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Australian Government Recognises Industry 4.0 as Being Critical to Achieving Modern Manufacturing Objectives

Published 20/11/2020

The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) recently announced the $1.5Bn Modern Manufacturing Strategy, with a vision of “Australia being recognised as a high-quality and sustainable manufacturing nation that helps to deliver a strong, modern and resilient economy for all Australians.”

Prior to this latest investment and renewed vision and strategy, DISER had recognised that achieving modern manufacturing objectives would require capabilities and expertise aligned with the 4th Industrial Revolution (I4.0).

Industry 4.0 strategy originated from the collaboration between the German government, industry (manufacturing and technology suppliers) and academia. Germany recognised that many emerging technologies were reaching maturity in the coming decade that could be used to significantly change how effectively, efficiently and flexibly manufacturing could be done.

Multiple detailed reports, studies, reference architecture and publications would follow in recent years and the I4.0 concept is being embraced and adopted internationally as a common vision for modern manufacturing.

Australia formally recognised i4.0 in 2016 and established the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Task Force as well as a formal cooperation in I 4.0 between Germany and Australia. Led by Professor Aleksander Subic, the National I4.0 TestLab network was established in 2018 to enable Australia to contribute to the evolution and realisation of I4.0 transformation in advanced manufacturing as well as develop the skills and knowledge required for Australia to build a globally competitive manufacturing and processing capability. National industry hubs built around Industry 4.0 TestLabs include pilot education and training programs in digital technologies funded by the Federal Government.

There are currently seven I4.0 Testlab hubs in Australia, with more on the horizon in the near future.

The seven I 4.0 Testlab hubs currently in operation are shown here.

·        Swinburne University of Technology focused on industrial automaton and composites

·        University of Western Australia focused on resources industry and digital architectures

·        University of Queensland focused on intelligent green energy generation and distribution

·        University of Technology Sydney focused on pharma manufacturing

·        University of South Australia focused on digital shipyards and surface engineering

·        University of Tasmania focused on agri-tech  

·        RMIT University focused on digital manufacturing and 3D printing technologies

 

 Pic: Industry 4.0 TestLabs in Australia

A recent webinar was held so anyone interested could learn more about the testlab network and each of the testlabs’ capabilities, current projects, education plans and future opportunities and how to engage with them directly.

Here at the UWA ERDi i4.0 TestLab, the focus of expertise, services and education is centred around enabling autonomous operations through interoperability of all technology via adoption of I4.0 Interoperability standards.

The ERDi TestLab is manned with globally recognised experts in these standards whom provide services to mining and oil and gas companies and technology vendors/suppliers to these companies.

This is critical in itself as standards based interoperability in these industries has not existed to date and to take advantage of these capabilities requires a knowledge base that cannot as yet be garnered from formal education and training from Universities, TAFE Colleges or Training Organisations.

Further to this, the ERDi TestLab also provides services to continue to enhance and modernise the i4.0 standards to ensure they meet strict mining and oil and gas industry requirements as well as leverage modern technology approaches.

To enable this on an international scale, the ERDi TestLab is pursuing Standards Australia to become part of an official working group charged with representing Australia’s interests in the International i4.0 standards working groups.

This will empower Australia to have official representation and voting rights on i4.0 standards and is essential to ensure these standards continue to add value, rather than placing encumbrances due to Australia’s specific needs not being represented, which is the real and current risk today.

 ABOUT UWA ERDi i4.0 TestLab

The University of Western Australia’s Energy & Resources Digital Interoperability Industry 4.0 TestLab has been established to work with industry to develop new technologies as part of the fourth industrial revolution (known as Industry 4.0).

Industry 4.0 Test labs are a strategic initiative of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, which was formed in 2016 with the support of the Australian Government. The Taskforce is also working in close collaboration with the German Labs Network Industrie 4.0, the key organisation driving the development and deployment of Industry 4.0 Testbeds in Germany.

I4.0 aligned architecture and technology components will deliver the next step change in operational performance for the Energy and Resources sectors. I4.0 interoperability standards are critical in unlocking this value. The ERDi Testlab is a state-of-the-art facility that will enable the rapid realisation of these benefits through research, development, trials, testing and education.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please call John Kirkman on +61 415 188 046 or email john.kirkman@erditestlab.com