From automated assembly lines to digital factory simulators, the future of manufacturing is taking shape in Jurong
18 Oct 2022 Written by

Seletar Aerospace Park (SAP) - a 320ha hub for aviation firms managed by JTC Corporation (JTC) - is also home to avian aviators such as migratory kingfishers and bee-eaters.

Its Hampstead Wetlands Park, which is Singapore's first wetlands in an industrial estate, draws birdwatchers and shutterbugs from around the island to admire the variety of wildlife that forage in the waterlily pond there.

After an afternoon glued to their cameras, these folks catch a bite at The Oval, a cluster of restaurants nearby which offer farm-to-table dishes, Teochew classics, and alfresco drinking and dining.

Over at JTC business park, one-north in Queenstown, a new restaurant concept called Under Der Linden promises an immersive dining experience melding floristry with food. There is also an incubator for young chefs called Magic Square which is set to wow diners with its culinary experiments.

These are interesting amenities in a business park known for its high-tech cluster of biomedical, infocomm technology and media companies.

So what happened to the dusty, grey industrial estate of yesteryear?

According to JTC, a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry which has been managing industrial estates and business parks since its inception in 1968, it is not enough to just provide a steady supply of industrial land and space to support the manufacturing sector that is a pillar of Singapore's economy.

There is a difference between industrial estates and business parks. The former is focused more on manufacturing while the latter is a hub for research and development, and knowledge-intensive activities.

It also has to continuously look at new ways to make the most of industrial land and to ensure that the planning and development of such infrastructure remains agile, is sustainable over the long haul and meets the needs of different industries.

"Today's manufacturing has rapidly evolved with production processes that are cleaner as industrialists are increasingly adopting automation and digitalisation," says Ms Tang Hsiao Ling, director of urban design and architecture at JTC.

These trends, she adds, present an exciting opportunity to explore new planning strategies that will not just allow the estates to adapt to emerging trends and future technologies, but also create circular economies within the ecosystems

But Singapore's limited land area and a growing population present a perennial challenge.

Ms Tang says one way to manage scarce resources is to seamlessly weave business estates into the surrounding urban fabric to create spaces that are also interactive, green and highly liveable.