By Joy M. Lazcano, DOST-STII
The AMCEN facility at the DOST S&T Complex in Bicutan, Taguig City will serve as the innovation hub for advanced manufacturing that offers industrial design and development, rapid prototyping, and testing. (Photo by Henry De Leon, S&T Media Service)
It’s here. The new age in Philippine manufacturing has arrived as the Department of Science and Technology-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) launched on 14 June 2021 the top-of-the-line and advanced manufacturing hub in the country that is poised to boost the manufacturing capability of the country.
Dubbed as the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCEN), the state-of-the-art prototyping laboratory that uses additive manufacturing will definitely push the country’s manufacturing sector to attain a higher level of competitiveness as it embraces the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
AMCEN is expected to increase the technological readiness, business sophistication and innovative capacity of the local manufacturing companies. At the same time, the facility will also serve as an innovation hub for advanced manufacturing that offers industrial design and development, rapid prototyping, and testing.
Additive manufacturing or AM is also known as 3D printing, a process that builds a three-dimensional object from a Computer Aided Design model or a digital 3D model by simply adding materials “layer-by-layer” similar to printing images using a desktop printer. AM is more efficient than the traditional subtractive manufacturing where a block of solid metal or plastic are shaped using drilling, grinding, cutting, and boring. Additive manufacturing can perform complex and accurate designs at the shortest time possible, therefore reducing the cost and time for the prototyping process.
The 3D printing is one of the various processes under rapid prototyping. Rapid prototyping is the fast fabrication of a physical part, model or assembly using 3D computer aided design (CAD). The creation of the part, model or assembly is usually completed using additive manufacturing.
The facility will also enable the country to develop more sophisticated products and technologies that will help industries gain a strong foothold in the fields of aerospace, defense, health and medical services, biotechnology, automotive, and electronics and semi-conductors.
DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña touts AMCEN as a gamechanger as global manufacturing veers towards smart manufacturing for mass customization of products. (Photo by Henry De Leon, S&T Media Service)
AMCEN, according to DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, is a crucial strategy in achieving the Department’s vision of being the “leading Science, Technology, and Innovation Hub in the ASEAN region.”
He underscored the importance of the Center in the country’s bid to be among the global frontrunners in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Last year, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Director Dr. Shamika Sirimanne expressed her admiration for the country’s efficient use of frontier technologies and support for science and technology. Frontier technologies are the next generation technologies such as 5G internet, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, big data analytics, robotics, and Internet of Things that all lead to adapting to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
De la Peña described that smart manufacturing necessitates the need for mass customization, which is currently impossible with conventional manufacturing techniques. “AM enables the production of highly customized and complex-shaped objects using existing and newly developed advanced materials,” added the longtime DOST official and University of the Philippines professor.
Meanwhile, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez congratulated DOST for its initiative that spurs technological innovations in the age of digital economy. Dominguez shared that “the inauguration is very timely” as the current pandemic has abruptly changed the demands and challenges of the new global economy. He shared that as the country and its industries recover, businesses will require heftier investments in innovation and technology in order to remain competitive.
He suggested that enterprises should team up with the Center to explore the possibilities of adopting additive manufacturing in their businesses to help them improve their production lines. “This center could be a good starting point to upskill and retool our workers on advanced manufacturing technologies,” stressed Dominguez.
DOF Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, during the launch of AMCEN, acknowledged the importance of AMCEN on the country’s bid to recover and reinvigorate the economy and to move towards the digital economy.
Dominguez also emphasized that the DOF has formulated a fiscal policy as a tool to promote a regime that rewards innovation and the creation of new knowledge through Republic Act 11534 also known as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act.
The law, said Dominguez, provides significant reductions in corporate income tax rates for all enterprises in the country. These tax savings can be used by enterprises to modernize their systems and processes to make it more competitive in the local and global market.
Aside from several tax breaks and cuts, enterprises that are engaged in research and development can get 100 percent additional deduction on research expenses to incentivize the creation of new knowledge and products. He added that the types of investments that will be pursued “are activities that are consistent with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“This will spur the development of new production techniques and business models,” Dominguez underscored. Similarly, he surmised that the tax incentives will also rub off with the workers as this would also help employees “to constantly upgrade their skills and competencies to keep pace with the rapid development in the digital economy.”
Likewise, Dominguez believes that technological innovation will build new industries and create many employment and investment opportunities for the country. Through several R&D initiatives like the AMCEN and sound fiscal policies in place, the country will be on its way to bounce back stronger from the pandemic and help ensure the long-term recovery of the economy.
“I expect the inauguration of more forward-looking projects to bring the Philippines closer to our goal of becoming a major player in the digital economy,” said Dominguez in closing.