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Defining the role of robotics and AI in modern manufacturing

The benefits of advanced robotics in manufacturing are becoming increasingly evident in Australia, and this progression is setting a new standard within the industry. ...

The benefits of advanced robotics in manufacturing are becoming increasingly evident in Australia, and this progression is setting a new standard within the industry. Formerly exclusive to large and highly profitable companies; robots, artificial intelligence and other emerging digital capabilities are now becoming equally accessible to small and medium size businesses.


The Future of Robotics and AI in Australian manufacturing

ARM Hub’s Technical Director, Professor Jonathan Roberts, caught up with the Australian Manufacturing Forum to discuss the untapped potential that currently lies within automation. Professor Roberts explores the possibility of robotics across the entire industry, even in niche manufacturing sectors.

Until now, the sweet spot for robots has been mass production. But there are many manufacturing processes that are not high volume such as the production of components for the aerospace industry, custom-built drones and vehicles for defence, and even specialised medical devices. Applying robot-assisted production techniques to these processes is likely to reduce costs, increase production and hence create jobs by increasing the size of those businesses.

While the stigma surrounding automation and potential job displacement remains, the COVID-19 global pandemic has exposed the increased need for automated assistance in several industries, including manufacturing. Professor Roberts discusses the gap in Australia’s self-sufficiency.

With stronger local supply chains, the nation would be less susceptible to future global shocks. But to do so, the country’s manufacturing capabilities require a boost, and embracing automation and robotics is one essential way to provide this boost.

AI and automation have been the quiet achievers in Australia for some time and has played a pivotal role in sectors such as mining. The workforces currently utilising advanced robotics have been far less affected by the shockwave of the global pandemic. As well as increasing business resilience, robotics and assistive technologies create opportunities for employees to upskill and advance in their careers.

Professor Roberts highlights that Industry 4.0 is creating significant opportunities for Australian manufacturers and that when integrated effectively, businesses can reap both short and long term rewards.

View Professor Roberts’ full article here.


Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0

Industry 4.0 represents the fourth revolution we’re experiencing in manufacturing. This digital transition is an advancement from the third industrial revolution, which was the adoption of computers and new technologies.

Industry 4.0 has established connectivity, communication and decision-making capabilities within computers that require no human involvement. This connectivity and the ability to create and share information is ultimately what’s driving Industry 4.0.

But Industry 4.0, like the third revolution, has been taken a step further with Industry 5.0. With interconnectivity and performance optimisation already in play, Industry 5.0 refines these through the collaboration of humans and machines.


What role will it play in the future of Australian manufacturing?

The smart machines and assistive technologies related to robotics and AI emerging in Industry 4.0 and 5.0 have the power to improve business processes and maximise efficiency.

These technologies can be used to collect data, allowing businesses to recognise where improvements or maintenance is required. Data can be analysed through edge computing, which uses secure, real-time analysis to provide useful insights that can inform human strategy.

Operations are becoming more streamlined through autonomous equipment and vehicles, including excavators, dozers, AI inspection systems, and other forms of industrial equipment. These advanced autonomy technologies are increasing workflow, whilst maintaining safety and productivity. It’s also seeing more efficient communication within supply chain networks, allowing Australian manufacturers to operate more proactively.

Other technologies driving Industry 4.0 include The Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and the cloud environment, which enables data storage as well as greater connectivity and integration across the industry.

The implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies is being encouraged by the Australian Government, who is providing $800 million in manufacturing innovation grants to encourage the collaboration on major projects in Australia.


How to harness these technologies to grow your business

The biggest prerequisite for Industry 4.0 and 5.0 integration is knowing where to start the industry 4.0 adoption journey and having the employee capability to work alongside these new technologies. The team at ARM Hub can help de-risk the transition and bridge this gap by providing independent advice and working with your team to identify and deliver technology-enabled solutions. We guarantee a smooth digital transformation by empowering businesses to harness the technology available to them.

Adopt advanced manufacturing systems and processes by being a part of the ARM Hub ecosystem. Enquire about ARM Hub Membership, which offers opportunities for continued engagement and support in technology adoption. Collaborate with ARM Hub and strengthen the future of Australian manufacturing.