A novel virtual manufacturing system
Swinburne University of Technology
Total Project Value (AUD)
IMCRC Funding (AUD)
Since 2019, Melbourne-based textile and top-of-bed manufacturer Sleep Corp has been working with IMCRC to overhaul its production processes and develop a sustainable vision for the future.
Valuing resilience, wholeheartedness andinterdependence, the business has been on a three year long transformative journey that commenced with the IMCRC’s futuremap business assessment, setting out the strategic priorities for the company.
“We knew we needed to think long term and to put Industry 4.0 and continuous improvement at the core of the next phase of our business journey,” said Sleep Corp Managing Director and CEO David Kaplan.
“As a business we wanted to be more self-reliant, while looking for ways to bring down costs and improve efficiencies, but it was difficult to know where to start.
According to Kaplan, it was at this stage that Sleep Corp was introduced to IMCRC.
“futuremap was a critical first step in identifying how we would achieve our vision, and better reflect Industry 4.0 in our business throughout the value chain.”
With the Industry 4.0 strategy outlined, the Sleep Corp team partnered with Swinburne University of Technology to design and set up a novel Virtual Manufacturing System (VMS).
“The VMS connects robotics-based machinery to a digital twin allowing for a faster and more flexible manufacturing approach to address changing customer requirements while maintaining cost competitiveness for its range of products,” said Kaplan.
Originally looking to retrofit this innovative capability within its existing facility, it quickly became evident to Sleep Corp that more space was required, and the company moved its operations to a greenfield site in November 2021.
Ryland Joyce, Sleep Corp’s Operations Manager, who oversaw the delivery of the project and the setup of the new factory, pointed out that IMCRC and futuremap helped shape Sleep Corp’s manufacturing future of in more ways than one.
“futuremap made us aware of other technologies and how they could be implemented to benefit the organisation. Warehousing is a classic example. As a result we also implemented an AMR – Autonomous Mobile Robot – system to complement the new manufacturing operation.”
“Together with the consciousness of Industry 4.0, futuremap helped us recognise the possibility of doing things differently,” Joyce added.
David Kaplan added that they were very deliberate and careful in their transformation and building a manufacturing future versus becoming a net importer of product.
“We now have space to house current and future manufacturing and wholesaling needs, which has not just modernised our processes, but also our culture.”
The project has had numerous other business benefits, including firming up Sleep Corp’s supply chain stability and helping improve its environmental footprint.
Hampered by a series of ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns which led to delays, the team is thankful for the support and counsel provided by IMCRC throughout the project.
“Following our transformation, we’re proud to be considered as a business at the cutting edge of Australian manufacturing and we couldn’t have felt more supported by IMCRC,” said David. “The team was there for us throughout the entire process which was invaluable to the project’s success.”
Developing a Virtual Manufacturing System for faster and more flexible manufacturing
One of the big awakening moments for me was provided through futuremap®. While completing IMCRC’s business assessment, I realised that if we want to go into the future, we have to align and incorporate Industry 4.0 in every aspect of our business.
Managing Director and CEO, Sleep Corp