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RFS-funded Projects to Set Up New Smart Production Lines in HK

Image Credits: HKSAR Goverment Website, Press Release

The Reindustrialisation Funding Scheme (RFS), administered by the Innovation and Technology Commission has granted a total of HK30 million to two smart production line projects (HK$15 million each). These projects involve the manufacturing of nano-coated fabrics and nanofiber respirators respectively.

The Commissioner for Innovation and Technology stated that the two enterprises receiving funding are from the medical devices and textiles and clothing industries, respectively. Both companies aim to enhance their productivity, production technologies, and product quality by setting up smart production lines.

This will enable them to meet market demands and strengthen the competitive edge of local industries and the ‘Made in Hong Kong’ brand. The Commissioner looks forward to seeing more enterprises from various sectors establish smart production lines with the support of the RFS to promote the ‘Made in Hong Kong’ brand.

With the funding support of RFS, one firm will establish new smart production lines for nanofiber respirators and nano-coated fabric. The project’s total approved cost is HK$70 million, of which the company will bear around HK$55 million. The Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Tseung Kwan O InnoPark will host the new smart production lines. By expanding its production capacity to meet both local and global market demands, the company aims to grow its business.

The second company receiving RFS funding will create a digital whole-garment knitwear smart production line. The approved cost of the project is approximately HK$49 million, with the company responsible for around HK$34 million. The smart production line will be established in the company’s Kwun Tong factory premises and will include product design, a digital simulation of samples, engineering parameters, and programming for intelligent production. The production line will operate for 22 hours per day, increasing overall equipment efficiency by 35% and reducing production costs by 40% compared to the current production line.

The RFS provides funding to manufacturers on a 1 (Government): 2 (company) matching basis to establish smart production lines in Hong Kong. The maximum funding amount is either one-third of the total project cost or HK$15 million, whichever is lower.

Since the program’s launch in July 2020, the RFS Vetting Committee has approved 30 applications from a variety of sectors, including food manufacturing and processing (including health food), medical devices, construction materials, biotechnology, nanofiber materials, pharmaceutical (including Chinese medicine) manufacturing, equipment accessories, textiles and clothing, electronics, and satellite manufacturing. The total funding amount has exceeded HK$270 million, with the companies contributing approximately HK$730 million in matching funds.

According to market research, the global smart manufacturing market was valued at US$254.24 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.9% from 2023 to 2030. This growth is attributed to various factors, such as increasing adoption of Industry 4.0, greater government support for industrial automation, emphasis on industrial automation in manufacturing processes, demand for software systems that save time and cost, supply chain complexities, and increased focus on regulatory compliance.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the industry, resulting in the shutdown of all industries and elements involved in industrial automation. The global supply chains and operational logistics were also adversely affected during the initial worldwide lockdown.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the smart manufacturing market was able to grow due to a variety of factors. As the demand for non-essential products decreased, the market shifted its focus towards producing essential goods to meet the urgent needs of the public.

Additionally, the pandemic led to an increased emphasis on safety and efficiency in manufacturing processes, leading to greater adoption of smart manufacturing technologies. Furthermore, government financial assistance and technical support helped to facilitate the growth of the market during these challenging times.

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