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New Testlab to provide space and defence SMEs with Industry 4.0 tech

The establishment of an Industry 4.0 Testlab at the Mawson Lakes campus of the University of South Australia will boost local space and defence industries this year.

According to a recent report, the approximately A$ 2 million project includes an investment of A$ 1 million from the University, which was matched by up to A$ 1 million by the Federal Government.

The Testlab will be part of a national network of six such institutions.

The Mawson Lakes campus, which is located adjacent to Technology Park and more than 80 defence, aerospace, electronics, engineering and ICT companies, is being transformed into a world-leading Industry Connections Hub with a strong emphasis on Industry 4.0 technologies.

Also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 is the move towards computerisation of manufacturing.

The Industry 4.0 Testlab will be providing local SMEs and high-tech start-ups with access to smart factory technologies.

Rapid prototyping facilities and a digital platform for precision design and visualisation with the capacity to create a ‘digital twin’ of a product will be included.

A digital twin is a near real-time digital image of a physical object or process that helps optimise the performance.

The Testlab will be one of the most advanced industry collaboration facilities in the country.

It will provide South Australia with a gateway to the future of manufacturing and reaffirming the University’s position among the nation’s leading Industry 4.0 institutions.

The University was able to secure a A$ 450 million Industry 4.0 grant from Siemens and established a co-chaired Industry 4.0 research professorship in collaboration with the Brittany region in France last year.

This year, the University is launching a new test facility that will give local businesses hands-on access to the technologies that will shape the future of the industry.

With the continued increase in the global significance of Industry 4.0 technologies, the University is excited to provide the best international and local expertise to South Australian enterprises.

More than 90% of SMEs in South Australia are family owned and employ fewer than 20 staff, producing small volume bespoke components.

For these businesses with niche market opportunities, digitisation of design, product innovation, and data acquisition throughout the production process can provide key advantages over their current practices.

A key area being rapidly transformed by Industry 4.0 is the supply chain of the defence and space industries.

The new Testlab will be supporting support the growing number of local SMEs involved in that sector specifically.

The Testlab will be operational by mid-2019 and will be a key component in the larger Industry Connections Hub (ICH) being established also at the Mawson Lakes campus.

The location for the Testlab and the future ICH will leverage the University’s industry connections with co-located operations such as Lockheed Martin, Saab Technologies Australia and, in particular, the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC).

The University’s strong relationship with the DTC will provide the Testlab with a direct link to local and interstate defence SMEs.

This will allow them to take immediate advantage of the Testlab in an open-access, non-competitive and highly supportive environment.

Once established, the Testlab will stimulate the transfer of Industry 4.0 technologies and expertise to other collaboration sites.

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