Advanced manufacturing takes precedence at exhibition

National Manufacturing Week (NMW) 2019 had many layers, catering to various attendees’ interests – including advance manufacturing. Manufacturers’ Monthly explains.

NMW had a lot to show, with companies revealing integrated solutions and services, the latest in robotics and automation, and the role the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) plays in manufacturing. The exhibition, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 14-17, gave attendees the opportunity to see the many technology-driven steps companies had taken in Australia and abroad, including in advanced manufacturing.

NMW exhibition director, Robby Clark, said the shift of Industry 4.0 from being a buzzword to the next industrial revolution has meant across many sectors and companies there’s been a change whereby adopting new technologies and strategies for success has been the focus.

“In manufacturing, we’ve seen huge uplift in the demand for advanced manufacturing technology, high-tech or highly integrated solutions and services.

“Advanced manufacturing is largely dependent on leveraging the benefits offered by automation and robotics technology, additive manufacturing and IIoT,” said Clark.

“Research from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) shows that being advanced is not what a manufacturing business creates, but how it operates. To support manufacturers integration of advanced technologies into manufacturing operations and production, we’ve also seen a strong demand for engineering expertise and skills, which are crucial to their successful deployment,” he explained.

Having followed manufacturing’s evolution and adoption of Industry 4.0, the exhibition had a lot to offer attendees wanting to learn more about advanced manufacturing. Clark said this was evident in the specialised product zones of automation and robotics, and IIoT, as well as in the conference program with its dedicated Industry 4.0 content stream.

“We know businesses within the industry are actively improving their operational practices and refining their approach or strategies for continued success. Manufacturing is undergoing a significant revolution,” said Clark.

To give visitors a thorough insight into Industry 4.0 and how it can help their businesses, NMW’s conference featured experts within this field. Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel was the keynote speaker in the Industry 4.0 theatre, and AMGC managing director Dr Jens Goennemann was the chair for the innovation stories series.

Topics within the Industry 4.0 theatre included a discussion led by Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) New South Wales director, Mark Goodsell, on Australian manufacturing in 2019 and beyond, and a discussion led by Swinburne University Factory of the Future director, Dr Nico Adams, on operationalising Industry 4.0 in manufacturing.

The conference also included a connected manufacturing theatre that featured subjects such as energy solutions for manufacturers, achieving a single source of performance truth, and optimising B2B packaging to reduce business costs.