Leadership in factory automation – introduction to our new editorial series


The manufacturing sector has entered a fourth industrial revolution, offering Australia a unique opportunity to escape its recent past and once again rebuild a viable and competitive manufacturing sector. Recognizing that technology and automation have never been more important, @AuManufacturing today launches its latest editorial series – Leadership in factory automation. Here, Peter Roberts examines the lay of the land.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a brief foray from Canberra to visit the former Mitsubishi Motors main assembly building in the Adelaide suburb of Tonsley.

Where once a highly skilled and flexible car manufacturing plant was located, today there is a cluster of educational institutions and large and small tech companies clustered in what is known as the Innovation District of Tonsley (main photo).

If the Mitsubishi era was the culmination of an Industry 3.0 manufacturing era with robots and automated systems, Tonsley’s 61 acres of converted buildings represent a model for today’s technology and Industry 4.0 driven on the data.

The key is the colocation of 8,000 academics and students from TAFE SA and Flinders University with established leaders Siemens, Carl Zeiss, British Aerospace Australia, Sage Automation and the innovative start-ups Signostics, Hydrix, HYDROFLEX, Advanced Focus and Cohda Wireless – a total of 35 companies.

Hydrogen Park SA’s electrolyser supplies clean hydrogen to the gas crosslinking system of surrounding suburbs, autonomous shuttles run through local streets, and a workforce of 1,000 when Mitsubishi closed in 2008 has grown to over 1,700 .

But Morrison visited one particular company that is well known to readers of @AuManufacturing – the maker of Micro-X carbon fiber nanotube x-ray machines (pictured below).

The company’s Tonsley manufacturing capabilities are unique in the world, Micro-X developing and manufacturing advanced X-ray machines for a range of customers from the Australian Stroke Alliance to the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Standing in front of Micro-X Morrison, he said, “This very place tells the story of South Australia’s economic transformation and the direction our manufacturing industries will take in the future.

“They’ve gone from making (cars) to making high-tech x-ray machines and brain scanners… it’s the technology, but it’s also the skills that have been developed here to make things. ”

As Morrison has pumped up his lines, mistaking Mitsubishi for Holden, there is no doubt that Tonsley is pointing to the shift from the era of capital and labor-intensive production facilities to companies leveraging digital technologies. to provide intellectual property, added value, personalization and business models to sell new products and services in a global market.

A collaboration with Flinders University and BAE Systems Australia Maritime, the $ 10 Million Zero Line – Factory of the Future, which even focuses beyond the cutting edge of Industry 4.0, develops all digital technologies that support is responsible for the construction and delivery of the Hunter Class Frigate Program. .

Their collaboration at Tonsley is driving digital transformation through advanced robotics, assisted manufacturing and the use of prep – both inside the shipyard and more broadly in the Australian supply chain.

Over the next two weeks, @AuManufacturing will feature a series of stories exploring the manufacturing transition in our new editorial series, Leadership in factory automation.

It begins today with an interview with one of the titans of Australian manufacturing – David Singleton of mining equipment supplier Austin Engineering.

As CEO of Perth shipbuilder Austal, he turned the company into a global business, entering the US Navy defense market. Now he’s bringing Austin Engineering into the Industry 4.0 era. You can read the interview here.

This interview, along with articles from thought leaders, automation practitioners and cutting-edge case studies in our series was made possible through the generous support of Bosch Manufacturing Solutions Australia (BAMS) and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Center (IMCRC).

BAMS, part of manufacturer Robert Bosch Australia, draws on its experience, resources and talent around the world to develop manufacturing solutions for start-up clients globally in Australia.

From its base in a new $ 17 million manufacturing automation center in Clayton, Victoria, BAMS designs and builds its own machines and integrates them into complete production / processing solutions.

Bams advises on lean line design, design for manufacturing, value chain mapping, and design and feasibility studies. And it designs and builds a range of robotics and automation applications, including automated assembly, packaging, palletizing and labeling.

The Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Center helps Australian companies increase their global relevance through research-driven innovation in the manufacturing of products, processes and services.

Funded by the federal government, IMCRC’s vision is for Australian manufacturing to be successful, relevant and globally integrated. As an independent, not-for-profit cooperative research center, it helps Australian businesses increase relevance through collaborative, market-driven research into business models, products, processes and manufacturing services.

In collaboration with businesses, research organizations, industry associations and governments, the IMCRC co-funds, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, large, multidisciplinary, industry-led research projects that produce commercial results. It also advances the broader cause of manufacturing transformation through industry education and public advocacy.

Photos: Tonsley City of Innovation

The @AuManufacturing Editorial Series – Leadership in Factory Automation – is brought to you with the support of Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Center.

Subscribe for free to our @AuFabrication bulletin here.

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