$2.9m Industry 4.0 research to drive digital manufacturing in the Hunter Class Frigate Program
A $1.45 million grant from the Australian Government-funded Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), matched by industry funding, will help develop and pilot cutting-edge manufacturing technologies that will be used to build nine anti-submarine warfare frigates.
The new technologies will be used by BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, to build the Hunter class frigates for the Royal Australian Navy at the world-class shipyard at Osborne in South Australia.
In partnership with Flinders University and local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the project will drive digital transformation through advanced robotics, assistive manufacturing and readiness for Industry 4.0 utilisation – both inside the shipyard and more widely in the Australian supply chain.
BAE Systems Australia welcomes the funding from the IMCRC, which matches the company’s $1.45 million investment and is on top of the $5 million already invested in developing digital technologies, to turn the digital shipyard concept into reality.
The new $2.9 million cash investment will create seven new research positions at Flinders University – bringing the total number of researchers to 16 – at the digital test and trial collaboration hub at Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide’s south.
From March 2020 until 2022 – when steel is cut on the first Hunter class frigate – the researchers will work with the shipbuilding workforce to trial advanced manufacturing technologies for application in the shipyard and beyond.
These technologies enable connectivity between manufacturing equipment to databases that will provide real-time insights into shipyard and supply chain performance, leading to enhanced productivity, safety and quality outcomes.