Kajima Corporation (Kajima), one of the largest construction companies in Japan, is investing nearly SGD 100 million (USD 74 million) to set up its first overseas innovation center in Singapore, the Kajima Global Hub, which will also serve as its Asia Pacific headquarters. Slated to be completed by 2023, Kajima Global Hub will occupy 13,088 square meter of business park space, R&D lab space and double volume construction lab space in Changi Business Park. To strengthen its regional operations, the facility will consolidate all 400 staff across its business functions, including construction, engineering, development, research, and design.
The upcoming Kajima Global Hub will be the first known application of a comprehensive suite of robotics solutions by Kajima outside Japan, showcasing robotics, digitalization, and automation by incorporating data-driven environmental control and energy-saving solutions.
Kajima has been embarking on various R&D and test-bedding collaborations with Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), government agencies, and industry partners in Singapore. Kajima has been working with National University of Singapore (NUS) on “well and green” building design concepts. Specifically, joint research is being conducted with NUS School of Design and Environment (SDE) on environmental simulation and thermal comfort evaluation, focusing on energy savings and human-centric design. Kajima is also partnering with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) on the adaptation of advanced technologies such as drones for the construction industry. In addition, Kajima collaborated with Nanyang Centre for Underground Space (NCUS) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on rock support modelling. This technology will contribute to the effective and sustainable use of underground space in the near future for Singapore.
In addition, Kajima has been collaborating with JTC Corporation, the lead government agency in Singapore for the development of industrial estates. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year to share expertise and collaborate on R&D in areas such as digital technologies and automated solutions to improve productivity and maintenance capabilities, leveraging on shared resources such as equipment, lab facilities, and manpower. Among the joint initiatives are research on the Building Information Modelling (BIM) system to digitalize the building operations in facility management to optimize productivity. On the innovation front, Kajima and JTC will be jointly developing the concrete finishing robot with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and a local SME, Mega Plus Technology Pte Ltd, to automate the construction process.
Moving forward, Kajima will co-create new ideas with start-ups and SMEs to expand open innovation activities at the Kajima Global Hub. For example, the company is sponsoring the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition managed by Singapore Management University (SMU), and participated in the Open Innovation Platform managed by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to better support innovation activities locally.
(Sources: JTC Corporation; Singapore Economic Development Board; The Business Times)