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them to local needs. However, their real problems. If the papers do not industry, such as the ten commandexpertise is growing rapidly and will address grand challenges, then at least ments of concurrent engineering, design allow them to be much more innova- their proposed solutions and approaches for assembly, design-build-teams, etc. tive in the future.
are current and competitive. They are Of course, like elsewhere, they are not A very similar assessment was pro- actively trying most of the techniques always implemented as well as one would vided to me by another invited speaker, that are being discussed within the like. They are also well aware of major
manufacturing science community programs such as the Ministry of InterProf. Stephen C.-Y. Lu
today. (This is not surprising, as almost national Trade and Industry's (MITI's) Director, Knowledge-Based all Singaporean senior scientists have IMS, micromachines, and others and
Engineering Systems Research in-depth knowledge of Western participate actively in standard-making Laboratory
approaches and in most cases have visited organizations. In particular, they see University of Illinois at Urbana- or studied at U.K., U.S., or other lead- standards are essential to allow them Champaign
ing universities.) Furthermore, visitors to produce products that can have a 1206 West Green Street
to GINTIC were all extremely impressed, large market. Urbana, IL 61801
and if these accomplishments are judged The key ingredients in Singaporean Tel: (217) 333-6662
by regional standards, the results are science, as I see it, are focus and coorFax: (217) 244-6534
even more impressive. The country is dination. The country has a view of E-mail: email@example.com trying to develop value-added solutions where it wants to go. Essentially all
and perform enough focused research government policy is thus directed Making these comments about to make their own products more effi- toward this goal; it is not so much that Singaporean developments is in no sense cient, cost effective, or both. For exam- general research ideas are discouraged, to diminish their accomplishments. Lu ple, we were shown a track following but instead work toward the country's pointed out to me that
robot at GINTIC. The robot is built goals is supported so vigorously that
with perfectly standard technology, and other activities seem to take a very Manufacturing is not a science, if it was observed in a section of a U.S. minor back seat. Because of Singapore's at least not in a traditional defi- or Japanese factory, it would have been exceptionally strong economy in recent nition of science. Rather, it is a totally unremarkable. In fact, it still years, there are large quantities of money true engineering. The difference had a few minor glitches. The interest- available for the right kind of applied here is an important one, because ing thing here was that it was entirely research. For example, the Governscience is often revolutionary and designed and built by a class at the ment has recently announced that over engineering is always evolution- university. Similarly impressive is the the next 5 years it would spend about ary. I agree that most manufac
large amount of equipment that is $S2B (about $1.3B) on the informaturing work in Singapore is not available for experimentation (includ- tion technology part of a National earth-shaking, but their persis- inga stereolithography unit), although Technology Plan and that by 1995 the tent and progressive efforts in this has all been purchased from research and development investment careful implementations of Japanese, U.S., or European Commu- would reach 2% of the country's gross manufacturing technologies are, nity (EC) suppliers. (However, see the domestic product (GDP). The money to my judgment, the right way to comments below in the National Uni- will be focused in areas where Singapore deal with manufacturing engi- versity of Singapore (NUS) section on feels it will do the most good, specifineering.
potential problems.) This view of the cally manufacturing, computing (more
activities in Singapore was also shared generally, information technology), and Further cooperation between GINTIC by virtually all the Western attendees biotechnology. Of these, manufacturand Western scientists is also in the at the symposium. Finally, I want to ing is seen as the key sector for the offing. Lu also told me that he is dis- mention that Singaporean scientists are growth of Singapore and CIM is seen as cussing the possibility of transferring very well read and aware of what is the bridge between computing and one of the machine learning system going on elsewhere. The best example manufacturing. The mission of the developed in his Illinois laboratory to of this is their choice of invitees to research community, at least with respect GINTIC for pre-production enhance- ICCIM'91, but this was also clear from to manufacturing, is to invigorate the ments.
discussions on the conference floor. manufacturing sector with many aspects A very substantial fraction of the They understand the modern princi
They understand the modern princi- of IT. More specifically this means papers presented at ICCIM'91 were ples that are now guiding advanced written by Singaporeans, often about
• Provide training/consultancy/ In software more generally, the • Trend toward flexible manufactur
education in use of IT in manufac- country sees that open systems, soft- ing (one assembly line easily changed; turing.
