Putting ABB’s advanced manufacturing technologies on the Singapore map

On display at Manufacturing Technology Asia 2017, were innovative solutions and emerging technologies that put the ‘smart’ in smart manufacturing

Reflecting its position at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, ABB showcased its technologies and domain expertise at the recently concluded Manufacturing Technology Asia industry event held in Singapore. The exhibition and conference, titled ‘Smart Manufacturing Asia’, brought together industry players who are looking to maintain their technology leadership and stay ahead of the change curve and many traditional manufacturing businesses in the Asian region that need to become agile and embrace change.

A national priority

The Economic Development Board (EDB), alongside the rest of the Singapore government, has embarked on various initiatives that will leverage on the latest technologies to ensure that manufacturing sectors remain resilient and relevant. To this end, EDB hosted a commemoration ceremony as a kick-off to the MTA event and to affirm Singapore’s commitment as an advanced manufacturing hub. As an important and long-standing partner of EDB and Singapore, ABB was invited for this ceremony along with 24 other industry representatives that have embarked on this advanced manufacturing journey. Johan de Villiers, Country Managing Director, ABB Singapore, attended the function which had Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Ms Sim Ann also present. "Adopting new technology is absolutely essential for firms. It ensures the competitiveness of Singapore in a global economy. For a country with limited resources, the ability to use technology will continue to be a key competitive advantage for Singapore. It also presents a key export opportunity for Singapore as it develops a workforce that adds value in the digital environment. Those skills are going to be a large part of the future global economy,” said Johan.

A new era of manufacturing on display

Advanced technologies designed for high-value manufacturing were on display at ABB’s exhibition booth.

The Robotics business unit exhibited three live demonstrations which offered visitors an engaging visual experience. Together with industry partner, LionApex, a machine tool tending cell, MT5, integrated with a CNC machine, allowed visitors to observe a live demonstration of the tool handling process between the two machines.

Similarly, together with industry partner, Synergyx Technology, a live demo of ABB’s dedicated welding robot showcasing the use of the arc welding technique in additive manufacturing was displayed. Visitors witnessed the 3D buildup of an aluminum cup from scratch, highlighting the precision and stability of ABB’s welding robot.

ABB’s latest robot safety solution, SafeMove2, was also on display. The intriguing demo allowed visitors to interact with the robot in motion directly without physical barriers.

“The exhibition was a great success. It allowed us to showcase our robotics solutions purposed for high value manufacturing to key market players who attended the exhibition. With the media coverage received, it also allowed us to establish our market presence beyond the exhibition,” said Ang Boon Hua, local business unit manager for Robotics.

Control Technologies also set up a demo of ABB’s Manufacturing Execution Systems which is used in discrete manufacturing and F&B industries. It optimizes production and manufacturing processes by a seamless integration from enterprise resource planning to the plant floor, ensuring that the manufacturing process is strictly followed, tracked and compliance is met.

Optimizing mass customization takes ability

ABB also participated in the Smart Manufacturing Asia conference with Martin Hogberg, Asia Hub Digital Head for Control Technologies, sharing his thoughts for a panel discussion on Industry 4.0 and delivering a presentation on digitalization of manufacturing operations. He shared how ABB’s digital technologies and solutions can transform the industrial markets that we serve. “While ABB Ability™ may sound futuristic, it’s here today. ABB has over 180 different solutions available and deployed across a wide range of industries,” said Martin.

Giving an example on ABB “walking the talk” in digital (using its own products to run its business), Martin shared a case study of one of ABB’s factories in Heidelberg, Germany. In this factory, ABB uses its own drives, motors, robots, and manufacturing execution system in the entire production resulting in dramatic efficiency and productivity improvements. Overall output increased three-fold and the assembly line became much more flexible, enabling ABB to make products in smaller batch sizes, in-line with today’s demand for more customized and flexible production.