Wednesday, 16 August 2017 09:48

Siemens makes $135m grant to Swinburne Institute of Technology

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German technology company Siemens has announced what it says is the biggest software grant in Australia, a $135 million industrial software grant to the Swinburne Institute of Technology to support training, education and higher degrees through research.

A statement said the grant would support the establishment of Australia's first Industry 4.0 "Factory of the Future" facility in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn.

It will help to completely digitise the Swinburne Institute of Technology.

Siemens Australia chief executive Jeff Connolly said the money would help students prepare to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by the rapid spread of digitalisation.

The software grant provides a suite of advanced product lifecycle management software and new generation cloud-based Internet of Things platform "Mindsphere".

siemens

Jeff Connolly and Professor Aleksandar Subic after the grant was announced. Photo: supplied

This would allow students and researchers to have access to the same apparatus being used by leading industries on the most advanced projects, according to Connolly who is also chair of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce.

“These are the same tools used to create digital shipyards for the US Navy. The same software used to design, build and operate everything from the latest oil and gas platforms to hi-tech production lines such as the Maserati Ghibli. We provide the innovation tools so that Australia can provide the ingenuity,” he said.

“Imagine creating a digital twin, not only of the product but of the entire manufacturing process, so you don’t need to have costly and time-consuming physical prototypes. Everything from the assembly line to tooling, ergonomics and resources can be fully simulated digitally. This is exactly what our software grant will help students achieve in Swinburne’s Factory of the Future.” 

Professor Aleksandar Subic, deputy vice-chancellor, Research and Development and chair of Industry 4.0 Testlabs on the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, said digitalisation of manufacturing was critical to help Australian industry transition to the future.

“We’re immersed in the fourth industrial revolution and we want to make sure that students and researchers are equipped with the required advanced capabilities and technologies to help Australia access global value chains," he said. "The international competition will be fierce in the Manufacturing domain, which is why this development is so timely and critical."

Prof Subic said he had experienced the Siemens automation technology and digitalisation software and hardware first-hand in Germany and the US and was able to see how this approach would help transform the manufacturing sector and develop future members of the workforce to participate and compete globally.

“We have already made significant progress in aligning our research and education strategy with the Industry 4.0 roadmap in collaboration with our industry partners both locally and internationally," he said.

"The partnership with Siemens and our co-investment in digitalising the Swinburne Factory of the Future will allow us to make the step change in how we support our SMEs and develop future graduates across the entire education life cycle – from apprenticeships to PhDs. 

"We are committed to transforming industries and developing the workforce of the future in support of a more competitive Australia. The fully digitalised Swinburne 'Factory of the Future' will set an Industry 4.0 benchmark and provide an environment for workforce transformation that is in line with the most advanced economies in the world. This is an aspiration that we shared on the PM’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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