ware development methodologies, thus process rather than product
object-oriented (00) techniques, and specific). Provide value-added solutions build- CASE are most critical to its software ing on top of existing tools (system industry. In a related study, Singapore • Trend toward information-based integration/customization).
feels that between 1995-2000 the key organizations (fewer levels of midtechnologies that will be absorbed into
management whose only job is to Develop generic manufacturing manufacturing will be virtual reality, repackage and move information applications such as manufacturing machine vision, EDI services, E-mail, from bottom to top). simulator, document management high performance computing, and system, neuro-fuzzy controller, etc. advanced control. Areas such as fuzzy • Trend toward knowledge workers
logic, simulation, real-time systems, and and integration of information. • Provide general assistance in national electronic document management are efforts in IT.
already viewed as having been absorbed, In Singapore, industries are repre
and new technologies that are currently sented as shown in Table 1. A very hard-headed look has been being absorbed include neuro-fuzzy Manufacturing, mostly discrete made into what this takes. For exam- control, image processing, and distrib- manufacturing, is a major part of ple, a chart was produced plotting tech- uted processing.
Singapore's success. In 1989 it pronologies on the x-y axis of competitive The trends that are seen in detailed duced more than one-quarter of the (Singaporean) advantage versus bene- manufacturing, at least in Singapore, GDP ($S63B), employed almost 400,000 fits. Those technologies in the upper
people (more than one-quarter of the right-hand corner, knowledge systems,
available manpower), and accounted CIM, local/wide area networks (LAN/ • Trend toward mass customization for fully 65% of domestic exports. There WAN), Asian language, video text, and (i.e., everybody's product is a cus- were 3,700 firms employing more than EDI value-added networks, are those tom job).
10 people, 580 firms employing more that will get the most attention and
than 100 persons, and 125 firms employsupport. Interestingly, technologies in • Trend toward concurrent engineer- ing more than 500 persons. Only the the lower left corner are parallel pro- ing (consideration of all aspects of financial and business services sector cessing, neural computing, fuzzy sys- product life cycle, from conception contributes more to Singapore's GDP tems, and B-ISDN. (This view is not to disposal); also called simultane- (40%). very different from that proposed for ous engineering.
Singapore has many things going the EC.)
2.0 2.4 3.5 6.1 6.5 7.1 8.7 10.0 10.7 12.7
4.6 2.6 3.3 5.2 39.0 3.1 2.4
5.3 5.1 4.0 7.6 36.1 2.6 4.1
1.4 1.4 6.2
7.1 35.6 3.0 4.4 8.0 6.9 8.0
4.5 5.1 16.1 14.1
5.5 5.8 7.5 16.4
• A pool of educated and computer • Asmall internal market (Singapore interact with modeling tools and engiliterate workers.
is less than 3 million).
neering databases for process plans and
will control machines via neural net • Very generous government incen- • Lack of experienced technical peo- schemes. With the help of simulators, tives for industry.
an operator can predict what will hap
pen and study what-if situations. On World class manufacturing technol- • A reluctance to share information top of the factory system is a collection ogy, mostly from multinationals. among its local companies. of software, distributed manufacturing Some of this is potentially available
resource planning, document managefor technology transfer.
It is clear from the first three points ment system, intelligent control, and
that Singapore must look at almost intelligent interface software. This, in • Astrong research and development everything they do from an "interna- turn, is built upon various standards (R&D) infrastructure.
tional” perspective. As the world (such as X.400, IGES, Open Systems,
becomes a more peaceful place and etc.) and basic technologies (CAD/ • Good tertiary institutions.
international cooperation, rather than CAM, real time systems, etc.). In fact,
competition, is increased, Singapore standardization is an important comExcellent communications network, will be a main and strong player. ponent of Singapore's R&D programs and a compact country.
