Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and National Development, Dr. Koh Poh Koon officiated the launch of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research A*STAR’s Tech Access Initiative and opening of the new Industrial Additive Manufacturing Facility (IAMF) at the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) located at Cleantech Loop.
In his opening speech, Dr. Koh spoke about the Singapore Government’s commitment to partner local companies to upgrade their technological capabilities to ensure that they succeed in the new manufacturing paradigm. A total of S$3.2 billion has been committed by the government from 2016-2020 under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020) plan to develop technological capabilities in the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) domain.
The AME strategy has identified future of manufacturing (FoM) technologies, including additive manufacturing, digitalisation, and automation, as key enablers that will undergird the competitiveness of Singapore’s manufacturing companies. For example, R&D and innovation may be uncharted territory for smaller companies who lack the capacity, resources and connections to undertake such activities. There is thus a need to provide more assistance to smaller companies to overcome these barriers.
Tech Access and Industrial Additive Manufacturing Facility (IAMF)
The creation of public-private partnership platforms help enable Singapore’s manufacturing companies to co-develop, experience, and deploy FoM technologies while minimizing potential disruptions to their operations. A*STAR’s 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.
The new Industrial Additive Manufacturing Facility (IAMF), is one of the facilities under Tech Access. Advances in additive manufacturing technologies now enable the production of high-quality, complex metal components not previously possible with conventional processes. These advances are impacting sectors such as precision engineering, aerospace, and marine and offshore. Through the IAMF, SMEs in these sectors can identify opportunities to leverage additive manufacturing technologies to improve the performance of their products, and to integrate these technologies into their existing operations.
Together with the IAMF, A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and ARTC will make available 19 different types of equipment under Tech Access. These range from inspection tools to robotised 3D scanners and high-pressure cold sprays for additive manufacturing.
A*STAR will also provide user training and technical advice to help companies gain the requisite skills to use the equipment. SMEs can experiment with these advanced tools without the need to make costly investments to acquire them upfront. Subsequently, with the experience gained and a better appreciation of the benefits of such tools, SMEs can opt to acquire the equipment to scale up and capture new business opportunities.
Earlier this week on Tuesday, an MoU was signed between A*STAR and the National University of Singapore (NUS) with leading pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Pfizer, and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) to establish the Pharma Innovation Programme Singapore (PIPS). The focus areas for PIPS include continuous manufacturing, bio-catalysis, process analytical technology, advanced process control, and enhanced pharmaceutical operations.