The new era of manufacturing is here at Expo event

Visitors interacting with technology provider ABB's "collaborative robot" (above), which slows or stops production when it senses operators around it for added safety. An automated guided vehicle by SESTO Robotics (below). Its intelligent software al
Visitors interacting with technology provider ABB's "collaborative robot" (above), which slows or stops production when it senses operators around it for added safety. An automated guided vehicle by SESTO Robotics. Its intelligent software allows it to navigate narrow spaces.PHOTOS: MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY ASIA 2017
Visitors interacting with technology provider ABB's "collaborative robot" (above), which slows or stops production when it senses operators around it for added safety. An automated guided vehicle by SESTO Robotics (below). Its intelligent software al
Visitors interacting with technology provider ABB's "collaborative robot", which slows or stops production when it senses operators around it for added safety. An automated guided vehicle by SESTO Robotics (above). Its intelligent software allows it to navigate narrow spaces.PHOTOS: MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY ASIA 2017

Bulky machines on a factory floor print out intricate metal parts layer by layer before they are moved from one conveyer belt to another by tireless robotic arms with pinpoint precision.

In another country thousands of kilometres away, a manager checks his mobile device to ensure these machines and robots on the distant production floor are running under specific conditions so that they achieve maximum output.

Welcome to the new era of manufacturing, on display this week in an exhibition at the Singapore Expo.

Manufacturing Technology Asia 2017, which opened yesterday, aims to bring businesses large and small, technology providers and service firms together to share experiences and opportunities.

It is in part prompted by the potential created by technological advances.

By interacting with seasoned industry players, businesses will gain a better idea on how advanced manufacturing technologies may be adopted in their own operations.

The event, organised by trade event organiser UBM SES, will also allow businesses to explore technologies already available on the market, connect with providers and work on new solutions.

The exhibition, which comprises 301 companies from 26 countries, is showcasing a spectrum of innovative technology, including additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing), optics and photonics, precision engineering and semiconductor manufacturing.

Mr Johan de Villiers, managing director of technology provider ABB, said: "Adopting new technology is absolutely essential for firms.

"It ensures the competitiveness of Singapore in a global economy. For a country with limited resources, the ability to use technology will continue to be a key competitive advantage for Singapore.

"It also presents a key export opportunity for Singapore as it develops a workforce that adds value in the digital environment. Those skills are going to be a large part of the future global economy."

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, mentioned at the opening ceremony the importance of preparing Singapore's manufacturing sector for technological developments.

She said: "Advanced manufacturing presents significant opportunities for our economy, companies and people.

"Events such as the Manufacturing Technology Asia exhibition serve as useful and important platforms for key stakeholders to exchange ideas, and discuss how we can work together to drive the industry's push towards advanced manufacturing."

The exhibition ends on Friday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'The new era of manufacturing is here at Expo event'. Print Edition | Subscribe