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Digital Transformation Of Manufacturing To Add US$387 Billion To APAC’s GDP By 2021

Digital Transformation Of Manufacturing To Add US$387 Billion To APAC’s GDP By 2021

Singapore: Asia Pacific’s GDP is expected to gain additional US$387 billion by 2021 with extra one percent growth annually—if the region’s manufacturing sector embraces digital transformation, according to new figures released by Microsoft on 23 April 2018.

Results for manufacturing are outlined in the study, “Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific”, produced by Microsoft in partnership with IDC Asia/Pacific. It was based on the survey of 615 business leaders from the manufacturing sector across 15 markets in Asia Pacific.

“Those organisations that had already embarked on their digital transformation journeys gained improvements in the range of 13 percent to 17 percent last year. They will see at least 40 percent improvements in three years, with customer advocacy registering the highest improvement rate,” said Victor Lim, vice president, IDC Asia/Pacific.

The Study identifies the top three benefits of digital transformation that have a direct impact to bottom line performance:

  • Improvement in productivity
  • Improvement in profit margins
  • Costs reductions

Businesses are seeing long-term benefits in embracing digital transformation. Increased revenue from new products and services and improved customer advocacy rounded up the top five tracked benefits.

The Study identified key traits of Manufacturing Leaders against other Leaders, including the former’s higher likelihood to have a key executive leading their Digital Transformation efforts. It also recommends organisations to adopt a three-step data strategy to become a digital transformation leader—including collection of data, optimisation of existing products and services through data, and creating new business models with data.

Grundfos Appoints New Regional Business Director For Building Services In Asia Pacific

Singapore: On 27 June 2018, leading pump manufacturer Grundfos has announced the appointment of Anders Christiansen to the role of regional business director, Building Services for Grundfos Asia Pacific region with effect from 1 July 2018.

Image Source: Grundfos

In his new role, Anders will lead the business operations and growth of the Grundfos Building Services portfolio in the region, which supplies pumps for use in and around the home and commercial buildings.

Anders brings with him over 20 years of professional experience in business development from different positions and companies. Prior to his appointment, Anders was the business development director at Grundfos in Denmark, where he was responsible for its Domestic Cold Water Solutions. He has been working with Grundfos for more than eight years, having joined the firm in 2010 as a business development manager for Domestic Building Services.

Prior to joining Grundfos, he held multiple positions in Brødrene Hartmann, including business unit manager in Malaysia and business director in Denmark.

Kim Jensen, regional managing director of Grundfos Asia Pacific region, said: “I am looking forward to working with Anders to strengthen our Asia Pacific business in commercial and domestic building sectors. His extensive experience in business development both in and outside of Grundfos will be instrumental in driving our growth in the region.”

Anders holds a Master’s Degree in International Marketing from the University of Southern Denmark and a Diploma in Advanced Business Development.

He succeeds Hasan Avci, who held the role since 2014 and has moved on to a new role at Grundfos as the regional director, Strategy, Commercial Excellence & Marketing, East Europe, West Asia, Middle East & Africa region.

Panduit: Challenging Asia Pacific’s Electrical Safety Status Quo With VeriSafe

Panduit: Challenging Asia Pacific’s Electrical Safety Status Quo With VeriSafe

Singapore: Panduit Corporation—industry leader in control panel, wire harness and heavy-duty cable management solutions for over 60 years, announced the release of its breakthrough VeriSafe Absence of Voltage Tester in Asia Pacific markets.

Current procedures for verifying the safe use of electrical panels are subject to human error and time-consuming. It is also necessary for an operator wearing a protective suit to first open a panel in an unknown state in order to test it, placing workers at significant risk of injury or death.

While voltage indicators can confirm certain known states where an electrical panel is known to be unsafe, they do not confirm that a panel is certainly safe from hazards such as residual current.

Panduit’s approach to electrical safety with VeriSafe replaces the manual, error-prone and time-consuming process of verifying an electrically safe environment by permanently installing an automated tester on the panel door. This minimizes the risk of workers being exposed to electrical hazards by verifying the absence of voltage even before the equipment is accessed. It also provides workers with a firm confirmation that the panel is safe, as opposed to knowing that common but not all dangers have been tested for.

