Australian manufacturing’s ongoing industrial evolution focus for NMW

National Manufacturing Week (NMW), held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 14-17, will highlight the continuous growth and change the industry is experiencing.

NMW will feature a theme of ‘Industrial Evolution’ throughout the four days of the conference program and exhibition with a specific focus on driving further innovation in local manufacturing, continuing the evolution of the industry advanced technology solutions, sharing insights to stay ahead of the game, while celebrating Australian manufacturing’s resurgence.

NMW exhibition director Robby Clark said this year’s event promises to support the continuing high-tech and highly integrated evolution of the industry.

“There’s been a resurgence of late in Australian manufacturing, which is being generated by the industry’s collective realisation, active progression and evolution to being technologically advanced, highly integrated, automation and high-level engineering.

“Equally, we’ve also seen Industry 4.0 or the Internet of Things become a reality from technological forecast, which for manufacturing has manifested in operations – for example in smart factories where sensors are providing actionable intelligence or underpinning greater automation.

“Knowledge gathering and solution sourcing are critical steps for manufacturing professionals looking to navigate this industrial evolution that is currently underway. The exhibitors for this year’s event will provide manufacturers with the latest range of products and solutions designed to improve operations and operational performance, increase efficiency and resolve challenges, while the content within the conference program will offer specific advice and visibility into how industry leaders are managing change,” said Clark.

At National Manufacturing Week 2019, the exhibition floor will feature more than 200 leading industrial suppliers of game-changing solutions, new technology, advanced manufacturing products and operational services.

Visitors will be able to take advantage of six designated product zones to navigate through the exhibition floor, which segment the extensive range of products and solutions into key operational categories. The six product zones for 2019’s event are automation and robotics, engineering, Industrial Internet of Things, safety, welding technology, and manufacturing solutions.

Key exhibitors across these six product zones include:

Automation and Robotics – Pilz, Universal Robots, Wago; Engineering – Faro, Prytec, BE;

Manufacturing Solutions – Flow Power, Combilift, Intelli Particle;

Industrial Internet of Things – Epicor, ECi Solutions, Cadgroup; Safety – Vanguard Wireless, Atom, Axelent;

Welding Technology – BOC, Lincoln Electric, Air Liquide and Supagas.

There will also be an extensive conference programme that will feature a line-up of more than 70 industry speakers and panellists, who will share their exclusive insights about current industry challenges and recommendations for operational success. With the program’s sessions segmented across two streams, each with their own dedicated theatre, of “Industry 4.0” and “Connected Manufacturing”.

“This year’s conference program will be our most extensive and in-depth to date, with delegates offered unprecedented access to industry leaders with the expertise, knowledge and understanding to develop the strategies and practices for generating further growth,” said Clark.

Must-see theatre programs

The Industry 4.0 Theatre program will offer attendees the latest opinions, developments and research about the impact of Industry 4.0 on businesses and operations. A key highlight of this program will be the opening keynote, which will be delivered by Australia’s chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, followed by an innovation and collaboration stories series run by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).

Across days 2-4 of this stream’s conference sessions, other noteworthy speakers include Swinburne University director of Factory of the Future Dr Nico Adams, CSIRO Data61 principal research consultant Dr Elliot Duff, Innovative Manufacturing CRC CEO David Chuter, Siemens head of digital enterprise Christopher Vains, and AMCG managing director Dr Jens Goennemann.

The Connected Manufacturing Theatre program offers expert advice about business management, design and industrial challenges.

Conference sessions within this stream will focus on industry topics, including environment and energy policies, process improvement and optimisation, safety innovation, safety policies, safety management and culture, mental health and well-being, marketing and sales, additive manufacturing and design, and government grants and tariffs.

Industry leaders who will feature in some of these sessions, include Efic Business Development Director Philip Smith, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation CEO Brooke Donnelly, and Fonterra Cooperative Group HR Systems Owner Toni Kennington.

Clark said this year is NMW’s most extensive program ever, in both speaker volume and industry experience. “We are really looking forward to seeing the best game-changing, innovative and high-tech solutions that our industry-leading exhibitors are planning to demonstrate and display.”

Industry support is key

Strategic partners and industry associations supporting NMW in 2019 include Weld Australia, AMGC, Innovative Manufacturing CRC and Engineers Australia. These respective partnerships strengthen NMW’s depth and relevance of insight sharing and cement the event’s status as a key hub for the manufacturing community to come together.

As a strategic partner of this year’s event, Weld Australia will have an interactive presence on the exhibition floor offering visitors deeper insight into the latest welding skills training available. Weld Australia marketing and communications manager Donna South said Weld Australia will have an advanced welder training hub on the exhibition floor. “[This] will showcase the augmented and virtual reality technology that is revolutionising welder training here in Australia, and around the world.

“Attendees will have the chance to see and try a range of different welding simulators, which are making welder training and upskilling safer, more cost-efficient and engaging for new and experienced welders,” said South.

Improving business by understanding challenges

With NMW featuring a variety of Industry 4.0 applications that are helping lead the way for a strong future for the manufacturing industry, Clark said implementing smart solutions is a must.

“Manufacturing is no different from any other industry, in terms of needing to understand the change and challenges ahead, develop strategies and acquire the knowledge or capabilities to manage these changes or evolutions, while ensuring their customer service and productivity are not detrimentally impacted during this management of change.

“IoT is understandably forcing rapid change across the industry from operational practices and execution, to higher integration, reconsideration of approaches to production or task completion and the requirement to plan for future change, which are typified by the increasing level of ‘smart factories’ or factories with smart solutions.

“Therefore, we know businesses within the industry are actively considering and working to improve their operational practices and refine their approach or strategy for continued success. Because improving a business isn’t a process where ticking a box or achieving that next milestone is the measurement of success.”

To stay ahead of the game, Clark said manufacturers should acquire the latest insights, and collaborate and engage with industry peers.

“Whether your objective is to improve efficiency, productivity or increase quality, it’s crucial to take advantage of opportunities like NMW that support your business in its pursuit of future growth, by providing a forum to engage with industry leading solutions and operational experts.” said Clark.

Registration is now open for the 20th edition of National Manufacturing Week (14-17 May 2019), with free registration available at: www.nationalmanufacturingweek.com.au.