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Smart manufacturing lab to launch operations in Singapore

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Rolls-Royce, together with Singapore agencies and companies, will invest $44 million in the initiative

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), British power systems technology company Rolls-Royce, and Singapore Aero Engine Services Private Limited (SAESL), announced they will invest up to $44 million to set up a joint lab to develop smart manufacturing technologies.

The joint lab is part of a five-year collaboration program with the primary goal to be the development of next-generation aerospace manufacturing, as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities enabled by advanced processes, automation and digital technologies.

The program comprises five main areas of collaboration:

-Smart assembly systems – Application of intelligent automation across processes such as module assembly, alignment, functional testing and inspection;

-Integrated remanufacturing technologies – Advanced repair and remanufacturing methods including automation, laser metal deposition, adaptive technology, and smart inspection technology;

-Advanced fan blade manufacturing – Automation of the fan blade value chain to enable higher productivity and improved right-first-time performance;

-Future manufacturing processes – Development of advanced processes such as additive layer manufacturing, robotics and surface conditioning; and

Knowledge-based manufacturing – Use of digital (Industry 4.0) methods to improve quality, cost and delivery performance at process, factory and enterprise levels.

The developed technologies will eventually be used on-site at Rolls-Royce and SAESL’s facilities for improved productivity, costs savings and business competitiveness, the involved parties said.

The joint lab will develop manufacturing technologies, such as the additive manufacturing (3D industrial printing) of complex aero-engine components, as well as advanced robotic and automatic solutions.

“The A*STAR-Rolls-Royce-SAESL Smart Manufacturing Joint Lab demonstrates A*STAR’s commitment to working with the enterprises to sustain the competitiveness of the local manufacturing sector, a key pillar of Singapore’s economy,” A*STAR chairman Lim Chuan Poh said. “Our Future of Manufacturing strategy involves bringing together ideas, resources, people and along the innovation value-chain from MNCs to SMEs on a synergistic platform to co-create and co-develop to benefit Singapore’s future economy.”

Manufacturing is a key pillar of Singapore’s economy, contributing to 20% of the country’s GDP, and employing 14% of the total workforce in 2016.

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