With VeriSafe, it is now possible to determine an electrically safe environment in a matter of seconds—a fraction of the time compared to hand-held portable test instruments, while simplifying testing procedures.

This new approach to verifying equipment is in an electrically safe state is now recognised by the US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E standard. Under NFPA 70E, VeriSafe ensures the entire process of verifying absence of voltage is performed in the proper sequence—every time, every test.

At the same time, the fail-safe and reliable process performed by VeriSafe tests the tester itself, verifies installation, checks for voltage, verifies installation and retests the tester; all automatically performed at the push of a button in sequence—with no human risk of exposure to electrical hazards.

“The failure to conduct a thorough safety test procedure exposes electricians to serious electrical accidents, and this continues to be a leading cause of injury and death among workers,” said Wayne Goodall, director of Industrial Electrical Business, Asia Pacific, Panduit.

“Business owners in Asia Pacific must take the responsibility of protecting their workers while meeting safety regulations. Panduit’s VeriSafe allows them to effectively meet their objectives through risk minimization and improved safety. We aim to improve the way industries across the region conduct verification testing for electrical enclosures. We are bringing about a revolution in safety and productivity for workers, while providing business owners with responsible peace of mind at a low cost,” he continued.

Rockwell Automation Simplifies Analytics For Industrial Productivity

Rockwell Automation Simplifies Analytics For Industrial Productivity

Singapore: In April 2018, Rockwell Automation expanded the FactoryTalk Analytics portfolio—an advanced analytics environment that empowers users with the ability to quickly and confidently make informed decisions.

These latest advancements were developed to reduce the complexity of the operations environment for manufacturers, producers and their employees who are driving operations.

Industrial organisations must be able to quickly identify ways to tighten production schedules and maximise revenue. Gaining insight into operations and production capabilities to make informed decisions has often involved time-intensive IT projects and a highly specialised skillset.

The platform has been developed for scale, discovering and connecting data sources from the edge of the network up through the enterprise, and then intelligently fusing the information to resolve issues close to the source.

At the edge of the device, this can result in near-immediate resolution of production issues. Empowered with machine learning capabilities, it learns the process and looks for trends in the data, proactively presenting users with insights before an issue arises.

This development brings contemporary user experience capabilities—which are common for consumer experiences—to the production environment. Focused on driving ease of use and productivity, FactoryTalk Analytics features internet-like search capabilities of production data, as well as self-service drill-downs, allowing the user to make data-driven decisions quickly.

Rockwell Automation has chosen the Microsoft Azure cloud as the preferred platform for FactoryTalk Analytics, to help develop and power advanced IoT solutions from the edge to the cloud.

The company executed several customer pilots before the official release of this analytics environment, which generated several purpose-driven applications that prioritise ease of use and faster time to value.

In one of the company’s pilots, a manufacturer of solar panels used the analytics platform to connect the data sources of legacy systems spread across multiple facilities. They’re now able to more efficiently manage data—both on-premise and in the cloud—which will minimise downtime and allow them to save millions of dollars in IT spending.

In another pilot, the analytics platform was implemented by a global automotive manufacturer to help improve operational productivity. Purpose-driven applications brought data together from disparate systems that had previously proven difficult to integrate and had limited workers’ ability to investigate production issues.

The solution is giving production managers and executives new visibility into key areas of operations, and helping them more accurately forecast production targets.

“Smart manufacturing promises to remove blind spots between organisational silos, putting users directly in touch with information,” said Blake Moret, chairman and chief executive officer of Rockwell Automation.

Mr Moret added: “Our experience in production applications, coupled with technology that integrates control and information, provides outcomes of increased productivity for both existing and greenfield sites. Importantly, our partners are taking advantage of these solutions to enhance the value of their own offerings.”

“In fast-moving production environments—regardless of sector or industry—the ability to address problems and even predict future events before they cause interruption to the business is crucial,” commented Joseph Sousa, president of Rockwell Automation in Asia Pacific.

“For a fast-growth region like Asia Pacific, the advanced FactoryTalk analytics environment will be critical in allowing users to solve problems, drive tangible business outcomes and above all, remain competitive,” Mr Sousa continued.

