A*Star launches learning factory

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A "live" shop floor where manufacturers can test operations before rolling out changes at their own factories opened yesterday.

The shop floor is a key feature of a new model factory that will host demonstrations and hands-on training for companies - especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - that want a taste of the future of manufacturing.

Industry partners will also be able to use the production line as a research and development test bed.

The 6,500 sq ft factory at A*Star's Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology in one-north is part of the model factory programme announced in this year's Budget debate.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Koh Poh Koon said at the opening yesterday: "The model factory will allow SMEs to experience digitalisation technologies first-hand in a learning environment without affecting their existing business operations. This will enable participating SMEs to experiment and try out new ideas that could increase the competitiveness of their businesses."

The facility will also have a German twin in a "learning factory" set up in 2012 at a technical university in Braunschweig.

Under a deal signed yesterday, users here and in Germany will be able to explore advances in areas such as energy management and industrial symbiosis, where factory waste serves as raw material for other processes.

They may eventually be able to view real-time information from both facilities at either end.

A*Star will open its second model factory next year. -THE STRAITS TIMES