A*STAR, Arcstone open joint lab for smart manufacturing

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research and local manufacturing software company Arcstone have opened a joint laboratory at A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) to develop smart manufacturing solutions and help businesses speed up digital transformation for more efficient, effective, and sustainable operations. 

With a total investment of S$18 million over three years, the A*STAR-Arcstone joint lab is intended to transform Arcstone’s existing solutions into a next-generation manufacturing execution systems (MES) suite. 

The MES will incorporate technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to help manufacturers make better decisions through visualisation, control, optimisation, and sustainability. 

For example, the MES will not only provide information about what is happening in a production process in real time but also recommend ways to improve that process, such as by optimising production scheduling. 

The joint lab will work on projects in the areas of improve production through real-time visibility; controlling production using IIoT technologies; optimising production using simulation and artificial intelligence; and making production greener through data and optimisation.

Manufacturers, including local SMEs, will be able to tap on these smart manufacturing solutions to increase manufacturing transparency and improve production scheduling across the supply chain, paving the way for more competitive and robust supply chains. 

The solutions will also help manufacturers go green by enabling them to optimise energy usage. The joint lab will place special emphasis on the user-interface for the MES, making it easy to configure and use, especially for first-timers. 

Collaborating with A*STAR will help Arcstone halve the time needed for its own R&D to achieve its goals. The joint lab aims to create about 30 engineering jobs over the next three years. 

Two A*STAR units are involved in the joint lab — ARTC, which will contribute capabilities in advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0 technologies, and the Institute of High Performance Computing, which will contribute expertise in areas such as computational modelling, simulation, and artificial intelligence. 

“This collaboration with Arcstone is also an example of how local SMEs can deploy their new solutions to help other local SMEs speed up digital transformation in their factories, driving increased digitalisation across the board,” said Alfred Huan, assistant chief executive of A*STAR’s Science and Engineering Research Council.

Arcstone CEO Willson Deng said their goal with the joint lab is to rapidly produce cutting-edge technology to give SMEs and global manufacturers a leg up in efficiency, productivity, and long-term sustainability and environmental competitiveness.