Rolls-Royce, A*Star invest another $8m in joint lab to develop smart tech

Mr Desmond Nyo, manager at KA Industrial Engineering, with a robot that automates spraying protective coatings on fan blades of aircraft engines. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Mr Desmond Nyo, manager at KA Industrial Engineering, with a robot that automates spraying protective coatings on fan blades of aircraft engines. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

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 deve-lopment (R&D) projects with around 100 companies, including 40 or so local ones such as KA Industrial Engineering.

The company 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 fac-tories, our processes, methods, products and services to SAESL," said Dr Bicky Bhangu, president of Rolls-Royce in South-east Asia, Pacific and South Korea.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2019, with the headline 'Rolls-Royce, A*Star invest another $8m in joint lab to develop smart tech'. Print Edition | Subscribe