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SIMTech's CIPs to boost manufacturing process productivity

08 Oct 2013

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A*STAR's Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) recently started a collaborative industry project (CIP) comprising four initiatives to offer manufacturing SMEs an integrated approach to boost productivity in various phases of the manufacturing process.

The CIPs were announced during Budget 2013 to incentivise the development of bottom-up, scalable solutions to address industry-specific productivity challenges. SMEs have been encouraged to form partnerships to develop and deploy these solutions. This CIP, led by the Manufacturing Productivity Technology Centre (MPTC), has 18 SMEs on board to date. This was announced at the MPTC Annual Conference and Technology Exhibition 2013 at SIMTech.

MPTC's CIP provides a cost effective R&D platform where groups of companies with similar issues work jointly with SIMTech to develop manpower and/or technology solutions. The four initiatives under this CIP are:

  • The High-Mix, Low-Volume (HMLV) initiative trains production planners on key planning concepts and implements a basic production planning and shop-floor tracking system to improve productivity and enable more effective production control and shop-floor management. HMLV is expected to yield more than 80% improvement in daily planning time, i.e. reduction from four hours to less than half an hour.
  • In the Lean Implementation initiative, local organisations are trained and guided to adopt lean techniques, such as Six Sigma, to reduce waste and improve productivity through creating high output using fewer resources. Improvement of between 10 per cent and 50 per cent is expected as wastes in the form of extra inventory, idle time, space and defects are reduced.
  • The Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) initiative aims to increase productivity by improving machine utilisation, performance and quality with R&D and the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies developed by A*STAR's SIMTech. Companies participating in OEE are expected to benefit from estimated reduced machine idle time of between 30 per cent and 70 per cent.
  • The Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) initiative assists companies to deploy RFID/barcode-based Item Management & Tracking System to better manage, track and audit their assets. Improvements in asset auditing and items tracking range from 30 per cent to 80 per cent are expected.
  • "Such Collaborative Industry Projects or CIPs help provide scalable solutions to the SME sector through a consortium arrangement. The integrated approach offered by the four initiatives under this CIP to boost productivity, will be beneficial to manufacturing SMEs. We are glad that MPTC has identified the challenges in the industries and also developed this suite of solutions to help in addressing them. We encourage SMEs to step forward to tap on this help," said Simon Lim, group director of industry development group at SPRING Singapore.

    MPTC will be collaborating with 12 organisations and new partners to spearhead other productivity improvement initiatives to benefit the local industries. Among them are the Institute of Technical Education, GS1, various technology collaborators and government agencies. Enhanzcom and Singapore Communications (Wavex) will each sign a licenc ('licens ('licence' when noun)e' when verb)e with Exploit Technologies for SIMTech's unified configurable architecture (UCA) and RFID-based personnel tracking system respectively to support design and engineering collaboration in the precision engineering industry as well as to efficiently and accurately track workers' access in underground tunnels for the construction industry, as required under Singapore's workplace safety and health (confined space) regulation 2009.

    "To accelerate productivity improvement, strong partnership with institutes of higher learning, standards body, technology collaborators and government agencies is important. Each of these partners, such as ITE and GS1, contributes in their unique ways to develop innovative solutions and to reach out to more industries and companies jointly to adopt technology for productivity improvement," said Lim Ser Yong, SIMTech's Executive Director.

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