Agreements signed between primes and university

Defence prime contractors have signed agreements to ensure that the latest technological advances are brought to bear on the manufacture of the Future Submarines and Future Frigates.

In separate agreements signed as part of PACIFIC 2019, Flinders University announced that it will work with Naval Group Pacific, the local subsidiary of French company naval Group, and BAE Systems and its subsidiary ASC Shipbuilding.

With Naval Group, Flinders will test the use of mobile machining robots and exoskeleton technologies, supported by the Digital Shipyard vision of Naval Group.

With ASC Shipbuilding and BAE Systems, Flinders university will use Industry 4.0 technology to support the training of future shipyard workers. These will be utilised during the prototyping phase of the design of the Hunter class frigate, starting from December 2020. Managing director, ASC Shipbuilding Craig Lockhard described the nature of the applications.

“We are establishing a world-leading shipyard right here in Australia – it will mean autonomous ground delivery vehicles, paperless work orders, cobots, laser scanning and projection, virtual reality and, part and tool tracking, just to name a few technologies,” said Lockhart.

Flinders University vice-chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling, outlined how expertise from industries including mining, automotive, and construction will be applied to the $35 billion project.

“Our expertise in industrial transformation will bring tangible benefits to the frigate project, one of the biggest defence investments in the nation’s history. Industry 4.0 is vital part of the digital transformation underway in manufacturing and this new research partnership with ASC Shipbuilding will help to solve the real world challenges faced in a modern shipyard,” said Stirling.

In the Naval Group partnership, automated systems for the construction of the submarines will be trialled in the partnership.

“This new collaboration builds on our existing research and education program with Naval Group in the fast emerging field of autonomous maritime vehicles, announced earlier this year,” said Stirling.