Siemens Australia has granted $135 million to the Swinburne University of Technology, to fully digitalise its ‘Factory of the Future’ hub in its Hawthorn facility in Melbourne.
The announcement closely follows the $4 million supercomputing deal the university inked with Dell EMC.
The multi-million industrial digitalisation software grant will allow researchers from the university to design and develop products in a virtual environment without having to build physical prototypes. This will also help train future Australian engineers and other students in manufacturing skills.
Specifically, the software grant provides a suite of advanced product lifecycle management (PLM) software and a new generation cloud based Internet of Things (IoT) platform, Mindsphere, which will allow students and researchers to have access to the same apparatus being used in industries.
Siemens Australia chairman and CEO, Jeff Connolly, said this grant will support Victoria and Australia by preparing students so they can participate in the many opportunities that digitalisation provides within the new innovation economy that is globally interconnected.
“This is about jobs of the future today. I’m proud to be standing here… announcing the largest ever industrial software grant in Australia. Our country’s future relies on companies working with key educational and research institutions to get our workforce ready for the fourth industrial revolution,” he said.
He also said that the world is changing rapidly through technology and Australia needs to equip its future generations and existing workforce with the necessary capabilities and tools to make things faster, cheaper and better.
“Ultimately this is about jobs and competition. It’s vitally important that our future generations are equipped with the globally competitive technology and skills to take us on that journey,” he added.
The grant also includes an undisclosed co-contribution by the university, for initialisation and ongoing interaction with and global support by Siemens expert software engineers.
According to the Swinburne University of Technology deputy vice-chancellor of research and development, professor Aleksandar Subic, the 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,” he said.
“The international competition will be fierce in the Manufacturing domain, which is why this development is so timely and critical.”
He added that the university is making “significant progress” in aligning its research and education strategy with the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce roadmap, in collaboration with its industry partners both locally and internationally.