Ms Chan Lai Fung, Chairman, A*STAR,
Mr Frederick Chew, Chief Executive Officer, A*STAR,
Mr Steven Toy, Deputy Chairman, Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association (SPETA),
Friends and colleagues from A*STAR, SIMTech, the industry, academia, and public sector,
Ladies and gentlemen.
1. I am pleased to be here tonight to commemorate SIMTech’s 30th Anniversary. For the past three decades, SIMTech has led efforts in advancing Singapore’s manufacturing innovations, and elevating the global competitiveness of Singapore enterprises and human capital.
2. Today, SIMTech continues to serve as a key innovation driver to the manufacturing industry, creating good jobs, enabling growth in companies, and contributing to Singapore’s Manufacturing 2030 Vision, as well as the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 Plan.
Innovation is Vital to Sustaining the Attractiveness of Singapore’s Manufacturing Industry
3. Singapore’s manufacturing industry contributes to about one-fifth, or roughly $106 billion, of our total GDP. The sector also hires about 450,000 workers, or around 12 per cent of Singapore’s workforce. Needless to say, manufacturing is an integral pillar of Singapore’s economy.
4. Looking around us, today’s external operating environment remains volatile and uncertain. Supply chain disruptions, geopolitical tensions, persistent inflation, and economic slowdowns are impacting sectors such as electronics and precision engineering. Amidst these global headwinds, Singapore’s manufacturing industry must continue to innovate to preserve our attractiveness in the longer-term.
SIMTech: Key R&D Partner to Local Enterprises for Developing Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Systems and Capabilities
5. Since its establishment in 1993, SIMTech has been driving research excellence in four industry-relevant areas, namely: advanced manufacturing processes, autonomous manufacturing, net zero manufacturing, and resilient value chains.
6. SIMTech’s R&D in advanced manufacturing processes has helped companies advance their production workflows, facilitate greater product innovation, and deliver higher value.
a) One example is how SIMTech’s liquid forging technology has driven advancements across multiple sectors such as electronics, automotive and consumer goods.
i. For example, SIMTech, in collaboration with Nico Steel Solutions and Philips Electronics, has developed consumer products such as tablet covers and iron plates. To produce such products, SIMTech’s liquid forging technology has been key to manufacturing lighter and thinner parts unachievable via traditional casting methods.
ii. SIMTech has also developed automotive components such as alloy wheels with Meisterform, a local SME in the automotive sector.
7. SIMTech also hosts key platforms that support the future of manufacturing technologies. For instance,
a) Innovation Factory @ SIMTech, which is supported by Enterprise Singapore, works closely with SMEs to transform ideas into commercially viable products that are ready for market adoption. Since its pilot launch in end-2020, the platform has helped more than 40 local companies in their product ideation journey.
i. For example, Innovation Factory @ SIMTech supported FlexMech Engineering in capturing new business opportunities through the design and development of an internet of things (IoT) sensor module for 3D printers. This allowed FlexMech Engineering to become a product owner, grow their annual revenue by 400 per cent over two years, and create new jobs.
ii. Another example is Smooder, a local startup which worked with Innovation Factory @ SIMTech to develop a self-service countertop smoothie maker. This has enabled Smooder to provide corporate subscription services for smoothies and open a concept store locally, taking their expansion strategy to the next phase.
b) The Precision Engineering Centre of Innovation (PE COI), an initiative supported by Enterprise Singapore, was set up to help SMEs in the precision engineering industry innovate and grow.
i. PE COI has worked with many companies to develop and transfer technologies, as well as provide manpower training and consultancy services to meet the manufacturing needs of local precision engineering companies in advanced technologies such as additive manufacturing, mechatronics and optic design and simulation.
c) The Additive Innovation Centre (AIC), which is supported by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster, or NAMIC, pulls together A*STAR’s additive manufacturing capabilities across the various research institutes and provides end-to-end solutions for industry partners.
d) The Sustainable Manufacturing Centre (SMC) works with manufacturers and organisations to quantify environment and economic impacts, and support sustainability planning through science-based tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC).
i. This helps businesses reduce carbon emissions, compute carbon tax and provide decision support for carbon pricing as we work towards the Singapore Green Plan 2030’s ambitious targets.
Local Companies Must Continue to Upskill Their Workforce and Build Strong Capabilities
8. Of course, SIMTech represents the “supply” side of the R&D equation. For Singapore to move ahead, we need companies to drive the “demand”, to invest in and build R&D capabilities for greater business resilience and enhanced productivity. I encourage companies to continue to partner with A*STAR and other public sector researchers, to innovate and co-develop better products and higher value-added manufacturing processes.
9. Our workforce will also need to be upskilled to ensure that our skillsets remain relevant, and the Government is committed to support this. For instance, the Knowledge Transfer Office spanning A*STAR’s SIMTech and Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), is partnering SkillsFuture Singapore and other leading organisations like TÜV SÜD and NUS-ISS. They are working together to curate training programmes that help to bolster the competitiveness and capabilities of our workforce, against the backdrop of a dynamic manufacturing landscape.
10. These programmes are built on the foundation of SIMTech’s pioneering manufacturing research and knowledge, gained through years of industry collaborations, hands-on experience, and are supported by SIMTech’s facilities and equipment. To date, the Knowledge Transfer Office has conducted over 100 training programmes, training more than 8,600 professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs).
11. The manufacturing industry of today presents many exciting opportunities. It is pivotal for companies to work alongside public sector research institutes such as SIMTech, trade associations, and academia to forge deep partnerships, to ensure sustainable long-term growth.
12. I congratulate A*STAR SIMTech for 30 years of significant partnerships with Singapore’s enterprises, and would like to give a shout out to the many SIMTech stalwarts who have served with distinction through the years, going the extra mile to serve Singapore’s SMEs and other companies.
13. I wish you even greater success in transforming Singapore’s manufacturing landscape in the years to come. Onwards to 40 years and beyond!
14. Thank you.