Priority strategies to transform Australia’s manufacturing industries and build global competitive advantage were debated by leaders from business, research, education and training, unions and government attending the inaugural conference of the Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum (I4AMF*).
Essential to Australia’s transition to Industry 4.0 is a sufficient and growing supply of appropriately skilled people. This requires industry, education and training organisations to work closely to design and develop an appropriate range of training opportunities for the existing and future workforce. One example of industry-led leadership is a unique apprenticeships program, between Ai Group, Siemens and Swinburne University of Technology, which has unleashed new talent, given Australians a chance to transition into new roles, and has shown just how real the benefits can be.
Australia is home to many great ideas and innovation in deep technology across a number of sectors. However, translating these into action requires collaboration between educational institutions, businesses, unions, peak bodies and government. Delegates at the conference heard about a number of initiatives the I4AMF is leading, including the development of the National Industry 4.0 Testlab Network and the report Transforming Australian Manufacturing: Preparing businesses and workplaces for Industry 4.0. Delegates were also updated on support initiatives by Industry Growth Centres AMGC and AustCyber and the Innovative Manufacturing CRC.
A strong Australian cyber security sector and cyber resilient industry is a vital enabler of digitally-driven growth. Widespread awareness of the cyber risks and the upskilling of people is essential, so that Australia can benefit from a capability and economic lift across the board. Conference delegates heard case studies on the relevance, and application of cyber security in the advanced manufacturing sector, including supply chain integrity, data integrity and availability, connectivity of equipment and security confidence and trust.
For the first time, a small group of New Zealand Business and union representatives attended the forum. We look forward to developing stronger relations on the challenges of Industry 4.0 with our New Zealand colleagues.
In transitioning to Industry 4.0, Australia needs to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness by focusing on areas of competitive strength and strategic priority. Standards continue to underpin the systems we use, and the products we buy, including in relation to industry 4.0. Continued support of Australian expert participation in the development of Industry 4.0 standards through representation at relevant international standards bodies is in Australia’s interests.
Managing the transition to industry 4.0, where businesses grow, roles are higher skilled and higher valued and where innovation thrives, requires leadership. Business, educational institutions, unions, standards bodies, and other decision-makers must work together with a focus on areas of competitive strength and strategic priority. The outcomes of the discussions will be captured in an I4AMF report to Government.
*The I4AMF is the successor to the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce and builds on the work of the Taskforce in promoting collaboration between government and industry in Australia and Germany on Industry 4.0, including initiating a collaborative approach to the development of global Industry 4.0 standards.
The coincidence of improved automation, machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication, artificial intelligence, continued technological improvements and digitalisation in manufacturing is sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0 or the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
Source: Ai Group