On October 4, 2018, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon visited the premises of the additive manufacturing startup Structo. He revealed that since 2013, the government has invested SGD 500 million to aid additive manufacturing, and has collaborated with over 800 companies from various sectors to train over 400 professionals. This year they have supported more than 120 associated projects, worth over SGD 30 million in total. The projects are primarily based in the aerospace, biological & pharmaceutical manufacturing, marine & offshore, precision engineering, and construction industries.
The government’s support for additive manufacturing is not only dedicated to technological developments says Koh, but also focuses on human capital, which consists of related technology experts, as well as talent for material science research and new machine and product development. Manufacturing accounts for 20% of Singapore’s GDP, therefore in order to maintain competitiveness, progress is required toward high-end value chains, including more precise and advanced customization technologies such as 3D additive manufacturing printing technology, and 3D printing.
Structo’s dental 3D printer is a great example. Not only does the company own the intellectual rights, the product is successfully commercialized and continues to be researched and developed. With funding from SEEDS Capital (the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore (ESG)), SEEDS Capital’s co-investment partners Wavemaker, and US tech venture capital firm GGV Capital, Structo sells its products in over 20 countries around the world. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that Asia’s total investment in additive manufacturing will reach SGD 4.9 billion by 2021. Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020) plan also identifies additive manufacturing as an essential technology area for growth.
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