SINGAPORE - Temasek Polytechnic (TP) has officially opened a fully functional advanced manufacturing centre to train and support a future-ready workforce.
The facility can manufacture six different products from scratch, including a Wi-Fi smart switch, a thumb drive and a mechanical limit switch.
Its aim is to create a realistic environment so students can learn about smart factory floor operations and hopefully be interested enough to join the manufacturing sector.
The centre, built at a cost of $7 million at the poly's Tampines campus, will train about 2,500 full-time students and adult learners a year.
It features an AI-enabled manufacturing line capable of high-mix low-volume production. This refers to the process of producing a high variety of products in small quantities.
The centre, which was officially opened by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing on Friday (June 18), has a smart warehouse with an automated storage and order picking system.
A nerve centre can provide real-time analysis and optimisation using data analytics. It shows, for example, the status of equipment and can flag issues on the factory floor.
Mr Chan said the opening of the centre is a significant move, given the transformation of the manufacturing sector due to technology.
There will be similar centres across the island in different forms and fields, with a common goal of “building an ecosystem for students to learn about the technologies of today and tomorrow”, he added.
The facility will also support companies and industry partners in their digital transformation efforts through consultancy services and other industry projects.
TP principal and chief executive Peter Lam said: "We hope that the training we give our young and adult learners, the projects developed here and the consultancy we provide, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, will lift the competitiveness as well as productivity of our industrial sectors."
The aim is to support companies in their advanced manufacturing journey while giving students better employment prospects, Mr Lam added.
The polytechnic will partner key companies and trade associations, as "a wide range of resources and training are needed to build talents and develop capabilities in advanced manufacturing".
It signed memoranda of understanding with industry partners including Omron Electronics and Fujitsu Singapore as well as the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association and Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association.
These partnerships will help to provide students with on-the-job training in an authentic advanced manufacturing environment.
For example, Omron and the school will train workers in advanced manufacturing skills and assist companies in adopting technologies to meet their needs.
Singapore's five polytechnics also signed memoranda of understanding with the Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy to demonstrate a collective commitment to training and capability development in this field.
Third-year TP engineering student Muhammad Adeel, 22, participated in a proof-of-concept project with Omron as part of a six-month internship at the advanced manufacturing centre.
Mr Adeel, who is doing a diploma in mechatronics, said Omron asked him to find a way to improve the lifting ability of an automated guided vehicle from 250kg to 500kg.
"So we built and designed a trolley to tow instead of lift the load. It is similar to how people find it easier to use a trolley to transport something rather than carry it themselves," he said.
He also helped to programme the vehicle to move on its own around the factory floor.
"We have experience studying about automated guided vehicles. But it is the first time I'm doing the mapping, as opposed to just coding in class," noted Mr Adeel.
He added that it has been a tough learning journey that required him to adapt to new software. "But at the end of the day, I'm very satisfied. This (internship) is a good programme to prepare myself for the real industry."