Australia’s Advanced Manufacturing is Creating Careers
Manufacturing is critical to the Australian economy, and it is a vital part of Australia’s recovery from the pandemic induced recession and high unemployment. Manufacturing is crucial to virtually every supply chain and adds value across all industries. However, recently ranked Australia lowest in the OECD for manufacturing self-sufficiency. Despite our world-class skills and amazing natural resources, manufacturing in Australia has stagnated somewhat.
COVID-19 very quickly exposed the vulnerabilities of the Australian manufacturing sector and the weakness of our supply chains. The Australian Government has responded by launching the , during the recent Federal budget, which will help strengthen and advance the Australian manufacturing industry to make it more competitive, resilient, and put it in a firm position to grow.
Investing in Advanced Manufacturing Skills
The Modern Manufacturing Strategy is at the heart of the government’s JobMaker plan, which is designed to boost the employment prospects of Australians aged 16 to 35, supporting around 450,000 jobs. The goes to the businesses creating the new jobs.
The government aims to deliver on its strategy by enhancing work-integrated learning in advanced manufacturing. The objective is to strengthen the link between training and future industry needs, and significantly lift workforce skills to meet the requirements of the . Consequently, it has announced a $7.2mn extension of the advanced apprenticeship pilot program across the country to teach students the advanced skills and specialist knowledge they will need for manufacturing jobs of the future.
Boosting vocational training, particularly as part of an future, we can encourage the next generation into robotics, artificial intelligence, automation and advanced manufacturing. This will ensure better efficiencies are achieved with minimal impact, providing a boost to both the top-line and bottom-line of organisations, and encourage more innovation in traditional manufacturing.
Increased Automation is Key
Remote working is not going anywhere, and because of this, there is a greater need for increased automation across production lines. All machinery needs to be accessible online and integrated with a cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, which is essential for remote automation processes to work. Therefore, upskilling the current workforce in how an ERP system integrates with machinery and other advanced manufacturing systems is essential.
The required investments in Australia’s future workforce, businesses and economy are long overdue but very welcome, none the less. Unfortunately, the advanced apprenticeship training program will not solve the immediate COVID related unemployment issues, and skills mismatch in the short term. But we are now heading in the right direction to rebalance our economy back towards being one focused on growing and advancing our manufacturing sector again, so we can become a force to be reckoned with not only in this region but around the world.
Achieving the Vision for Australian Manufacturing
Over the next two decades, Australia's manufacturing sector will evolve into a highly integrated, collaborative and export-focused ecosystem that provides high-value customised products and components for global value chains. The sector will focus on pre-production, including design and Research and Development (R&D) and post-production, including after-sales services, value-adding, sustainable manufacturing and low volume, high margin customised manufacturing.
There are immense strategic growth opportunities for Australia's manufacturing sector. Turning them into reality will require significant technological innovation and commitment by public and private research communities, as well as the businesses themselves.
The advanced manufacturing technologies we should be focusing on to realise future growth opportunities include robotics, automation, augmented and virtual reality, sensors, data analytics, ERP, advanced materials and additive manufacturing.
To be in a position to realise the full potential of these technologies, Australian manufacturers must transform their operations in several ways. In terms of talent, this means investing in new skills, knowledge and practices, attracting and retaining employees with skills in digital literacy, leadership, customer service and STEM capabilities.
There also needs to be a greater focus on global value chains, an improvement in business-to-business collaboration, without fear of local competition, as well as improving the connection between the manufacturing and research sectors. The manufacturing sector is acutely aware of its pain points, but it requires better collaboration with the research sector to understand what science and technology exist that could inspire new solutions. In an increasingly competitive global landscape, continual improvement and investment in R&D is the only way for Australian manufacturers to be competitive nationally and globally.
Transforming Australia’s manufacturing sector is not going to happen in the short-term, with many industries having experienced huge challenges for many years. Regardless of the actions of the sector over the next few years, positioning Australian manufacturing for sustainable competitiveness is a long-term vision. Consistent and supportive policies and sustained investment from the government are required over the next two decades for the Australian manufacturing sector to achieve its advanced manufacturing aspirations that create rewarding future careers.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.