Australian uni receives $135m to digitalize its Factory of the Future

Australia's Swinburne University of Technology has received a record $135m industrial software grant from engineering giant Siemens to help digitalize its Factory of the Future as it moves into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).

Swinburne’s Factory of the Future has received additional funding. Image courtesy of Swinburne University.
Swinburne’s Factory of the Future has received additional funding. Image courtesy of Swinburne University of Technology.

The grant will be used to digitalize Australia’s first fully immersed Industry 4.0 facility, situated at the Melbourne-based university, by providing new software and giving students and researchers the same apparatus being used by leading companies on advanced projects.

The record $135m industrial software grant will provide a suite of advanced product lifecycle management software designed to integrate data, processes, business systems and people in an extended enterprise, which will also include MindSphere – a new generation cloud-based Internet of Things platform.

Swinburne University of Technology’s Manufacturing Futures Research Institute is Australia’s first research institute dedicated to Industry 4.0, with potential projects including the automation of carbon fiber parts manufacturing, advanced surface engineering, 3D printing for bespoke manufacturing and rapid repair/replacement of critical parts, and the industrialization of graphene products manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 (the Fourth Industrial Revolution) refers to the next stage of modern manufacturing, which is a paradigm shift towards smart factories that merge cyber systems with physical systems.

Swinburne University of Technology Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development), Professor Aleksandar Subic, said the partnership and correlating industrial software grant with Siemens was part of immersing into Industry 4.0.and preparing Australia’s manufacturing industry to compete in 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 tools to help transform Australian industry and 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.”

“I have experienced the Siemens automation technology and digitalization software and hardware first-hand in Germany and the US, and can see how this approach will help transform our manufacturing sector and develop future workforce to participate and compete globally.”

Research programs featured at the Manufacturing Futures Research Institute include industrial automation, industrial internet, new manufacturing processes for next-generation materials, and design-driven manufacturing innovation.