Booming Aerospace Industry Spurs MRO Growth

Booming Aerospace Industry Spurs MRO Growth

The world wants to fly, and consumers worldwide are increasingly travelling more and enjoying low air fares offered by carriers. As we move into 2018, the dynamic aerospace sector continues to expand to cater to the global rapid growth in the travel sector. By Farah Nazurah

What is driving the demand for air travel? Higher living standards, a burgeoning middle class in emerging markets, cheaper air fares as well as tourism and travel growth are propelling the market, with year-on-year travel growth rates for the past five years averaging 6.2 percent, according to aircraft manufacturer Boeing’s market outlook on the global aircraft demand from 2017 to 2036.

International tourist arrivals grew 3.9 percent worldwide in 2016, which was faster than overall global gross domestic product (GDP) growth, according to the World Tourism Organisation. In 2016, the strongest regional growth was recorded in Asia Pacific.

Asia Awakens To Travel

The outlook for air travel demand is expected to remain strong with consumers spending more on travel and tourism, according to aircraf t manufacturer Bombardier’s market forecast for 2017 to 2036. In terms of growth rate, South Asia and Greater China are projected to be the fastest growing markets, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7 percent and 4.6 percent respectively.

The economic and income growth in large emerging economies such as China and India are major drivers to the global GDP growth and air travel demand. China has fuelled the world traffic growth over the past few years and its passenger growth has increased at an average rate of more than 10 percent annually, according to Boeing.

India’s newly-emerged high-growth economy is contributing to more than 20 percent of passenger traffic growth per year in its domestic market, and is projected to become the third largest commercial aviation market by the early 2020s.

The fast-growing middle class in both countries are ready to spend more on air travel, and the middle class in both countries has risen from 80 million in 2000 to 135 million in 2016, which is an increase of nearly 70 percent.

Fast Expanding MRO Market

As air travel grows, consequently the need for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) expands as well. MRO providers play an essential role in sustaining the world’s airline fleets, and assuring aircraft safety and airworthiness.

The global aircraft MRO market reached US$66 billion in 2016, and is projected to rise at a CAGR of 6.17 percent from 2018 to 2023, according to market intelligence agency Research and Markets. The ever-expanding global aircraft fleet size and market for low-cost carriers, alongside the stronger demand for technological upgrades of existing fleet, are expected to propel the global MRO market in the next five years.

The number of aircraft in service is increasing, driven by a higher penetration of commercial carriers in the world’s emerging economies and orders for new aircraft thus, steering the aircraft MRO market in an upward momentum.

Asia Pacific is witnessing a significant rise in daily air traffic, owing to the growing number of MRO facility establishments in the region. China, India, Japan, and South Korea are a few of the leading countries in the region’s commercial aviation market, and the region’s MRO market is forecast to amount to US$30.48 billion by the end of 2022, according to market research firm Research and Markets. This creates ample opportunity for MRO providers to expand in the region.

Singapore’s Substantial Role In MRO

What exact role does Singapore play in the aircraft MRO sector? The country’s aerospace industry has stringent safety and quality standards, which sees it recognised as a reliable one-stop solutions provider for aircraft maintenance and repair needs.

This includes nose-to-tail capabilities such as engine overhaul, structural and avionics systems repair, airframe maintenance, as well as aircraft modifications and conversion.

“With more than 130 aerospace companies, Singapore has the largest and most diverse concentration of aerospace companies in Asia,” informed Tan Kong Hwee, executive director of transport engineering, Singapore Economic Development Board. The country has developed a robust aerospace industry that includes manufacturing, engineering, research and development, MRO, and other aerospace-related services.

Employing over 20,000 staff, the sector has an annual output of more than US$6 billion. The nation currently holds 25 percent of Asia’s MRO market and approximately 10 percent of the global share. The reason airliners tend to choose the country for their MRO needs is because they can have all their work done in a “one-stop shop,” instead of having to get their aircraft serviced in several different locations.

Cost is an especially important factor in the aerospace industry; although MRO costs are higher in Singapore, the aircraft can be serviced faster. For example, an aircraft serviced in Singapore for 30 days as compared to 50 days elsewhere translates to cost savings for airliners, as the aircraft can generate profits for those 20 extra days of uptime.

