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Industry 4.0 not just about tech, but about people and partnerships: Koh Poh Koon

SINGAPORE’S approach towards Industry 4.0 is “not simply about technology”, said Senior Minister for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon on Wednesday.

At the heart of its manufacturing strategy, is how the city-state can better organise itself and how the workforce and companies can respond more nimbly to rapidly changing economic and technological trends, he added.

Mr Koh was speaking at the Future of Manufacturing Summit, the flagship conference of the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP) – a Hannover Messe event, held at the Singapore Expo.

In his speech, he noted that public-private sector partnerships, as well as a skilled workforce, are key to Singapore’s efforts to shape the future of manufacturing.

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To that end, one such instance of collaboration is the Industrial, Internet of Things, Innovation (I3) Platform established by A*Star as a consortium to develop and accelerate the adoption of Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies and solutions by the industry.

To date, some 17 companies, including Rolls-Royce and local SME Genesis Networks, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish long-term partnerships with I3.

This will focus on developing and integrating smart manufacturing technologies such as sensors, industrial data analytics, and cybersecurity.

Mr Koh will also be presenting awards to successful companies later in the day for three promising research projects that have been selected in the areas of Additive Manufacturing and Enhanced Ultraprecision Manufacturing.

Earlier in the year, there was a bilateral call for grants under the first “Singapore-Germany 2+2 Cooperation Framework” by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Singapore’s economic agencie, led by A*Star. This aims to support research and development (R&D) cooperation between Singapore and Germany.

A slew of workforce development initiatives were also announced on Wednesday at the event.

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) has developed an Advanced Manufacturing Continuing Education and Training (CET) Strategy to drive talent attraction, retention and development in advanced manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and Harbin Institute of Technology Robot Group (HRG) have forged a partnership to set up a training facility in the campus, allowing SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to trial and implement robotics solutions. TP will also tap HRG’s expertise to enhance its CET capabilities in Industry 4.0, and develop Train-the-Trainer and industrial attachment programmes for local firms.

Singapore Polytechnic and local enterprise Univac Precision Engineering will also sign a memorandum of collaboration later on Wednesday to develop flexible workplace learning models that can be adopted by the precision engineering industry.

The ITAP, slated to be the Asia-Pacific’s largest advanced manufacturing trade show, is expected to draw over 10,000 visitors from around the world over the three days.