Institutes & Centres
It’s Line Zero: Factory of the Future, located on the former stamping plant that was the birthplace of the Chrysler Valiant and ended its days producing Mitsubishi 380 sedans, employing a significant portion of the car maker’s 1,500-strong workforce.
The space now houses the initial pods of the Line Zero pop-up test lab where potential applications of advanced manufacturing technologies in the maritime shipbuilding sector are being explored.
“It’s an impressively large facility – one that is coming alive again, this time as a driver of advanced manufacturing,” says Professor John Spoehr, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research Impact, and Director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders University. “This is an optimistic sign for the state. We are living in challenging economic times, but this is an opportunity to keep apace with global technological change – and for the sake of all South Australia, we must get it right.”
Line Zero – a major research partnership with BAE Systems/ASC Shipbuilding and the Innovative Manufacturing CRC at the Tonsley Innovation District – will be the first industrial-scale Factory of the Future facility in Australia, demonstrating the potential and capabilities of advanced robotics, automation and the Industry 4.0 industrial transformation agenda.
Joint research is being undertaken on human factors that influence the uptake of advanced manufacturing technologies and processes. “The purpose of the research is to support the development of world-class digital shipbuilding in Australia as part of the $35 billion Hunter Class Future Frigate program,” says Professor Spoehr. “The idea is that we build this into a very substantial capability in the next five years.”
Such bold new facilities are necessary for Australia to remain in step with global industrial transformation – something that Professor Spoehr says can be the foundation for growth of advanced manufacturing businesses and jobs.
“How do we translate great ideas into commercially and socially beneficial outcomes? We’ve never lacked great ideas – the challenge has been to commercialise and realise public value from more of them. Facilities like the Factory of the Future will really accelerate our efforts in industrial transformation, in line with other world leaders such as Germany and the UK.”
This research facility’s broad engagement with supply chains and suppliers is likely to attract the attention of a range of industries – especially food and wine production, medical technologies, energy and mining interests. Professor Spoehr says all these significant sectors of South Australia’s economy and employment landscape are hungry to exploit the benefits of advanced manufacturing and digital technologies.
“It’s exciting that the Line Zero facility will combine a research and development facility with training. Laboratory-based projects will move quickly into a facility where industrial-scale tests and trials can be undertaken to help de-risk and accelerate technology adoption in the workplace.”
Professor John Spoehr
Professor Spoehr has been researching industrial transformation strategies for more than three decades and says it now requires a range of disciplines to come together for required solutions to be developed.
“So many of the barriers that we face are human and organisational, but we can overcome them if we assemble new teams from very different backgrounds. We need to bring together engineers and social scientists, computer technicians, psychologists and business experts to work in collaborative teams. It’s something quite unique that we are doing at Flinders, and it puts us at the cutting edge of industrial transformation efforts intenationally. It’s what we need to do more in Australia.”
Aware that industrial transformation is a fundamental challenge facing Australia’s economy and society, Flinders’ research expertise is providing substantial benefits for companies embracing industrial transformation. To ensure Australia rides at the cutting edge of advancement, Flinders is working with best-of-breed research and development facilities including the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield, UK – the world’s leading advanced manufacturing accelerator funded by the UK Government’s Industry Catapult Program – and the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre to support the application of new manufacturing technologies for shipbuilding. These collaborations with world-leaders are now of the greatest importance.
“No country without a strong manufacturing sector will enjoy high standards of living in the 21st century,” says Professor Spoehr, “but if we do this well, it will help to underpin high living standards in Australia for decades to come.”
Article published on 13 November 2020
Protecting old-growth forests and creating hardwood timber boards from what would previously be considered waste are two benefits of a new process focused on recycling, reusing and repurposing a valuable resource.Learn more
Australia’s first large scale advanced manufacturing accelerator is being established at Tonsley, on a site that defined a previous golden era of automotive manufacturing in South Australia.Learn more
COVID-19 triggered enormous demand for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for people working at the medical ‘front line’. This challenge set Professor Karen Reynolds’ strategic research brain in motion.Learn more
You consent to the use of our cookies if you proceed.