GE's chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt has spoken of the need for Australia’s manufacturers to work productively and intelligently, and highlighted the benefits of the company’s “industrial internet” concept during an event.
Immelt urged the repurposing of labour from a pure focus on mining towards higher value-add ends, and discussed GE’s work in the LNG sector, where it has won major contracts in the last two years.
’We think we can develop high-tech mining products that can be shipped around the world (from Australia)," Immelt said The Australian’s Path To Prosperity series launch.
‘’The question on Australia is what can be done in this country to repurpose some of the talent to around more engineering and high-value work (away from the current focus on natural resources).”
GE is currently providing maintenance on LNG projects including Gorgon (on Barrow Island), Curtis (Gladstone) and Icthys (Darwin). The Curtis project, for which GE signed a contract yesreday, will use GE’s low-emission turbines.
The company has announced plans to quadruple its workforce in Australia in coming years.
‘’Manufacturing can exist here but we are going to need to be very productive to demonstrate its values … This country can be quite competitive on the high tech software and analytics,” said Immelt, and highlighted what GE believes to be the gains that could be made by the industrial internet.
GE released research last year, reported in Manufacturers’ Monthly and elsewhere, claiming that the industrial internet could provide productivity gains worth $US 10-15 trillion a year worldwide.
Factory machines would be connected to each other and to the internet and allowed to operate automatically, describing this as “an intelligent network of interconnected machines that can extract data and find meaning where it did not exist before.”
Part of the benefit would come from being able to make sense of “Big Data” from production processes through analytics and predicting performance issues.