Big Ideas 2017

Valerie Linton

Manufacturing and fabrication have come a long way since the industrial revolution with mass production and automation driving down costs and increasing productivity. The Australian manufacturing industry is a key component of the Australian economy but faces several challenges including increased competition from overseas companies, the relatively small size of Australian companies and comparatively high labour costs. The future of fabrication will depend on companies rethinking their products, adopting innovative technology and integrating supply chains. The use of robotics and automation, particularly when combined with component manipulation and welding, can provide huge improvements in terms of productivity and quality. Autonomous robots, those that can learn and make decisions, can help fabricators cut down dramatically on the need for complex robot programming and allow high levels of product customisation. Professor Valerie Linton will show how the use of automation robots can help companies move to the future with intelligent fabrication.


After seven years as the inaugural CEO of the Energy Pipelines Cooperative Research Centre, Valerie Linton has taken on the role of the Executive Dean for Faculty of Engineering & Information Sciences at UOW. Valerie is a metallurgist with 25 years’ experience in the pipeline industry in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. She has previously led pipeline research as a professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide, worked as a welding consultant for MPT and was a pipeline welding engineer for British Gas. Valerie’s specific expertise includes steel metallurgy and welding, along with strategic planning, business development and research management. Valerie, a fellow of Engineers Australia, has a BEng from Sheffield University, a PhD from Cambridge University and an MBA from LaTrobe University.

Last reviewed: 14 June, 2017