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Singapore EDB partners German gas giant to establish Asia Pacific Digitalisation Hub

Singapore EDB partners German gas giant to establish Asia Pacific Digitalisation Hub

In partnership with Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the German gas giant Linde Group announced the launch of its Asia Pacific Digitalisation Hub on 5 Feb.

The Asia Pacific Digitalisation Hub will see an investment of over S$30 million from the Linde Group to develop digital technologies for its plants across the region. It is Linde’s first digitalisation hub outside of Germany.

The project aims at accelerating the gases and engineering company’s digital transformation, improving safety and process efficiency, and delivering better value to customers.

Over the next four years, Linde will modernise and upgrade all automation and IT systems at its gas production plant in Jurong Island. By applying digital technology in advanced manufacturing, the production facility will become a Plant of the Future.

The energy and chemicals (E&C) industry is a key pillar of Singapore’s manufacturing sector. The country ranks within the top 10 globally by chemical exports volume.

Most of the E&C companies are located on Jurong Island which hosts over 100 global companies with cumulative investments of over S$50 billion that provides good job opportunities to over 28,000 people.

The Singapore Government launched the Energy & Chemicals Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in October 2017. The ITM was developed in close partnership with industry partners, unions and trade associations to identify key strategies in innovation and productivity, as well as jobs and skills development. As reported earlier, the industry is expected to achieve a manufacturing value added of S$12.7 billion and introduce 1,400 new jobs by 2025.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Beh Swan Gin, Chairman of EDB, stated that Singapore is “committed to building a globally competitive manufacturing sector, which contributes to about 20% of Singapore’s GDP over the medium and long term”.

Dr Beh also commented that as the world’s largest industrial gas company, Linde supports the E&C industry with a wide range of essential gases, such as hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

According to Prof Dr Aldo Belloni, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG, digitalisation is central to the Group’s global strategy for growth and provides opportunities for it to differentiate by delivering better solutions and convenience for customers.

For example, Linde has established Remote Operations Centres in Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur that combine artificial intelligence (AI) with big data to remotely operate more than 200 plants across 14 different countries optimising production and energy usage.

Philipp Karmires, Head of Digitalisation at Linde AG, also echoed that digital technologies give the company “a rapid, low-cost way to test and fast-track new ideas”.

At the Asia Pacific Digitalisation Hub, Linde Digitalisation teams will work alongside engineers and lines of business on projects and technology trials across the region.  Project ideas are given three months to develop and then quickly transitioned and scaled to business portfolio if they are proven to be successful.

Some digital innovations and trial applications by Linde include: (1) the Digital Twin, which is the use of virtual reality (VR) tools to train operators and technicians using virtual copies of a plant, even before the physical plant is completed, (2) smart glasses and telepresence to allow experts to remotely support on-site technicians as they perform complex maintenance or troubleshooting, (3) the use of AI to forecast customer demand and optimise cylinder stocking in gas delivery vehicles as well as plans the safest delivery route, and (4) augmented reality (AR) tools to help customers visualise application technology deployments.

The Singapore Government has launched the Energy & Chemicals Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in October 2017. The ITM was developed in close partnership with industry partners, unions, and trade associations to identify key strategies in innovation and productivity, as well as jobs and skills development. As reported earlier, the industry is expected to achieve a manufacturing value added of S$12.7 billion and introduce 1,400 new jobs by 2025.

In fact, Singapore is home to many solutions and innovation hubs for multinational companies. According to EDB, Singapore has seen the establishment of these solution and/ or innovation hubs by several industry partners like Emerson, MANN+HUMMEL and Evonik within the last two months of 2017.

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