Speech by Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR, at the World Remanufacturing Summit 2017 on 6 September 2017, at The Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC)

Distinguished speakers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning to all of you



Welcome to the sixth World Remanufacturing Summit and the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC).

Since 2012, this Summit has been held in cities in Europe, North America and China, and serves as a leading forum for the international remanufacturing research and industry partners to connect.

We are honoured to host this year’s Summit in Singapore and it is no coincidence that we have decided to hold it at ARTC – the heart of Singapore’s remanufacturing activity.

The theme for this year’s conference is "Digitalisation of Remanufacturing" and focuses on remanufacturing technologies in the digital age.

Some of these disruptive technologies that power remanufacturing include additive manufacturing, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), data analytics and automation.

These technologies are also paving the way for Industrie 4.0 and setting new standards for the future of manufacturing.

Countries that have a significant manufacturing sector are already making big investments in Industrie 4.0 technologies.
The European Commission’s Factories of the Future programme1 is committing over 1 billion euros in public-private partnerships that involve research on advanced manufacturing, digital, virtual and resource-efficient factories.

Meanwhile, Germany 2 is setting aside more than 200 million euros to modernise its heavy industries and to ensure its home grown automakers and machine builders remain competitive and at the cutting edge.

Singapore is gearing up with similar efforts, and I will elaborate on these later.

Manufacturing remains a key pillar of Singapore’s economy, making up about 20% of our GDP in 2016, translating to approximately S$80 billion3.

Based on the Economic Survey of Singapore 2016, the value-added per worker was above S$180,0004
Clearly, the manufacturing sector anchors high-value activities in Singapore, leading to growth and good jobs for Singaporeans.

Under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise or RIE 2020 plan, the Singapore government is investing S$3.2 billion in the domain of advanced manufacturing and engineering to sustain the competitiveness of this sector.

These investments are steadily bearing fruit as Singapore continues to rank among the top 10 countries listed in the last three editions of the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index (issued in 2010, 2013, and 2016).5

Global trends in remanufacturing and sustainability

Remanufacturing has its origins from several decades ago6.

With remanufacturing, a machine part — perhaps an engine from an aircraft or a mining truck — is restored to a condition as good as new.

Unlike a repaired engine, a remanufactured engine is provided with an as-new warranty.

This brings in huge cost savings for manufacturers and existing studies show that remanufacturing may save up to 90% of materials compared with new product manufacturing7.

The topic of remanufacturing is especially pertinent today.

With the current global concerns about depleting raw materials and climate change, remanufactured components and end-products are fast gaining popularity as they are cost-efficient and much more sustainable.

Remanufacturing opens up a suite of exciting opportunities, contributing to a circular economy8 where products at the end of their life-cycle are reused again, and again, to create value, essentially "closing the loop".

For instance, the automotive sector has been taking positive steps towards a circular economy through remanufacturing and materials innovation.

According to Renault9, as compared to a new part, one remanufactured component uses 80% less energy, and generates 70% less waste during production.

A 2016 study by Frost and Sullivan reports that the emergence of re-manufactured parts production and sales in Brazil, China, and other regions, will result in a global industry worth about US$50 billion by 2022.

Here in Singapore, we are ready to be part of this fast growing high-value industry10.

Singapore has key strengths in Remanufacturing

Remanufacturing plays a significant role in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activities in various sectors.
In Singapore, the aerospace MRO sector makes up a large part of the local remanufacturing landscape.

As an important aviation hub in Asia, Singapore continues to attract one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of aerospace companies.

The total output from the aerospace industry is worth over S$8 billion, 90% of which comes from MRO activities and the rest from manufacturing11.

Other industries which have sizeable and growing local remanufacturing operations include oil and gas, industrial equipment and automotive.

To better support the growth of these high-value MRO activities, a collaborative research platform between A*STAR, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and various local and global industry partners was set up in the form of ARTC, back in 2012.

ARTC’s unique model serves to deliver “near to market” technology based on the industry’s needs and taps on the full spectrum of capabilities available both in public research and the industry.

