Siemens on 16 August announced a $135m grant  to Swinburne University of Technology for software that will be used to fully digitalise Swinburne’s ‘Factory of the Future’ facility in Hawthorn, Victoria.

The Siemens software will help develop the workforce of the future across the entire work lifecycle from apprenticeships to PhDs. Jeff Connolly, Chairman and CEO of Siemens Australia, said the grant will support Victoria and Australia by preparing students to participate in the many opportunities that digitalisation provides within the new, globally interconnected innovation economy.

“This is about jobs of the future today,” said Connolly. “Our country’s future relies on companies working with key educational and research institutions to get our workforce ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The world is changing rapidly through technology and Australia needs to equip our future generations and our existing workforce with the necessary capabilities and tools to make things faster, cheaper and better – ultimately this is about jobs and competition.”

The grant includes a co-contribution by Swinburne for initialisation and ongoing interaction with Siemens, and global support by Siemens expert software engineers. According to Professor Aleksandar Subic, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Development) and Chair of Industry 4.0 Testlabs on the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, digitalisation of manufacturing is critical to help Australian industry transition to the future.

“We’re immersed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and we want to make sure that students and researchers are equipped with the required advanced capabilities and technologies to help Australia access global value chains,” said Subic. “The international competition will be fierce in the manufacturing domain, which is why this development is so timely and critical. I have experienced the Siemens automation technology and digitalisation software and hardware first-hand in Germany and the US and can see how this approach will help transform our manufacturing sector and develop future workforce to participate and compete globally.”

Siemens will provide a suite of advanced PLM (product lifecycle management) software and new generation cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) platform ‘Mindsphere’. According to Connolly, who is also Chair of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, it will allow students and researchers to have access to the same apparatus being used by leading industries on the most advanced projects

“Imagine creating a digital twin, not only of the product but of the entire manufacturing process, so you don’t need costly and time-consuming physical prototypes,” Connolly explained. “Everything from the assembly line to tooling, ergonomics and resources can be fully simulated digitally. This is exactly what our software grant will help students achieve in Swinburne’s Factory of the Future.”

“We have already made significant progress in aligning our research and education strategy with the Industry 4.0 roadmap in collaboration with our industry partners both locally and internationally,” added Subic. “The fully digitalised Swinburne Factory of the Future will set an Industry 4.0 benchmark and provide an environment for workforce transformation in line with the most advanced economies in the world. This is an aspiration that we shared on the PM’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce”.


  • Jeff Connolly, CEO of Siemens Australia and New Zealand, and Professor Aleksandar Subic, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Development), Swinburne University.