Variety of Industry 4.0 in Australia on display at CEBIT

On October 30, at the technology conference CEBIT Australia, the potential for Industry 4.0 application in local industries was canvassed by a range of speakers from industry, research and government.

Chaired by Ingrid Marsh, director industry development, NSW Treasury, Marsh outlined that Industry 4.0 could be the key to unlocking productivity and growth in manufacturing and the broader economy. To this end, the NSW government launched its advanced manufacturing Industry Development Strategy in May 2018. The aim of the strategy is to help strong, existing businesses to transition to Industry 4.0, and create opportunities for new businesses.

One business that was putting this into practice was Phyco Health, which has turned a former paper mill in Nowra, on the Shoalhaven River, to a facility for the production of seaweed for food and medicinal outcomes. Founder, director and chief scientist of Phyco Health, Pia Winberg, highlighted that the traceability of molecules, enabled by Industry 4.0 would allow for a new industry to emerge in Australia, with a myriad of outcomes.

Steve Milanoski, had of advanced manufacturing at Romar Engineering, a contract manufacturer, based in Sydney, described how for him and Romar Engineering, Industry 4.0 was about traceability and visibility to allow those along the supply chain to see inside the manufacturing process.

For Jacque Courtney-Pitman, executive general manager, human resources, at advanced composites manufacturer Quickstep Holdings, Industry 4.0 is the challenge of introducing automated manufacturing into an ageing workforce.

“250 people work with Quickstep, half are over the age of 55,” said Courtney-Pitman.

With Industry 4.0 being unique for each business, the question of where to start garnered similarly varied responses.

Winberg confronted in her business the need for the smart capture of data, while for Courtney-Pitman, grappling with Industry 4.0 takes a human-centred approach as the workforce transforms.

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