State funding to fast-track Line Zero – Factory of the Future

Flinders University’s first-of-its-kind advanced manufacturing accelerator at Tonsley has been given a boost in last week’s state budget.

The Marshall government has contributed $5 million towards Flinders University’s Line Zero – Factory of the Future project. The State Government’s investment is matched by $5 million from Flinders, and will help fast-track this initiative.

“Flinders University welcomes the SA Government’s funding announcement and is proud to co-invest $5m in the new facility at our Tonsley campus. A crucial element in research that makes an impact is taking research out of the lab and applying it in the real world and this facility will do exactly that,” President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says.

“This announcement reinforces Flinders University’s growing contribution towards placing Australia at the cutting-edge of Industry 4.0 and will support the application of new technologies in advanced manufacturing. The Line Zero – Factory of the Future enables our students and researchers to interact with business to transform manufacturing processes” Professor Stirling says.

Flinders University’s Line Zero – Factory of the Future founding partners include ASC Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia, and the Innovative Manufacturing CRC.

A pilot program involves testing advanced manufacturing technologies for potential deployment in support of the Hunter Class Frigate Program, and Flinders will further partner with a range of companies to support other ship building and advanced manufacturing initiatives.

Through Hunter, nine Hunter class frigates will be constructed for the Royal Australian Navy at the world-class digital shipyard at Osborne, South Australia, and the Line Zero initiative represents a significant step forward for the Hunter supply chain to demonstrate and test – in a controlled environment – the technological value and progress that can be made over the life of the program.

Professor John Spoehr, Flinders Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research Impact and Director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, says the funding announcement will enable technologies and processes tested by Flinders University and ASC Shipbuilding to be honed and refined in a real-world manufacturing site – the former Mitsubishi panel stamping plant.

“It also affords an opportunity for supply chain companies to work with Flinders and ASC Shipbuilding to harness the benefits of advanced manufacturing, enabling improved performance and growing their contribution to the sector and to the state and national economy,” says Professor Spoehr.

ASC Shipbuilding Managing Director Craig Lockhart says: “The Osborne naval shipyard will be one of the most modern, digitally advanced shipyards in the world – linking the digital engineering design with automated technologies and digitised work packs for shipbuilders on the ground.

“For workers and the supply chain this means they can use a range of digital technologies to do their job right, the first time – leading to productivity, safety and quality outcomes.

“Line Zero provides us with the exceptional opportunity to work with Flinders University researchers and academics as well as industry partners, to test and trial advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques in a factory environment, before adapting them to the shipyard,” Mr Lockhart says.

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