Fong's Gears Up for SME 4.0 - A perspective from a young manufacturing engineer.

Fong's Gears Up for SME 4.0 - A perspective from a young manufacturing engineer.

“Even though I just graduated, a lot of what I learnt in school and seeing it in real-life was different. I had to be trained on various adaptive, technical and technology skills. These may be related to IT or technology-specific and some of these projects tap on multiple disciplines such as data analytics, robotics and automation, which I had to dive deeper and understand more,” shared Han Myo Thaw, 29, a Manufacturing Engineer at Fong’s Engineering & Manufacturing Pte Ltd.

Han has been with Fong’s for over a year and his team is responsible for the smooth operations of its smart factory floor which produces parts used in medical scopes and devices.

When Han applied for a job at Fong’s, after obtaining his Mechanical Design Engineering degree from Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), he recalls his first impression of Fong’s factory floor:

“What greeted me was the stench of coolant and the typical green flooring commonly found in Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) precision engineering companies in Singapore. But today, it is very different. Now our production floor has many sensors, modern systems and a variety of robots and data moving around,” shared Han.

Doing a tyre change while driving

Fong’s is gearing itself to be an industry game changer by embracing the pillars of industry 4.0 to leverage on technology and digitalisation and build a smart factory. Tapping on the Industrial Internet-of-Thing (IIoT), Big Data, Robotics, Automation, Cloud and other new technology, it is making use of these new technologies to transform its traditional operations.

“It was very challenging to overhaul the whole production while we still had to deliver our orders. We had to stop a couple of production lines for upgrading while the older lines carried on with production. After the implementation, the output far surpassed our traditional lines and we could produce more parts and meet customers' delivery orders ahead of time,” recalls Han.

Learning While Driving

Picking up the knowledge and skills to tap on the benefits brought about by technology was a steep learning curve for Han.

Passionate about what he does and a keen learner, Han and his superior often share and discuss videos or interesting trending topics. Fong’s supportive culture on learning and development has attracted fresh talent like Han to the organisation.

“There were occasions when I came across external trainings which I felt were important for me and I asked my superior if I could attend. Not only did my company supported me in undergoing the training, they even sent my colleagues together with me and sponsored our training.”

Some of the training Han has attended includes “Industry 4.0: IoT and AI based Mass Personalization” supported by NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and other company wide training such as “Minitab Level 2: Data Analysis, Statistical and Process Improvement Tool”, “Omron: Basic Automation” and “Industry 4.0 Mindset Interactive Canvas”.

Managing learning with the demands of work is not easy, but Han believes it is important.

 

“Technology has allowed us to do things faster with better efficiency and control.  It is inevitable that these technologies cause disruption. We must leverage on the benefits these technologies bring while also learning to be a “Worker 4.0”. We need to continue to improve and upgrade our skills so that we can take on the non-repetitive and more complex jobs that robotic systems cannot perform.  I am grateful to have the support of my employer and organisations such as e2i in helping to provide time and resources to aid me on this exciting and transformative journey.”

With the formation of Company Training Council (CTC) within Fong’s Engineering, supported by Metal Workers’ Industry Union (MIWU) together with NTUC’s e2i, workers can look forward to customised training that is tailored to Fong’s operational needs and to future proof workers to be 4.0 ready.

For more information on e2i’s services for Singaporeans, visit https://e2i.com.sg/individuals

By Juliet Jo

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