Swinburne, CSIRO joint R&D facility with pilot plant for composite additive manufacturing

Swinburne University of Technology and Australia’s national science agency CSIRO are creating a joint Research and Development (R&D) facility with a pilot plant for a world-first process for the additive manufacturing of carbon fibre composite materials.

The National Industry 4.0 Testlab in Composite Additive Manufacturing is the first national facility in a network of six state-based Industry 4.0 Testlabs established across Australia.

Construction of the facility, located at CSIRO’s Clayton site in Victoria, began earlier this year and is due to be completed in October.

“The joint CSIRO/Swinburne Testlab is focused on a world-first process for additive manufacturing of carbon fibre-reinforced composites at an industrial scale,” says Dr Marcus Zipper, Executive Director of CSIRO’s Future Industries sector.

“This makes its location, at the heart of Clayton’s additive manufacturing precinct, a great fit. At CSIRO we’re all about creating opportunities for SMEs and the broader innovation ecosystem, and this Testlab is another example of that.”

The facility aims to work with a variety of collaborators, forging a path for new Australian manufacturing with high-tech products based on sustainable, advanced manufacturing processes. It aims to enable flexible manufacturing that can rapidly adapt to changing industry demands.

“The facility will build on the strong track record of collaboration between Swinburne and CSIRO, and strengthening that partnership will catalyse the development of new digital manufacturing technologies,” says Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Bronwyn Fox.

“I have worked for or with CSIRO for my entire career and have seen the incredible impact that university partnerships with CSIRO can have in developing new technology that stimulates economic growth for Australia. I’m personally committed to and very passionate about this strategic collaboration.”

Industry 4.0 allows manufacturers to innovate on the ways in which they create and capture value: smart factories, for example, allow individual customer requirements and even one-off items to be manufactured profitably. Such a factory can easily respond to last-minute changes on behalf of customers and suppliers.

The goal is to enable small and medium enterprises to test new technologies and business models created by Industry 4.0, exploring aspects from design to economic feasibility in a pre-competitive environment with minimal technical and financial risk.

A network of suppliers and end users have contributed to the co-design and creation of the Testlab including global aerospace and automotive companies and their supply chains with other partners including ARENA2036, Fill, Quickstep, Langzauner, Plataine, and Cikoni to name a few.