17 A*STAR researchers are recognised as the world's most influential scientific minds in 2022. Find out more about their work and what drives them to push the frontiers of scientific excellence! A*STAR’s Highly Cited Researchers of 2022
Collaborating with local startup to build a healthier and sustainable future
Co-founded by Anna Lam, Crunch Cutlery became the first startup in Southeast Asia to tackle issues associated with plastic waste, whilst at the same time providing nutritional benefits to consumers – all from a single product. Made up of flaxseed, chia seeds and whole wheat, the edible cutleries give a boost of Omega 3, Vitamin B3, lignans and fibre; and act as a substitute to plastic utensils in which Singaporeans throw away 500 million units every year.
Having found early success, Crunch Cutlery identified the need for further upscaling of their product in the open market, and a collaboration between Crunch Cutlery and Innovation Factory @ SIMTech was formed to re-engineer the outlook and design of the edible cutleries.
Led by product designer Audrey Ng of Innovation Factory@SIMTech, the initial prototype was based on concept sketching of yin and yang. After gathering and studying user feedback, a second design with a more ergonomic approach was created, sticking to Crunch Cutlery’s values of thinking outside the box, and to have elements of being fun and loud but yet not losing the essence of organic and wellness.
The team at Innovation Factory@SIMTech ensures that every aspect of a product development cycle is closely looked into, and focuses on the finest of details that suit the needs of all our member’s project aspirations. Innovation Factory@SIMTech shortens the road from ideas to market-readiness – with overall better results. Our disciplines of concurrent engineering and integrated product plus process development contribute towards integrating productivity and other manufacturing concerns in the design process.
The sustainability of our local companies requires a continuous stream of industry-led design and technology-based innovations to manufacture high value and high-quality products in a cost-effective manner.
Formulating successful strategies with the local ecosystem
Since its incorporation in 1983 as a machine tools trading house focusing on high end machine tools for the electronic manufacturing houses, Flexmech Engineering Pte Ltd has grown into a regional manufacturing solutions provider focusing on ultra-precision grinding, honing, drilling & CNC machinery integrated with next generation solutions like Industry 4.0, automation & additive manufacturing.
With customer feedback and usage, Flexmech Engineering Pte Ltd identified an opportunity for monitoring a machine’s health in the additive manufacturing business. Together with Innovation Factory@SIMTech, a project to develop a sensor module that monitors the temperature and humidity of machines and devices through wireless means was started.
During the early design stage, various factors such as interchangeability and options for upgrade were examined. After having researched on users’ pain points, project leader Leng Wai Hoong of Innovation Factory@SIMTech applied his extensive experience in industrial design to come up with concept sketches of the transmitter and receiver enclosure designs.
One of the key challenges faced in the design process was to keep the enclosures compact in size, without compromising robustness so that the enclosures could be attached and secured to various types and sizes of machines - while still allowing for additional sensors to be included in the modules for future applications. The enclosures were supplemented with a label placeholder design to enable operators to manage multiple transmitter units efficiently. Innovation Factory@SIMTech also engaged with other local design houses such as Wizlogix, BeyondBynd and 3logytech during the prototyping and pre-pilot production phases of the project.
When working on member projects, Innovation Factory@SIMTech often works alongside local design houses to maximise proficiency in various stages of the IDEA model by pooling resources and expertise together to achieve quality results and outcomes. This eliminates the “competitive” factor that divides success, whilst at the same time forging a collaborative local ecosystem that helps our members meet their project goals.
Scanning for solutions to increase automation capabilities
The emergence of Industry 4.0 and automation capabilities has opened up a myriad of business processes and methods in many high-efficient industries. Technology such as Artificial Intelligence (A.I), 3D confocal intelligence and digitalisation have become the focus of JM Vistec’s research team as they seek to enhance and implement A.I in the manufacturing industry as part of the fourth industrial revolution.
Established in 2004, JM Vistec has grown to be a market leader in the machine vision industry across the APAC region. As part of JM Vistec’s strategy in providing value-added services in vision solution and vision systems, the increasing demand for automated workflow was identified. A project with Innovation Factory@SIMTech was initiated to develop a highly flexible and configurable high-speed 3D fringe projection laser scanner that could be used for inspection and other machine vision applications.
The project implementation utilised structured light scanners and 3D retrieval principles that could be customised based on customer application and requirements. Ethnographic research was also performed to create a clearer understanding of users’ insights, and to establish design vision and direction. Innovation Factory@SIMTech also partnered with local companies Evonix and Beyondbynd during the prototyping stages in order to create an end product that aligned with JM Vistec’s market aspirations and design vision.
Empowering healthy habits for the busy working professional
Singapore’s First Nespresso-like Smoothie Maker
Today’s working society sees many Singaporeans spending long hours at work, many of whom are becoming more health conscious. The ideal working environment is one that supports its employees in being happy and healthy, and one common way of trying to achieve that is through pantry snacks and beverages. However, most office pantries are packed with sodas, energy drinks, concentrate juices, and other beverages that have high artificial sugar content. In the long run, these can cause health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, or even premature death.
Armed with a small handheld drawing, Smooder, a local start-up, approached Innovation Factory@SIMTech to design and engineer a compact and easy-to-use smoothie blending machine. The collaboration with Innovation Factory@SIMTech saw the development of a proprietary machine that offers convenience through “blend in cup” technology and self-cleaning functionality. By inserting a Smooder cup filled with flash frozen fruits and vegetables, a fresh smoothie-on-demand can be made within a minute at the press of a button.
Innovation Factory@SIMTech works to understand clients’ needs, and develop end products that meet their timeframes and budgets. With years of experience in product design and access to local ecosystem partners, startups and SMEs can realise their dreams of owning their own products through collaborations with Innovation Factory@SIMTech.
An innovative cooling solution with low carbon footprint
With the support of the Innovation Factory @ SIMTech, Trends Home Electrical Pte Ltd is poised to capture new business opportunities through the design, development and prototyping of a new indoor air chiller product that incorporates the company’s proprietary air-cooling technology, to target the Singapore and regional markets. The company was looking to tap on expertise in high-end industrial design, to lend a premium look and feel to its new product range, and to fabricate prototypes for evaluation. The project also entailed designing a mobile application to facilitate device operation. Trends Home Electrical is a Singapore-based company that designs, manufactures, retails, and does wholesale of electrical products to consumers. Founded in 1998, the company’s passion lies in continuously developing user-centric designs incorporated with smart technologies. The company’s product offerings include air conditioners, air purifiers, water heaters, washing machines, and more, and the products currently retail in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. One of Trends Home Electrical’s core business activities is to develop a new range consumer air-chilling equipment which feature new functions and smart features. The company wanted to bring its product design to a whole new level, and the Innovation Factory @ SIMTech supported this endeavour through the provision of industrial design conceptualisation, prototyping for production and incorporation of new features, and linking the company with a slew of providers for mechanical design, fabrication services and mobile app platform integration.
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