What is the importance of your center of excellence in Subang for the aviation industry?
DATUK MARK ROZARIO In 2018, GE embarked on expanding its aviation business in Malaysia. In September 2018, GE's former chairperson came from Boston to meet with the Prime Minister and announced the company's expansion plans. We have a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility near Subang Airport that provides overhaul services for the CFM56 engines for narrow-body jets. We service around 40 airlines from this facility, making it a global business. GE is investing USD80 million in expansion plans for tooling, testing, and skills capabilities to support the MRO of CFM LEAP engines, the latest and most efficient jet engines in the market. The CFM LEAP engines are used on the Boeing 737 Max and the Airbus A320neo, which are the latest narrow-body planes. These narrow-bodied jets are in extremely high demand, with a backlog of more than 16,000 engines. The MRO facility in Subang will play an important role in maintaining the LEAP engines, and we are extremely proud of this. Over the years, we have developed a 100% Malaysian workforce. We are highly localized and pride ourselves on the talent and skills we have built within Malaysia.
Could you tell us more about the history of Rolls-Royce in Malaysia?
BICKY BHANGU Rolls-Royce's presence in Malaysia goes back over 60 years. For civil aerospace, we have strong partnerships with Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia X. From the defense perspective, the Royal Malaysian Air Force is powered by 115 Rolls-Royce engines, and we power many of the commercial and naval vessels as well. There is a strong element of partnership between Rolls-Royce and Malaysia, and in recent years we have taken an even greater interest because of the Malaysian Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030. Malaysia is positioned to develop into a regional leader in the aerospace industry. Our products are evolving rapidly, and we are increasingly incorporating electrification and digitalization. Our factories, workforce, and their skillsets are all changing. We are investing about 7% of our revenue in future technologies. One of our engagements in the country is with the Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC), of which we are a founding member, together with Airbus. Our goal is to promote the right technologies and technology pull-throughs for the aerospace industries. Within the ASEAN region, Rolls-Royce has state-of-the-art facilities that specialize in high-value manufacturing of fan blades, a key engine component for large civil gas turbine engines. As we engage in more high-value manufacturing, we also need to look at the smart automation robotics and the digital solutions we can deploy into our factories. The activities we conduct in Malaysia are not focused on labor-intensive processes; rather, they are capital- and skills-intensive activities. This is what Malaysia is providing through its Malaysian Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030, and this is where we have fantastic synergy and alignment with how we see the region developing into the future.
What role can GE play in fully unleashing the potential of Industry 4.0 in Malaysia?
DMR GE is a global leader in metal additive manufacturing. Our direct metal laser metal and electron beam machines are backed by a strong portfolio of software and services. Additive manufacturing has the potential to disrupt industries. Super users of additive manufacturing are the aviation and healthcare sectors, where additive is already providing an increased level of choice, flexibility, and design freedom to create products and parts that have never been seen before. One of the reasons our LEAP engines are so efficient is because we have invested in additive manufacturing. The National Industry 4.0 Policy Framework also focuses on additive manufacturing, so I am excited to see how GE can contribute to it.
Do you see potential to expand your manufacturing collaborations in Malaysia?
BB We are in conversations with MIDA to helps us to effectively determine which potential partners have the right mindset and aspiration to transition into the aerospace industry. UMW was not an aerospace manufacturer when we initially connected. However, through the transfer of skills and capabilities between UMW and Rolls-Royce, UMW is now a tier-one supplier of aerospace components. We are always looking for new partners and are pleased with the amount of engagement from both MNCs and SMEs that want to transition into the aerospace industry. Skills and capabilities are key for such investments to yield successful results. Aerospace is a long-term industry. Our agreement with UMW extends for 25 years, and this is the kind of engagement we seek to develop within the country.