UOW nets federal government fund for new advanced manufacturing hub
The University of Wollongong (UOW) will receive AU$2 million in funding from the federal government for an industrial hub to provide a collaborative environment for students, industry specialists and entrepreneurs in the advanced manufacturing sector.
The hub will be equipped with the latest technology in the manufacturing sector and is set to position the Shoalhaven as a leading region in advanced manufacturing.
It includes a maker space, a collaborative workspace equipped with high tech facilities including industrial robots and cobots.
Cobots are collaborative robots which are designed to work alongside humans, augmenting human labour rather than serving as a replacement for it.
There will be trained staff stationed at the hub to provide information, training and technology demonstrations to its users.
The hub will facilitate advance research projects as well as active academia-industry collaborations that will likely benefit agribusiness and defence and manufacturing industries which are key drivers of the Shoalhaven economy.
While the UOW’s Shoalhaven campus is based in West Nowra, the industry hub will be strategically located at a more accessible site for Nowra which will facilitate easier connections with the business community
The hub will be modelled off UOW’s Facility for Intelligent Fabrication which will continue the university’s ongoing collaboration with TAFE NSW and Weld Australia to provide support to students and the industry in the Shoalhaven.
To ensure the hub provides benefits towards the local community as well, UOW also hopes to work with Shoalhaven City Council.
Local businesses will be able to benefit from the hub’s facilities by upskilling their employees, or using facilities to create customised, high-value goods.
The pilot programme for the hub will be led by UOW’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences.
UOW hopes the hub will help to advance Nowra and the Shoalhaven as a prime location for investment for Australian and multi-national corporations.
The AU$2 million federal government fund will provide for the hub’s first two years of operation.
This proves to be a timely investment as the Australian market begins to shift towards new digital and robotic production technologies.
The hub’s facilitation of various academia-industry collaboration will also meet the crucial needs for small and medium enterprises in the new wave of innovation centred on automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.
This project is one of four to receive Federal government funding which will enhance collaboration between universities and businesses that will eventually generate new jobs, business opportunities and productivity gains.