Support Spurring Innovation

The Singapore government’s commitment to maintain a free market also enables businesses to easily operate in the country. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report, Singapore is ranked as the world’s second-easiest country in which to do business after New Zealand.

Moreover, the country’s skilled workforce, political stability, established logistics, infrastructure and protection of intellectual property facilitates the ease for aerospace providers to set up business there.

“Government support is also crucial to the efficiency of the logistics and supply chain activities which support the MRO sector,” said Louis Leong, vice president, Asia, Hawker Pacific Asia. He also stated that the Singapore government is also heavily supporting the development of local talent in the aerospace industry through partnerships with education institutions.

Besides MRO, aerospace-related research and development activities in Singapore have grown significantly over the past few years. The nation will have to advance further in this field to maintain its edge in the industry, and continue developing Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies such as aircraft health monitoring where sensors monitor temperature, position and pressure; predictive maintenance; and the use of drones, robots and virtual reality in MRO.

An example of a joint venture leveraging on IIoT is Rolls Royce, a provider of aerospace power systems. The manufacturer partnered with Singapore Aero Engine Services Private Limited as well as the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore in September last year. The partnership saw an investment of US$45 million, which will operate a joint lab for five years to develop advanced manufacturing technologies for the aerospace industry.

“Singapore has also seen a steady increase in aerospace manufacturing activities, with some of the most complex engine and avionics parts produced in Singapore,” stated Mr Tan.

MRO environment

Planning, part tracking, and visit packaging of scheduled routine maintenance are important in the MRO environment. Image Source: Rolls Royce

Thailand’s Emerging Aerospace Industry

Thailand is seeking greater market share in Southeast Asia’s aerospace sector, and aims to duplicate the success of its automotive industry, which is the 12th largest in the world. To develop itself into a full-service aerospace hub, the country is leveraging on its strategic location, low labour costs, and expanding network of free trade agreements.

Air passenger traffic has been growing in Thailand, due to the upward trend in country’s tourism industry. The airports managed by Airports of Thailand (AOT) handled 121.7 million passengers in 2016, an increase from 109.8 million passengers in 2015, according to the leading operator at AOT. There were a total of 790,194 aircraft movements (take-offs and landings) in 2016 as compared to 727,750 in 2015.

In the next 20 years, it is expected that 42 percent of the 32,146 global aircraft deliveries will be in Asia Pacific, according to market intelligence agency Frost & Sullivan. This results from the exponential growth of passenger traffic that will increase from 60 million unique passengers in 2017 to 180 million unique passengers by the end of 2037. In Thailand, the amount of total aircraft is projected to almost triple from 314 aircraft in 2017 to 811 aircraft by 2037.

The Thai government is sparing no effort to achieve their goal to be an MRO hub. To accelerate investment, the nation has implemented the “Super- Cluster” program that allows companies to be eligible for eight-year corporate tax exemptions and an additional five-year reduction of 50 percent, provided they are in the designated cluster areas. The country also has aviation schools that offer courses for engineers, technicians and mechanics.

Thailand’s transport ministry has also commenced a development plan that started in 2017 and will last until 2031, with the plan divided into three phases. The first phase between 2017 and 2021 will see Thai Airways building a new MRO centre; the second phase will focus on the continued expansion of the centre until 2026; and the third phase will target the expansion of the nation’s aviation design and manufacturing capabilities. Moreover, the Thai government has also initiated a US$5.7 billion plan to transform its U-Tapao airport into an MRO centre.

The airport is located 140 km southeast of the nation’s capital city, Bangkok, and will start operations by 2026. The country currently has six MRO providers servicing the aerospace industry, but industry experts said it would take at least a decade to put the necessary infrastructure in place before the country can be on the same footing as Singapore’s MRO sector.

These government-led initiatives could create a US$30.8 million industry as well as 7,500 jobs, according to officials from the Thai government. Additionally, it could reduce the cost of the annual maintenance for local airlines by US$20 million over 30 years.

