Flinders’ Factory of the Future heralds new era for manufacturing


An artist’s impression of a potential design for the Australian Centre for Innovative Manufacturing (ACIM)

A proposed $50 million Flinders University-led Australian Centre for Innovative Manufacturing (ACIM) at Tonsley will be the nation’s first reconfigurable ‘Future Factory’- connecting Australian companies with the latest manufacturing technologies, research expertise and providing training to modernise workforces.

The 4000m2 advanced manufacturing test bed facility at Flinders’ award winning Tonsley Innovation District is expected to play a key role in providing state of the art facilities to explore the application of new technologies capable of manufacturing next generation products.

Professor John Spoehr, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research Impact and Director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, today welcomed a $20 million commitment from federal Labor, announced by Opposition spokesperson for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Senator the Hon Kim Carr, and is looking forward to support from all sides of politics.

Advanced manufacturing technologies featured at ACIM could include:

  • automation
  • robotics
  • cobotics (collaborative robots)
  • digitally assisted assembly
  • photonic sensing
  • land and maritime autonomous systems

ACIM is expected to generate $182 million in economic activity for South Australia and create more than 750 jobs.

It will incorporate more than 200 academics from Flinders, employ an additional 20 researchers and technical personnel and be capable of hosting up to 50 industry personnel working collaboratively on multiple projects.

The facility will also provide accredited courses in manufacturing and in industry 4.0, advanced education and training for up to 1000 students each year and accommodate up to 50 post-graduate students.

Flinders University will invest $10m towards land, capital and operational costs while $30m investment has been sought from the Federal and State Governments towards capital, equipment and operational costs. Industry investment is expected to be more than $10m over the short term.