Singapore Army uses robots to prepare this year's NDP packs

Robots being used to pack NDP bags. PHOTO: THE SINGAPORE ARMY/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Robots are being used by the army this year to prepare the National Day Parade (NDP) packs for the first time.

The Singapore Army said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (July 19) that the robots help make packing more efficient, while minimum manpower is required.

Pictures of the automatic packing process showed robotic arms in a factory line dropping goodies such as snacks into a line up of NDP packs.

Major Chua Boon Kiat, who is the head of production for the NDP packs, said he researched automation options in the industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic last year to support the business operations of the NDP.

"I hope we will continue to adopt automation in NDP packing operations for our army to benchmark with industrial standards so that we can expose our servicemen to greater learning opportunities," he said.

Maj Chua, who is involved in logistical work for the army, added: "I also hope to intrigue and excite our students watching the shows to know that the bags they received were packed by robots."

The packs have been distributed to children and other spectators of the NDP previews ahead of the main celebration on Aug 9.

They are designed by people with disabilities, whose artworks and stories have been compiled into a book that can be downloaded from the NDP website.

NDP packs in previous years were packed by people, such as inmates and full-time national servicemen.

When they were first given out in the early 1990s, the NDP packs were meant as "survival kits" during the show, providing food, water and the parade programme.

While earlier packs generally comprised roughly 20 items, the number of items has been scaled back in recent years, with a greater push towards environmental awareness.

This year's NDP packs contain a handful of items, including snacks, drinks, a fan and a flag.

Last year, 15 green groups were engaged by NDP organisers to help make the goodie bags more environmentally friendly, following discussions with environmental groups and the public.

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