When NTS’ Singapore division was looking to move site, one thing was clear: it’s got to be perfect. Keeping up to speed with semicon and analytical market leaders amidst the turbulent waters of Industry 4.0 requires a high-tech, custom-made production layout. “Our new space will accommodate significantly higher output and exude a more professional high-tech feel. The result after the renovations? An all-round, vertically integrated production site and office space, with D&E, manufacturing, and assembly housed under the same roof – twice the size of our facility at 11 Woodlands Walk, but merely at a stone’s throw away.”
Realizing growth: a new building
As customer demand increases, continuously offering tailored, next-level solutions involves being strongly committed to capacity growth and capability building. “We knew it was time for the next step. The former two NTS locations in Singapore’s Woodlands area – Woodlands Walk and Admirality street – were due for an update,” Managing Director Rogier Niessen explains.
“The previous layout left quite a bit to be desired, impeding our aspired expansions. For example, we lacked cooling on the shop floor, faced hurdles in achieving higher cleanliness levels and had no more room to extend in-house facilities, such as, our paint shop. To stay ahead of the curve, upgrading was a logical step.”
And it was not an easy find. “We wanted to make the perfect move, instantly. NTS Singapore is specialized in high-accuracy frames, sheet metal, and complex mechatronics assembly, and the building we sought needed to all-round facilitate this. So, we took a careful look into making the right choice. The technical prerequisites for this custom-made site we envisioned were non-negotiable.”
More space, higher floor loading, and automation solutions
Space, location, and structural flexibility were essential elements in the selection process. “For us, high floor loading and a big space on the ground floor are critical to keep delivering on our customer promise which is to provide a competitive and stable production environment,” Niessen explains. The new building will have a total size of around 20,000 square meters, distributed over five floors. This is twice the size of the current buildings combined!
“The new building is perfect for what we need. We found it in its bare-shell stage. Major refurbishments and reconstructions are scheduled for 2023 and 2024 to create our custom-built, vertically integrated site.”
Proactively reshaping process automation and robotics is another key element in our plan, for which the new building will serve as an accelerator. Operations Director Ajimon Mathew reiterates: “We believe we can grow faster with our partners, clients, and peers and position ourselves better as an employer when we implement more and more automation solutions over time. By bringing in more automation – both in terms of expertise as well as the technical necessities –, we allow ourselves to proportionally expand, while future-proofing our processes and systems.”
More advanced processes and improved collaboration
NTS Singapore’s new facility allows for more advanced manufacturing processes. Mathew: “An example of one of the new competencies we invest in as part of our new building’s refurbishment involves the installation of a new, fully automated laser welding machine, including a turn table with a rotary axis for material setup. This directly increases our efficiency levels.”
Other additional capabilities will be integrated into coating processes, automated sandblasting, and surface pretreatment. Currently, this is outsourced. “We generate more benefits for NTS and for our customers once we insource these processes. Especially in terms of lead time.”
And, of course, growth and improvement involve people as much as any other aspect. In the next five years, NTS Singapore is looking at recruiting over 150 people, Megan Ong (Head of HR) explains. “Training is needed especially for new staff or those operating new machines. In onboarding and learning processes, we facilitate people sharing their expertise with newcomers, and vice versa. Our integrated location allows us to do this better and more efficiently, ensuring an inspiring environment, meaningful career paths, and a collaborative workforce.”
“We can offer our staff a better working environment, more opportunities to interact with and learn from colleagues from other departments.”
A familiar companion in ESR-LOGOS REIT
ESR-LOGOS REIT is NTS’ trusted partner in the move, renovation, and refurbishing of the new site. ESR-LOGOS REIT owns the new building and takes proper care of the entire development cycle. “It was not a straightforward process. But: we have known and worked with ESR-LOGOS REIT for many years, and we trust them with our complex questions. And, as the record shows, our efforts bore fruit! We are happy with this move and excited for the future.”
In the first half of 2023, NTS Singapore will start to move selected operations to the new building, while continuing the remaining operations at Woodlands Walk. Major investments in higher levels of automation, robotics, and vertically integrated capabilities are scheduled subsequently for both 2023 and 2024. From 2025 onwards, further investments are executed dependent on market needs and new technology developments.
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