As discussed in my earlier report, IT in manufacturing.
is highly developed in Singapore. In Proposed areas for R&D in manu• Existing investment in CAD/CAM manufacturing more than 60% of facturing are
and automated manufacturing manufacturers use some kind of comincluding more than 3,400 CAD puterized technology, although most • System integration tools and methworkstations in smaller companies, of it is in accounting, finance, payroll, odology to support CIM implemen200 autonomous guided vehicles word processing, and inventory con- tation. (AGVs), etc.).
trol. Naturally, computer usage is less
in SMEs. For example, nearly 100% of • Shop floor control and monitoring • A group of very knowledgeable and the larger companies use computers systems.
capable leaders at the top to do for payroll, but only about 50% of the
• Development of knowledge-based
In the view of Singaporean scien- systems for planning, scheduling, But the country also has some obvi- tists, future factories (year 2000) will and fault diagnosis. ous weaknesses.
be composed of intelligent manufac
turing cells and built on the concepts of • Automated material handling. • A large gap between the multina- JIT (just in time), CIM, and concurrent
tionals and the small-to-medium engineering. Intelligent cells will have • Automated warehousing and storsized indigenous industries (SMEs). one to four computer-controlled pro- age/retrieval system. SMEs are seen as lacking both cessing machines capable of processconcept as well as technique, partic- ing several parts simultaneously, con- • Interorganizational information flow ularly in areas of measurement and nected by an automated material han- integration. quality control.
dling system and controlled by a pro
grammable cell controller. One research • System simulation for production • Lack of downstream manufactur- project is to develop a truly adaptive planning.
ing design, particularly product manufacturing cell. It is expected to design, which is seen to be very weak. involve object-oriented modeling, expert
• Flexible manufacturing systems. Singapore has widespread applica- systems, neural nets, and a simulation tions in automation production and user interface for the operator. Neural • Document management systems and assembly systems of machine vision, nets will be used for pattern recogni- integrating information flow. industrial robots, etc., but feels that tion, sensation, reaction, and control. it lacks knowledge in interfacing and Expert systems will provide machines • Engineering databases. related software technology. with reasoning and deduction capabil
ities. The expert system controller will
• Expert systems for process planning V. Narayanan (NARA)
system). Event-oriented simulation and analyzing manufacturing sys- Computer and Communications modeling is used. The simulator keeps tems.
track of the discrete events occurring
Information Technology Institute in the system and updates entities like This list is not far from Japan's IMS list National Computer Board
work center parts and products at the NCB Building
completion of each event. Rules and Several specific projects that I was 71 Science Park Drive
knowledge of production planners will told about include the following.
be stored in the knowledge-based Tel: 778-2211, 772-0903
analyzer module. • GEMS (Generic Manufacturing Fax: 777-3043, 779-5966
I met with Nara and listened to him Specifications) using CASE tools, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
explain the main ideas of his simulator. designed for electronics and fabri
This is a nice project, but it is just cated metal products industries. This project involves the development getting started. I also met with one of
of a customizable knowledge-based the team members, a recent B.S.grad• WINS (Worldwide INformation simulator to aid planning and control. uate who had very little experience in
Services), designed to provide infor- Nara is very realistic in assessing the this area and was learning while promation from a large number of data- use of simulation as one that
gramming in C++. Nara has many years bases on markets, industry statis
of actual shop floor production tics, exchange rates, technology May not offer the best solution, experience. monitoring, etc. Singapore has but brings out better solutions The second project is by already done an excellent job of since these are the results of a integrating many government forms series of repeated trials. Simula
Dr. Beng Siong Lim and making them available across a tion experiments may be per
GINTIC Institute of CIM wide user base as computerized data. formed under every conceivable Nanyang Technological University These include TRADENET for the (sic) set of system conditions, Singapore 2263 export industry, GRAPHNET for
parameters, or operating charexchange of CAD/CAM data, and acteristics, and is more realistic CIMIDES is a computer-integrated BUILDNET for construction as probabilistic models are used. manufacturing information and data agencies.
With advances in computer exchange system, which is in reality a
graphics and modeling, one can network of mini expert systems and a • IMPACT (Intelligent Manufactur- have a good perspective of the director of information. The director
ing Practices and ACTivities), which system and see its behavior. coordinates the data exchange between combines the ideas of sales/purchase Therefore, it helps in proposing the individual systems, both the raw orders over networks, engineering a new system of improving the data as well as deduced information, graphics interchange, expert sourc- existing system.
maintains consistency, and schedules ing of technology and product knowl
and prioritizes contributions by use of edge, and implementation of parts The system consists of a scheduler, a queue. Each mini expert system conof CALS (the U.S. Department of simulator, and knowledge-based trols a specific area and has its own Defense (DOD) computer-aided analyzer. Production planning and particular rules. These systems include acquisition and logistic support). control are treated as a management of the following. The view here is to do a better job flow of parts and information (process linking information between plans) through processors to produce • Intelligent Product Configuration companies.
