(Oct 23): In an 8,500 sq ft facility at Alexandra Technopark, mobile robots whizz around the room, pushing carts and shelves as their arms swivel from one side to another, to the wonderment of a group of journalists looking on. The demonstration, held at the launch of Omron Asia Pacific’s new Automation Centre (ATC), is meant to offer a glimpse at the future of manufacturing: one in which production lines do not need conveyer belts and customised products can be made as quickly as generic goods.

The ATC is part of a $13.5 million investment by the Japanese industrial automation firm to boost Singapore’s robotics sector as it bets on the republic’s emerging as a key hub for robotics in the region. Already, Singapore has the second-highest concentration of robots in the world — with 398 robots for every 10,000 employees.

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