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Singapore EDB partners German gas giant to establish Asia Pacific Digitalisation Hub

Singapore EDB partners German gas giant to establish Asia Pacific Digitalisation Hub

In partnership with Singapore Economic Development Board
(EDB), the German gas giant Linde Group announced the launch of its Asia Pacific Digitalisation
Hub on 5 Feb.

The
Asia Pacific Digitalisation Hub will see an investment of over S$30 million from
the Linde Group to develop digital technologies for its plants across
the region. It is Linde’s first digitalisation hub
outside of Germany.

The project aims
at accelerating the gases and engineering company’s digital transformation,
improving safety and process efficiency, and delivering better value to
customers.

Over the next four years, Linde will
modernise and upgrade all automation and IT systems at its gas production plant
in Jurong Island. By applying digital technology in advanced manufacturing, the
production facility will become a Plant of the Future.

The energy and chemicals (E&C)
industry is a key pillar of Singapore’s manufacturing sector. The country ranks
within the top 10 globally by chemical exports volume.

Most of the E&C companies are
located on Jurong Island which hosts over 100 global companies with cumulative
investments of over S$50 billion that provides good job opportunities to over 28,000
people.

The Singapore Government launched the Energy & Chemicals Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in October 2017. The ITM was developed in close partnership with industry partners, unions and trade associations to identify key strategies in innovation and productivity, as well as jobs and skills development. As reported earlier, the industry is expected to achieve a manufacturing value added of S$12.7 billion and introduce 1,400 new jobs by 2025.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Beh
Swan Gin, Chairman of EDB, stated that
Singapore is “committed to building a globally competitive manufacturing sector,
which contributes to about 20% of Singapore’s GDP over the medium and long term”.

Dr Beh also commented that as the
world’s largest industrial gas company, Linde supports the E&C industry with
a wide range of essential gases, such as hydrogen and carbon monoxide.  

According to Prof Dr
Aldo Belloni, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG, digitalisation is central to
the Group’s global strategy for growth and provides opportunities for it to
differentiate by delivering better solutions and convenience for customers.

For example, Linde
has established Remote Operations Centres in Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur that
combine artificial intelligence (AI) with big data to remotely operate more
than 200 plants across 14 different countries optimising production and energy
usage.

Philipp Karmires, Head of
Digitalisation at Linde AG, also echoed that digital technologies give the company “a
rapid, low-cost way to test and fast-track new ideas”.

At the Asia Pacific
Digitalisation Hub, Linde Digitalisation teams will work alongside engineers
and lines of business on projects and technology trials across the region.  Project
ideas are given three months to develop and then quickly transitioned and scaled
to business portfolio if they are proven to be successful.

Some digital
innovations and trial applications by Linde include: (1) the Digital Twin,
which is the use of virtual reality (VR) tools to train operators and
technicians using virtual copies of a plant, even before the physical plant is
completed, (2) smart glasses and telepresence to allow experts to remotely
support on-site technicians as they perform complex maintenance or troubleshooting,
(3) the use of AI to forecast customer demand and optimise cylinder stocking in
gas delivery vehicles as well as plans the safest delivery route, and (4) augmented
reality (AR) tools to help customers visualise application technology
deployments.

The Singapore Government has launched the Energy & Chemicals Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in October 2017. The ITM was developed in close partnership with industry partners, unions, and trade associations to identify key strategies in innovation and productivity, as well as jobs and skills development. As reported earlier, the industry is expected to achieve a manufacturing value added of S$12.7 billion and introduce 1,400 new jobs by 2025.

In fact, Singapore is home to many solutions and
innovation hubs for multinational companies. According to EDB, Singapore has
seen the establishment of these solution and/ or innovation hubs by several industry
partners like Emerson,
MANN+HUMMEL
and Evonik
within the last two months of 2017.