The new hub, to be housed in the University’s state-of-the-art Factory of the Future, is funded by the grant from the Future Industries Fund and will pioneer a new model of university-industry collaboration where businesses and universities not only co-create technology, but also business strategy.
It will work with local manufacturers to develop digitisation strategies for their business, increase their digital maturity and provide training to help them use Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, smart robotics and virtual reality to grow their business and innovate on their business model.
The Factory of the Future is Australia’s first fully immersed Industry 4.0 facility, featuring cutting edge and globally connected technologies including MindSphere – a cloud-based Industrial Internet of Things operating system developed by global technology giant Siemens.
“The hub will help local manufacturers unlock the opportunities that exist with digital technologies to transform their operations, and deliver cutting edge products and services.”
Swinburne deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic said the adoption of new generation digital technologies and processes was crucial due to the highly competitive environment of manufacturing internationally. Professor Subic was also the university sector representative on the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, leading the Industry 4.0 Testlab national strategy.
“Industry 4.0 is all about the next stage of development in the manufacturing sector driven by digitalisation. Automation and the Industrial Internet of Things in particular are transforming the manufacturing industry, presenting us with new business opportunities through better integration with the global supply chain,” Professor Subic said.
The hub will leverage Swinburne’s $100 million investment in advanced manufacturing infrastructure and expertise, and will be made available to local manufacturers through the initiative, which is also supported by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre and the Innovative Manufacturing Co-operative Research Centre.
The new facility will also benefit students who will work side-by side with industry and researchers developing and co-creating new technologies and practices.
Swinburne says it is linking vocational training and higher education to create the “skilled, digitally savvy” workforce of the future, including developing new courses based on Industry 4.0 strategy.
And Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 higher apprenticeship course, the Associate Degree of Applied Technologies, developed in collaboration with Siemens and the Australian Industry Group, pioneers this approach.