Industry Alliance

Pilot Innovation Factory @ SIMTech

Public-private partnerships to open up new possibilities for businesses to ideate new innovative products and become product owners 

A*STAR officially launched its pilot Innovation Factory @ SIMTech, in collaboration with Enterprise Singapore (ESG). This is a platform aimed at accelerating the design thinking and innovation journey, and the transformation of ideas into commercially viable products that are ready for market adoption.

Graced by Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng, the launch event held on 15 December 2020 at SIMTech Valley Block, was attended by partner agencies, members of Innovation Factory and media, both physically and virtually.

Addressing the audience at the event, Dr Tan See Leng said: “I am very happy to know that our local SMEs are not standing still and waiting for the situation to blow over. Instead, they are looking ahead by continuing to invest in R&D during these challenging times, and I encourage other SMEs to also develop new business lines and existing ones, to increase revenue, profits and strengthen their competitive advantages.”

To date, 14 local SMEs and two trade associations joined the pilot Innovation Factory @ SIMTech as members and strategic partners respectively. Under the initiative, SIMTech has kicked off more than 10 projects to co-create products with these companies.

Ideation Journey
At this new co-creation space, A*STAR’s scientists and engineers will facilitate the process for companies, particularly local SMEs, to become product owners by helping them to design and create new products. This will help them move up the value chain and become more competitive.

The journey will take place in four stages: ideation, design, engineering and application. A*STAR will use design thinking strategies and advanced manufacturing technologies to help companies, and pull expertise from across its research units and the rest of the R&D ecosystem for these collaborations. A*STAR worked with ESG to reach out to SMEs across sectors to understand market demands and identify key challenges and skills gaps faced when developing new products.

Once a company is ready to scale up production for a newly developed product, such as when a prototype is ready, it could move to the complementary Model Factory @ A*STAR to manufacture it using the most suitable smart manufacturing solutions drawn from Industry 4.0 technologies.

With a floor area of about 1,400 sq ft at SIMTech, the pilot set-up features a design workstation with software tools, a workshop with electrical and mechanical design tools, and manufacturing equipment such as 3D printers. 

To speed up adoption of new technologies and practices, and ensure that newly developed products adhere to international safety, quality and interoperability, and reliability standards, participating companies can tap ESG’s library of biomedical and Industry 4.0 standards. ESG and the Singapore Standards Council will also work with the Innovation Factory @ SIMTech to engage training providers to organise workshops and training programmes to help companies use these standards effectively.

A full-scale version of the Innovation Factory @ SIMTech is slated to open at CleanTech Park in the Jurong Innovation District this year, spanning 5,000 sq ft to 6,000 sq ft.

The Innovation Factory @ SIMTech is the starting point for companies who are trying to figure out how they can develop new products to differentiate themselves from the competition. It helps companies design the right products for the business, while the Model Factory helps them make those products right

Dr David Low, Executive Director, SIMTech