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Australia is building its first-ever robotics manufacturing hub

SOURCE: Christopher Burns/Unsplash
Australian manufacturers will benefit from the new robotics hub in Brisbane.


By U2B Staff 

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A multi-million dollar effort is underway to establish Australia’s first robotics hub, a development that aims to drive new innovations and create new jobs in the country’s manufacturing sector.

With an eye on positioning Queensland as the leading jurisdiction in Australia for robotics, the state government has committed AU$7.71 million over four years to the project.

The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub will be developed in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and global leading-edge company Urban Art Projects (UAP). QUT and UAP, along with other partner organisations, will inject a further AU$10 million into the project, bringing the total investment to nearly AU$18 million.

“Few things are reshaping the world faster than the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems, “ Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick said in a release.

“But the good news is that for every robotic system that UAP acquires, new high-value jobs are created, often entirely new jobs or jobs that would have otherwise been off-shored to other countries.”

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Through the hub, the state would be creating a talent pipeline in robotics, a highly in-demand field today anywhere in the world, while at the same time helping business bottom lines and driving the state economy. 

Dick noted that a recent study commissioned by QUT said the adoption of automation and robotics would not only create 725,810 new jobs over the next 10 years but would also see Queensland’s GDP expanding by 1.5 percent, representing a AU$77.2 billion boost to state coffers. 

“This is a facility for all of Queensland,” he said. “All manufacturers across the state will be able to access the ARM Hub, across sectors as diverse as aerospace, biomedical, beef and food processing, defence, mining equipment, technology and services, rail manufacturing, and space.”

The hub will help local manufacturers by providing practical production and manufacturing advice in a real-life factory environment. 

Queensland manufacturers would benefit by learning cutting-edge robotic technologies and techniques, helping them develop the necessary industry skills and expertise that they can later apply to their own operations.

Dick said the Palaszczuk government’s Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap recognises that the adoption of these new leading-edge technologies would require upskilling the current workforce. 

Queensland, he said, is well-placed to provide these skills and the hub helps make sure of this. He added that although the ARM Hub will be based in Brisbane, its services will be delivered statewide.

“Regional manufacturers will have the opportunity to access these services through the Queensland Government’s Manufacturing Hubs in Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton and the Defence Hubs in Townsville and Ipswich,” he said.

“The ARM Hub will further embed Queensland as a global leader in advanced robotics and design-led manufacturing.”

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Commenting on the initiative, QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil said on top of the university’s AU$4 million contribution to the project, it’s Design Lab will offer its expertise in product development and integration of new technologies into the manufacturing process.

“The Hub will allow Queensland industry and research institutions to build the advanced capability that will enable manufacturers to be more competitive, bring manufacturing jobs back to Australia and generate new jobs here,” she said.

UAP’s Co-founder and Managing Director Matthew Tobin meanwhile expressed excitement at the project, saying the endeavour would help lift the economic potential of the state’s and the national manufacturing sector. 

“Adoption of future manufacturing capabilities improve competitive advantages of Australian small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by creating domestic and export opportunities and generate new jobs for the manufacturing industry especially amongst SMEs,” he said.

“We are looking forward to welcoming SMEs across Queensland who will have access to the practical research we have undertaken at our workshops.”