Welcome Address by
Professor Subra Suresh
President, Nanyang Technological University
Expansion of Schaeffler Hub for Advanced Research at NTU joint lab (SHARE@NTU Lab)
Nanyang Executive Centre
Thursday, 5 May 2022, 2:30 pm
Your Excellency, Dr Norbert Riedel, German Ambassador to Singapore,
Mr Dharmesh Arora, Chief Executive Officer, Schaeffler Asia Pacific,
Mr Uwe Wagner, Uwe Wagner, Chief Technology Officer, Schaeffler,
NTU colleagues and friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon, and welcome to today’s event.
We are honoured to have with us today Ambassador Norbert Riedel, and our corporate partners from Schaeffler, who have travelled all the way from Germany, to join us for this important occasion this afternoon.
New level of Schaeffler-NTU collaboration
Today marks a new milestone in the successful partnership between Schaeffler and NTU Singapore.
Launched in 2017 with the support of various government agencies here in Singapore, the Schaeffler Hub for Advanced Research at NTU, or SHARE at NTU Lab for short, was initially set up to address transportation challenges by harnessing intelligent solutions to further Singapore's Smart Nation agenda.
NTU is privileged to be among an exclusive group of only five leading universities around the world that are part of Schaeffler's SHARE global research network. The SHARE at NTU Lab partnership draws on NTU’s interdisciplinary strengths and Schaeffler’s wealth of experience to produce game-changing industry solutions.
Industry partnerships are a big part of NTU 2025, the University’s ambitious five-year strategic plan to tackle some of humanity’s grand challenges. NTU is strongly engaged with industry partners – we have more than 250 industry collaborators across the world, including SMEs – across a spectrum of broad disciplines to develop solutions and create opportunities that lead to innovations and technological advances for commercialisation. In the last few years, the University has established a significant number of collaborations with leading global companies such as Rolls-Royce from the UK, HP from California, Alibaba from Guangzhou in China, Singtel in Singapore and many more.
The SHARE at NTU lab has since widened its scope and aims to promote successful commercialisation of Industry 4.0 solutions to benefit the industry and contribute to our nation’s economic transformation.
Rise of Robots and IOT in manufacturing
At the heart of Industry 4.0 are a range of manufacturing technologies that fuse the physical, the biological, and the digital worlds, with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles and 3D printing seen as main drivers. These are also areas in which in the last several years, NTU has emerged as a global leader in terms of new research and translation of research into industry and societal applications.
In fact, just in the last few years, some of the areas that propelled these technologies, include CS, chemical engineering, and more, the programmes at NTU are ranked in the top 10 of the world, due to the pedagogical guidance we provide to our students.
Today, Industry 4.0 is moving factories towards a high level of collaboration between human workers and industrial robots. By converging robotics with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), machine learning and data analytics, these technological solutions help to improve efficiency and productivity in manufacturing.
In the near future for example, robots and humans will work together synergistically sharing human and the capabilities of each. Robots will play an important role in improving workers’ health and safety by taking charge of risky and repetitive operations with higher accuracy, speed, and repeatability. In the same way, humans will have the flexibility and sensibility to adapt to new working tasks and to improve the quality of manufacturing operations thanks to their cognitive skills.
These technological solutions will help to alleviate some of the challenges faced by tight labour markets such as Singapore’s and also not to mention, declining birth rates and an ageing population, where manufacturing represents a significant component of the nation’s gross domestic product — approximately 20 percent, and currently standing at S$106 billion.
Last year, the Singapore government announced its Manufacturing 2030 vision to grow the sector’s value-add by 50 per cent over the next 10 years. The manufacturing sector needs to embrace digital capabilities to capture growth, remain competitive, and protect long-term profitability.
The expansion of the collaboration between NTU and Schaeffler will see the new Smart Mechatronic Lab for Industrial Collaborative Robotics in Manufacturing at the SHARE at NTU lab contribute to Singapore's Manufacturing 2030 ambitions by advancing smart manufacturing solutions and human-robot collaborations.
NTU Singapore's strong focus on technology and research talent pool in advanced manufacturing makes us well positioned to work with Schaeffler to develop advanced solutions in this field. With a new combined funding of over S$22 million over three years, the Smart Mechatronic Lab will form a significant part of the SHARE at NTU Lab.
Over the next three years, the SHARE at NTU Lab will work on seven projects centred on three research thrusts:
- Industrial Collaborative Robotics (Cobot),
- Industrial Automated Mobile Robot Platforms (AMR), and
- Industrial IoT for Smart Factory Applications.
These projects will draw on the expertise of faculty members and engineers from NTU’s Schools of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering as well as Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Schaeffler’s researchers, engineers and scientists in diverse fields including collaborative and mobile robotics, navigation, AI, computer vision, and digital manufacturing. Their work will eventually be translated into real-life products and solutions that will benefit Schaeffler’s customers, as well as Singapore’s start-ups and others.
This significant milestone in our partnership would not have been possible if not for the collective effort of all the parties involved. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to our colleagues from Schaeffler for your commitment and continued confidence.
I would also like to thank all the Schaeffler R&D staff and NTU faculty members ― especially Professors Domenico Campolo and Zheng Yuanjin of NTU and Dr Han Boon Siew of Schaeffler ― for your tremendous efforts that have led to today’s milestone event.
Thank you very much.