18
December
2020
|
10:28
Asia/Singapore

Gearing Up Chemical Engineering Students With Industry 4.0 Skills

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As digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation continue to redefine manufacturing, Singapore’s chemical industry is increasingly seeking engineers with Industry 4.0-ready skillsets to support its transformation.

To enable students to ride the waves of opportunities in this field, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is offering a new joint Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical Engineering degree programme with the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

A degree for a transforming industry

Contributing nearly three per cent of Singapore’s GDP in 2015, the energy and chemicals industry sector has been a mainstay of our economy. In 2017, the government launched the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for this sector, with the aim of increasing its manufacturing value-add to S$12.7 billion and introducing 1,400 new jobs by 2025.

A key component of this ITM is increased adoption of disruptive digital technologies including AI, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and data analytics to drive new levels of innovation, performance and productivity across the sector.

Recognising this evolution, SIT has evolved the Chemical Engineering programme, previously offered solely by TUM, to a joint degree by SIT and TUM, with its first intake in September 2020.

The collaboration encompasses curricula co-development and co-teaching by faculty members of both universities. This exposes students to both global and local knowledge and perspectives – a competitive advantage in the new era of advanced manufacturing.

“We need engineers with forward thinking ideas and solutions to tackle new issues as we progress through the digital era. To support the transformation and manpower demands of the chemical industry, the new joint degree programme in Chemical Engineering will equip students with essential Industry 4.0 skillsets,” said Associate Professor Bernard Loo, Programme Director of the SIT-TUM Chemical Engineering programme.

Developing in-demand Industry 4.0 skills

Beyond providing strong fundamentals for aspiring chemical engineers, the programme is the first in Singapore aimed at equipping students with two sought-after Industry 4.0 skillsets – data engineering and additive manufacturing.

In the Data Engineering specialisation track, students will focus on learning the application of data analytics in value chain digital integration, seamless asset lifecycle information from plant design to decommissioning, and business-to-plant production control.

Additive Manufacturing students will gain expertise in the design, formulation and engineering principles of new materials for 3D printing industries. They will also cover topics such as polymer engineering, polymer technology, material analysis and failure analysis.

Given the wings to soar

Since its launch in 2011, the Chemical Engineering programme has seen over 300 students graduating, priming them for careers as process, manufacturing, validation and safety engineers; as well as research, data engineering and materials scientists.

Prabu Dev (pictured, centre) is one such student. After recently obtaining his degree, Prabu is upbeat about his future in the chemical industry.

“SIT and TUM design programmes that meet the needs of the industry. The opportunity to visit TUM’s campus in Munich honed my critical thinking skills, enabling me to look at problems from industrial perspectives and develop different solutions,” he said. 

Armed with a diploma in Medicinal Chemistry from Nanyang Polytechnic, Prabu was initially hesitant about his fit for the course.

However, his concerns proved to be unfounded.

“The study of chemical engineering has never been easy but SIT provided pivotal support to students throughout the course. For example, SIT runs programmes like ChemQuest before the first trimester to gear students up for the course proper. The block teaching is also an effective way of accelerated learning,” he said.

Currently, Prabu is furthering his study in industrial chemistry, while also looking forward to his thesis on novel high energy density materials with N-fused heterocycles being published in a scientific journal.

For prospective students, Prabu’s advice is to practise good time management, diligently take notes and create a strong support system.

“The journey might test your perseverance as it is tough and fast-paced, but it will be all worthwhile at the end,” he said.

Quintessential applied learning

At SIT, learning goes beyond the textbook through its unique applied learning pedagogy. The training places a strong emphasis on preparing students for varied disruptive challenges in the real world, enabling students like Prabu to be industry-ready.

Such a focus is infused into the degree programme, featuring SIT’s signature Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) and Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP).

In the eight-month IWSP, students will work full-time in a host company related to their specialisation, allowing them to develop deep specialist skills in their chosen field.

The three-week OIP will bring students to TUM’s campus in Munich, Germany to widen their global perspectives and experience cross-culture exchanges.

Another unique feature of the programme is block teaching for some modules, an intensive ‘boot camp’ style of pedagogy comprising lectures, tutorials and examinations on one module within a two-week period.

Such a holistic applied learning experience allows SIT students to transition smoothly to the workforce and embrace emerging opportunities with confidence.

As digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation continue to redefine manufacturing, Singapore’s chemical industry is increasingly seeking engineers with Industry 4.0-ready skillsets to support its transformation.

To enable students to ride the waves of opportunities in this field, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is offering a new joint Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical Engineering degree programme with the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

A degree for a transforming industry

Contributing nearly three per cent of Singapore’s GDP in 2015, the energy and chemicals industry sector has been a mainstay of our economy. In 2017, the government launched the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for this sector, with the aim of increasing its manufacturing value-add to S$12.7 billion and introducing 1,400 new jobs by 2025.

A key component of this ITM is increased adoption of disruptive digital technologies including AI, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and data analytics to drive new levels of innovation, performance and productivity across the sector.

Recognising this evolution, SIT has evolved the Chemical Engineering programme, previously offered solely by TUM, to a joint degree by SIT and TUM, with its first intake in September 2020.

The collaboration encompasses curricula co-development and co-teaching by faculty members of both universities. This exposes students to both global and local knowledge and perspectives – a competitive advantage in the new era of advanced manufacturing.

“We need engineers with forward thinking ideas and solutions to tackle new issues as we progress through the digital era. To support the transformation and manpower demands of the chemical industry, the new joint degree programme in Chemical Engineering will equip students with essential Industry 4.0 skillsets,” said Associate Professor Bernard Loo, Programme Director of the SIT-TUM Chemical Engineering programme.

Developing in-demand Industry 4.0 skills

Beyond providing strong fundamentals for aspiring chemical engineers, the programme is the first in Singapore aimed at equipping students with two sought-after Industry 4.0 skillsets – data engineering and additive manufacturing.

In the Data Engineering specialisation track, students will focus on learning the application of data analytics in value chain digital integration, seamless asset lifecycle information from plant design to decommissioning, and business-to-plant production control.

Additive Manufacturing students will gain expertise in the design, formulation and engineering principles of new materials for 3D printing industries. They will also cover topics such as polymer engineering, polymer technology, material analysis and failure analysis.

Given the wings to soar

Since its launch in 2011, the Chemical Engineering programme has seen over 300 students graduating, priming them for careers as process, manufacturing, validation and safety engineers; as well as research, data engineering and materials scientists.

Prabu Dev is one such student. After recently obtaining his degree, Prabu is upbeat about his future in the chemical industry.

“SIT and TUM design programmes that meet the needs of the industry. The opportunity to visit TUM’s campus in Munich honed my critical thinking skills, enabling me to look at problems from industrial perspectives and develop different solutions,” he said. 

Armed with a diploma in Medicinal Chemistry from Nanyang Polytechnic, Prabu was initially hesitant about his fit for the course.

However, his concerns proved to be unfounded.

“The study of chemical engineering has never been easy but SIT provided pivotal support to students throughout the course. For example, SIT runs programmes like ChemQuest before the first trimester to gear students up for the course proper. The block teaching is also an effective way of accelerated learning,” he said.

Currently, Prabu is furthering his study in industrial chemistry, while also looking forward to his thesis on novel high energy density materials with N-fused heterocycles being published in a scientific journal.

For prospective students, Prabu’s advice is to practise good time management, diligently take notes and create a strong support system.

“The journey might test your perseverance as it is tough and fast-paced, but it will be all worthwhile at the end,” he said.

Quintessential applied learning

At SIT, learning goes beyond the textbook through its unique applied learning pedagogy. The training places a strong emphasis on preparing students for varied disruptive challenges in the real world, enabling students like Prabu to be industry-ready.

Such a focus is infused into the degree programme, featuring SIT’s signature Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) and Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP).

In the eight-month IWSP, students will work full-time in a host company related to their specialisation, allowing them to develop deep specialist skills in their chosen field.

The three-week OIP will bring students to TUM’s campus in Munich, Germany to widen their global perspectives and experience cross-culture exchanges.

Another unique feature of the programme is block teaching for some modules, an intensive ‘boot camp’ style of pedagogy comprising lectures, tutorials and examinations on one module within a two-week period.

Such a holistic applied learning experience allows SIT students to transition smoothly to the workforce and embrace emerging opportunities with confidence.

 

This article was adapted from The Singapore Engineers September 2020 publication with the permission of The Institution of Engineers, Singapore. 

(Image credit: Technical University of Munich (TUM) Asia)