Best practices guide launched to help Singapore firms in additive manufacturing

Published Wed, Mar 31, 2021 · 01:27 PM

LAUNCHING a new technical reference (TR) to equip local additive manufacturing (AM) companies with industry best practices will create confidence and help local enterprises seize opportunities in the growing sector, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng during his visit to the Sodick Singapore Technology Centre (SSTC) on Wednesday.

Developed by a working group of members from organisations, ministries and institutions appointed by the Singapore Standards Council overseen by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), TR 87: 2021 sets out key safety considerations covering aspects such as material storage, equipment requirements, workplace operations and hazardous waste management.

AM companies manufacture by layering materials on top of each other. Key in the process are typically microscopic hazardous materials such as fine metal powders, which pose a health risk to workers. They are also flammable and combustible, and need to be stored and handled appropriately.

Existing guidelines adopted from other countries needed to be adapted, as Singapore uses land differently, building upwards as opposed to horizontally, Dr Tan said.

He said that the JTC Corporation will work with different agencies to encourage companies in the AM industry to adopt these guidelines.

"We will also continue and develop other guidelines, as we see the needs of the industry evolving. With the feedback that we get, we hope that at some stage, this can then be moved on into more of a code of practice, and we can share internationally as well," he added.


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Dr Tan said: "The entire international scene can see what we are doing, the type of emphasis that we're placing and making sure that quality is maintained... It gives them the confidence to either come here, add to our ecosystem, set up an ecosystem, buy our products, or even use this as a sort of a platform to launch, whatever products they have all over the world."

To implement these guidelines, many AM companies already have safety officers and training necessary, but they can also reach out to ESG and JTC for assistance, Dr Tan said. If smaller companies struggle even after seeking help from organisations such as the Singapore Civil Defence Force, the government will step in to see how they can bridge the gap, he added.

TR 87: 2021 was conceptualised four to five years ago and began development as early as 2018. It is part of a proactive approach that the industry has been looking into, said Dr Tan, in response to questions raised about whether recent incidents such as the Tuas fire last month sparked the implementation of guidelines.

The new technical reference was announced at the minister's tour of SSTC. Located in the Jurong Innovation District (JID), the centre was set up by Sodick, a global manufacturer of high-technology machines, in collaboration with JTC and the Economic Development Board.

It showcases the latest additive manufacturing technologies, including its own AM machines.

The JID is an ecosystem of innovation, said Dr Tan. He spoke about its connectivity to the rest of the country, housing a central repository of electric vehicles underground and a system of paths from MRT stations that is part of future plans.

In the next 18 months, Dr Tan expects that the JID will account for 4,500 jobs, with 1,200 being new and 3,300 being from companies relocating into the area.

"We believe that the environment will reap that creativity that is required to innovate and to transform," he said.


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