Global recognition: Adhil (fourth from right) at Lumileds’ annual Quality Improvement Competition,
where engineers present their innovations to the company’s management

For Lumileds test engineer Adhil Iqbal, Industry 4.0 presents no shortage of opportunities for innovation.

Already, his team has achieved company-wide recognition for developing an RPA system for product processing that has cut costs, increased efficiency and boosted productivity for the leading lighting solutions company. An in-house solution has also meant avoiding expensive subscription, maintenance and scaling costs.

“What I love most about my job is the freedom and encouragement that management gives us to take ownership of various projects,” the 34-year-old says. “And not only do they give us that ownership, they also recognise our achievements.”

Passionate innovator: The semiconductor industry speaks to Adhil Iqbal’s passion for problem-solving,
risk-taking and learning independently

Adhil’s passion for innovation – and specifically semiconductor-related innovation – was honed at the National University of Singapore where he pursued a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering. “I just took more and more modules on semiconductors,” he says, following this up with a Master of Technology in Software Engineering from NUS’ Institute of System Sciences. 

“For me, semiconductors are the foundation of our modern world. I think there is a kind of magic to that. That’s what got me into it,” he says.

He also took to heart a piece of advice from his university professor: that as an engineer, you need to be willing to take risks, be a good problem solver and learn independently.

Joining Lumileds in 2015, he found himself in the position to do all three, developing test solutions for new products before they can enter the market. “I get requests from within the test team as well as other departments,” he says.

Extra credit: Adhil (centre) values that Lumileds recognises innovation.
He’s pictured here with his team, which clinched an award for their work in improving product test cycle times

His proudest achievement to date: reducing product testing cycle time by some 40 per cent. He also developed a solution to reduce “overkill” in the company’s vision inspection program. “Good dies were being classified as bad by the region inspection software,” he explains. “I was able to reduce that by 80 per cent” – with corresponding savings and impact on the bottomline.

The success of the two projects gave him his first taste of official recognition. At Lumileds, successful projects are recognised at monthly department meetings, and the best get cash awards along with a handwritten note of appreciation, he says. Engineers also have the opportunity to present their innovations to the company’s global management at its annual Quality Improvement Competition (QIC).

“We look forward to this event every year, because the selected teams are taken on overseas trips where they participate in team building activities that also let you soak in the culture.” In 2018, Adhil was part of the group that travelled to Vietnam.

His success with the two projects were also what led to the RPA project landing on his lap. “Since both required quite a lot of understanding of the software tools coupled with the fact that I had also completed a simple RPA program for our Optics Lab, the management thought they’d give me a try in developing an RPA for large-scale plant implementation.”

Looking ahead, Adhil hopes to tackle projects in the areas of Internet of Things, AI and data science.

“There is so much potential in this industry – advancements in semiconductors drive larger developments in many other industries, and make new technologies and capabilities possible,” he says. “It’s an exciting place to be.”