Industry 4.0, also known as the “fourth Industrial Revolution”, is a new wave of innovation centred on automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. The federal government pledged $2 million for an industry hub managed by the University of Wollongong (UOW) in the Shoalhaven. This article give a quick update on their activities.
Industry 4.0, also known as the “fourth Industrial Revolution”, is a new wave of innovation centred on automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. Industry 4.0 uses transformative technologies to connect the physical world with the digital world.
Current trends include
- Advanced automation and robotics (including collaborative robots or cobots).
- Machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning
- Sensor technology and data analytics
For companies and industry to reap the full benefits of Industry 4.0, having the opportunity to see Industry 4.0 related technology in action, finding out how it can be applied and getting the required financial and technical assistance to implement it are key to success.
Industry 4.0 Hub Shoalhaven Campus
The federal government pledged $2 million for an industry hub managed by the University of Wollongong (UOW) in the Shoalhaven. The Department of Education,Skills and Employment (DESE) has approved an extension for the University of Wollongong Industry 4.0 Hub in Nowra until 30 November 2022.
The hub, equipped with cobots and industrial robots, will provide a collaborative environment for students, industry specialists and entrepreneurs. Cobots, also known as collaborative robots, are robots designed to work safely alongside humans, augmenting the human worker rather than replacing them.
The hub, which includes a maker space, is set to position the Shoalhaven at the forefront of advanced manufacturing.
Staff at the hub will be able to provide information, training and technology demonstrations to users.
The hub was modelled off the Facility for Intelligent Fabrication in Wollongong, continuing the collaboration between UOW, TAFE NSW and Weld Australia, providing support to students and industry in the Shoalhaven.
The hub aims to benefit agribusiness, defence and manufacturing industries, which are key drivers of the Shoalhaven economy. Businesses can benefit from the use of facilities by upskilling their employees, or using facilities to create customised, high-value goods.
UOW hopes the industry hub will further position Nowra and the Shoalhaven as an investment location for Australian and multi-national corporations.
The investment comes as Australia’s industries begin to adopt new digital and robotic production technologies. Collaboration is crucial for small and medium enterprises in the new wave of innovation centred on automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.
There have been several Ministerial visits to the Industry 4.0 Hub since our last newsletter: The Hon. Andrew Gee MP, Federal Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education and Minister assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment visited UOW and toured the Facility for Intelligent Fabrication in Wollongong on 5 May 2021.
The Minister expressed interest in cobots and was able to view the cobot in action virtually from the Hub in Nowra through MS Teams via the AR Hololens headset. The Minister also had the opportunity to virtually tour the Hub and see the layout of the facility and equipment installed. On 11 June 2021 Industry 4.0 Hub hosted Federal Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips, the Hon. Ed Husic MP, Federal Member for Chifley and Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation.
Engaging with school students through STEM activities
The establishment of the Industry 4.0 Hub in Nowra is the first time that the Engineering and Information Sciences Faculty is represented on the Shoalhaven campus. It is the University’s intention to use this opportunity as a catalyst to grow these disciplines in the region. The Hub will allow the region to tap into the expertise that exists at UOW. The aim is to increase engagement with the campus, as it continues to become a vibrant community hub.
Fifteen Career Advisors, STEM, TAS and Science teachers from Shoalhaven high schools visited the Industry 4.0 Hub over a number of days. As a result of teacher visits, Nowra Christian School TAS teacher brought a senior student to use the hub’s Laser Cutter as part of his Major Project.
Nowra High HSC Design and Technology and Engineering classes toured the Hub facilities on the 18 June 2021. One student is making a solar charging station to charge batteries that then fit into a mobile phone charger to be used during the day. Another student is making modular energy efficient housing models. Both students have printed prototypes at school but jumped at the opportunity to use state of the art 3D printers to deliver a professional appearance of their projects.
Shoalhaven Business Chamber ‘business after hours’
The Hub has both participated in and hosted a number of presentations and networking events. On 24 March 2021 the Hub hosted the Shoalhaven Business Chamber ‘Business after Hours’ networking event (the first since 2019) with 80 participants attending. Group tours comprising 20 participants in each group were arranged to visit the Hub where recently commissioned equipment and technology were demonstrated.
Shoalhaven Professional Business Association ‘Q & A panel’
The Industry 4.0 Hub hosted the spba ‘Big Brekkie’ networking event on 13 May 2021 at the UOW Shoalhaven campus. Paul Di Pietro provided a brief overview of Industry 4.0 and the role of the Hub, followed by a Q & A panel comprising our research engineers. Group tours of the Hub followed. The ‘Big Brekkie’ networking event generated attendance of 30 professionals from the Shoalhaven.
Smarter Schools for a Smarter Planet
The ‘Smarter Schools for a Smarter Planet’ is SMART Infrastructure program where students create community projects addressing water management using sensory data. Industry 4.0 Hub, Sarah Howard and Johan Barthelemy from SMART Infrastructure collaborated together to offer Smarter Water workshops to local Shoalhaven high schools with Nowra Christian School expressing interest in running the program. Nowra High has booked 20 x Year 8 students and St John’s Catholic High School has booked in 20 students early in term 3.The workshops will be held at the Nowra Industry 4.0 Hub facility. UPCOMING EVENTS Nowra High has booked 20 x Year 8 students and St John’s Catholic High School has booked in 20 students early in term 3.The workshops will be held at the Nowra Industry 4.0 Hub facility.