Swinburne University of Technology and Platform Industrie 4.0 Austria have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to intensify cooperation on Industry 4.0 initiatives.

Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution that is currently transforming manufacturing through digitalisation, enabling new efficiencies and business models not previously possible. Swinburne is playing a leading role in the practical implementation of Industry 4.0 in Australia, through supporting the manufacturing industry and investing in the development of a National Industry 4.0 Testlab for Composite Additive Manufacturing in partnership with CSIRO, in addition to the Factory of the Future, Swinburne’s industry portal for Industry 4.0.

Platform Industrie 4.0 Austria and Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 program have agreed to increase knowledge exchange to promote technology transfer, best practices and business model innovation between both countries. Networking efforts and links to other European centres for digital innovation will be deepened, and successful policy settings and joint submissions for research project funding will also be explored.

“We are delighted to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Platform Industrie 4.0 Austria to advance the fourth industrial revolution,” said Swinburne Vice-Chancellor Professor Pascale Quester. “The digitalisation and integration of production, with state-of-the-art information and communication technology along global value chains, opens up great economic potential for both Australia and Austria.”

“When it comes to Industry 4.0, Australia and Austria have similar challenges and need to be clever and innovative to ensure that we are both at the cutting edge of digitalisation to address the world’s biggest problems.”

Dr Kurt Hofstädter CEO of Platform Industrie 4.0, said Australia and Austria are taking similar approaches to drive digital transformation: “Our collaboration enables us to learn from each other in profound ways and creates the basis for successful joint projects. With this memorandum of understanding, we are expanding our existing international collaboration network across the borders of Europe in order to make even more world-wide know-how available to our members.”

These initiatives will bring together stakeholders from business, academia and politics from both countries and actively accompany the digital transformation process. Knowledge exchanges will occur at various levels: learning from each other how to implement human-centred artificial intelligence (AI) applications in production is as important as learning from each other’s experiences in the development of pilot factories and test labs.

Pilot factories offer small to medium enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to combine different Industry 4.0 skills and to understand the value-add created by technology through practical implementation examples. They also provide SMEs with a cost-effective environment for experimentation, making them indispensable for the development of new Industry 4.0-enabled manufacturing technologies by both businesses and universities.

Several pilot factories and testlabs are already operational in both countries: the intensive exchange of knowledge concerning operational best practices and viable business models is, therefore, a high priority in the collaboration.

Both partners wish to integrate their facilities with other European labs to enable better SME access.