Machine toolmaker to boost productivity with smart-factory tech

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Koh Poh Koon (right) learning about the high-tech production equipment at Yamazaki Mazak's manufacturing plant in Singapore from Mr K. S. Chong, senior director, Yamazaki Mazak
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Koh Poh Koon (right) learning about the high-tech production equipment at Yamazaki Mazak's manufacturing plant in Singapore from Mr K. S. Chong, senior director, Yamazaki Mazak Singapore.PHOTO: COURTESY OF MTI

Japanese machine toolmaker Yamazaki Mazak has expanded its production facilities here and is implementing a new smart-factory technology that will boost its manufacturing productivity.

The Mazak iSmart Factory - a digital manufacturing concept used at its headquarters in Oguchi, Japan - will be rolled out in phases here, the firm said yesterday.

"One of the most crucial issues for the manufacturing industry is to keep increasing productivity by investing in advanced production technology," said Yamazaki Mazak president Tomohisa Yamazaki.

Its iSmart Factory makes use of what is called industrial Internet of Things technology to link all production equipment to a factory-wide computer network.

This allows workers to monitor the equipment and view the latest production updates remotely, providing more flexibility in managing manufacturing activities.

Apart from launching the new technology, Yamazaki Mazak also opened a new Additive Manufacturing Solution Centre, and expanded its tooling and machine tool production facilities.

Its new additive manufacturing centre will develop solutions for high-precision manufacturing industries including aerospace, oil and gas, and semiconductor.

The firm declined to disclose the cost of their new investments.

These announcements were made at an event yesterday in conjunction with the celebration of the firm's 25th year in Singapore, since the opening of its plant in 1992.

Speaking at the event, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Koh Poh Koon said advanced manufacturing technologies are creating new growth markets.

"Analysts expect the global additive manufacturing market to grow by more than 20 per cent per annum from 2015 to 2020, from US$6 billion to US$20 billion," Dr Koh added. (The sums are equivalent to S$8.3 billion to S$27.7 billion.)

Manufacturing contributed to about 20 per cent of Singapore's economic output and 14 per cent of total employment last year.

Dr Koh said the sector is also a key driver of productivity growth, rising by 6.4 per cent a year from 2009 to last year, compared with the economy average of 2.6 per cent.

The Government, he added, is committed to preparing the manufacturing sector for the future, by investing in advanced manufacturing technologies and helping workers upgrade their skills.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Machine toolmaker to boost productivity with smart-factory tech'. Print Edition | Subscribe