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Dyson Opens $76 Million Digital Motors Plant in Engineer-Rich Singapore

Posted By Paul Tate, February 21, 2013 at 4:28 AM, in Category: Global Value Networks

British engineering and design company Dyson will announce tomorrow that it is investing $76m in a highly-automated new manufacturing plant in Singapore aimed at doubling production of its patented digital micro-motors to four million units a year. The motors are used to drive the company’s vacuum cleaners, hand dryers, fans, and newly launched hand-drying faucets.

“Digital motors are Dyson’s future,” believes Sir James Dyson. “They enable us to make lighter, more powerful, and more energy efficient machines.”

The Singapore location is regarded as geographically ideal for the expansion of the company’s global supply chain. The plant will employ 210 people drawn from the local talent pool of skilled engineers and will serve global markets from the U.S. to China and Japan. Unlike many western nations, Dyson points out that around 40% of graduates from Singapore are engineers. However, the highly-automated production line, which uses 50 robots to build and assemble the motor out of 22 small components, will only require 13 front-line operators at any one time.

"Building a complex motor with minute tolerances requires the precision of a fully automated production line. There is no room for error," added Dyson. "[Our] engineers spent a year developing the lines, searching the globe for the most effective robotic equipment."

While much of its research and development activity remains at the Dyson head office in Malmesbury, Wiltshire in the U.K., where the company aims to hire another 100 enginers this year, Dyson controversially moved the bulk of its vacuum cleaner production to Malaysia in 2002. Five years later, Dyson also set up a joint venture with Malaysian electronics manufacturer VSI Industry to take on a major role in Dyson’s global supply chain – from materials sourcing to finished production and global distribution.

The new digital motors plant is Dyson’s second presence in Singapore. Since 2004 it has been working with a local manufacturing firm to produce the motors, but now believes that its new Dyson-owned plant will give the company "greater control over intellectual property and production processes."

Does engineer-rich Singapore feature as a potential location in your global expansion plans?

Written by Paul Tate

Paul Tate is Research Director and Executive Editor with Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Board of Governors, the Council's annual Critical Issues Agenda, and the Manufacturing Leadership Research Panel. Follow us on Twitter: @MfgExecutive


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