As the regional powerhouse for advanced manufacturing technologies, Singapore provides an excellent platform for U.S. companies to enter the ASEAN region. Manufacturing represents a significant component of Singapore’s GDP — approximately 20% — and is highly valued and supported by the Singapore Government.
Singapore makes four out of the world’s top ten drugs and is the 7th largest exporter of petrochemicals. Over 2,700 precision engineering firms supply critical products and expertise needed to manufacture complex components and equipment used in industries such as semiconductors, medical technology, marine, offshore and aerospace. Some of the world’s biggest pure-play foundries have manufacturing facilities here, as do many other top outsourced semiconductor assembly and test companies. Beyond semiconductors, Singapore is also a key node in the global supply chain for products ranging from storage and memory products, to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).
Semiconductors, Nanotechnology, MEMS, 3D Printing and automation / robotics will be critical components of Singapore’s long-term economic growth. Singapore’s semiconductor industry accounts for 20% of the world’s global semiconductor equipment output which includes computer chips. The current global nanotechnology market is worth around US$1 trillion and sales incorporating nanotechnology could reach US$2.5 trillion. Likewise, 3D Printing or additive manufacturing is gaining considerable traction in Singapore.
Singapore’s position as the premier regional trading hub for the Asia-Pacific, numerous R&D grants and its highly skilled, English-speaking workforce are catalysts for U.S. companies to test and implement new technologies prior to further expansion within the ASEAN region. Opportunities for advanced manufacturing technologies are expected to be in the following areas:
There is a significant push in the semiconductor industry towards water fabrication engineering to increase the output rate. Industry experts estimate that introduction of wafer fabrication engineering could help Singapore’s already blooming economy rapidly rise even further to the top due to the speed at which the electrical and photonic circuits are being completed.
Nanotechnology and MEMS
Within the nanotechnology sector, graphene and spin wave transistors applications are under close watch as nano-electronics products are beginning to rapidly enter the marketplace. Specific applications include integrated circuits, curved dashboards, e-books, and OLED lighting. Examples include micro projection technology which involves embedded applications in mobile devices (mobile phones, laptops, and digital cameras), RF MEMS shifters for radar technology, and medical applications such as implantable devices designed to aid treatments for heart failure.
3D Printing and Automation / Robotics
Singapore has no heavy manufacturing and has relied on light manufacturing for decades. As such, 3D printing and automation / robotics processes are very appropriate in many industry applications in Singapore. For example, 3D printing or additive manufacturing is being used in the aerospace and medical industry to produce sophisticated and highly precision parts.
Despite global economic headwinds, Singapore is still one of the world’s strongest economies. Anchored in political stability, low corruption rates and transparent public institutions, the country is a trusted partner for businesses. Sound monetary and fiscal policies, together with a robust judicial system, underpins the country’s low-risk economy. Internet connectivity is also very important and is part of Singapore’s focus on being a smart nation.
Companies with capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, and the Internet of Things will lead to the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies for both big and small companies so as to accelerate the digital transformation of manufacturers in Singapore and internationally especially where supply chains are concerned. Below are some new strategies that have been recommended for the manufacturing sector to adapt to the new normal.
- Technology can help to improve manufacturing processes and connect workforce remotely
- Building required resilience, agility and self-sustainability even it means higher costs
- Manage and control supply chains better since Singapore has no natural resources
- Ensure diversification of distribution, logistics and procurement via digitalization
- Increase the share of the manufacturing sector to minimum 25% of the economy
- Other Asian countries have lower labor costs so value added jobs are important
- Apart from Just In Time, it is also prudent to have Just In Case framework