Singapore must continue to adapt to technological trends that are fundamentally transforming the manufacturing sector, said S Iswaran, Minister for Trade & Industry (Industry).
Manufacturing is a globalised and highly competitive sector. It is also an important pillar of Singapore's economy, contributing about 20 percent of its nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, Iswaran said at the launch of Siemens Digital Factory Manufacturing Design Consultancy last Friday (16 September 2016).
With the coming of the age of Industry 4.0, man and machine will interact more than ever.
Advanced manufacturing technologies are not only disrupting industries, but also creating new opportunities for companies. These technologies include the Industrial Internet-of-Things, additive manufacturing, robotics, and cloud computing.
They enable predictive maintenance, remote monitoring, real-time supply chain optimisation and efficient energy consumption. These features allow manufacturers to increase productivity and reduce operating costs.
In response, Singapore is investing in advanced manufacturing technologies to better position our companies for the future.
Under the government's Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan, S$3.2 billion has been dedicated to support research in Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering. The Committee on Future Economy (CFE), which studies economic strategies to position Singapore for the future, has also identified Advanced Manufacturing as a key growth sector to be further developed.
Partnerships as an important enabler for industry transformation
An important enabler for the growth of the advanced manufacturing sector, and for Singapore's industry transformation efforts in general, is partnerships.
In particular, partnerships between technology providers and manufacturing companies will be important in helping companies to navigate Industry 4.0 (which is also known as smart manufacturing) . Technology providers tend to be more advanced than manufacturers in terms of having an Industry 4.0 strategy and roadmap.
Fostering partnerships is therefore an integral part of Singapore's strategy to develop its advanced manufacturing sector, Iswaran said.
For example, the National Robotics Programme (NRP) supports collaboration between manufacturing companies, technology providers and local system integrators to provide end-to-end support in the adoption of robotics technologies.
The importance of forging partnerships to capture opportunities was also a key theme under both the CFE and the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs), which were announced in Budget 2016.
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