AMTIL National Conference – Focus on manufacturing’s future

‘Manufacturing’s Future in a Digital Age’ was the subject for discussion in Melbourne on 14 November, as delegates from across Australian manufacturing gathered for the 2017 AMTIL National Conference.

Held at Leonda by the Yarra in Hawthorn, the one-day conference was focused on the ways in which emerging digital technologies are revolutionising manufacturing the world over, and explored the opportunities this created for the industry here in Australia. With a line-up of speakers that encompassed manufacturing companies, technology suppliers, research bodies and industry groups, the Conference offered a comprehensive, in-depth perspective of what the future holds.

The event also featured 10 exhibitor stands from companies such as SICK, Lightwave Technologies and evok3D, the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC), and the Conference’s sponsor – William Buck.

Following a welcoming address from AMTIL Board Member Brigitte Stavar, the first presentation came from keynote speaker Brad Howarth. Drawing on two decades as a journalist covering technology’s impact on organisations, society and individuals, Howarth’s presentation offered a wide-ranging view on the impact digital innovations are having on the world of business and wider society.

“Wealth is generally generated by those who drive change,” said Howarth. “So at some stage we have to ask ourselves: how comfortable are we with the risks in being a driver of change, as opposed to the risks of being a follower of change? But the greatest risk of all comes from doing nothing at all. Simply maintaining the status quo today is one of the fastest paths we can take into irrelevance.”

Howarth was followed by David Chuter, Managing Director and CEO at the IMCRC. Chuter took a closer look at Industry 4.0, the wave of technological advances sweeping the world of manufacturing, and how Australia can capitalise on the resulting opportunities. He also described the work the IMCRC is engaged in to help manufacturers in this country to seize that potential.

“We’re seeing an explosion of opportunity with this thing called the Internet of Things (IoT),” said Chuter. “Fifty billion connected devices – it’ll just keep growing. If you look at emerging technology trends, the IoT is the single biggest investment opportunity the world has seen. We’re seeing $1.4 trillion invested in the IoT. So what are the opportunities for Australian manufacturing in Australia?”

“With the approval of these new projects, IMCRC has invested so far $ 15 million in industry – research partnerships that support innovation and improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of the Australian manufacturing industry”

“Our co-funding of research in manufacturing product, process, service and business model innovation that create opportunities for Australian companies to access new markets and supply chains.”