A*Star, Rolls Royce pump in additional $8m investment to smart manufacturing technology development

Manufacturing activities on the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre shop floor.
Manufacturing activities on the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre shop floor.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - British engineering giant Rolls-Royce and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) are investing a further $8 million in their joint lab set up less than two years ago with Singapore Aero Engine Services (SAESL).

This brings the total investment of the five-year collaboration to near $70 million.

The funds will be used to develop smart manufacturing technologies.

It follows the initial $60 million investment in 2017 in A*Star's Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) with Rolls-Royce and SAESL.

The lab has since worked with nearly 30 research and development (R&D) projects with around 100 companies, including 40 or so local ones, such as KA Industrial Engineering.

It worked with A*Star to develop robots that automate spraying protective coatings on fan blades of aircraft engines.

This automated spraying ensures consistent thickness for coatings, reducing defects and saving costs.

The new set-up helps to boost productivity as an entire batch of blades can be left to dry at the same time, instead of one at a time.

With the additional $8 million, A*Star and Rolls-Royce will develop technology to repair high-value engine components.


These new capabilities could potentially be transferred to companies such as SAESL, creating new opportunities and strengthening Singapore's position as a leading hub for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul.

"An environment like ARTC allows us to do rapid prototyping, so that we can pull technologies quickly and deploy it into our factories, our processes, methods, products and services to SAESL," Dr Bicky Bhangu, president of Rolls-Royce in South-east Asia, Pacific and South Korea.

"In creating these technology solutions, it is also about bringing the wider ecosystem of Singapore together."