How Dubai’s new R&D program will strengthen the UAE’s manufacturing sector

In an age characterized by rapid technological advancements and an abundance of data, innovation is the renewable driver of sustainable growth and longevity. The manufacturing industry is currently defined by the 4th Industrial Revolution with pundits already taking the crescendo of an ongoing 5th Industrial Revolution.

As one of the largest industrial hubs in the region, Dubai Industrial City has been a strong advocate for companies to adopt advanced manufacturing practices and technologies. The potential of 4IR technologies to address major global challenges, including profitability, climate change and food security, is immense and the business benefits match the investment.

The R&D (research and development) program launched in September by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, lays out a roadmap that will not only achieve a futuristic knowledge-based economy, but will strengthen Dubai as a as a globally competitive manufacturing destination. with innovation at heart.

Innovation in action
Predictive data, virtual reality, smart factories, AI-based inventory management, robotics, and assembly line automation are enabling businesses to become increasingly adaptive and responsive. Whether it’s changing customer preferences, global crises, demand uncertainties or supply chain disruptions, innovation enables manufacturers to become more agile, customer-focused and crisis resistant.

We’re not talking pipe dreams either – a research collaboration between the World Economic Forum (WEF) and McKinsey called the Global Lighthouse Network (GLN) is successfully transforming 103 factories using Industry 4.0.

Nearly 60% of sites are in the advanced industrial phase and are making notable progress on KPIs such as sustainability, productivity and speed to market.

A growing number of brands in our district use advanced manufacturing technologies, a business facilitated by access to fully functional industrial infrastructure and power. Unilever uses advanced technology and modular design for faster, shorter and highly responsive production lines that reduce time to market by 80%. M Glory Group is building an electric vehicle manufacturing plant with 4IR technologies and techniques, including a welding line, a dyeing line and a final assembly line using the latest robots, to produce up to 55,000 vehicles electricity per year. Real-time examples of successful innovations are already with us. Integrating proactivity into the roadmap to come is at the heart of sustainable growth.

An industry in beta
As R&D is integrated into the 300 billion operation to increase the efficiency and sustainability of production cycles and supply chains, a more comprehensive base for R&D will benefit various industrial sub-sectors, from agriculture and from food manufacturing to pharmaceuticals.

From cutting-edge medical equipment for cost-effective disease prevention, detection and treatment to hydroponic agriculture that meets the food needs of a growing global population, the manufacturing and production industry is directly affected.

Dubai offers fertile ground for companies looking to expand their manufacturing operations and global reach, reassured by a favorable business climate, 100% foreign ownership laws and additional benefits such as attractive energy tariffs and gas as part of the 300bn operation and Make it in the Emirates. Public-private partnerships further enrich the landscape for global manufacturers, such as our strategic agreement with Emirates Development Bank to provide innovative financial and banking solutions to SMEs.

We have also partnered with the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) to further strengthen the UAE’s industrial sector by enabling Industry 4.0, attracting foreign investors and facilitating decarbonization. It is as part of these efforts that we will join MoIAT at the upcoming Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS) 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to promote Dubai’s industrial ecosystem on an international platform. .

Dubai’s strategic location as a gateway to the MENASA region is a significant advantage for foreign investors and businesses. Our comprehensive transportation network covering land, sea, air and soon Etihad Rail is a boon for brands that extend and protect diverse export routes. Clients like Standard Carpet, Al Baraka and Anorka export to a vast network of countries, as far reaching as Europe and the Americas, and use state-of-the-art technology to meet the demands of their growing audience.

Produce sustainably
Historically, manufacturing and production industries have been significant contributors to global greenhouse gases. As more environmentally conscious consumers expect transparency and accountability from brands throughout the supply chain, pressure is mounting on companies to start taking their environmental impact seriously.

By harnessing the economic and partnership opportunities catalyzed by the R&D agenda, companies can leverage technology to improve operations and product development while doing their part to promote sustainability.

Advanced technologies are already enabling more transparency, reducing waste and improving decision-making. For example, Sokovo’s upcoming vertical farm will feature a retractable sunroof to maximize natural light and reduce electricity consumption, while state-of-the-art processing and sorting equipment will enable an efficient farm-to-fork delivery system. . Such planning is key to building and evolving resilient production systems that give brands a competitive edge while reducing environmental impact.

R&D not only secures our net zero future, but will also embed a culture of innovation into the ethos of the industry. This workforce can now help businesses remain resilient in the future and cement Dubai’s industrial excellence globally. In a world both emboldened and threatened by rapid change, innovation is our only way forward.

Saud Abu Al Shawareb is the Executive Vice President – Industrial Leasing at TECOM

Marjorie N. McClure