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Will Australia Embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0 is an expansion of the third revolution, blurring the lines between the physical, biological and digital worlds. 

“Design is critical today. It is the first signal of human intention.” 

Humans have always been using tools, but because of the recent advances in technology we are beginning to have machines that can augment us in interesting ways. Already, artificial intelligence is all around us, from self-driving cars and drones to virtual assistants and software that translate or invest on our behalf.

Todd Clippard from General Motors, USA stated “there are definitely a lot of operations people perform better, but certainly for the right applications, robotics are a huge improvement in the process.”

Industry 4.0 uses transformative technologies to connect the physical world with the digital world. Current trends include:

  • advanced automation and robotics (including collaborative robots or ‘cobots’)
  • machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication
  • artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
  • sensor technology and data analytics

Four key drivers enable this trend:

  • rising data volumes, computational power and connectivity
  • emerging analytics and business-intelligence capabilities
  • new forms of human-machine interaction, such as touch interfaces, augmented and virtual reality systems
  • improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as robotics and 3D printing

What does this mean for Australian Manufacturing?

There is growing global demand for exporters using advanced manufacturing technologies, and many Australian companies are embracing these opportunities.

The CSIRO’s Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap defines Advanced Manufacturing aims to raise awareness of key enabling science and technology areas for the future of manufacturing in Australia, including:

  • Sensors and data analytics
  • Advanced materials
  • Smart robotics and automation
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Augmented and virtual reality

Industry 4.0 empowers business owners to better control and understand every aspect of their operation, and allows them to leverage instant data to boost productivity, improve processes, and drive growth.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution connects physical with digital, and allows for better collaboration and access across departments, partners, vendors, product, and people. 

“It is the ability of digital technology to change outcomes” stated Satya Nadella from Microsoft Corporation, USA.

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