The Australian Federal Government has pledged AU$ 2 million for an industry hub, which will be managed by the University of Wollongong (UOW) in the Shoalhaven.
About the initiative
According to a recent press release, the hub will provide a collaborative environment for students, industry specialists and entrepreneurs.
Furthermore, it is equipped with industrial robots as well as cobots.
Cobots, also known as collaborative robots, are robots that are designed to work safely alongside humans. Their goal is to augment human workers instead of replacing them.
The hub, which will include a maker space, is set to position the Shoalhaven at the forefront of advanced manufacturing.
Staff at the hub will be able to provide information, training and technology demonstrations to users.
The industry hub will provide opportunities to connect with the business community in a more accessible site.
Modelled off the Facility for Intelligent Fabrication in Wollongong, the hub will continue the collaboration between UWO, TAFE NSW and Weld Australia.
It will provide support to students and industry in the Shoalhaven.
The key drivers of the Shoalhaven economy include agribusiness, defence and manufacturing industries. All of which will most likely benefit from the presence of the hub.
The University also hopes to partner with Shoalhaven City Council to ensure the local community benefits from the project.
Businesses can benefit from the use of facilities by upskilling their employees. In addition, a business can also use the facilities in order to create customised, high-value goods.
The University is hopeful that the industry hub will further position Nowra and the Shoalhaven as an investment location for Australian and multi-national corporations.
The pilot program will be led by the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences.
The AU$ 2 million in funding from the Federal Government will cover for the hub’s first two years of operation.
The investment comes as Australia’s industries begin to adopt new digital and robotic production technologies.
Collaboration is crucial for small and medium enterprises in the new wave of innovation centred on automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.
The project is one of four funded by the Federal government to enhance collaboration between universities and business that will lead to new jobs, business opportunities and productivity gains.
Other hubs in the country
Australia has been very supportive of the establishment of hubs that will create and support more jobs.
The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub, for instance, aims to boost Queensland. The Government of Queensland has invested AU$ 7.71 million over four years in order to establish the nation’s first robotics manufacturing hub that will create and support more jobs.
This is a facility for all of Queensland.
All manufacturers across the state coming from sectors as diverse as aerospace, biomedical, beef and food processing, defence, mining equipment, technology and services, rail manufacturing, and space will be able to access the ARM Hub.
Also in Queensland, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology, along with more than 50 commercial and research partners, are involved with the Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre.
Food hubs around Australia will benefit from their planning templates and freight modelling tools as they develop sustainable production and supply solutions.
Researchers will use smart agricultural technologies to develop enhanced-proteins foods.
They will also develop scientifically-based tools and methods to create unique Australian-made premium food goods for domestic and export markets.
The Centre was initiated as part of a broader industry-wide push to increase value-adding capability, product differentiation and responsiveness to consumer preferences.