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Strengthening Singapore’s Industry 4.0 Capabilities

In Singapore, digital transformation is a growing movement that has gained prominence during the COVID period and is increasingly backed by government support and funding.

Singapore has left a true mark of success over the last few decades and is recognised around the world as one of the leading financial hubs with a thriving digital economy, successful commodity trading practices, and more. It is evident that the industrial realm in Singapore is playing a specific role and proactively generating productive results to support this cause.

Industrially, IIoT (Industrial IoT) and Automation technologies have paved the way for the establishment of Smart Factories in Industry 4.0 – where the physical and digital worlds come into contact. Despite the fact that technological advancements have greatly improved living standards, we will focus on how Singapore dreamt of industrial development and how they prepared to make their dreams a reality.

Singapore’s national research agency has established a new lab in collaboration with a local manufacturing software company to assist manufacturers in strengthening their Industry 4.0 capabilities. The S$ 18m lab, set up by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and Singapore’s local manufacturing company, will imbue the latter’s manufacturing execution systems with artificial intelligence (AI) and industrial internet of things (IIoT) capabilities.

Manufacturers, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will be able to use these smart manufacturing solutions to improve manufacturing transparency and production scheduling across the supply chain, paving the way for more competitive and robust supply chains.

The solutions will also assist manufacturers in going green by allowing them to optimise their energy usage. The joint lab will focus on the user interface for SMEs, making it simple to configure and use, especially for first-timers. The joint lab will work on projects in the following areas:

  • Improve production through real-time visibility
  • Control production using IIoT technologies
  • Optimise production using simulation and artificial intelligence
  • Make production greener through data and optimisation

Collaboration with A*STAR will assist the local manufacturing company in halving the time required to achieve its goals for its own R&D. Over the next three years, the joint lab hopes to create about 30 engineering jobs.

Assistant Chief Executive of the Science and Engineering Research Council, A*STAR, said, “The challenging economic environment sends a reminder to many companies of the constant need for innovation to stay competitive. At A*STAR, we collaborate with manufacturing companies to help them build new capabilities to move up the value chain. Such public-private partnerships continue to play an important role in encouraging businesses to adopt technologies to differentiate themselves from the competition. This collaboration is also an example of how local SMEs can deploy their new solutions to help other local SMEs speed up digital transformation in their factories, driving increased digitalisation across the board.”

As per a recent survey, 83% of Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have digital transformation measures in place, but less than half are able to successfully implement them due to the untimely COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted investment priorities. Nevertheless, in the new world, business survival and digitalisation are intrinsically linked.

Moreover, businesses that embraced digitalisation early on were able to stay afloat during the local COVID-19 lockdown, giving them an advantage over SMEs that continued to rely on traditional business processes.

According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) ‘Readiness for the Future of Production Report,’ Singapore is among the top 25 countries in the world in terms of being best positioned to benefit from the changing nature of production.

Singapore’s strong ecosystem of industry partners and government support is transforming the country into a digital manufacturing hub where new and innovative ideas can be realised from a mere flight of fancy to the factory floor.

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