Menu

Education Today Logo

UK Linked Factory of the Future in Tonsley SA

News Image

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.

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

“This is an initiative that transcends politics and is deserving of broad support in the state’s – and the nation’s –  interest” Spoehr says.

“Advanced technologies are transforming manufacturing around the world, fuelling the growth of new and existing companies and generating thousands of well-paid and rewarding jobs."

ACIM will be established with a mandate to create jobs and promote growth in areas of strategic importance to Australia including defence and aerospace, construction, medical devices/assistive technologies, wine and food and minerals and energy.

“Step change strategies are needed to enable Australia and SA to be at the centre of this technological revolution. Large scale ‘Factories of the Future’ are playing a key role in accelerating this transition in the UK, Europe and the United States because they bring researchers and companies together in purpose built facilties to explore innovation of existing technologies and experimentation with new technologies.”

Advanced manufacturing technologies featured at ACIM could include:

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

ACIM will be an affiliate of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield, UK – the world’s leading advanced manufacturing accelerator funded by the UK Government’s Industry Catapult Program.

The centre will also work closely with the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) to support the application of new manufacturing technologies for shipbuilding.

Economic benefits
The future factory 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.

ACIM has already attracted significant industry support, most notably in the shipbuilding sector where the benefits of advanced manufacturing practices will be significant.

BAE Systems will explore the potential applications of robotics and automation technologies in shipbuilding, while SAGE plans to co-locate its Skills Lab Head office and main laboratory in ACIM.

“ACIM will significantly lower the barriers to entry that many companies face when considering the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies and play a brokerage role in helping to connect companies to key enabling technologies and research capabilities,” says Prof Spoehr.


29 May 2019 | National
Keeping up your cyber hygiene News Image

Cyber-attacks on Australia’s education sector have dropped to 18% (down by 32% from 2017) which saw the sector leave the top spot of most targeted.
Read More

29 May 2019 | National
Math teacher shortage worse with more enrolments News Image

The shortage of Maths teachers is well documented and has been for some time, a shortage has been appreciated since the 1980s, the problem will only get worse as enrolments increase. Read More

29 May 2019 | National
Droning in the Classroom News Image

If we are to believe futurist Thomas Frey, drones will become the most disruptive technology in human history. To be fair Frey’s definition of a drone is more than the flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs we typically think of. Read More

29 May 2019 | National
Grant bot uses algorithm to give schools STEAM funds News Image

Grant is kind of generous, if you manage to impress, Grant will make it very worth your while, giving away funds for classroom STEAM resources.
Read More

28 May 2019
Anemones fight back against reef bleaching News Image

They’re strong silent types anemones and they’re fighting back against high temperatures and bleaching. Anemones’ ability to keep producing venom gives them an edge in surviving changes to marine environments. Read More