SINGAPORE - The new hub for advanced manufacturing in Jurong West is welcoming six new entrants over the next three years, ranging from industry giants to research institutions, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Oct 22).
They are: German conglomerate Siemens; American multinational Flowserve; German engineering firm Bosch Rexroth; Singapore-listed motion control systems specialist ISDN; the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*Star) Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology; as well as the National Metrology Centre.
This brings the Jurong Innovation District (JID), as the area is called, a step closer to changing how companies collaborate and innovate by housing various nodes of the manufacturing sector in a single campus.
Speaking at the annual Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific trade show at the Singapore Expo, Mr Heng stressed the importance of having a conducive environment for tech innovations, at a time when South-east Asia is poised to be a regional manufacturing powerhouse in spite of global economic uncertainty in the near-term.
He noted, at the start of the three-day event, that Industry 4.0 has seen the introduction of new systems which enable firms to collect and analyse manufacturing data more efficiently.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics have also helped companies to optimise supply chains, while new techniques such as 3D-printing allow firms to make parts more quickly and cost-effectively.
While companies will benefit from these technologies, disruption has become more acute as it is taking place amid weakening support for global trade and greater uncertainty.
"Manufacturing industries have come under pressure, and companies are consolidating their operations," he said. In Singapore, the sector typically contributes to about one-fifth of the economy.
"Those with adaptable, productive and cost-effective factories will have the headroom to innovate and reinvent themselves, and the capacity to overcome the downturn."
For Asean to realise its potential, countries must work together to attract companies to the area and build regional capabilities, said Mr Heng.
For example, integrating systems, particularly data and information, can bring higher value activities to the region, he said.
Singapore also plans to boost access to the Smart Industry Readiness Index, a tool to help companies decide how to start, scale and sustain transformation. This can provide inter-operability, allowing for data to be shared across companies and countries, he added.
Meanwhile, the Republic continues to transform its manufacturing sector.
Siemens will be setting up an Advanced Manufacturing Transformation Centre in the JID, to showcase digital solutions and house its first Additive Manufacturing Experience Centre outside Germany, where companies can experience the product line.
"The anchoring of players in a common space will allow us to better support manufacturing facilities on their journey of adoption, transition and transformation towards advanced manufacturing," said Siemens executive vice-president Raimund Klein.
Bosch Rexroth will have a regional training centre in the JID as well, to develop a pipeline of Industry 4.0 specialists for the industry, noted Mr Heng.
It will offer a standardised training programme on Industry 4.0 to teach manufacturers the application of new methods and technologies at their workplace, said Singapore agency JTC, which is developing the district.
Mr Heng said the first group of 11 companies have already plans to sign a memorandum of understanding on skills partnership with Bosch Rexroth, SkillsFuture Singapore and JTC and Singapore Polytechnic.
Other innovations in the JID include a "hyper-personalisation" production line by A*Star, which manufacturers can partner the agency to co-develop for themselves.
The six new additions to the district add to those already there, including the McKinsey Digital Capability Centre, automation company PBA Group, the Sodick Techno Centre and Japanese cycling components manufacturer Shimano.
The first phase of the 600-hectare JID is expected to be completed around 2022, with the district creating over 95,000 new jobs.