South Australia’s Factory of the Future to accelerate growth of advanced manufacturing

Image credit: Flinders University

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has visited the construction site for Stage One of the Line Zero – Factory of the Future facility, to see first-hand, some of the advanced technologies and processes that will be supported by the state.

The Line Zero – Factory of the Future will be a world-class manufacturing accelerator embedded within South Australia’s Tonsley Innovation District.

The project, driven by Flinders University, began with a temporary pilot “pop up” factory developed in collaboration with BAE Systems Maritime Australia.

The $10m co-funding between the state government and the university will a permanent factory to be built, with international links to the UK’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield, and the Advanced Forming Research Centre in Strathclyde.

The Line Zero Factory of the Future, the first of its kind in Australia, will eventually employ more than 100 researchers.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling said the project is a crucial element of translating research into a real-world application.

“Flinders University’s new Factory of the Future at Line Zero will help accelerate the growth of advanced manufacturing necessary to support the Federal Government’s $90 billion naval shipbuilding program in SA,” he said.

“We welcome the state government’s $5m investment, matching Flinders University’s own commitment to this important initiative that will position South Australia at the national vanguard of the Industry 4.0 agenda for advanced manufacturing technologies.

“Our initial focus will be on collaborative research and training designed to maximise the engagement of South Australian companies and workers with the shipbuilding industry. However, future stages of the Factory of the Future will support a broad range of industries, enabling their trialling and adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, thus contributing to durable jobs growth across the South Australian economy.”

BAE Systems Maritime Australia Managing Director, Craig Lockhart, said digital shipbuilding is about connectivity.

“The Line Zero – Pilot Factory of the Future facility provides a controlled space where we can collaborate with industry and researchers to trial new manufacturing techniques and processes that will ultimately be used by BAE Systems Maritime Australia to build the nine Hunter class frigates,” he said.

“It is our ambition that the digital and technological advancements demonstrated by the supply chain will lead to improved productivity, safety and quality outcomes, equipping our highly-skilled workforce with Industry 4.0 technologies that support activities undertaken in a modern digital shipyard.

“Just last month we announced four Australian companies we selected as part of our inaugural ‘Innovation Challenge’ to showcase their ‘track and trace’ technologies, and we are now calling on businesses to lodge expressions of interest for the second challenge – focusing on digital safety technologies.”