Nanyang Polytechnic, SAS harness analytics to boost Singapore SMEs

Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) is collaborating with SAS Institute to help Singapore’s small and medium-sized manufacturers manoeuvre headwinds via advanced analytics. 

Leveraging SAS Institute’s data analytics and visualisation capabilities, the team at NYP’s School of Engineering developed an enterprise-to-shopfloor platform that helps precision-engineering manufacturers boost productivity and growth. 

The platform features a predictive analytics system to help enterprises conduct near-accurate supply and demand forecasting. Using past data and analytics, the system helps forecast raw materials required during specific time periods, allowing a smooth product delivery process through just-in-time purchase and delivery and optimised warehousing. 

Also, the platform has a real-time machine-vision solution that inspects production parts for defects as part of quality control management. Through digital automation, product quality assurance is also enhanced.

In addition, the platform has an enhanced Manufacturing Execution System (MES) that is fully customisable to enable companies to optimise manufacturing operations and increase production efficiency.  

Harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technology, the new platform, which is currently undergoing production trials, has shown a significant increase in operational effectiveness through predictive analytics and forecasting, and enabling a 100% sampling of parts. 

The platform will also offer Industry 4.0 solutions that incorporate open-source low-cost devices to connect two networks, resulting in cost-effective and scalable solutions. With every additional volume of data acquired by the devices, the modelling and training of the AI models will concurrently improve. 

The prototype MES is being tested at Sanwa Plastic Industry to manage and schedule jobs for machining components and plastic injection moulds. Previously, a mould usually requires 100 or more machined metal components, with each component undergoing a stringent quality control check before use. 

Through the MES prototype, Sanwa Plastic Industry is reporting a 15% increase in machine utilisation, which was brought about by more efficient scheduling of jobs on the shopfloor. 

“As SMEs strive towards achieving Singapore’s Smart Nation goals, we are excited to partner SAS to help local manufacturers seize businesses opportunities in their digitalisation journey and uncover ways to optimise their operational efficiency,” said Vinn Prabhu, deputy director of NYP School of Engineering.

“Through this collaboration with SAS, we aim to co-create meaningful solutions to propel the next generation of manufacturing technologies, while concurrently mentoring our learners to be better prepared for the future workplace,” said Prabhu. 

Lim Hsin Yin, managing director of SAS Institute in Singapore, said that through this project, they have seen how analytics has successfully helped to improve the machine utilisation rates for an SME manufacturer, significantly boosting their productivity. 

“We will continue to offer innovative AI and cloud solutions to help empower manufacturers with data-driven insights in their decision-making,” said Lim.