Hot on the heels of the recent announcement by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing that the Scale-up SG programme will be enhanced to provide more support for promising, high-growth companies. During the press briefing, he had also highlighted PBA and HMI as two such companies who saw synergies to partner each other during this pandemic to capture new opportunities – collaborating to roll out PBA’s UV mobile robots in HMI’s hospitals in Malaysia.
We are delighted to announce PBA has deployed the first Made-In-Singapore UV disinfecting mobile robots – Sunburst UV bot – at two of HMI’s hospitals in Southern Malaysia, Regency Specialist Hospital in Iskandar Johor and Mahkota Medical Centre in Melaka, to combat COVID-19. Regency is the first hospital in Southern Malaysia to adopt this technology by PBA.
The partnership between the two companies was fostered through the Scale-up SG programme by Enterprise Singapore (ESG). When the pandemic hit, PBA and HMI leveraged their existing relationship and complementary offerings, to deploy the Sunburst UV Bots which PBA was already developing. The Autonomous Mobile Robots perform disinfecting more systematically and effectively, while ensuring the safety of frontline staff, as well as relieving the strain on labour resources.
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Please read the press release below for more information.
Singapore, 16 September 2020 – PBA Group (“PBA Robotics”) and HMI Group (“HMI”) today announced their collaboration which sees PBA deploy the first made-in-Singapore UV-disinfecting autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) – called Sunburst UV Bots – at two of HMI’s hospitals in Southern Malaysia to combat COVID-19.
The two HMI hospitals are Regency Specialist Hospital (“Regency”) in Iskandar Johor and Mahkota Medical Centre (“Mahkota”) in Melaka. Regency is the first hospital in Southern Malaysia to adopt this technology by PBA; a regional robotics and automation leader headquartered in Singapore; to ensure patient and public safety amidst the pandemic.
The Sunburst UV Bots are built with an ultraviolet-C light module emitting powerful UV-C rays, which is clinically proven to kill 99.99% of bacteria and viruses. These AMRs automate the disinfecting process, moving autonomously after the mapping of their environment is completed. Using data from cameras, built-in sensors and proprietary software, the AMRs can detect, navigate and adapt to changes in their environments, as well as map out and identify the most efficient routes such as in common areas, corridors, wards, and other facilities in the hospital.
The partnership between the two companies was fostered through the Scale-up SG programme by Enterprise Singapore (ESG). Both companies were part of the inaugural run of the programme, which aims to groom future global champions who can contribute significantly to Singapore’s economy and create good jobs for Singaporeans. Scale-up SG provided opportunities for participating companies such as PBA and HMI to network, interact and build rapport among the business leaders.
When the pandemic hit, PBA and HMI leveraged their existing relationship and complementary offerings, to deploy the Sunburst UV Bots which PBA was already developing. The AMRs perform disinfecting more systematically and effectively, while ensuring the safety of frontline staff, as well as relieving the strain on labour resources. At the same time, the Sunburst UV bot is also equipped with safety measures – it is programmed to be able to detect when people are too near and shut off its lamp. While in operation disinfecting a room or area, the robot will automatically turn off the UV lamps if the door is opened before its disinfection cycle is over.
“We are excited to be working with HMI Group to bring our technology to the hospitals. Our partnership was made possible through Scale-Up SG; this platform helped us discover an opportunity to collaborate and meet our common goal of combatting the virus by rolling out the Sunburst UV Bots to hospitals in Malaysia. By combining our existing technologies in AMRs together with disinfecting technologies, we are able to ensure safety of frontline workers, patients and the public in healthcare facilities,” said Mr Derrick Yap, Chief Executive Officer of PBA Robotics.
This collaboration with HMI represents part of a broader effort by PBA to leverage its tech and resources to battle COVID-19, with plans already underway to roll out more of the Sunburst UV Bots across other sectors, including public and private healthcare, transport, retail; other shopping malls and supermarkets, as well as commercial spaces, and other markets in the region. This follows the launch of Sunburst earlier in May.
“As a leading Robotics Tech company in the region, this move in Malaysia represents PBA’s latest effort in our comprehensive plan to help neighbouring countries in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. We have received overwhelming interest in the UV Bots from companies in various industries and markets,” added Mr Yap.
Ms Chin Wei Jia, Group Chief Executive Officer of HMI said: “We are determined to do our part to protect lives and provide our patients with the highest quality healthcare in the safest way possible.
Our partnership with PBA Group has enabled us to be first movers in introducing the latest robotics disinfecting technology in Malaysia, as part of our hospitals’ comprehensive infection control and management plan to combat Covid-19.
At HMI, we are committed to improving the wellbeing of our communities and solving complex healthcare challenges by leveraging technological advancements.”
Participating in ESG’s Scaleup programme enables HMI to build capabilities to pursue innovative and compelling new business models. “Combining partners’ deep expertise in value creation, innovation and networks, we find that spread of knowledge, technology and cross border network addresses the current market needs for healthcare innovation and strategies to mitigate accelerating complexities in overseas markets,” she added. This is particularly true in light of COVID-19, resulting in a multitude of challenges such as labour shortages, health risks, and unpredictable fluctuations in demand.
Mr Ted Tan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore, said: “The cross-industry collaboration between PBA Group and HMI Group is a good example of the positive progress made by the Scale-up SG programme, in fostering a community of driven business leaders who are open to learn from one another and grow their businesses together. It also demonstrates that there are still opportunities for our local businesses amid the dampened business sentiments, if they are willing to work together and leverage each other’s strengths to jointly seek out new growth prospects.”
The Sunburst UV Bot is the latest addition to PBA’s suite of AMRs, the first made-in-Singapore mobile robots, which are designed, developed and manufactured in-house by the robotics company. Using proprietary technology, the mobile robots’ capabilities are harnessed from an enormous volume of data collected from a fleet of hundreds of robots already deployed in the field by PBA over the years since.
Studies have found that COVID-19 virus stays in the air for hours and can travel up to 4m; when the droplets of the virus are so fine, they become suspended. UV-disinfection eliminates airborne virus, and hence, the Sunburst UV Bot, which has its disinfection efficacy officially verified, is much more effective compared to the use of manual labour for cleaning and spraying of disinfectant solutions which only disinfect surfaces, but is ineffective against airborne transmission.