22 Aug 2017

The Business Times



THE Singapore Manufacturing Innovation Centre (SMIC) - a "one-stop shop" to promote the co-creation of innovative tech solutions between Singapore and Chinese enterprises - has been launched in Guangzhou.

The centre is said to be a first-of-its-kind platform that will facilitate partnerships between Industry 4.0 tech solution providers from Singapore and enterprises looking to adopt such solutions in China.

SMIC was launched on Monday by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Ascendas-Singbridge. It is located in the co-working space at Ascendas OneHub GKC in the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City.

Its opening was graced by Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence, and Chen Xiao Hua, mayor of Huang Pu District and executive vice-director of Guangzhou Development District Administration.

IE Singapore and Ascendas-Singbridge said in a joint statement: "This will help Singapore companies tap rising demand in China, arising from the 'Made in China 2025' initiative aimed at leveraging tech to upgrade traditional industries and develop its advanced manufacturing sector."

A pioneer batch of five Singapore tech players has been selected to anchor the SMIC, given their "complementary capabilities".

They are:

  • Akribis Systems, a motion control solutions specialist;
  • Barghest Building Performance, a firm focused on energy efficiency;
  • K-One Industries, a provider of sustainable and environmentally-friendly products and services (see amendment note)
  • Plant Werx, an industrial IT systems solutions provider; and
  • SESTO Robotics, an autonomous tech specialist.

The five companies, Ascendas-Singbridge and Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Investment and Development will ink a strategic partnership on Tuesday. The signing will take place at the eighth meeting of the Singapore-Guangdong Collaboration Council, of which Mr Ong is co-chairman.

Guangdong is now driving innovation and tech-driven manufacturing for its next phase of growth, said IE Singapore and Ascendas-Singbridge.

They added that in line with the "Made in China 2025" initiative, the Guangdong government has pledged about S$190 billion to upgrade its manufacturing sector, including using robotics to cope with rising labour costs and limited skilled labour.

"The five SMIC member companies aim to partner Chinese manufacturers in this drive, co-creating solutions that contribute to Industry 4.0 readiness and facilitating the Chinese manufacturing sector transition to advanced manufacturing."

Areas of collaboration will include robotics and industrial automation, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, Industrial Internet-of-Things, big data and analytics.

For instance, K-One and SESTO Robotics have generated interest from Chinese enterprises for automated inflight catering solutions, said IE Singapore and Ascendas-Singbridge.

They explained that K-One's Industry 4.0 solutions in industrial cleaning and inflight catering preparation lines complement SESTO Robotics' automated guided vehicle systems that transport various products and materials autonomously.

"This partnership allows them to create a complete automation solution for Chinese companies looking to improve efficiency in assembling pre-packed meals."

Industry 4.0, known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is marked by the convergence of new technologies in the physical and digital spheres that will reform production and management systems within the manufacturing sector - transforming factories into smarter, nimbler and responsive operations that drive productivity and economic transformation.

Amendment note: The article originally referred to K-One as an elevator and escalator company. It should be K-One Industries, a provider of sustainable and environmentally-friendly products and services. 

Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission