Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) has successfully catalysed more than $200 million investment in collaborative research and development (R&D) projects across Australia, with a unique CRC business model that enables industry-led collaborative research to push boundaries and deliver commercial outcomes.
The $200 million investment, leveraging cash and other contributions from industry, research organisations and the Federal and State Governments, has financed more than 40 transformative and industry-led projects that will help increase the global competitiveness of the Australian manufacturing industry and incentivise others to similarly invest.
Of the 40 projects commenced, six projects have been completed so far, allowing the businesses to evolve and strengthen their positions in their markets:
- SPEE3D “Machine vision for Industry 4.0 high-speed 3D printing” as well as the follow-on project “Automated part repair using 3D scanning and supersonic 3D deposition”
- SuperCool “Smart electric compressor for refrigeration and air conditioning on electric vehicles”
- BluGlass “High performance normally OFF GaN High Electron Mobility Transistors (HEMT)”
- RUAG Australia “Application of additive metal technology to operational aircraft”
- Mineral Technologies “Revolutionising Mineral Separation using Additive Manufacturing”
IMCRC also acted as a catalyst for broader sector spin out investments including the $18m Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub in Brisbane, QLD, which was born out of the IMCRC co-funded Design Robotics project between Urban Art Projects (UAP), Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and RMIT University, and the $10m Line Zero – Factory of the Future manufacturing accelerator at Tonsley, SA, through the research collaboration between BAE Systems Australia ASC Shipbuilding, Flinders University and IMCRC.
Commenting on the $200 million milestone, IMCRC Chair, the Hon Ian Macfarlane, reinforced IMCRC’s dedication to propelling Australia’s innovation and technological advancement forward, especially in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has never been more important than it is today for Australia to invest in homegrown R&D and to do this through effective collaboration,” he said.
“As Australia’s CRC for innovative manufacturing, we were pleased to see the Government acknowledge and prioritise, through its Modern Manufacturing Strategy, the need for Australian manufacturers to scale up, collaborate and commercialise if we are to build a strong, modern and resilient Australian economy.
“IMCRC has established a unique and now proven business model for helping and creating pathways for manufacturers to assess and explore emerging technologies, create new materials, and adapt techniques to manufacture new products and service new markets. I am delighted to be part of an organisation doing such important work within the manufacturing sector.”
IMCRC chief executive and managing director David Chuter highlighted that despite the challenges COVID-19 created, it also accelerated the pace of change of business which underlines the importance of investing in R&D to help drive the future of Australian manufacturing.
“Our industry and research partners have remained firmly committed to their projects despite the disruption created by the pandemic. It is a testament to the transformational nature of the projects they are investing in,” said Chuter.
“IMCRC has been actively supporting manufacturers through these disruptive months, including through the rapid design of ‘IMCRC activate’ – a new project fund we have created for Australian businesses across all sectors to invest in shorter term R&D projects with reduced barriers and financial commitment. Through our ‘activate’ program we are stimulating new ways of thinking and helping businesses adapt to a rapidly changing environment.”
Recognising the continued support of the Commonwealth that enables IMCRC to advance innovation and the transformation of the Australian manufacturing sector, Chuter added that now was the time for businesses to assess and explore emerging technologies and rethink their business operations.
“We face a year ahead full of possibilities. Change is upon us as a society and as an industry following the outbreak of COVID-19. IMCRC’s business model is to successfully drive effective collaboration, breakthrough innovation and purposeful research – including with SMEs – all of which provides a platform and significant opportunity for investment into Australian manufacturing and national industry more broadly. Let’s not see this opportunity wasted,” he said.