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Opening Address by MOS Alvin Tan at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) Summit

Opening Address by MOS Alvin Tan at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) Summit

Introduction

 

1. A very good morning to all our distinguished guests who have joined us virtually today. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) Summit.

 

The additive manufacturing sector has grown substantially in Singapore

 

2. Additive manufacturing has the potential to transform production workflows and enable on-demand manufacturing. In recognition of its potential, Singapore has invested significantly into public additive manufacturing infrastructure, as part of our Research Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2015 and RIE2020 strategy. Despite our small domestic market, we have been recognised as the world’s 6th largest international additive manufacturing hub in terms of the manpower, industrial capabilities, government support and economic resources dedicated to supporting this sector. The number of companies providing additive manufacturing solutions and adopting the technology in their businesses has grown from a negligible number just five years ago, to more than 170 companies today. Molyworks, Emerson, Jabil, HP, and Vallourec are just a few of the MNCs who have chosen to set up operations in Singapore and develop new innovative technologies and products here.

 

3. Additive manufacturing has enabled innovative new business models. This includes AI-enabled software solutions for new design applications, and digital fabrication technology to develop and share designs for local production. For example, German startup Hyperganic is using an AI algorithm to mimic nature in industrial design and production, resulting in novel and intricate possibilities in design. Meanwhile, companies like SpareParts 3D and 3D MetalForge are adopting new digital fabrication technologies that analyse and optimise design of parts for additive manufacturing production while providing a digital inventory that saves costs and space. Then there are companies such as Wilhemsen, in their joint venture with ThyssenKrupp, who are also leveraging digital manufacturing to move from centralised to distributed and on-demand manufacturing. This enables them to adopt a direct consumer service model, which reduces lead time and costs in inventory, shipping and customs.

 

NAMIC 2.0 will scale up industry adoption of additive manufacturing under RIE 2025

 

4. NAMIC, led by NTUitive and supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Enterprise Singapore (ESG), and the Economic Development Board (EDB), was established in 2015 to accelerate Singapore’s adoption of additive manufacturing technologies. Since then, NAMIC has connected industry players, researchers, and the government, and has helped to identify promising additive manufacturing technologies to drive development and adoption in Singapore.

 

5. NAMIC also plays a role in funding promising additive manufacturing projects.  To date, NAMIC has successfully raised more than $41 million in private-public funding to support around 170 projects. These projects span across industry verticals in healthcare, marine, offshore engineering, aerospace, biomedical, construction, electronics, consumer products and additive manufacturing technology. NAMIC offers Proof-of-Concept project co-funding to support companies in their additive manufacturing adoption journey. The co-funding is offered through a robust project evaluation process with an evaluation panel comprising members from EDB, ESG as well as independent industry members. Through its grant support schemes, NAMIC engages with start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), large local enterprises (LLEs) and MNCs and helps facilitate collaborations with our institutes of higher learning (IHLs). Companies such as 3D MetalForge, Mencast and Sembcorp Marine have collaborated successfully with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), A*STAR and NAMIC to develop and deploy large-format robotic 3D printing technologies for the design, repair and production of ship and offshore parts.

 

6. NAMIC has also reached out to startups across the world to forge new partnerships and to provide mentorship opportunities. In fact, about half of the 45 startups that NAMIC partners with are not local, from outside of Singapore.

 

7. One international startup that has set up its Asia Pacific headquarters here is German startup Hyperganic. With more overseas startups choosing Singapore to base their headquarters, we can definitely expect an increase in good job opportunities in the additive manufacturing space here. The presence of these startups will also foster new collaboration opportunities with local industry partners and resulting in R&D and innovation to strengthen Singapore’s position as a global manufacturing hub. The local startups from NUS, NTU, and SUTD that have received NAMIC funding have also done well here. A good example of a local start up making an impact on healthcare is Craft Health. Craft Health is a 3D printing multi-proprietary drug formulation into a single tablet to simplify the drug delivery process by reducing the need to consume multiple tablets in a week. This could help to address the problem of medication non-adherence.

 

8. Since its inception, NAMIC has led efforts in enabling technology transfer from public sector R&D to industries, scaling the additive manufacturing ecosystem, orchestrating industry partnerships, and leading standards development. I am delighted to learn that NAMIC is working towards its next phase – NAMIC 2.0 – in 2022. NAMIC 2.0 will take on the mandate of coordinating public sector additive manufacturing research efforts to support Singapore’s economic transformation goals. To support Singapore’s climate goals, NAMIC 2.0 will also have a greater focus on sustainable manufacturing. This includes deepening manufacturing capabilities in AI, automation, and additive manufacturing which will conserve energy and reduce waste as compared to traditional subtractive manufacturing methods.

 

Conclusion

 

9. NAMIC will share more details and introduce some of their industry collaborations at the Global Additive Manufacturing Summit later today. I am excited to see what these collaborations will achieve. As Singapore reaffirms our commitment to enabling and serving as a testbed for additive manufacturing technologies, we look forward to welcoming more companies to set up their additive manufacturing R&D and operations here. This will bring us closer to our ambition of becoming one of the world’s leading additive manufacturing hubs.

 

10. I wish all participants a fruitful day ahead, and encourage all of you to explore new partnerships, innovations, and products through this Summit. Thank you.

 

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