Multi-sector conference identifies priorities for Industry 4.0

The first Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum Conference, held on August 7, identified the priorities for industry in transitioning to Industry 4.0.

The first priority that representatives from business, research organisations, education and training providers, unions, and government bodies identified is the need for an appropriately skilled workforce. To meet this need, industry and education providers will need to work together the design and implement training opportunities, according to a statement released after the conference.

The next priority involves innovation in technology and the application of advancements across sectors. Similarly, implementing the most advances ideas and devices cannot solely be the domain of any one sector. Instead, all sectors will need to collaborate for the effective utilisation of advanced technology.

Another hurdle for adopting Industry 4.0 practices is the threat of cyber-attacks on digitalised systems. This, however, does present an opportunity for Australian industry to develop cyber security products and establish resilient protocols. Part of the conference included case studies on the relevance and application of cyber security in advanced manufacturing, across supply chains, data integrity, connectivity, and security confidence and trust.

In addition to the Australian representatives present, delegates from New Zealand attended the conference, creating opportunities for strong trans-Tasman relations in Industry 4.0.

Finally, the role of standards was under discussion during the conference. As international standards bodies develop Industry 4.0 standards, Australian representatives need to be part of discussions to ensure that Australian businesses remain up to date and have a competitive advantage.

Those in attendance included peak bodies such as the Australian Industry Group, Engineers Australia, government bodies such as the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, AustCyber and the IMCRC, Swinburne University of Technology, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), and representatives from industry such as Siemens.

“Managing the transition to industry 4.0, where businesses grow, roles are higher skilled and higher valued and where innovation thrives, requires leadership. Business, educational institutions, unions, standards bodies, and other decision-makers must work together with a focus on areas of competitive strength and strategic priority,” said the statement.