Joint lab underpins tomorrow’s jobs


A transformative new collaboration between Flinders University and ASC Shipbuilding will bring Industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing to the Hunter class frigates in South Australia’s new digital shipyard.

ASC Shipbuilding, BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business, will deliver nine Hunter class frigates to the Royal Australian Navy over the next three decades.

The new partnership will set up a digital test and trial laboratory as part of Flinders University’s advanced manufacturing research facilities based at the Tonsley Innovation District in South Australia.

In the laboratory, researchers, ASC Shipbuilding and suppliers will be developing and testing the technologies that future shipyard workers will use at the new digital shipyard, currently under construction within the Osborne Naval Shipyard precinct.

The partnership will bring together the latest technologies from industries such as mining, automotive and construction and they will be adapted, trialled and tested to suit the Hunter class frigate’s design – specifically for prototyping, which commences in December 2020.

Managing Director, ASC Shipbuilding, Craig Lockhart said that applying digital technology in a ship building facility will require a fundamental shift in how the industry has traditionally operated.

“We are establishing a world-leading shipyard right here in Australia – it will mean autonomous ground delivery vehicles, paperless work orders, cobots, laser scanning and projection, virtual reality and, part and tool tracking, just to name a few technologies,” Mr Lockhart said.

“We are so pleased to partner with some of Australia’s leading researchers at Flinders University to help us create an efficient, safe and productive shipyard which provides long term careers for future workers that are exciting, challenging and rewarding.”

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said Flinders is applying its research leadership in Industry 4.0 to contribute to faster, safer production and enhanced economic growth.

“Our expertise in industrial transformation will bring tangible benefits to the frigate project, one of the biggest defence investments in the nation’s history. Industry 4.0 is vital part of the digital transformation underway in manufacturing and this new research partnership with ASC Shipbuilding will help to solve the real world challenges faced in a modern shipyard.

“Flinders is delighted to be ASC Shipbuilding’s partner of choice in this important defence research initiative that will be pivotal to economic growth and workforce development in South Australia” Professor Stirling said.

ASC Shipbuilding will be part of the ongoing development at the Tonsley Innovation District as the centre of advanced manufacturing research in South Australia and home to Flinders University’s Australian Industrial Transformation Institute.


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