Roll-Royce occupies an important role in Singapore’s aerospace industry, leading the way in advanced manufacturing and promoting R&D.

Bicky Bhangu

DIRECTOR, SINGAPORE, ROLLS-ROYCE

March 22, 2017

Could you provide a brief overview of Rolls-Royce in Singapore and outline your offering for the aerospace industry?

Rolls-Royce operates internationally with five strategic ‘home countries’: the UK, the US, Germany, Norway and Singapore. In Singapore, we have a significant footprint at the Seletar Aerospace Park. Our 154,000 sqm Seletar Campus is an integrated facility where we manufacture wide chord fan blades, assemble and test Trent engines, conduct our employee and customer training, and have a focused customer service center for our Asia Pacific airline customers. This is complimented by our MRO joint venture in Singapore, SAESL, providing support for the full lifecycle of an aero engine. Together this totals 1,500 employees working in Singapore, which added to our JV, becomes a pool of 2,500 people in total.

When we opened our Seletar Campus in 2012, it marked a significant milestone for Singapore’s aerospace industry – Singapore can say that it makes, flies and service engines. It’s worth highlighting that our Singapore footprint contributes to the global Rolls-Royce Research & Technology strategy. We have an extensive research footprint in Singapore in the area of manufacturing technology, electrical systems and digital systems.

While 90% of our operations in Singapore are related to the civil aerospace market, we also engaged with the defense sector.

Why was Singapore selected as one of Rolls-Royce’‘home country’ markets?

Over half of our civil aerospace order books come from Asia and the Middle East, so it’s important for us to have a presence that’s close to our customers. It is also vital to our business model as 50% of the overall Rolls-Royce revenue comes from after-market services and support. Consequently, we understand the importance of a regional hub to the success of our customers’ operations.

Our commitment is supported by Singapore’s very clear and structured national strategy which puts aerospace at the forefront of future development. The fact Singapore has strong governance, transparency, and a highly skilled workforce all contribute to Singapore being one of our strategic locations.

Could you describe Rolls-Royce’s partnerships with local universities and research institutions?

In order to keep developing the most cutting edge technology, we need to work with the brightest and best minds from specialist universities globally. Rolls-Royce invested £1.2 billion on R&D in 2015, and has established a network of 31 University Technology Centers worldwide, of which Nanyang Technology University (NTU) is one. So we collaborated with NTU to form Rolls-Royce@NTU Corporate Lab. We have more than 2,000 sq m in Singapore allotted for laboratories for data analytics, repair, electrical systems and manufacturing.

We believe that getting involved with partnerships with universities and research institutions will help nurture talent and inspire the next generation of future engineers and scientists. We take around 100 interns every year into our Singapore workforce. This is vital to ensuring a consistent and highly skilled talent pool not just for us, but also for the wider industry.  

Could you provide an overview of the digital activities that Rolls-Royce is involved in?

Rolls-Royce supplies a broad range of services within the digital sector, from sensor technologies, software and connectivity, to improving productivity in the factories of the future. Building on our expertise in civil aerospace, where we are already using Big Data in our TotalCare services. We are also developing ship intelligence; we are pioneering the technology behind autonomous vessels, utilizing IoT (digital connectivity), which can be remotely controlled.

One of the major challenges in the digital field is creating adequate algorithms that can integrate the whole value chain. Rolls-Royce is adding value as a systems integrator, which is why we are seen as a strong partner in the country. We are starting to develop predictive rather than reactive maintenance. The ultimate target is to develop the technologies of the future by embracing digital, automation and robotics developments, which will add value to our operations.

Which are your key objectives for Rolls-Royce in Singapore, for the next 3-5 years?

I would like to see our Seletar Campus’ facilities operating at 100% capacity: producing more than 8,600 fan-blades per year, assembling our target of 250 engines / year and assembling a new engine type. We are already in pre-production phase with the Trent 7000 and will start production in 2017.

We want to maximize our digital technologies that will improve and develop our products, services, factories and processes.

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