UniSA’s new Industry 4.0 Testlab ready to help industry fire up post COVID-19 isolation

A new $2million high-tech Industry 4.0 Testlab at UniSA will be up and ready to support industry innovation as Australia’s COVID-19 recovery rolls across key defence, space, mining, ag-tech, electronics and automotive sectors in the coming months.

Businesses and researchers will be able to trial, explore and showcase new technologies together in the purpose-built lab, which focuses on advanced digitisation of manufacturing as part of a national network of Testlabs established in partnership with the Federal Government.

With three key capabilities – 3D printing facilities, multiplayer virtual reality spaces for human-centred design, and an industrial scale manufacturing demonstrator, the UniSA Testlab will be a boon for small to medium enterprises by supporting the creation and testing of new, advanced technologies.

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, says there has never been a better time for the University to welcome a Testlab of this type on campus.

“Over human history, there have been periods of really massive acceleration and disruption,” she says.

“This is one of those times and the added interruption that COVID-19 has thrown into the mix, makes the role of the new test-lab even more important in our road to recovery nationally.

“Industry 4.0 is actually a disruption around creativity, and it has fundamentally changed the way we make things, how those things relate to us and how they help us relate to others.

“The Testlab will give local businesses access to this new age of digital technologies and allow them to work some of the best international and local experts to create new ways of doing business.”

Director of UniSA’s Industry 4.0 Testlab, Professor Nikki Stanford, says the lab provides physical spaces for businesses and researchers to trial, explore and showcase Industry 4.0 technologies and processes.

“Post the COVID-19 lockdown, as we move back towards less restricted operations, our goal for the Testlab is to give small businesses insights into what they can potentially do in their industries, without them having to take out a loan to fund their innovations,” Prof Stanford says.

“The lab will allow them to try out our technologies, see how they work and if they can be implemented to advantage their business operations and competitiveness.

“The lab is one part of a series of transformations, including the introduction of new curricula and revamped facilities to support space and Industry 4.0 programs and research.”

She says the Testlabs across the country will be central in improving the competitiveness of Australian businesses by promoting and enhancing the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies and supporting workforce transformation.

“We will be looking forward to the opportunity to formally launch the new Industry 4.0 Testlab in the future, but as restrictions ease we hope to start to engage with local businesses quickly to ensure industry innovation is a core part of our recovery and growth,” Prof Stanford says.

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