A*STAR IMRE, SPRING launch innovation centre for SG SMEs
The A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and SPRING Singapore on Tuesday officially launched the Materials Centre of Innovation (COI), which will assist the country's more than 450 SMEs through advanced materials technology to stimulate solutions development and product commercialisation.
Hosted by IMRE, the centre will also assist SMEs in breaking new ground through the development of proof-of-concepts, product prototyping or fabrication scaling. It will work with SMEs to transfer necessary knowledge in adopting the use of materials technologies and create new business opportunities.
The centre is already in collaboration with a few SMEs such as HVS Engineering, an SME in the business of pipeline cleaning. HVS was looking to improve the heat and shock resistance of their products for expansion into the oil and gas industry. "We knew we had to improve the technology used but were not able to source for the right materials or engage in the necessary research and development required for the job," explained Mr Alex Chow, Managing Director of HVS Engineering.
Launch of the Materials Centre of Innovation in Singapore. (L-R) Andy Hor, Executive Director, A*STAR IMRE; Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry; Ted Tan, Deputy Chief Executive, SPRING Singapore.
"More than just concepts and theories, we want to create ready-to-use technology that SMEs can easily apply in their own businesses. The COIs offer applied knowledge and the required expertise for our SMEs to devise tangible solutions." said Mr John Lu, Director of Manufacturing & Engineering, Industry Development Group, SPRING Singapore. "Due to the nature of our R&D and ability to customise a material to adapt to different functions, IMRE will be a strong partner to help give SMEs the flexibility to also adapt their products to compete better, and respond quicker in today's fast-paced technology environment," said Dr Leong Yew Wei, Centre Manager of the Materials COI who is also a scientist from IMRE.
The new Materials COI will be the seventh Centre of Innovation in Singapore. COIs are established with the support of SPRING to help SMEs in developing their technology innovation capabilities. Hosted by the various polytechnics or A*STAR research institutes, the other six COIs are the Food Innovation & Resource Centre, Marine & Offshore Technology COI, Environmental & Water Technology COI, Precision Engineering COI, COI for Electronics and COI for Supply Chain Management. To date, they have embarked on more than 1,800 projects, benefitting over 2,700 companies.
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