$60m fund to set up aerospace lab

A demonstration of a smart assembly system at A*Star's Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre on Sunday, when Rolls-Royce, A*Star and SAESL signed an agreement to invest up to $60 million to set up the Smart Manufacturing Joint Lab, which wil
A demonstration of a smart assembly system at A*Star's Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre on Sunday, when Rolls-Royce, A*Star and SAESL signed an agreement to invest up to $60 million to set up the Smart Manufacturing Joint Lab, which will operate for five years. In the photo are (front row, from second from left) Rolls-Royce global manufacturing director Hamid Mughal, A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh, Rolls-Royce regional director of South-east Asia and Pacific Bicky Bhangu and Rolls-Royce chairman Ian Davis.PHOTO: A*STAR

Smart Manufacturing Joint Lab will develop new technologies for aerospace industry

British engineering giant Rolls- Royce, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and Singapore Aero Engine Services (SAESL) are investing up to $60 million to set up a facility to develop new technologies for the aerospace industry.

The funding will be used to establish what is called the Smart Manufacturing Joint Lab, which will operate for five years. It will focus on developing next-generation aerospace manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities enabled by advanced processes, automation and digital technologies.

The lab, which will be supported by 120 staff from the three organisations, will tap A*Star's Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre's Model Factory and other relevant capabilities to test-bed new tech applications.

The developed technologies will eventually be used on site at Rolls-Royce and SAESL's facilities, said the three parties in a joint statement yesterday. In it, Rolls-Royce chairman Ian Davis said: "Singapore, as demonstrated by its Future of Manufacturing initiative, is continually transforming, able and inventive. That is why Singapore is a compelling partner to work with."

The lab marks a significant milestone in Singapore's push for the future of high-value manufacturing. It will develop cutting-edge technologies like additive manufacturing of complex aero-engine components and advanced robotic and automatic solutions. This could bring significant spin-off benefits for other sectors like precision engineering, said the statement issued after the deal signed on Sunday.

One of the goals is for the local industry - especially small and medium-sized enterprises - to adopt the latest technologies and "be part of the high-value global manufacturing supply chain to generate economic outcomes" in Singapore. "These new business opportunities could then form a robust high-value aerospace-related business ecosystem for local enterprises."

As a key aviation hub in Asia, Singapore's aerospace industry generates a total output worth over $8 billion, of which 85 per cent come from MRO activities and the rest from manufacturing.

Singapore is the most comprehensive aerospace MRO hub in Asia, accounting for 10 per cent of global MRO output, according to the Economic Development Board.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2017, with the headline '$60m fund to set up aerospace lab'. Print Edition | Subscribe