A world-first advanced manufacturing accelerator known as ‘Line Zero – Factory of the Future’ has begun construction at the Tonsley Innovation District near Adelaide, thanks to a major funding boost.
The South Australian government has matched a $5 million commitment from Flinders University into the accelerator, which will test advanced manufacturing technologies for potential deployment in support of the Australian Defence Force.
SA Premier Steven Marshall visited the site for construction of Stage One, to see first-hand some of the advanced technologies and processes that will support major defence projects such as the Hunter Class Frigate Program.
A temporary pilot ‘pop up’ factory developed in collaboration with BAE Systems Maritime Australia has been installed at Tonsley.
The $10m co-funding enables a permanent Factory of the Future to now be built.
“The Line Zero – Factory of the Future is a crucial element in our research translation; taking research out of the lab and applying it in the real world,” Flinders University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling said.
“Flinders University’s new Factory of the Future at Line Zero will help accelerate the growth of advanced manufacturing necessary to support the Federal Government’s $90 billion naval shipbuilding program in SA.
“We welcome the state government’s $5m investment, matching Flinders University’s own commitment to this important initiative that will position SA at the national vanguard of the Industry 4.0 agenda for advanced manufacturing technologies,” Mr Stirling said.
Flinders University and founding partner ASC Shipbuilding – a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia – will work with a range of companies to test the technologies.
The initial focus will be on collaborative research and training designed to maximise the engagement of South Australian companies and workers within the shipbuilding industry.
Future stages will support a broad range of industries, enabling their trialling and adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies which will contribute to durable jobs growth across the SA economy.
“Digital shipbuilding is all about connectivity – not just within the physical and digital shipyard but with our supply chain and customer,” said BAE Systems Maritime Australia Managing Director, Craig Lockhart.
“The partnership between BAE Systems Maritime Australia and Flinders University at Tonsley is creating a digital and advanced manufacturing test environment to improve productivity, quality and safety outcomes at Osborne.
“The Line Zero – Factory of the Future facility provides a controlled space where we can collaborate with industry and researchers to trial new manufacturing techniques and processes that may be used by BAE Systems Maritime Australia to build the nine Hunter class frigates,” said Mr Lockhart.
“It is our ambition that the digital and technological advancements demonstrated by the supply chain will lead to improved productivity, safety and quality outcomes, equipping our highly-skilled workforce with Industry 4.0 technologies that support activities undertaken in a modern digital shipyard.”
The Factory of the Future would contribute to the development of one of the most modern and digitally advanced shipyards in the world at Osborne, South Australia.
“The Osborne naval shipyard will be one of the most modern, digitally advanced shipyards in the world, linking the digital engineering design with automated technologies and digitised work packs for shipbuilders on the ground,” Mr Lockhart said.
“For workers and the supply chain this means they can use a range of digital technologies to do their job right, the first time – leading to productivity, safety and quality outcomes.”
Last month BAE Systems announced that four Australian companies had been selected as part of their inaugural ‘Innovation Challenge’ to their ‘track and trace’ technologies.
They are now calling on businesses to lodge expressions of interest for the second challenge focusing on digital safety technologies.