Feature Articles

Why HMGICS in Jurong is more than an assembly plant and why it's worth visiting (Updated)

By Kenny Yeo - 28 Nov 2023

Why HMGICS in Jurong is more than an assembly plant and why it's worth visiting (Updated)

Note: This feature was first published on 21 November 2023 and was updated on 28 November 2023 with opening details.

HMGICS, or to use its full name, Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre in Singapore, is more than just a place where cars are built. (Image source: Hyundai Motor Group)

If you frequent the west, you’ve probably driven past HMGICS without knowing it. It’s the massive facility just off the PIE, at the junction of Jurong West Ave 2 and Bulim Avenue. HMGICS stands for the confusingly-named Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre Singapore. Many think of the place as a factory – as the place where Ioniq 5s are made – which it is, but it is also more than that. Hyundai has big plans for the place and I recently visited it ahead of its grand opening. So let me tell you now about HMGICS and why it’s worth visiting when it finally opens to the public.

@hwztech Check out some of the things you can do at HMGICS (Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre in Singapore) when it opens. #hwz #hwzsg #hyundai #ioniq5 #hmgics #hyundaisingapore #juronginnovationdistrict ♬ Fm,etc - Official Sound Studio

What is HMGICS?

HMGICS is located just off Jurong West Ave 2, at what will be the Jurong Innovation District.

As I mentioned, HMGICS stands for Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre in Singapore. The more discerning readers might have probably surmised from the name that this facility is more than just a mere factory or assembly. Yes, cars are assembled here but that’s not the sole purpose of HMGICS.

As you enter the lobby, you are greeted by the sight of an Ioniq 5. HMGICS is currently configured to build Ioniq 5s and will later start building Ioniq 6s too.

As the Hyundai Group’s first global innovation hub, one of the primary goals of HMGICS is to serve as a testbed for innovative manufacturing techniques and processes. Because of Singapore’s ideal location and access to skilled workers, cutting-edge processes can be tested here before rolling out to Hyundai factories and assembly plants elsewhere. 

The centrepiece of the main entrance lobby has to be one of HMGICS' two smart farms.

And on the topic of manufacturing, cars aren’t the only things that HMGICS was designed to build. The smart nature of the manufacturing line (more on this later) can be reconfigured to build robo-taxis, bikes, and even personal mobility devices.

How are cars built at HMGICS?

Sadly, the production floor won't be open to public – for obvious safety and security concerns – but it's unlike what I was expecting. There's a very high level of automation and the place is so spacious, clean, and tidy. (Image source: Hyundai Motor Group)

Strictly speaking, HMGICS assembles cars. Parts arrive from suppliers around the world and are pieced together to make the final product at HMGICS. Currently, the facility is configured to build Ioniq 5s for the local market and robo-taxis for the US. Cynics will belittle this but the way HMGICS goes about assembling cars is very impressive, especially when you consider how little space it takes up, how little actual human labour is required, and how fast it can assemble a car.

The level of automation is very and much of the car is actually put together by robotic arms such as these. (Image source: Hyundai Motor Group)

To do this, HMGICS uses what it calls a “cell-based production system.” So in place of a traditional conveyor belt assembly line, HMGICS has stations – called cells – that each take on different steps of the assembly process. There are numerous benefits to this arrangement. Not only does it allow for a very high level of autonomous manufacturing, but the cells are also configurable, which allows facilities employing these cells to quickly adapt to different production requirements.

Assembled cars waiting for final checks before delivery. (Image source: Hyundai Motor Group)

The high level of automation is most impressive. While I toured the production floor, I counted no more than 30 technicians. In fact, I was told that the entire production team only consists of around 50 technicians and engineers. This is possible only because the majority of tasks are carried out by various robots. Robots are used to do everything from carrying supplies from the logistics to the cells, putting trim pieces on the car, chassis marrying, and even inspection. Technicians are mostly counted on to monitor the robots, perform final checks, and do the fine motor work that robots are not quite capable of, such as putting the seals in and around the doors. 

Automated guided vehicles are used to transport components to the cells for assembly. (Image source: Hyundai Motor Group)

The end result of this high level of automation is that it takes just three to four hours to assemble a car. And HMGICS reckons that at full capacity, the facility can assemble up to 30,000 cars per year. That’s remarkable when you consider how the production team only consists of around 50 individuals.

Why you should visit

On top of HMGICS is a 620m long track that's used for testing completed cars. (Image source: Hyundai Motor Group)

HMGICS is more than just a place where cars are assembled. Hyundai also has plans for it to be a place for people to visit. They would be able to do one of the following things:

  • Customise and purchase a car
  • Collect their car
  • Factory tour
  • Eat at the restaurant
  • Experience a test drive on the Skytrack

Since assembly takes mere hours, Hyundai has plans for customers to order and collect their cars on the spot. After being greeted by sales representatives, customers will be able to pick their colour, customise their interior trim, and so on. After confirming their order and completing the necessary paperwork, they can participate in a factory tour or activities around the HMGICS as their car is being prepared on the production floor. 

Trim and colour samples are available for customers to visualise what their completed cars would look like.

Apart from the production floor and all its related activities, one of the highlights of HMGICS is its sizeable smart farm. There’s a smaller one on the first-floor plaza as you enter the facility and a larger one above. Together, they produce about 200 vegetables each day. These vegetables will be given to visitors as a memento and also donated to various societies. A total of nine crops are produced at the two farms, including popular options like romaine lettuce, mustard, crystal green lettuce, and more.

A larger smart farm sits in front of where the farm-to-table restaurant will be. The restaurant is expected to open some time in Q1 2024.

These vegetables will also be used in the farm-to-table restaurant that will open in the second quarter of 2024. This restaurant will use locally sourced produce and will feature dishes created by award-winning chef Corey Lee of Benu in San Francisco.

Nine crops are grown at the smart farm and they are crystal green lettuce, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, mustard, ice plant, red coral lettuce, sorrel, mizuna, and kale.

After checking out the smart farm and dining at the restaurant, visitors can learn more about how HMGICS builds its cars. Sadly, because of safety and security concerns, the production floor is off-limits, but visitors can still get an idea of how it all works by taking a virtual reality tour. Having experienced both, I have to say that the VR tour is a pretty accurate representation of what happens on the production floor.

Going out for the Skytrack experience in an AWD Ioniq 5 with 320hp and 605nm of torque.

One last thing visitors can experience – and this is probably the most exciting – is a test ride on the rooftop Skytrack. The track is 620m long and sits on top of the HMGICS facility, overlooking what will be the Jurong Innovation District. It’s primarily used for final checks but visitors can also make bookings, which I highly recommend. The track has very steep 30-degree banks, which, when coupled with the performance of the AWD version of the Ioniq 5 (0 to 100km/h in just 5 seconds), makes for a surprisingly thrilling ride. I was taken aback by just how fast it is, and the sense of speed appears to be heightened when you are on a track some seven floors in the air. This was definitely a highlight of my visit.

Visiting details (Updated on 28 Nov 2023)

HMGICS is located at 2 Bulim Link, Singapore 649674.

It will be opened to the public on 1 December 2023. It is open every Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm. It's closed on Mondays.

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.