University and defence industry collaboration boosts Industry 4.0 capabilities

Representatives from Swinburne, the Victorian Defence Alliances (VDA) and the Australian Defence Alliance have signed a letter of agreement at the Avalon Airshow to explore Industry 4.0 opportunities.
The agreement was signed in late-February by Swinburne pro vice-chancellor Professor Alan Kin-tak Lau, Victorian Defence Alliances manager Charlotte Morris, and Australian Defence Alliance CEO Claire Willette.
VDA Submarines will work with Swinburne to co-host an Industry 4.0 workshop for a group of 20 or more member companies to introduce the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre futuremap tool.
Futuremap is a business diagnostic tool that helps Australian manufacturing SMEs assess their current state of business and identify areas of focus and potential investment to transform and future-proof their business.
Following the workshop, two of the participating companies will take part in a digital capability assessment.
The partnership between Swinburne and VDA is part of the recently established Advanced Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Hub at Swinburne that is pioneering a new model of university-industry collaboration where businesses and universities co-create business strategy as well as technology.
Swinburne is embracing the Industry 4.0 era, using digital technologies to create social and economic impact through science, technology and innovation.
Swinburne deputy vice-chancellor Professor Aleksandar Subic said the adoption of new generation digital technologies and processes is crucial due to the highly competitive environment of manufacturing internationally.
About Victorian Defence Alliances
The Victorian Defence Alliances have been established through a partnership between the Australian Defence Alliance – Victoria and the State government of Victoria. Membership of the Alliances is open to all Victorian companies seeking to supply products and services to the national and international defence industry market.

Government to look at potential exports stopped for security reasons

Federal Defence Minister David Johnston plans to look into the practice of blocking potential exports of defence industry products for security reasons. 

Adelaide Now reports that the national defence export control office has the power to prevent exports for security reasons. As a result, the business goes elsewhere.

Senator Johnston has experience working in the defence sector and he wants to ensure that no potential exports are prevented unnecessarily.

"We want you to invest, we want you to make a profit and we want to assist you to export," Senator Johnston said in Adelaide last week.

He pointed to the example of a Western Australian company which wanted to export $27 million worth of a particular type of metal it wanted to export to the Middle East but was not permitted to do so. 

He said that the company had no avenue to question the decision or to lodge an appeal against it.
"I think that's an area where I am going to make some significant changes in the way we go about our business,” Johnston said.

"So the challenge for me facilitating what you do out there in this very important area is to have an export office that is quite dynamic, that anticipates the problems, and understands that you must succeed in your commercial endeavour."

However, Defence Teaming Centre chief executive officer Chris Burns said he had only had one experience of the export control office preventing an export on such grounds.

"We need to look more closely into what the causes are before we say it's a particular office," Burns said.

"I would certainly say the experience we had with a South Australian company, it wasn't the export control office, it was the (former Defence) minister sitting on the clearance."

Partner with Defence

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) wishes to establish a database of companies that have the necessary skills and resources to assist in times of disaster, such as the recent Cyclones in Queensland and the Asian Tsunami.

From the September 2007 Defence-initiated "Reconstruction During Conflict" seminar, an engagement outcome has been promulgated for the establishment of a ‘Whole of Nation Engineering’ disrupted state rapid reaction reconstruction team capability for the ADF and Australian industry, academia and professional bodies.

These programs may necessitate a partial or total reconstruction program indicatively covering infrastructure (sanitation, potable water, power, heating), accommodation (housing, medical, educational, governmental / community facilities) and innovative entrepreneurial programs to overcome the employment issue of indigenous persons and the associated self esteem and attitudinal slippage.

As ADF engineers provide a primary role in emergency reconstruction there are Australian enterprises with remote area / difficult terrain contracting, specialised material expertise and rapid deployment capabilities willing to support national or international reconstruction operations to facilitate an all facets, total reconstruction project capability. The Australian Industry & Defence Network (AIDN) nationally, with a close working relationship with the Industry Capability Network and all levels of Australian Government is initiating a database of specifically identified Australian enterprise expertise covering capability, product/service supply experience and mobilisation preparedness.   

The proposal

That AIDN members and other enterprises with remote area/difficult terrain (re)construction project experience be invited to:

– Nominate for membership of a Disrupted States Reconstruction Team Support Database;

– participate in a workshop in each State and Territory to identify potential reconstruction requirements and to participate in the formulation a strategic plan for ‘on demand mobilisation’ covering the defence purchasing of strategic plan identified materials, the supply and centralisation of such materials for delivery to the designated reconstruction area of operation (AO) and the mobilisation of designated specialist employees to support the project in-field;

– consider the issues of civilian employees working in designated conflict AO’s and their potential training for working as contractors in a location alongside the ADF under rules of engagement;

– consider supplementary type training (eg – Defence Reserve Support Council Executive Stretch Weekend for enterprise nominated executives with an a degree of physical fitness) so as to understand field and military supply chain methodologies / issues;

– regularly update enterprise capabilities, products or services to ensure database currency.


To provide Defence with –

– An identified industry immediate response support mechanism based upon an agreed Defence and industry involvement plan nominating the intended commitment of each industry member and the offered specialised support capability/ies and indicative associated costs, with annual validation requirements to overlay specific reconstruction demands relevant to potential crisis scenarios.

– A database listing Australian expertise, materials and services prepared to meet a requirement or surge demand reconstruction program for the rehabilitation of a society which may require working in a designated conflict AO.

For further information please contact:

Mike Turner

National President

Australian industry & Defence Network (AIDN)

Office: 03-6382-1844

Mob:    0418-591-479




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