Through remanufacturing, the consortium will continue to develop capabilities which will help companies in the aerospace, oil and gas, energy and automotive industries tackle the challenges of high component costs.

Speaking at the opening of ARTC's new home in January 2015, then-second Minister for Trade & Industry, Mr S. Iswaran described ARTC as a "game changer" for the remanufacturing sector in Singapore12.

Today, ARTC has a strong base of nearly 50 local and global industry partners, such as Rolls-Royce, Singapore Aero Engine Services (SAESL), and EOS. 

Under the leadership of Dr David Low, the centre has successfully developed several key technologies for use in remanufacturing applications.

ARTC has helped a local SME to develop a repair process using laser metal deposition, which is able to achieve defect-free condition.

The process has been successfully re-produced in the factory of this SME on their own equipment.

ARTC is currently working with the company to further improve the process, aiming to ensure repeatable and reproducible results in full-scale production mode.

Internationally, ARTC is also working with AIST Japan to look at the remanufacturing landscape in Asia.

Through market assessment and development of smart manufacturing applications on remanufacturing, the collaboration aims to promote sustainable production in more areas in the Asian region.

Industrial 3D printing, also commonly referred to as additive manufacturing, is one of the key enabling technologies that power remanufacturing.

In this regard, the Singapore Government formed the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (Namic) in October 2015.

This is to help position Singapore as a world leader in advanced manufacturing in the era of digital transformation, harnessing predictive analytics, automation and hybrid (AM and subtractive) AM technology13.

Namic oversees the 3D printing capabilities of our local universities (NUS, NTU and SUTD) and aims to forge public-private partnerships in order to translate research in additive manufacturing into commercial applications14.

Companies can use Namic's equipment and tap its know-how to manufacture products using 3D printing.

The firms can then assess if the technology is cost effective for their work before going on to buy their own machine.

A*STAR’s Tech Access initiative, which will be officially launched this Friday, will be operating using a similar concept.

A*STAR drives the Future of Manufacturing through public-private partnerships

ARTC may have started off as a remanufacturing centre to support industry MRO projects, but as it continues to grow, ARTC is also well positioned for the Future of Manufacturing in Singapore against the backdrop of Industrie 4.0.

Just yesterday, we hosted our inaugural Future of Manufacturing (FOM) summit where global thought-leaders gathered to discuss key topics related to technology trends and industry shifts that are shaping the future of manufacturing from economic, societal and technological perspectives.

A*STAR, EDB and SPRING launched the FoM Initiative in February 2013, for key industry partners, research institutes, and universities to test-bed new technologies and develop capabilities and applications that Singapore-based companies can tap on.

A*STAR as a Science and Technology Organisation (STO) plays a unique role in this fourth industrial revolution in bringing ideas, people, and companies together across the entire innovation value chain from MNCs to SMEs to make Industrie 4.0  work for Singapore’s future economy.

To draw up the blueprint for A*STAR’s FoM Roadmap, we engaged key stakeholders such as Trade Association and Chambers (TACs), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), our sister economic agencies, and Institutes of Higher Learning.
We then validated our roadmap through discussions with nearly 60 companies from the eight Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) industry clusters.

One of the key recommendations in A*STAR’s Roadmap is the Model Factories Initiative, which was announced by then Minister of State, Ministry of Trade & Industry, Mr Koh Poh Koon during the Committee of Supply Debate earlier this year15.

The Model Factories are excellent spaces for public-private partnerships to be formed in a meaningful and extensive way.
They help local companies step up their game by allowing them to experience the latest manufacturing technologies first-hand in a learning environment; and collaborate with stakeholders to test-bed and jointly develop innovative solutions for their processes.

Early next year, we will launch a model factory here at ARTC, featuring the latest disruptive technologies, such as additive manufacturing, robotics, simulation and autonomous vehicle technology.

These technologies will be integrated through the Internet of Things (IoT) and Data Analytics to demonstrate potential boosts to manufacturing and remanufacturing productivity.

The model factory at ARTC will encourage industry players to pursue the path of sustainable development, and help them unlock greater economic value through the adoption of these technologies.

We also have a Model Factory@SIMTech featuring a Manufacturing Control tower which will be launched next month.

