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A*STAR to sign MoU with 13 companies kicking off Industrial Internet of Things initiative focusing on digitalisation of industrial customer care

Photo: Ms. Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Trade and Industry at IIoT World Tour 2017/ Credit: A*STAR (from A*STAR's Facebook page)

In her opening speech at the IIoT World Tour on September 15, 2017, Ms. Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Trade and Industry, announced the launch of a new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Initiative by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore's lead public sector agency for economic oriented research. Ms. Low also revealed the launch of a Smart Manufacturing Joint Lab through a public-private partnership.

Formation of IIoT consortium

To kick off the initiative, A*STAR will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 13 companies who have expressed interest to form a consortium with capabilities spanning across the entire IIoT value chain.

This consortium will comprise MNCs - Rolls-Royce, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Rohde & Schwarz and Cisco Systems; Large Local Enterprises - Singtel and Starhub; SMEs – Frontier Integrated Technology, Concorde Security, and MEDs Technologies, as well as start-ups Third Wave Power, Wismut Labs and Sidefx Studios. The initiative is expected to bridge the gap between academia and industry, and develop IIoT solutions, such as sensors, gateways, industrial data analytics, cybersecurity, integrated systems and solutions for the aftermarket customer care sector.

The IIoT Initiative will focus on the digitalisation of industrial customer care, to meet the demand from forward looking companies that are placing greater business emphasis on aftermarket service and support. Previously, businesses could only estimate the condition of their products based on their lifespan and frequency of use. But with the development of IIoT technologies and integration of sensors with machines and products, a wide range of data can be continuously collected and analysed. This can be used by businesses to optimise asset utilisation, conduct predictive maintenance and create new business models.

Ms. Low spoke about how one of the partners of the initiative, Rolls-Royce, has used sensors and industrial data analytics to plan and deploy manpower and resources in a timelier manner, maximise engine availability slots for their customers, and thereby, raise the competitiveness of their Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) services.

Smart Manufacturing Joint Lab

Ms. Low also announced another FoM (Future of Manufacturing) public-private partnership in Singapore’s manufacturing ecosystem. A*STAR, Rolls-Royce and Singapore Aero Engineering Services (SAESL) will be launching a Smart Manufacturing Joint Lab to develop next-generation manufacturing and MRO capabilities, enabled by advanced processes, automation and digital technologies. This initiative aims to leverage Singapore’s strong R&D capabilities in advanced manufacturing to capture greater value for the industry in terms of technology know-how and greater productivity.

More details on the Smart Manufacturing Joint Lab will be revealed early next week.

IIoT Research Programme

Earlier this month, A*STAR launched an IIoT Research Programme, bringing together multi-disciplinary capabilities from A*STAR research institutes, National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). This programme is supposed to focus Singapore’s efforts on IIoT, especially in the development of highly reliable industrial wireless communications, advanced data analytics, and industrial cyber physical security for cognitive and secure IIoT systems.

These latest technologies will then be piloted, together with other advanced manufacturing technologies, such as additive manufacturing and robotics, on the floors of the Model Factories at A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC). (In July 2017, it was announced that A*STAR will open two model factories under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan, to simulate production environments where companies can experiment and learn new manufacturing technologies, allowing SMEs to test new technologies with the help of public sector researchers.)

“I am confident that the partnerships among the public and private sector will pave the way for the digital transformation of our manufacturing sector. The government’s vision for the future of manufacturing in Singapore is an exciting one – where global manufacturing companies continue to anchor their advanced manufacturing activities here, and our local enterprises develop and harness advanced manufacturing technologies to develop new products, scale up and become globally competitive, leading to the creation of fulfilling good jobs for Singaporeans,” Ms. Low said in the conclusion to her speech.

Last week A*STAR launched Tech Access Initiative and opened a new Industrial Additive Manufacturing Facility (IAMF) at ARTC. The Tech Access Initiative supports Singapore’s local manufacturing enterprises, especially SMEs, to build FoM capabilities by providing them with access to A*STAR’s installed base of research equipment and facilities.

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