8% surge in pharmaceuticals. As for the precision engineering, chemicals and general manufacturing industries clusters, they all experienced an output growth of 6.1%, 4.1% and 2% in December. The only cluster with a declining growth is transport engineering with 10.5% contraction due to a 26.1% fall in the marine & offshore engineering segment.

(Sources: The Straits Times, Bloomberg)

Singapore’s Manufacturing Sector Expanded 11.9% In November

December 2016

In November 2016, manufacturing output was recorded a rise of 11.9% from the same month last year according to the data from the Singapore Economic Development Board. Not taking in account biomedical manufacturing, output expanded 6.4%.

Led by strong electronics and pharmaceuticals output, industrial production in Singapore in November grew at its fastest annual pace since March 2014. The pharmaceuticals segment expanded 36.1% thanks to active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products produced. As for the electronics cluster’s output, it grew 24.2% in November on a year-on-year basis. This growth is mostly contributed by the semiconductors segment which expanded 49.6%.

In regards to precision engineering and the chemicals clusters, the outputs expanded 7.6% and 3.5% respectively compared to a year ago. The growth of precision engineering is triggered by the machinery and systems segment that recorded a growth of 10% thanks to a rise in export demand for semi conductor-related equipment. As for the chemicals, the expansion was led by the petroleum segment which posted a growth of 22% due to the low base effect in 2015.

The output of general manufacturing industries dropped 0.9% year-on-year, mainly due to the miscellaneous industries and printing segments, which posted contraction of 4.5% and 16.2% respectively.  Out of all the clusters, the transport engineer cluster posted the highest contraction of 14.8% compared to the same period a year ago. The declines in the aerospace and marine and offshore engineering segments offset the land transport segment that expanded 12.2%.

(Sources: Channel News Asia, Reuter)

Singapore’s Manufacturing Sector Facing Two Consecutive Months Of Expansion

November 2016

According to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), it was recorded at 50.1 in September and 50 in October, demonstrating expansion for two months in consecutive. A weaker expansion in October was caused by a slower overall factory output and lower employment, despite new orders and new exports that posted marginal improvements.

The electronics sector posted the fastest rate of expansion for the third month at 50.8, which is a rise of 0.5 point from September. This is its seventh month of expansion, thanks to a continued expansion reading for new orders, new exports and factory output.

(Sources:  Channel News Asia, The Business Times)

BIOTRONIK Manufactures High-Tech Products In Singapore

October 2016

To support global growth in the Asia Pacific Region, BIOTRONIK, a German medical technology company establishes a new facility in Singapore. This new facility includes a 1500 m2 ISO class 7 cleanroom, which provides the global market with products for the company’s vascular intervention and cardiac rhythm management businesses. In addition, it manufactures a hybrid drug-eluting coronary stent, Orsiro, along with Solia pacemaker leads.

With this new facility, the company aims to create more than 200 jobs for highly-trained operators and professionals in R&D and senior leadership roles. There would be over SGD 30 million investment that goes towards operations over the next few years.

(Sources: BIOTRONIK, Asian Scientist)