SIMTech Increasing Research and Development in Green Technologies

The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) is increasing its investment in research and development for green technologies.

The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), is taking on the challenge of green manufacturing by spurring R&D collaborations on remanufacturing technologies with Nanyang  Technological  University (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS) as well as launching initiatives to grow eco-friendly industries.

Investing in 10 New Projects in Remanufacturing Technologies

SIMTech is engaging with NUS and NTU on 10 new projects to jointly develop competitive   remanufacturing technologies for Singapore’s manufacturing companies. This is the first such instance of significant investment in remanufacturing projects by the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of A*STAR. The projects were awarded by SERC in September 2011.

The projects address critical technologies for remanufacturing of combustion engines and automation equipment in the analysis of defective components, salvaging used components to functional requirements and enabling technologies that will ensure efficient remanufacturing operations− from planning and scheduling, component inventory forecasting to in-process job tracking.

Says Dr. Raj Thampuran, Executive Director, SERC of A*STAR, “Remanufacturing is a key market space that is under tapped by our local industry. A*STAR’s investment in R&D of remanufacturing technologies will not only spur the growth of new industries, with firm foundations in these technologies, but also enhance the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We may well see the growth of more eco-friendly industries in Singapore in the near future.”

Three Joint Labs for Remanufacturing Technologies

SIMTech is also collaborating with NTU to establish three joint research labs to develop remanufacturing-related technologies in refurbishing and reliability assessment. Refurbishing technologies include cleaning, cladding, welding and surface treatment to recover the functionality of the parts to be remanufactured. Reliability assessment technologies evaluate the remanufacturability of the remanufactured parts and to assure their warranty. In addition to delivering cutting edge technologies, the joint-labs will also serve as platforms to nurture R&D manpower for the remanufacturing industry, transforming into centers of excellence in the respective technical areas to benefit more industry sectors. The initial focus of the joint-labs will be in reliability, precision machining and 3D additive manufacturing.

Provost of NTU, Professor Freddy Boey, says, “The joint labs aim to come up with innovative manufacturing and industrial processes that are sustainable, efficient and cost-effective – factors which are crucial to the industry of today. Given NTU’s expertise and strengths in engineering and sustainable manufacturing, I am sure our latest collaboration with SIMTech will be a resounding success. This endeavor is also very much in line with NTU’s five-year strategic   plan, where Sustainable Earth has been identified as the key research area in our efforts to scale new heights as a great global university.”

Remanufacturing and Green Packaging Initiatives for Eco-friendly Industries

The Remanufacturing Initiative for industry, supported by SPRING Singapore, aims to enhance remanufacturers’ competitiveness, develop remanufacturing related capabilities in local companies and grow remanufacturers in Singapore. The initiative targeting at remanufacturers, precision engineering service providers, and companies interested in venturing into remanufacturing collaborates closely with Caterpillar Reman Singapore to help match and develop relevant capabilities to support its local operation. Ten companies from industry are members of this initiative. The potential value of outsourcing to local companies is estimated to be worth over US$100 million per year.

On yet another front, to encourage environmentally friendly packaging, SIMTech is launching the Green Packaging Initiative to address the demand and technical challenges faced by goods packaging producers, food and beverage retailers, packaging designers and producers. SIMTech works with MNCs, OEMs and SMEs to share knowledge, develop technical competency, innovate green packaging solutions and implement environmentally-friendly packaging through the use of renewable, recyclable or recycled content materials, the elimination of potentially toxic materials, the use of renewable energy sources and the use of production processes that optimize material, energy and water utilization. To date, 10 companies are participating in this initiative.

Dr. Lim Ser Yong, Executive Director of SIMTech says, “In a time where environmental challenges have taken center stage, companies are seeking the know-how and the tools to incorporate sustainable manufacturing into existing business operations to reduce cost and environmental impact. With the launch of the Remanufacturing and Green Packaging Initiatives, companies have an added avenue to create value-added products with manufacturing processes that are also more environmentally friendly.”

Inaugural Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing

To create greater industry awareness and participation in sustainable manufacturing, SIMTech is organizing the Sustainable Manufacturing Center Annual Conference 2011 on 16 November 2011 at SIMTech. This conference focuses on industry trends, value-creation and cost reduction through corporate sustainability policies, innovative waste reduction and recycling, and energy efficiency in manufacturing. It brings together thought leaders to share strategies, practices and technologies that make business more environmentally-friendly.