end products. The scheduler module System
has some analytical methods like branch • CLASS (Continual Learning and and bound as well as heuristic rules for • Knowledge-Based Product Designer
ASSessment), for training and the initial schedule. There is also the upgrading skills.
provision for bypassing this module • Intelligent Component Designer
and allowing the user to input his Two specific projects are worth schedule or link the simulator to an • Intelligent Knowledge-Based describing in detail. One is being man- MRP (manufacturing resource planning Object-Oriented Process Planner aged by
• Modular Fixture Design Expert It has the usual programs and some It should be noted that the current System
unusual ones such as graduate pro- GINTIC efforts are mainly focused on
grams in International Construction the software aspects of CIM. In fact, • Intelligent Quality Assurance Management and Hotel Administra- they have decided to establish a sister Planner
tion. Special laboratories and centers institute to GINTIC, called the Insti
include the Institute for Manufactur- tute for Manufacturing Technology • Intelligent Material and Equipmenting Technology, Center for Advanced (IMT), with its own separate building Planner
Construction Studies, Microelectron- next to GINTIC, that will focus on the
ics Center, Computer Graphics Cen- hardware developments for CIM. • Autonomous Guided Vehicle ter, and Center for Transportation Currently, GINTIC is housed in Planner
Studies. NTU emphasizes work-study several buildings near the Mechanical
programs; in the United States they are Engineering Department on the NTU Expert Production Scheduling called co-ops, but Singapore calls them campus, but a new building is to be System
"business attachments." There are also built this year to bring the groups
a number of collaborative programs together and give them additional space. • Flexible Manufacturing System with Western universities, including Currently there is a staff of 84 divided Controller the Sloan School at the Massachusetts into four
into four groups, Institute of Technology (MIT), the Each mini expert system is developed University of Warwick, and • Research using an object-oriented representa- Loughborough University of Technoltion and the corresponding knowledge ogy. The NTU campus, which rises • Applications to provide services to bases are organized into a ring struc- somewhat Phoenix-like out of the trop- industry ture. The main difference between this ical vegetation, is a study in modern approach and other CIM systems is cast concrete. The buildings, including • Business to promote GINTIC and that it employs a common knowledge many dormitories, appear to be no more seek out commercialization opporbase rather than a common database. than a few years old, although doubt- tunities
less some are from the 1970s. GINTIC INSTITUTE OF CIM In my earlier report I described • Systems to provide support for the
GINTIC briefly, but had no opportuFrom my perspective, the most nity to visit at that time. This was originteresting aspect of ICCIM'91 was the inally established by NTI in partner- There is a management board and opportunity to see firsthand the work ship with Grumman in 1985 under the an international advisory panel, the latter being done at GINTIC. This facility is name “The Grumman International/ including senior university scientists located on the campus of Nanyang NTI CAD/CAM Center” as a 5-year from Germany, the United States, Japan, Technological Institute (NTI) about a program to develop local CAD/CAM and the United Kingdom. Research 40-minute bus ride from the center of expertise. When the collaborative programs at GINTIC reflect the comSingapore City, and essentially at the arrangement with Grumman ended in ments and views that have been made far west side of the island. Although 1989, the organization was renamed earlier. NTI has been in existence since 1972, GINTIC Institute of CIM; its 5-year on 1 August 1991 it changed its name period 1989-1994 is thought to be the • Management aspects of CIM from an institute to a university (NTU); second phase of its growth and is funded • System design literature refers to both although they by the National Science and Technol- • System modeling and simulation are the same place. Nanyang is the ogy Board at $S50.3M. The GINTIC • Factory automation “other” large tertiary institution in mission is to develop local expertise in
• Product design Singapore, Singapore's National Uni- CIM applications by working with versity being the first. NTU caters to local partners on collaborative research, The emphasis on industrial techabout 9,000 mostly residential under- technology transfer, and training and nology transfer is apparent. For examgraduate students and about 400 grad- education. GINTIC's role is perfectly ple, last year a CAD/CAM project for uate students, although some of those consistent with the comments that I the jewellers industry was begun, as are part-timers. Its focus is on science, made earlier about manufacturing sci- was a knee joint prosthesis project for engineering, business, and management. ence research in Singapore.
Singapore Aerospace and the National