VR, 3D Printing And Robotics: Australian Manufacturing Needs To Go High-Tech To Survive

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Manufacturing has seen a dramatic downturn in Australia, particularly in the automotive sector. So how do we keep this trend from continuing? As the great Billy Hughes said "science will guide the manufacturer into greener pastures", and CSIRO has a plan - we're talking sensors, data analytics, robotics, automation, 3D printing and augmented - or virtual - reality.

The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap, was written in collaboration with industry, government and researchers, and identifies major growth opportunities and what manufacturers need to do to achieve them.

"The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap is the compass that guides our excellent science to deliver the breakthrough innovation needed to re-imagine Australian advanced manufacturing," CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said. "Australian science can turn disruptors and increased globalisation into opportunities for value creation right here at home".

The roadmap spells out how manufacturing is becoming increasingly global, with integration into international value chains vital. Over the next 20 years, Australia's manufacturing industry must evolve into a highly integrated, collaborative and export-focused environment that provides high-value solutions.

The sector needs to focus on pre-production activities such as design, research and development; as well as value-adding services, sustainable manufacturing and low volume/high margin customised products.

CSIRO Manufacturing Director Dr Keith McLean said this would require significant technological innovation by public and private research communities.

"The industrial landscape is changing fast. We need to start evolving with it," Dr McLean said. "Australian manufacturing has a strong, high-tech future. Australian manufacturers must transform their businesses by investing in new knowledge, skills and practices."

The roadmap calls on Australia's research and manufacturing sectors to increase their collaboration and alignment with each other.

It also urges manufacturers to place a greater focus on participation in global value chains, improve their ability to attract and retain staff with skills in digital literacy, leadership, customer interface and STEM capabilities, increase the gender, age and ethnic diversity of their workforce and improve business-to-business collaboration.

"Industry needs to lead this transformation. CSIRO has the expertise, experience and business network to help guide them," Dr McLean said.

The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap is the first in a series of Roadmaps being produced by CSIRO, each aligned to the Federal Government's Industry Growth Centres. You can download the roadmap here.

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