One on one with Colin Thomas
Colin Thomas is the Manager of the Tonsley Manufacturing Innovation Hub, part of Flinders University’s Tonsley campus within the Tonsley Innovation Precinct in Adelaide’s southern suburbs. He was interviewed by William Poole and talked about IMCRC’s involvement in the Hub.
What is the Tonsley Manufacturing Innovation Hub and what are its objectives?
Well, there are two ways of looking at that. You can look at it in the small scale, which is that on the ground floor here, we have our cyber-physical factory, which we established with the South Australian Government and the Innovative Manufacturing Co-operative Research Centre (IMCRC), which is a showcase of Industry 4.0 technologies, the interconnectivity of devices, augmented reality, RFID technologies, and also collaborative robots and industrial robots. So in the lab itself is a demonstration of advanced technologies.
But you can also look at the Hub as a bigger hub, with all of the resources of Flinders University and the Tonsley Innovation Precinct – all of those resources collaborating to assist manufacturing. Collaboration in the Tonsley precinct is enjoyable and advantageous, with innovative companies like Sage, AZZO, Phoenix Contact, Micro X and Zeiss based here, and TAFE SA as well. So when you find an issue, you’re able to refer people to others around the place. We’re collaborating with TAFE SA on some training opportunities around Industry 4.0, with the AI Group. Rockwell Automation is moving in too, so work on Industry 4.0-level, machine-to-machine communication is going to take off here.