SINGAPORE is taking a further step to improve the sustainability of its high-tech manufacturing sector. On Wednesday, 21/2 years after the groundbreaking ceremony, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) launched the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), Asia's first centre for test-bedding and developing manufacturing technologies.
The event was attended by the Second Minister for Trade & Industry, S Iswaran.
ARTC is a public-private collaboration between A*Star, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and industry partners that seeks to bridge technological gaps in the adoption of advanced remanufacturing processes.
The programme first began operations in 2012 at JTC CleanTech One, a building located at CleanTech Park, Singapore's first eco-business park. Now ARTC is expanding to a bigger location at JTC CleanTech Two, where it is the anchor tenant.
Remanufacturing is the buzzword for transforming old products through disassembly, cleaning, testing and other operations, into like-new products that can be re-introduced to the market. It is often seen as the future for manufacturing, using less energy and generating less waste compared to traditional manufacturing processes. Through research & development, companies can also develop advanced sustainable manufacturing technologies to strengthen their capabilities and knowhow.
A report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) predicts the global remanufacturing market to reach US$104.8 billion by this year. In Singapore, sectors such as aerospace, oil and gas, automotive and machinery have remanufacturing activities located here, with aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul being the biggest contributor.
ARTC's CEO David Low said: "Through this unique collaborative model, like-minded companies come together at ARTC to provide the real industry requirements, spark new ideas, catalyst new opportunities, leverage on shared resources and accelerate the development of remanufacturing capabilities in a faster, better and cheaper way than doing it alone."
Since 2012, ARTC has completed over 50 industry projects, ranging from an automated process to protect surfaces during repair processes, to a robotised inspection process to check for defects in components.
To date, the centre has 29 industry members on board, including Rolls-Royce plc, Singapore Aero Engine Services and Siemens Industry Software.
Twelve small and medium enterprises have also joined ARTC's board, including AmpTec Industrial Heating, which is involved in one of ARTC's projects with Rolls-Royce. AmpTec was commissioned to develop a dry ice blasting machine to clean aircraft engine components, as it does not use polluting industrial chemicals and heavy scrubbing, thus retaining the quality and performance of the component.
ARTC also works with NTU to develop a talent pipeline to support the shift towards eco-friendly production processes and techniques. Developing these projects at the ARTC will be 18 NTU PhD students on scholarships awarded specifically for this collaboration. They will work with 10 NTU faculty members and a dozen undergraduate and master's students.