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Business Expectations Of Singapore’s Manufacturing Sector (Oct 2018 To Mar 2019)

Business Expectations Of Singapore’s Manufacturing Sector (Oct 2018 to Mar 2019)

A majority of firms (a weighted 81 percent) in the manufacturing sector expects the business situation in the next six months to remain similar to a quarter ago. A weighted nine percent of manufacturers expects business conditions to improve while a weighted 10 percent foresees a softer business outlook. Overall, a net weighted balance of one percent of manufacturers anticipates a less favourable business situation for the period October 2018 – March 2019, compared to the third quarter of 2018.

Within the manufacturing sector, the transport engineering cluster is the most optimistic about business conditions, with a net weighted balance of 21 percent of firms expecting improvement, compared to a quarter ago. In the marine & offshore engineering segment, the oil & gas field equipment manufacturers anticipate more orders on the back of firmer oil prices. The shipyards foresee more ship repairing work while offshore rig orders remain subdued. Additionally, in the aerospace segment, firms continue to expect strong demand for aircraft engine repair in the next six months.

In the biomedical manufacturing cluster, a net weighted balance of six percent of firms foresee a favourable operating environment in the next six months. This positive sentiment is largely due to the medical technology segment which expects export orders to remain strong.

The rest of the manufacturing clusters are less optimistic about business prospects compared to a quarter ago. In particular, the machinery & systems segment in the precision engineering cluster and the infocomms & consumer electronics segment in the electronic cluster anticipate weaker orders, given growing concerns over the global trade tensions.

Output Forecast for October – December 2018

Compared to the third quarter of 2018, a net weighted balance of two percent of manufacturers expects output to increase in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The biomedical manufacturing cluster is the most optimistic, with a net weighted balance of 27 per cent of firms projecting a higher level of production in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to a quarter ago. The medical technology segment projects increased output to meet export demand for medical devices. In addition, the pharmaceuticals segment forecasts higher production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biologics in the next three months.

A net weighted balance of 19 per cent of firms in the transport engineering cluster expects a higher level of activity in the next three months. The aerospace segment anticipates more aircraft engine repairs while the marine & offshore engineering segment foresees more ship repairing work.

A net weighted balance of 12 percent of firms in the general manufacturing industries cluster projects increased output in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to previous quarter. Within the cluster, the food, beverages & tobacco segment anticipates higher production due in part to the year-end festive demand. In addition, the miscellaneous industries segment expects higher output of batteries as export demand from Europe and the US remains strong.

By contrast, the precision engineering cluster is the least upbeat, with a net weighted balance of 23 percent of firms projecting a fall in production level in the fourth quarter of 2018. The weaker production outlook is largely due to the machinery and systems segment, which anticipates lower production due to uncertainties in demand amid global trade tensions.

Employment Forecast For October – December 2018

A majority of firms (a weighted 85 percent) in the manufacturing sector expects the employment level in the next three months ending December 2018 to remain similar to a quarter ago. Overall, a net weighted balance of one percent of manufacturers plans to hire fewer workers in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to the third quarter. Among the manufacturing clusters, the electronics, precision, transport engineering and general manufacturing industries clusters expect to hire fewer workers for the period October – December 2018.

Factors Affecting Export Orders For October – December 2018

A majority of firms (a weighted 70 percent) in the manufacturing sector reported no limiting factors that would affect their ability to obtain export orders in the fourth quarter of 2018. A weighted 25 percent of firms, on the other hand, indicated price competition from overseas competitors, and economic and political conditions abroad as the top two limiting factors that could affect their export orders.

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A Brief Review Of Electrochemical And Electrodischarge Machining

A Brief Review Of Electrochemical And Electrodischarge Machining

EDM and ECM processes are advanced manufacturing technologies with unique capabilities due to their non-mechanical material removal principles can be found in different areas of application in industry offering a better alternative or sometimes the only alternative in generating accurate 3D complex shaped macro, micro and nano features and components of difficult-to-machine materials.

Introduction

Electrochemical Machining (ECM) is a non-traditional machining (NTM) process belonging to Electrochemical category. ECM is opposite of electrochemical or galvanic coating or deposition process. Thus ECM can be thought of a controlled anodic dissolution at atomic level of the work piece that is electrically conductive by a shaped tool due to flow of high current at relatively low potential difference through an electrolyte which is quite often water based neutral salt solution.

On the other hand, Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) is a controlled metal-removal process that is used to remove metal by means of electric spark erosion. In this process an electric spark is used as the cutting tool to cut (erode) the workpiece to produce the finished part to the desired shape.

Wire EDM beginnings in 1969, the Swiss firm Agie produced the world's first wire EDM.

Wire EDM beginnings in 1969, the Swiss firm Agie produced the world’s first wire EDM. Image Credit: Pinterest

Challenges Of Machining

The demand for macro- and micro- products and components of difficult-to–machine materials such as tool steel, carbides, super alloys and titanium alloys has been rapidly increasing in automotive, aerospace, electronics, optics, medical devices and communications industries. In spite of their exceptional properties, many of these difficult-to-machine materials seem to have limited applications. These materials pose many challenges to conventional machining processes (such as turning and milling).

For example, titanium alloys are susceptible to work hardening and its low thermal conductivity and higher chemical reactivity result in high cutting temperature and strong adhesion between the tool and work material leading to tool wear. Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) and Electrochemical Machining (ECM) offer a better alternative or sometimes the only alternative in generating accurate 3D complex shaped features and components of these difficult –to- machine materials.

Advantages of ECM

One of the major advantages of ECM is the scalability of the process with the use of multiple electrodes on the same machining setup. ECM using multiple electrodes machined to machine arrays of micro holes results in increased productivity. Taper induced on the workpiece during ECM drilling is a major concern. Some of the tool designs for the reduction of taper include dual pole tools, insulated tools, and tools with shaped ends.

High conductivity, heat resistance and high melting point are the main desired properties for an EDM tool. The most common materials used in EDM tooling are copper, graphite, tungsten and tungsten carbide. Research is being done on many new materials including composites for EDM tooling.

Typical as well as innovative examples of application for the most important areas of application – die and mold manufacturing, turbomachinery component manufacture, tooling and prototyping and medical engineering. In addition, combined and even hybrid EDM and ECM processes are known with superior overall process performance.

Electro-Chemical Machining (ECM) with up to four Axes.

Electro-Chemical Machining (ECM) with up to four Axes. Image Credit: Pinterest

In all areas of application, the final surface integrity defines the later part performance. Therefore, the machining processes have to be designed and executed in such a way that the specific operation demands are fully met by the remaining surface modifications of the machined part. From application point of view different manufacturing processes could only compete with each other when providing at least the same part functionality and therefore similar material modifications.

Summary

While EDM incorporates thermal energy dissipation, ECM purely relies on a chemical material removal principle. ECM and EDM technologies have been successfully adapted to produce macro, micro components with complex features and high aspect ratios for biomedical and other applications. These processes are also being attempted at the nano-scale.

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