The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is implementing programs and projects that will assist the manufacturing industry adapt to the new normal and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) or Industry 4.0.
Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for R&D (research and development), said the smart food value chain program works to ensure that local food self-sufficiency can thrive in the new normal due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“(If) the Covid-19 will become endemic, we need to have smart food value chains in order to survive,” she said.
Guevara cited several projects under the program, including the leveling-up of Quezon’s bagsakan center agri-processing facilities through the adoption of the smart food value chain framework, and mobile modular food processing facility.
“What we are doing here, for example there are many avocados produced in one area, we can send a mobile food processing such that the raw materials can be converted into processed food that can be sold at higher prices,” she added.
Guevara said the department’s Development of Multiple Materials Platform for Additive Manufacturing, or Matdev project, has been conducting various efforts to address Covid-19 pandemic.
“They do this by producing face shields, ear relief bands, 3D (three-dimensional)-printed venturi valves, aero chamber, telepresence module covers, ventilators prototypes, powered air purifying respirator (PARP) prototype, and metered close inhaler (MDI) adapter for mechanical ventilators and more,” she said.
As the country moves towards Industry 4.0, Guevara said the DOST is producing several emerging technologies, such as the non-intrusive sensor-based prescriptive maintenance platform for wire manufacturing factory.
“As technologies involved for Industry 4.0 are complex, it needs appropriate mechanisms for successful implementation. They need to be launched in a small-scale first to avoid possible mishaps that they come along with such. It is a system to be developed, to be customized or suited to varying needs for the industry, and allow replication later on,” she said.
Guevara further said the country is also moving towards Agriculture 4.0 wherein farmers are transitioning to smart farming.
“As early as now, the DOST is investing in R&D that will produce more 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, machine learning, automation and nanotechnology, among others. We believe that (the) result of this research will open up new opportunities for investment for the manufacturing sector. One of the smart agricultural technologies that the sector can consider are sensors,” she said.
To increase agricultural productivity, Guevara said the department also supports the development of automation including those for furrow irrigation systems, smarter greenhouse, and hand tractors.
She said there are also automated combined mechanical demucilager-fermenter-dryer for cacao, a programmable dehydrator machine for herbal tea materials which improves the post-harvest processing, and the balut vending machine which enables distribution of balut in non-traditional market areas such as malls, hotels, and airports, among others.
“The Philippines is an agricultural country that needs to advance manufacturing technologies to help enhance farmers and other stakeholders’ efficiency,” she added.