More manufacturing explorers needed


Simon Dawson calls for more manufacturing SMEs to explore Industry 4.0 technologies and digital business models.

Throughout my 35-year manufacturing career, my focus has always been on helping businesses improve and optimise their manufacturing operations. Bringing the best of lean and six sigma to the factory floor, saw me busy running production facilities, streamlining business processes and delivering multiple improvement programs, across many industry sectors. Since joining the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) earlier this year, my focus has switched to manufacturing innovation and industrial transformation. Whilst I had a good understanding of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) and its importance for the future of manufacturing, I knew less about its adoption across Australia.

As the lead of IMCRC’s Industrial Transformation Program, which is advancing the wider cause of manufacturing transformation in Australia, my role is to demystify the concept of Industry 4.0 and help manufacturing SMEs understand and explore the opportunities that emerging digital technologies such as AI, robotics, 3D printing, digital twins and new business models can pose for their business. Importantly this is not just about the technologies, but also the significant value that can be captured and created by associated innovation in business models.