The Institute of Instrumentation, Control and Automation (IICA) has been announced as a Foundation Partner for the Modern Manufacturing Expo, in a move that cements the September exhibition’s status as an event that will set the agenda for the future of manufacturing in Australia.
Speaking to their decision to join as Foundation Partner to these events, IICA Luis Rudenas, an engineer at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and member of the NSW IICA Committee says: “We felt that we could add significant value to the expo because of our unique insights into the manufacturing industry as a result of our prominent member base.
IICA is at the forefront of innovation in the fields of instrumentation and control, and the wealth of knowledge from our member companies means that we are uniquely placed to help resolve any complex challenges that may arise in Modern Manufacturing.”
Since being founded at an informal luncheon of individuals involved in instrumentation in Melbourne in the 1940s, IICA’s membership base has grown to include some of the most prominent companies in instrumentation and control today, such as Mitsubishi, ABB, SMC Corporation, Balluff, Phoenix Contact and Beckhoff Automation. Much like the goal of the Modern Manufacturing Expo, IICA aims to be an open arena for members to build their network and knowledge and to help move the industry forward through collaboration.
As IICA is an industry body, their decision to join Modern Manufacturing as a Foundation Partner gives the exhibition access to the significant resources and knowledge of their collective membership base.
“Our members are excited to participate and do their part in advancing Modern Manufacturing. Collectively, they have all the elements required to make this happen as well as the best technology available on the market,” says Luis
Industry 5.0 as the next frontier
While some may view Industry 5.0 as an abstract concept that will only be harnessed by Australian manufacturers in the distant future, Luis is confident that the next stage of manufacturing is closer than we think.
“What we observed with implementing Industry 4.0 is an improvement in automation, most significantly in the production of collaborative robots or ‘cobots’ that were programmed using machine learning algorithms. We predict that the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Industry 5.0 will be as a tool rather than a collaborator. It will primarily be used by universities and major companies as they research how AI can be most effectively harnessed by the manufacturing industry.”
“IICA is well placed to help advance Industry 5.0 in Australia because we are able to link the universities that are doing this research and the manufacturers who are interested in implementing these technologies, and is an important topic of discussion at both the Town Hall and Expo events.
Australia has an advantage in Modern Manufacturing
Although some have criticised small to mid-size Australian manufacturers for being slow to implement the modern technologies needed to advance the industry, Luis believes that it is not too late for the country to establish itself as a major player at the forefront of innovation. “We have all the resources we need to compete on a global scale. Our universities are some of the best in the world, and the establishment of advanced research centres at institutes such as the University of Sydney (also a Foundation Partner of Modern Manufacturing Expo) give us a distinct advantage.”
Luis also highlights that there are grants becoming available that will give universities and manufacturers the funds necessary to continue researching advanced manufacturing techniques and implement them on the factory floor. “Formal partnerships between researchers and manufacturers will facilitate the organised transfer of knowledge to medium and small-sized manufacturers so that they can begin implementation, aided by the incentives that are now on offer.”
Finally, he believes that the implementation of Modern Manufacturing must happen as soon as possible if Australia wants to remain globally competitive.
“We need to keep industry and production within Australia and not become reliant on global supply chains. Manufacturers need to harness the resources that are available to them – having the best researchers in AI and other technologies available locally means that we don’t have to look elsewhere to advance manufacturing,” he concludes.