Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) Global Additive Manufacturing Summit 2019

Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) Global Additive Manufacturing Summit 2019

Dr Lim Jui, CEO, NTUitive,

Dr Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director, National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), 

Your Excellencies, 

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

1. Good morning. I am pleased to join you here at the NAMIC Global Additive Manufacturing Summit 2019, a part of the Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (ITAP) 2019. The eighth edition of the NAMIC Summit brings together thought leaders, early adopters and industry professionals to exchange insights on the developments and growth potential of the Additive Manufacturing sector. 

Singapore has a strong innovation and manufacturing ecosystem to support developments in Additive Manufacturing

2. While the global growth outlook remains challenging, there continues to be areas of strength in the Singapore economy. The manufacturing sector is being transformed by advanced manufacturing technologies such as robotics, additive manufacturing and the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIOT). Industry 4.0 offers immense opportunities for companies to innovate and transform its manufacturing processes. To ensure that Singapore remains a key global player in manufacturing, we must constantly stay abreast of its developments and seize the opportunities within. 

3. The Government is committed to supporting our companies in adopting advanced manufacturing technologies, to enable them to capture future opportunities as well as to overcome current challenges. Under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan, we have allocated S$3.2 billion in R&D for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, to build up the innovation capacity of companies embarking on Industry 4.0. This will ensure that Singapore has a strong base of leading technology and solutions providers that can provide the relevant technical expertise to support Industry 4.0 adoption, making it an ideal location for many global companies to carry out high-value manufacturing activities. 

Additive Manufacturing is transforming industries 

4. Additive Manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing, will be a game changer for the manufacturing sector. It is already transforming and disrupting simple manufacturing, lowering the cost and time for rapid prototyping. With Additive Manufacturing, manufacturers can now easily customise the production process, potentially reducing overall time-to-market.  

5. Taking dental application as an example, homegrown startup Structo has developed chair-side and industrial scale 3D printers that can print at a lower cost and higher throughput. Structo also partnered Zenyum, a Singapore-based startup, to 3D-print clear aligners at affordable pricing. Zenyum’s clear aligners are priced at S$2,200, as compared to the current market price of $6,000 to $10,000; and it takes just three to nine months for the front teeth to be straightened. Zenyum has so far partnered close to ten dental clinics across Singapore.  

6. Agencies are also introducing standards to help guide the development and adoption of Additive Manufacturing technologies. This includes the Technical Reference (TR) 70, which provides clear guidelines to evaluate the suitability of Additive Manufacturing as a manufacturing process for innovative applications. The Singapore Standards Council, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) developed TR 70 with key stakeholders including NAMIC, the Defence Science and Technology Agency, Singapore University of Technology and Design, the Singapore Manufacturing Federation-Standards Development Organisation, Enterprise Singapore and industry. TR 70 will expedite the learning curve for end users of additive manufacturing technology, and allow for the production of customised spare parts with fast turnaround times. This supports companies’ use of additive manufacturing to enhance their supply chain resilience. 

Collaboration is key to enhancing the competitiveness of our manufacturing sector 

7. With frequent disruptions and rapid changes in the operating environment, companies’ initial instinct might be to compete with each other. But it is often difficult and time consuming to embark on the Industry 4.0 journey alone. A better way to address such challenges is for companies to come together and work with like-minded partners, in order to bring about mutual benefits and potential synergies. 

8. I am happy to share that TÜV SÜD, a German testing, inspection and certification company has chosen to locate their Industrial Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in Singapore. The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) has been working with TÜV SÜD on plans for the new centre, which is expected to launch in early 2020. The new centre will provide skills development programmes and Industrial Additive Manufacturing readiness index assessment tools that facilitate the adoption of Additive Manufacturing technologies, with quality assurance and parts qualification.  

9. Another partner is Siemens, which is setting up its Additive Manufacturing Experience Centre (AMEC) in Singapore. This is its first centre outside of Germany, where companies can learn and understand advanced end-to-end additive manufacturing production line, developed with Siemens’ technology partners. Prototyping and low-volume production can be carried out on-site with the support of Additive Manufacturing experts. Siemens will also partner NAMIC for its Industry Transition Programme – a one-year programme that offers hands-on training to help companies bridge the gap between R&D and implementation of Additive Manufacturing. 

10. These examples are testament to Singapore’s growing reputation as a hub for additive manufacturing research and deployment for the region, and I urge our industry partners to continue to work with NAMIC in building up our capabilities in Additive Manufacturing.

The Government is committed to building a skilled and future-ready workforce 

11. The Government is committed to helping workers adapt and stay relevant amidst the changes in the manufacturing landscape. NAMIC has been working closely with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to review the current advanced manufacturing training landscape and identify gaps in training programmes. This is part of the national Advanced Manufacturing Continuing Education & Training (CET) Strategy spearheaded by SSG. NAMIC has since set up a Workforce Development Cluster Committee with partners such as SSG, Institutes of Higher Learning, and international experts to address these talent and skills needs holistically.


12. In closing, I would like to thank industry partners for your partnerships with Singapore. It is by working together and harnessing synergies that we can continue to remain competitive and grow. On this note, I wish everyone a fruitful and engaging session. Thank you. 

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