Locally, big manufacturers have already embarked on their Industrie 4.0 journey.

In January, Rolls-Royce chairman Ian Davis was in Singapore for the signing of a memorandum of understanding with A*STAR to set up joint technology centres on FoM capabilities in areas such as advanced technologies for manufacturing, assembly, maintenance, repair and overhaul.

The idea is to get local enterprises to participate in a synergistic value chain on an Industrie 4.0 platform.
This way, the experience from the big manufacturers can be leveraged to help the smaller companies16.

SMEs that prefer to take incremental steps in adopting technologies to improve efficiency could turn to Tech Depot, a whole-of-government initiative launched on 20 April.

This is a new addition to SPRING's SME Portal, and it showcases ready-to-go solutions such as those that improve machining and business processes.

Last quarter, McKinsey17 opened its Singapore Digital Capability Centre in partnership with ARTC to help local firms harness emerging technological changes that are disrupting industries around the world.

The US$15 million facility takes on an integrative role in the ecosystem and is designed to be especially relevant to regionally-important sectors including discrete manufacturing, semiconductors, oil and gas, electric power, and mining.
It draws on ARTC's state-of-the-art facilities and R&D capabilities across A*STAR, ranging from manufacturing, data analytics, virtual process modelling, and digital solutions for complex manufacturing processes.

To encourage industry players to test-bed advanced technology, the Model Factory @ARTC aims to establish a workshop demonstrating model manufacturing lines through collaboration with industry players (end users and technology providers) based on real applications in manufacturing and remanufacturing areas.

The technologies and innovations being developed in ARTC will continue to generate new and exciting job opportunities in remanufacturing, requiring specialised, cutting-edge skills.

Examples of these jobs are robotic software engineers, additive manufacturing scientists and automated inspection engineers.

These are jobs that require the design and development of new techniques, processes and technologies, which will in turn become a key competitive advantage for our companies.

EDB also grooms precision engineering companies to digitalise factory operations18.
Meiban is one of their digital champions, test-bedding solutions in robotics, automation and smart factory software under its "iSmart Factory" project.

Meiban Group has plans to invest over S$10 million to testbed solutions in robotics, automation and smart factory software, to achieve a 20 to 30% rise in productivity, and subsequently to scale them through its regional factories.


The digital transformation journey is one that takes time, therefore, it is important for decision makers to plan ahead to get a head-start and gain early mover advantage over their competitors.

There is no one magic formula to attaining digital success, but taking the first step to map out your Industrie 4.0 strategy is critical.

At A*STAR, it has always been our belief that synergy can only be created through complementary partnerships along the innovation value chain and across disciplines under an open innovation framework.

This Summit is one such contribution as we gather to share ideas and engage in meaningful discussions that will hopefully spawn new partnerships.

Through this process, we aim to create even better outcomes for Singapore.

On this note, let me wish all of you a fruitful event.

Thank you very much.



1 http://ec.europa.eu/research/press/2013/pdf/ppp/fof_factsheet.pdf
2 https://www.iesingapore.gov.sg/Media-Centre/News/2016/6/Singapore-and-Germany---partners-in--Industrie-4-0
3 http://www.singstat.gov.sg/statistics/visualising-data/storyboards/gdp
4 Table A9.3 from the following link: https://www.mti.gov.sg/ResearchRoom/Pages/Economic-Survey-of-Singapore-2016.aspx
5 https://www2.deloitte.com/sg/en/pages/manufacturing/articles/2016-global-manufacturing-competitiveness-index-pr.html
6 http://www.apra-europe.org/main.php?target=history
7 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40684-016-0016-4
8 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/technology/circular-economy-is-key-to-reducing-waste-say-waste-managers
9 https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/renault-jaguar-nissan-toyota-sustainability-circular-economy
10 http://www.frost.com/sublib/display-report.do?id=NFF5-01-00-00-00
11Source: EDB
17 http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/mckinsey-astars-artc-to-train-workers-on-industry-40-amended
18 http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/3-000-new-pmet-jobs-with-precision-engineering-industry-roadmap--7772958