CSIRO and META have teamed up to launch Australia’s first internet-enabled manufacturing hub set to significantly boost efficiency and increase the global competitiveness of Australian manufacturers.

The i-Manufacturing concept (through a series of ICT tools), enables manufacturers to link upstream and downstream data across their supply-chain and across borders.

Up until now the ICT gap has been a significant barrier for Australian companies looking to increase their global market share.

META and CSIRO aim to open up new business opportunities for Australian manufacturers and to increase productivity across their value-chains.

META is a collaborative network of high potential manufacturing businesses and researchers.

META managing director, Zoran Angelkovski, said the i-Manufacturing hub would help manufacturers increase their efficiency and capitalise on the pace and speed of international markets.

The introduction of the hub will assist in closing the gaps within the value-chain – allowing them to produce and distribute high quality products that can compete with the rest of the world.

Angelkovski said the unique part of this hub was the close collaboration generated between manufacturing companies and CSIRO, who have been researching the digital productivity for several years and could pinpoint exactly the pain-points and gaps that existed in the manufacturing process. CSIRO has spearheaded the digital revolution in many industries throughout the world and is working directly with manufacturers through the META network to accelerate the ICT revolution within Australian manufacturing. CSIRO senior research scientist, Dr Nico Adams, said the research harnessed the potential of the Internet and other digitally enabled technologies to provide manufacturers with a competitive advantage over their competitors.

"Up until now this gap has been a significant barrier for Australian companies to increase their market footprint,” he said.

“META and CSIRO have identified ICT as a major opportunity for increasing the global competitiveness and building a stronger more technically-savvy industry." Sutton Tools, a custom tooling, cutting tool manufacturer and surface coating supplier is one of the first Australian SMEs to participate in the i-Manufacturing hub.

Sutton Tools owner, Peter Sutton, said, as a premium commercial and custom supplier of drilling and cutting tools, he saw i-Manufacturing as a critical enabler for our business to succeed.

“The i-Manufacturing tool is a major accelerator for reaching our customers faster," he said.

"Our team of sales representatives around the world can access manufacturing data instantaneously which means the customer gets a very high value-add product – engineered specifically for them,” added Mr Sutton. Together with a number of innovative SMEs involved in the i-Manufacturing hub, META and CSIRO aim to open up new business opportunities and to increase productivity for Australian manufacturing.

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