Big Data: Advancing Aerospace MRO

MRO providers play an essential role in sustaining the world’s airline fleets, and assuring aircraft safety and airworthiness. Image source: Rolls Royce

Big Data: Advancing Aerospace MRO

As more highly connected next-generation aircraft enter the world’s fleets in the next 20 years, MRO providers and original equipment manufacturers are adopting strategies to collect the right information from the vast amount of data gathered through IIoT technologies. The aerospace MRO sector operates on thin profit margins, and MRO providers are under continuous pressure to be as efficient as possible—big data enables providers to improve operational efficiency and minimise downtime.

“As an SME, we must also start to take advantage of Industry 4.0 technologies to improve our utilisation and productivity,” stated Soh Chee Siong, chief executive officer of JEP Precision Engineering—a manufacturer of Inconel and titanium products for the aerospace industry— at the launch of their smart factory in Singapore in November 2017.

“More so in Singapore’s context, where the labour market is tight and operating cost is increasing, we must transform the company using this technology, and create a more data-driven environment so that decisions can be made efficiently and effectively,” added Mr Soh.

All About The Data

Numerous opportunities are available in the MRO sector that leverage on big data to enable services such as predictive analytics, improved monitoring of usage patterns, or tracking and anaylsing the health of equipment in real-time. Centralising information is also essential—a central database needs to store all the vital data and link them back to the source files to ensure that all updates are automatically delivered to staff.

Planning, part tracking, and visit packaging of scheduled routine maintenance are important in the MRO environment. Thus, MRO providers need to ensure the integration of a content authoring/publishing system into an MRO data management tool which will provide significant added value. With the capability of authoring routine and non-routine job cards directly from the data collection environment, maintenance activities can be efficiently created based on established maintenance schedules and then be tracked according to the company’s needs.

In today’s advancing digital era, it is essential to create value with the information gathered through IIoT technologies, especially so for emerging economies that want to garner momentum in the aerospace MRO sector.

Asia-Pacific To Be Dominant Driver In Global Infrastructure Investment

Asia Pacific: International law firm CMS released a report which found that Australia, Singapore and China are driving momentum and interest for infrastructure investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report ranked 40 jurisdictions in order of infrastructure investment attractiveness according to six key criteria, including economic status, sustainability and innovation, as well as ease of doing business.

Four of the top 20 spots for investment attractiveness were secured by Asia-Pacific countries in the report, with robust economic growth across the region, ambitious renewables plans, and the world’s largest infrastructure project—China’s Belt And Road—set to reshape the continent’s landscape over the next decade.

Top Asia-Pacific countries by ranking. Image Source: CMS

The Netherlands claimed top spot overall, despite a prolonged period with no government at all, after seeing the highest GDP growth since 2007, around 3.3 percent in 2017. The country’s success was in part down to its transparent and efficient procurement process, and its healthy multi-billion euro pipeline in road and water public-private-partnerships. Other countries in the top five included Canada, Germany, the UK and Australia.

Co-head of infrastructure and project finance in the UK and CMS partner, Kristy Duane, commented, “From China’s Belt and Road to the UK’s Brexit bump in the road, politics and policy remain central to shaping infrastructure investment flows globally.”

China’s Belt And Road initiative continues to deliver on the promised infrastructure boom in Asia. Given the longevity of this project, changes in the balance of infrastructure investment in the region are likely to be profound. Though ranked at 20th position in the Index, China is primed to become a global engine of investment, with close to a trillion dollars expected to flow through the initiative by its completion, whilst highly ranked countries such as Australia and Singapore continue to benefit from stable and prosperous economies.

Australia’s federal target of 33,000 GWh generated from renewable sources by 2020 has led to increased investment in solar and wind projects, and Singapore’s multi-billion-dollar development of Changi Airport’s Terminal 5 and the Tuas shipping megaport will solidify its position as a premier transport and trade hub globally. Further afield, opportunities in the likes of Malaysia and India are plenty— with renewable energy set to play a central role in future projects.

Adrian Wong, Partner at CMS Singapore said, “The Asia-Pacific region is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and most ambitious infrastructure projects, and the spread of four countries within the Index top 20 reflects an ever developing opportunity for investment. While key success factors like government stability and political certainty cannot be ignored, the potential impact of the Belt And Road Initiative alone promises to stimulate economic growth through the continent and far beyond.”

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