The Industry 4.0 incubator

UTS has developed a state-of-the-art research facility offering businesses a hands-on approach to advanced manufacturing.

The chance to capitalise on Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies to gain a competitive advantage and compete on a global scale is the goal for most Australian manufacturers. This is particularly true for the 94% of SME manufacturers who make up our domestic manufacturing industry.

As part of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, a number of Testlabs were developed to match manufacturers with like-minded teams of innovators to combine the digital and physical dimensions of manufacturing, incorporating real-time data, automation, data analytics and intelligence into their operations.

Partners working in the Industry 4.0 Testlab

Dr. Christopher Hall (left) and Distinguished Professor Peter Ralph (right) from the UTS Climate Change Cluster (C3) in the Industry 4.0 Lab.

As part of this national strategic initiative UTS recently launched a next generation research facility at the Tech Lab campus in Botany, Sydney.

The UTS Industry 4.0 Testlab is a state-of-the-art facility that delivers a roadmap for the digital transformation of advanced manufacturing in Australia. It does this by providing a physical space for businesses and researchers to trial, explore and showcase advanced manufacturing technologies and processes.  

With capabilities extending from production-based machine learning and multi-robot collaboration to smart remote automated production and IIoT integrated systems, the Industry 4.0 Testlab allows users to access laboratories and equipment, tap into onsite engineering and science expertise and access funding opportunities.

This solution offers manufacturing businesses a risk-free way to leverage I4.0 technology and overcome the challenges associated with implementing these systems in house – in particular the high cost of digital innovation and the identification of meaningful applications of the technology.

A key pillar in the success of the Testlab’s ‘learn by doing’ approach is its focus on sustainable industries. The production of novel bio-products from renewable sources, such as microalgae and clean green raw materials, has proved particularly relevant to the biomedical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage sectors.

Powered by funding support from the NSW Government, the Testlab’s Biotech Hub is utilising its own incubator environment to develop algae as a cost-effective and sustainable source of human food supplements, nutraceuticals, aquaculture and agriculture – and engineered products – including pharmaceuticals, industrial enzymes, biopolymers and fuel.

Newtown brewing company Young Henrys is a pioneer in this space, with an ongoing partnership with UTS researchers to help it find a way to improve its sustainability ethos by developing a method to make brewing a more carbon neutral process.

Young Henrys has a long standing research engagement with the Climate Change Cluster at UTS to develop algae biotechnology for the brewery. The further collaboration with UTS Tech Lab will allow the company to continue to minimise the carbon footprint of beer brewing through algae harvesting, and also to automate the beer brewing process, using I4.0 technologies, to respond to fluctuations in ingredient and grain quality.