Scaling Australian Manufacturing through Digital Platforms

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The Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) is also referred to Industry 4.0 in Europe, where it has been framed as the “4th industrial revolution.” It describes the digitalisation of modern manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 will be an enabler for the re-shoring of Australian manufacturing in a cost effective and globally competitive way, even for low volume production and small batch sizes. It will enhance our sovereign manufacturing capabilities and, where the COVID pandemic has revealed gaps in our vital supply chains, we will now have the capability to plug these gaps. This is where Australia has an opportunity to make the most of technology transfer from the mining sector to our manufacturing sector.

Digital twins of manufacturing processes were once described in the vaguest of terms, but have now been clearly defined as a faithful digital representation of a product, its production and performance. Further, cognitive digital twins (which leverage cognitive computing, the IIOT, data science and advanced analytics) can enable real time data analytics from manufacturing that lead to the development of self-correcting manufacturing processes. They also accelerate the transition from idea, to design, to prototype, to production.

Testlab October 2020To demonstrate the capabilities of these new tools and processes, a new, immersive facility has been built to showcase the digitalisation of manufacturing. Supported by the Australian Federal Government, built by Swinburne University and CSIRO and located in the centre of the Clayton additive manufacturing precinct, the National Industry 4.0 Testlab for composite additive manufacturing is focussed on a world-first process for digitally enabled manufacturing of carbon fibre-reinforced composites at an industrial scale.

Its goal is to enable Small and Medium Enterprises to test new technologies and business models created with Industry 4.0 techniques in a pre-competitive environment, with the aim of minimising technical and financial risk. It will act as a hub for significant international collaborations, manufacturing products to support aerospace, automotive, space and satellite technologies, as well as the emerging urban air mobility market.

About the Speaker

bronwyn-foxProfessor Bronwyn Fox is the 2020 recipient of the Royal Society of Victoria’s Medal for Excellence in Scientific Research. She is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at the Swinburne University of Technology. Prior to this, Professor Fox was founding Director of the University’s Manufacturing Futures Research Institute with a mission to support the transition of Australia’s manufacturing sector to Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution.

After attaining her Bachelor of Science (chemistry) from the University of Melbourne, Dr Fox received her PhD in Engineering from the Australian National University in 2001 on the topic of aerospace composites. Since that time, Bronwyn has grown her own internationally recognised research groups, industry projects, and national industry de-risking infrastructure at Deakin University (2001-2015) and at Swinburne University (2015-present). She has created a Composites Manufacturing Ecosystem in Australia that brings together industry-research partnerships, contributes to a vibrant national manufacturing capability, supplies products and services globally, and plays an important role in high tech job creation. These accomplishments are underpinned by her research excellence, her innovative methods for building research-industry partnerships, and her leadership.

Demonstrating sustained commitment to supporting the growth of the manufacturing industry in Australia through targeted research, Professor Fox was one of the founders of the Carbon Nexus facility at Deakin University, which catalysed the creation of an industrial research precinct. Leveraging her specific knowledge of materials science and engineering, Professor Fox has built multidisciplinary teams to work with the manufacturing sector to ensure they are digitally equipped and linked into global supply chains.

Bronwyn is an internationally recognised expert on carbon fibre and composite materials and is Chair of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (Victorian Division), a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

A part of the RSV’s 2020 contribution to the Inspiring Victoria program. In light of COVID-19 restrictions, this meeting will be conducted online as a Zoom webinar, with the presentations pre-filmed and our speakers answering questions from RSV members in the webinar (invitations to register are sent to members via email and are also listed on the Society’s membership page). The webinar will also be livestreamed via the Society’s Facebook site – please tune in at the allotted time to follow the proceedings and contribute your questions and comments.