Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has launched its Tech Access Initiative and new Industrial Additive Manufacturing Facility (IAMF), reports OpenGov Asia Singapore. Both launches are part of the Singapore Government’s drive to partner local companies to upgrade their technical capabilities under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE 2020) plan, which aims to advance the country’s technological capabilities in the domains of advanced engineering and manufacturing.
The new facility is aimed at helping SMEs to take advantage of Additive Manufacturing technologies with the support of A*STAR’s equipment, user training and technical advice. Under the Tech Access Initiative, the organisation’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) will make available nineteen types of AM equipment including inspection tools, robotised 3D scanners and high-pressure cold sprays. Through the IAMF, it is hoped that Singapore’s SMEs will be able to identify opportunities to leverage AM processes to improve their offerings, and experiment with possible applications, without the high-cost investment of acquiring AM equipment upfront.
The Singapore Government has reportedly identified Additive Manufacturing as one of several technologies which must be embraced to reinforce the competitiveness of the country’s manufacturing industry. Under the RIE2020, the government has committed to invest S$ 3.2 billion in R&D and innovation, and to support SMEs in overcoming barriers to advanced manufacturing techniques, between 2016-2020.
In a speech given at the launch of the Tech Access Initiative and opening of the IAMF, Dr Koh Poh Koon, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and National Development, stated, “Our manufacturing sector has successfully gone through major shifts, from a labour-intensive sector in the 1960s to one that is innovation-driven and productive today.”
“Moving forward, technological trends such as digitalisation, robotics and automation, and Additive Manufacturing are transforming not just shop floor operations and supply chains, but also business models. Against this backdrop, the Committee on the Future Economy has recommended that we continue to sustain a globally competitive manufacturing sector as an anchor for our economy. The government is committed to partnering our companies to upgrade their technological capabilities to ensure that they succeed in the new manufacturing paradigm.”