A CSIRO whitepaper has outlined how a new breed of industrial robots and information systems could be the key to unlocking the strength of the manufacturing industry.
The paper, which will be launched at National Manufacturing Week, has mapped out a plan where employees work with robots and new technology to change the industry's focus.
“Known as Lightweight Assistive Manufacturing Solutions, these new systems are designed to enhance the workers skills, actions and tasks, not to replace them. They include virtual reality headsets, smart robots which can be taught to multi-task and tele-supervised robots which can be controlled over the internet,” the CSIRO said in a statement.
CSIRO businesses development manager Peter Kambouris, who co-authored the paper, said the local manufacturing sector was starting to change gears, and new technology would be key to the future of the industry.
“Australian Manufacturing is shifting away from large-volume production to mass customisation, and companies are telling us they need more flexible systems to deliver these more customised products,” he said.
“This whitepaper seeks to highlight these trends and present solutions which will enable Australian industry to address these challenges.”
The CSIRO said automation was not yet widely used in the industry, but new developments in robotics and information communication technology had the potential to solve challenges in the sector.
One of the projects already being trialled in the industry is a virtual headset called ReMote, which allows workers to transfer what they can see to anyone in a remote location.
“Our focus has been on creating systems which can help people and businesses work safer and smarter. Our consultation with industry has shown that safety, flexibility and affordability are the three drivers for Australian industry,” Kambouris said.
You can read the whitepaper here.