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Accelerating Digital Manufacturing: A*star, local SME Arcstone open S$18m Joint Lab to help manufacturers Go Digital, Go Green

Local manufacturing software company Arcstone innovates to create solutions to help manufacturers – including local SMEs – adopt digital technologies to transform and thrive


SINGAPORE – The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and local manufacturing software company Arcstone opened a joint laboratory at A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) today (17 June 2021) to develop smart manufacturing solutions to help businesses speed up digital transformation to make operations more efficient, effective, and sustainable. Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Gan Kim Yong graced the joint lab’s opening.

This era of Industry 4.0 allows for real-time extraction and monitoring of operational data, as well as the ability to control machines digitally and remotely. Today’s manufacturing execution systems (MES) face limits, however, such as in the optimisation of production processes. Against this backdrop, A*STAR and Arcstone will collaborate to give today’s MES added intelligence – or “adding a brain to the body”, as Arcstone says.

With a total investment of S$18 million over three years, the A*STAR-Arcstone joint lab will transform Arcstone’s existing solutions into a next-generation MES suite. The MES will incorporate technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to help manufacturers make better decisions – through visualisation, control, optimisation, and sustainability. For example, the MES will not only provide information about what is happening in a production process in real time but also recommend ways to improve that process, such as by optimising production scheduling.

Manufacturers, including local SMEs, will be able to tap on these smart manufacturing solutions to increase manufacturing transparency and improve production scheduling across the supply chain, paving the way for more competitive and robust supply chains. The solutions will also help manufacturers go green by enabling them to optimise energy usage. The joint lab will place special emphasis on the user-interface for the MES, making it easy to configure and use, especially for first-timers.

The joint lab will work on projects in the following areas:

  1. Improve production through real-time visibility
    • Develop a computer vision system to track production in real time using deep learning
    • Create a gamification platform to make production processes more visible, more productive, and of higher quality
  2. Control production using IIoT technologies
    • Develop a toolset to enable MES to control machines through a drag-and-drop interface
    • Create a plug-and-play digital platform that integrates machine sensors with MES
  3. Optimise production using simulation and artificial intelligence
    • Build a live digital twin model for factories using real-time simulation and machine learning
    • Create a self-learning algorithm to optimise production scheduling across supply chain
  4. Make production greener through data and optimisation
    • Create an open platform for integrated product life cycle assessment
    • Develop a platform to optimise energy use
    • Design a metric to measure sustainability of products across supply chain

Collaborating with A*STAR will help Arcstone halve the time needed for its own R&D to achieve its goals. The joint lab aims to create about 30 engineering jobs over the next three years.

Two A*STAR units are involved in the joint lab: ARTC, which will contribute capabilities in advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0 technologies, and the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), which will contribute expertise in areas such as computational modelling, simulation, and artificial intelligence.

Arcstone works with companies from industries ranging from precision engineering to fast-moving consumer goods. Arcstone has been a member of the ARTC consortium since 2016, and has tripled its customer base and sales revenue since then (details in Annex).

The challenging economic environment sends a reminder to many companies of the constant need for innovation to stay competitive. At A*STAR, we collaborate with companies such as Arcstone to help them build new capabilities to move up the value chain. Such public-private partnerships continue to play an important role in encouraging businesses to adopt technologies to differentiate themselves from the competition. This collaboration with Arcstone is also an example of how local SMEs can deploy their new solutions to help other local SMEs speed up digital transformation in their factories, driving increased digitalisation across the board.

Professor Alfred Huan, Assistant Chief Executive of A*STAR’s Science and Engineering Research Council

Our goal with the joint lab is to rapidly produce cutting-edge technology to give SMEs and global manufacturers a leg up in efficiency, productivity, and most importantly, long-term sustainability and environmental competitiveness. We are confident about achieving this goal, for we have in ARTC a trusted R&D partner that will bring us results – we know this from years of collaboration with ARTC’s scientists and engineers.

Mr Willson Deng, Chief Executive Officer, Arcstone

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About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector R&D agency. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit the economy and society. As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by improving societal outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability. A*STAR plays a key role in nurturing scientific talent and leaders for the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences to physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. For ongoing news, visit

About Arcstone
With a mission to accelerate the digitization of the global supply chain, Arcstone is an experienced and dedicated software company providing the tools for Industry 4.0 and beyond.
Arcstone is focused on revolutionizing the way data is utilized in enterprises. Giving purpose and meaning to data is fundamental in bringing an enterprise closer together. We provide management and workers an intuitive and powerful solution for running their day-to-day operations while also being able to forecast and plan for future growth.

By working with us, manufacturers gain better visibility and optimization of their production processes. By digitally monitoring, maintaining, and controlling manufacturing equipment and processes, they can better unlock the value of data. Our toolsets provide management and workers an intuitive and powerful solution for running their day-to-day operations, with the ability to visualize and optimize their facilities in real time.

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