Swinburne project focusses on manufacturing of lightweight composites

Swinburne University of Technology and its industry and research partners have been awarded $1 million of funding through the Global Innovation Linkages Program towards a $3.5m project focussed on Industry 4.0 manufacturing of high volume lightweight composites.

The project will use a world-first process for 3D printing of industrial scale composites in Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 Testlab.

Carbon fibre composite manufacture has become a growth area for Australia in the past decade leading to new export markets. To maintain this momentum, the key challenge is to increase the rate and lower the cost of production.

This can only be achieved by targeted research using the latest technologies in automation and digitalisation.

Swinburne has established partnerships with Australian companies and global economies in Germany, Austria and Israel to undertake Industry 4.0 platform capability development.

Swinburne deputy vice-chancellor Professor Aleksandar Subic said the Global Innovation Program Linkage grant recognises leadership in Industry 4.0 transformation of the advanced manufacturing sector through collaboration with our partners in Australia and Germany.

“This success validates our Industry 4.0 Testlab strategy and development, and deepens our research partnerships internationally, especially with ARENA2036 in Stuttgart and with Fill in Austria.

“I am pleased that our research team, led by Professor Bronwyn Fox, has secured this support to expand the scope and reach of their high impact research in the area of automated carbon fibre parts production using Industry 4.0 technologies and processes.”

The project will design and develop products for the New Mobility Transportation market as a brand-new, rapidly growing industrial segment in both the aerospace and automotive sectors, where there is a critical requirement for high volume composites with digital ID.

Director of the Manufacturing Futures Research Institute Professor Bronwyn Fox said designing and developing Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 Testlab for 3D printing of composites with industry and research partners is one of the key strategies of the Manufacturing Futures Research Institute, founded two years ago.

“Our international network of industrially connected researchers enables us to create new global business opportunities for advanced manufacturers in Australia.

“This project will also support training the next generation of digitally astute joint PhD students between Swinburne and the University of Stuttgart,” said Fox.