A view of international innovation hubs

Earlier this month, our CEO Dr Cori Stewart visited advanced manufacturing hubs with university and industry collaborations similar to the ARM Hub in Germany and Belgium. In the following article she reflects on the tours as part of an Australian delegation to the region.

‘The ongoing work of catalysing Industry 4.0 digital transformation for individual businesses was a feature of these innovation hubs.

Flanders Make in Belgium is an impressive network of independent advanced manufacturing hubs that form a network of university and industry collaboration centres.

For a decade they have been tackling the requirements of Industry 4.0 digital transformation with local industry, creating solutions with individual businesses as well as creating a library of digital manufacturing tools for widespread use.

During our visit we saw teams creating augmented reality digital workstations with digital work instructions; robotic visions systems for quality control and picking and sorting in production-line processes; robotics stations designed for agile and flexible manufacturing production; and a semi-trailer full of tech demonstrations that goes to industry and events to educate and inspire. This network of hubs has ensured local manufacturing is relevant, connected, globally competitive and has access to the latest equipment, research and talent.

The Australian delegation spent several days with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institutes and local manufacturers in Stuttgart, the manufacturing heartland of the nation and home to Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Bosch, Festo, Trumpf were among the industrial companies and research institutions.

Fraunhofer had systematised Germany’s success at Industry 4.0 implementation into business assessment tools.

In 2016, Australia’s Innovative Manufacturing CRC collaborated with Fraunhofer to translate and share this work with Australian companies. Now the Fraunhofer are building on this work with added focus on advanced product development and green manufacturing.

This development is of interest to ARM Hub given it is relevant to our high-value bespoke or mass customised manufacturing, including robotics manufacture. If you are similarly interested and want to connect with ARM Hub and Fraunhofer around these capabilities please do reach out.

Our time in Germany culminated in the formal event, the Fraunhofer Science and Innovation Day Australia in Augsburg.

The day did result in new and expanded partnerships with the Fraunhofer Institutes and the message to share is that there are well established programmes and funding pathways for Australians and Germans researchers and companies to leverage investment for collaborative projects.

There is also a dedicated program for Queenslanders managed through the Queensland Investment and Trade office in Frankfurt.’