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MTI: Precision Engineering A Key Growth Source In Singapore Economy

Singapore foresees that its manufacturing sector, particularly the precision engineering (PE) industry, will continue to drive the national economy further as it enjoys steady growth.

This was the statement made by Senior Minister of State Lee Yi Shyan from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Development during the 2013 MTA, a machine tools trade show, exhibition, and conference held in early April.

According to the official, the manufacturing sector is “a key pillar” in the economy of Singapore, accounting for one-fifth of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), equivalent to S$60.2 billion.

The Precision Engineering industry, in particular, comprises 15 percent of the manufacturing sector’s value, or S$8.8 billion. It is in this industry too that a fourth of the manufacturing sector’s total workforce of 400,000 is employed.

The ministry has identified growth both in the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) segment and the precision and components segment, the latter growing by three percent in 2012 because of higher production rates in optical instruments, photographic equipment, and electronic connectors.

Another area of growth identified was additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. According to the minister, 3D printing could be used for industry verticals like aerospace, automotive, medical, marine, and oil and gas industries. He added that the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology or SIMTech has developed the laser-aided additive manufacturing or LAAM technology that could aid in the fabrication, modification, and repair of high-value components used by industries in Singapore.

He also identified boosting manpower productivity as one of the main growth strategies for the Precision Engineering industry. The S$52-million Precision Engineering Vocational Continuing Education and Training, which started in 2011, aims to address this window for improvement.

“As the precision engineering industry in Singapore transforms and moves up the value chain, it is paramount that we remain competitive and continue to stay at the forefront of technology,” the minister said.