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Industry Transformation Map for precision engineering sector unveiled

A BLUEPRINT to strengthen the precision manufacturing sector here was unveiled on Thursday morning, as the sector faces dwindling output while the larger manufacturing industry restructures.

The Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the 2,700 companies in the precision engineering sector was announced by Minister for Industry S Iswaran at the Precision Engineering Centre of Innovation Annual Conference.

"Precision engineering is the backbone of the manufacturing industry ... Like manufacturing, precision engineering is integral to Singapore's future economy. To grow and remain competitive, the industry must continue its transformation journey," said Mr Iswaran.

The ITM will integrate plans for productivity improvements, skills development, technology and internationalisation. It will be coordinated and executed by the Economic Development Board, and will also require the involvement of industry associations, unions and companies. It is also part of the larger S$4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme announced earlier in this year's Budget.

Earmarking the ITM's launch is a strong focus on additive manufacturing. The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology inked a research and development collaboration with Applied Materials on Thursday for metal 3D printing of parts for use in demanding operating environments. SIMTech also forged partnerships with five small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help them in this area.

The Precision Engineering Centre of Innovation and Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association also signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday to help more companies and accelerate technology adoption.

An e-portal, called the A*Star Collaborative Commerce Marketplace, was also launched. It aims to help large companies source for prospective local suppliers.

The precision engineering sector has been doing worse than manufacturing as a whole. It saw a 8.4 per cent fall in industrial output in the first quarter of this year when compared with the same period last year, while the whole sector shrank by one per cent. Stripping away the volatile biomedical sector's output, manufacturing saw a dip of 5.6 per cent in factory output.