The new hub for advanced manufacturing being built in Jurong West is welcoming six new entrants over the next three years, ranging from industry giants to research institutions.
They include German conglomerate Siemens, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday. It is setting up a centre to showcase digital solutions and help lower the barrier to entry for manufacturers who want to adopt 3D printing technologies.
Engineering firm Bosch Rexroth will be opening a regional training centre to develop a pipeline of Industry 4.0 specialists, he added.
The other four entrants are: American multinational Flowserve, 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 on a single campus.
The first phase of the 600ha JID is expected to be completed around 2022.
At the annual Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific trade show at the Singapore Expo, Mr Heng stressed the importance of having a conducive environment for technology innovations, at a time when South-east Asia is poised to be a regional manufacturing powerhouse in spite of 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 artificial intelligence and predictive analytics that have helped firms optimise supply chains, among other developments.
While firms will benefit from 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," Mr Heng 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," the minister added.
For Asean to realise its potential, countries must work together to attract companies and build regional capabilities, said Mr Heng.
For example, integrating systems, particularly data and information, can bring higher-value activities to the region, he added.
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 interoperability, allowing 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 JID to showcase digital solutions and house its first Additive Manufacturing Experience Centre outside Germany, where companies can experience such a product line.
Siemens executive vice-president Raimund Klein said it decided on the JID as it recognises the need to work with other partners in solving the problems of Industry 4.0.
Bosch Rexroth's regional training centre will be set up by the fourth quarter and offer a standardised training programme for manufacturers on new methods and technologies at their workplace.
The six new additions to the district join those already there, such as the McKinsey Digital Capability Centre, automation company PBA Group, the Sodick Techno Centre and Japanese cycling component manufacturer Shimano.
A group of 11 companies will also be signing a memorandum of understanding on skills partnership with Bosch Rexroth, SkillsFuture Singapore, JTC Corporation and Singapore Polytechnic.
Other innovations in the JID include a "hyper-personalisation" production line by A*Star.
Separately, SkillsFuture Singapore announced yesterday a "Work-Learn Bootcamp for Engineer 4.0" to train and place up to 200 engineers over the next two years.