A new Industry 4.0 Testlab to support industry innovation across defence, mining, ag-tech, electronics and automotive sectors has opened at the University of South Australia (UniSA).
The $2 million hub, equipped with 3D printing facilities, multiplayer virtual reality spaces for human-centred design, and an industrial-scale manufacturing demonstrator, will help small-to-medium enterprises create test new advanced technologies.
Businesses and researchers will be able to trial, explore and showcase new technologies together in the purpose-built lab, which focuses on advanced digitisation of manufacturing as part of a national network of Testlabs established in partnership with the federal government.
UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor of research and enterprise Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington said the Testlab gives local businesses access to new digital technologies and allows them to work with international experts.
“Over human history, there have been periods of really massive acceleration and disruption,” she said. “This is one of those times and the added interruption that COVID-19 has thrown into the mix, makes the role of the new test-lab even more important in our road to recovery nationally.
“Industry 4.0 is actually a disruption around creativity, and it has fundamentally changed the way we make things, how those things relate to us and how they help us relate to others.”
Director of the University of South Australia’s Industry 4.0 Testlab, Professor Nikki Stanford, said the lab provides physical spaces for businesses and researchers to trial, explore and showcase Industry 4.0 technologies and processes.
“Post the COVID-19 lockdown, as we move back towards less restricted operations, our goal for the Testlab is to give small businesses insights into what they can potentially do in their industries, without them having to take out a loan to fund their innovations,” she said.
“The lab will allow them to try out our technologies, see how they work and if they can be implemented to advantage their business operations and competitiveness.
“The lab is one part of a series of transformations, including the introduction of new curricula and revamped facilities to support space and Industry 4.0 programs and research.”
She says the Testlabs across the country will be central in improving the competitiveness of Australian businesses by promoting and enhancing the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies and supporting workforce transformation.
“We will be looking forward to the opportunity to formally launch the new Industry 4.0 Testlab in the future, but as restrictions ease, we hope to start to engage with local businesses quickly to ensure industry innovation is a core part of our recovery and growth,” Professor Stanford said.