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S$420m in new investments in Jurong Innovation District

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An artist's impression of the Jurong Innovation District (JID) in Jurong West. Despite the pandemic, the JID - Singapore's advanced manufacturing hub - has attracted S$420 million in new investments over the past year.

AS Covid-19 prompts manufacturers to rethink their production and supply chains, Singapore can serve as a resilient base for advanced manufacturing, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday, at the opening ceremony of annual Industry 4.0 event Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific (ITAP).

Despite the pandemic, the Jurong Innovation District (JID) - Singapore's advanced manufacturing hub - has attracted S$420 million in new investments over the past year.

And furthering the country's status as a leader in advanced manufacturing, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) is partnering the World Economic Forum (WEF) to establish Singapore's Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI) as an international standard for Industry 4.0 transformation.

In the wake of Covid-19, there will be an increased premium on resilience, with manufacturers rethinking their production and supply chains, said Mr Heng. "South-east Asia and Singapore are in a good position to be part of this reconfiguration of supply chains in the coming years."

The S$420 million in new JID investments is for facilities that will be ready over the next few years, from this November to early 2023, according to a statement by JTC, which master-planned and developed the JID.

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Hyundai Motor Group is among the new entrants to the 600-hectare district. By end-2022, Hyundai will establish the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre in Singapore, an open innovation lab aiming to develop future mobility technologies for global markets.

Two new investments are in the area of additive manufacturing or 3D printing. By this November, DMG MORI will set up a new facility to provide technology development and technical support for its machine tools, systems and software, as well as additive manufacturing equipment. By end-2021, Makino will open its Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence, offering prototyping and consultancy services, and conducting training to support adoption of additive manufacturing by industry players.

Further ahead, by the first quarter of 2023, Konica Minolta will set up a new regional headquarters to showcase innovative technology, while computer numerical control (CNC) and industrial robot manufacturer Fanuc will open a centre providing CNC and robotics equipment maintenance and servicing, and showcasing its newest technology.

With the latest investments, JID has attracted close to a total of S$2 billion in private investment to date.

Advanced manufacturing in Singapore continues to grow and create jobs and training opportunities, said Mr Heng. Companies such as Nvidia, Omron and PBA Robotics have committed to train 500 mid-career jobseekers for roles such as automation engineers and machine learning specialists.

"Given the speed of innovation and industry change, continuous upskilling and re-skilling will be a permanent feature in advanced manufacturing," he added. He announced a new Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy, also to be located in JID.

This is an industry-led national programme office, which will track the state of advanced manufacturing training in Singapore, identify emerging skillsets, and facilitate the development of training courses and curricula.

It is supported by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, EDB, Enterprise Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and SkillsFuture Singapore.

At the regional level, the Asian Development Bank and Singapore Polytechnic are launching the Global Technology Innovation Village, to train regional government and business leaders in areas such as advanced manufacturing, 5G, and artificial intelligence. Almost 20 industry players and government agencies are involved.

This is the third year of ITAP, the Asian edition of the world's largest manufacturing trade show, Hannover Messe. This year's ITAP is a hybrid event, featuring digital showcases and networking, and physical add-ons such as site tours.

In his speech at the opening ceremony at the Singapore Expo, which was live-streamed, Mr Heng also announced the partnership between the EDB and the WEF to drive global adoption of SIRI.

Introduced in November 2017, SIRI provides a way to assess where firms are in their smart industry journey. The EDB and the Forum will engage government bodies, trade associations and manufacturing leaders across the world to share more about SIRI.

The aim is to conduct 1,000 new official SIRI assessments globally by the end of 2021, culminating in a white paper to be published at the 2022 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

To aid this effort, 100 certified SIRI assessors across 20 countries will be trained over the next 18 months. These will be industry veterans from partner organisations, McKinsey & Co, Siemens and TUV SUD.

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