MoU signed to create Industrial Digital Innovation Hub
RMIT, Siemens and Festo Didactic have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to help drive workforce transformation for Industry 4.0 in the Australasian region, and establish an Industrial Digital Innovation Hub at RMIT. The hub will be designed to enable digital innovation at scale, in a collaborative effort across difference cultures, disciplines, geographical locations and industry environments, eventually linking RMIT in Australia with its Vietnam campuses. The agreement represents a new model of public-private sector partnership based on collaborative systems leadership.
“An industrial revolution doesn’t discriminate — it impacts every sector and therefore requires a multidisciplinary approach with a holistic view across the entire continuum of education and training from TAFE through to higher education,” said Professor Aleks Subic, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of RMIT’s College of Science, Engineering and Health.
Professor Subic predicts that as many as 10,000 RMIT students across a range of disciplines will access some of the most advanced industrial software available over the next three years.
A significant high-tech industrial software grant by Siemens enabled the hub to be established. The hub will be managed out of the RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct, a key Industry 4.0 Facility focused on digital manufacturing and design. Jeff Connolly, Siemens Australia Chairman and CEO, expressed his excitement for the possibilities of the project.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution describes the impact on manufacturing, but the reality is that it has significant implications for energy, health care, transport, building and construction, engineering, sustainability as well as advanced manufacturing — all part of the RMIT approach,” Connolly said.
Connolly states that the announcement comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Australians and Australian businesses to find new ways to keep the economy running.
“It’s fitting to establish an Industrial Digital Innovation Hub because digitalisation has no borders and we have to learn how our economy can participate in ways which won’t require us to be in a factory or an office or at a site,” Connolly said.
The hub will be the cornerstone of a number of initiatives being explored as part of the MoU by the three organisations, in a collaborative approach to education and training. Digitalisation and the integration of Industry 4.0 technologies are opening a world of opportunities for the future workforce, according to Damien Sinclair, Australian and New Zealand Manager of Festo.
“As we encompass more Industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing technologies, we also see an increase in cohesion and interlinking of learning. No longer is there such a divide within different areas of academia and in industry,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair believes that COVID-19 has transformed the learning environment, showing how opportunities exist and how digitalisation, virtual and mixed reality platforms and continuous digital learning can be embraced as key parts of the future in education, manufacturing and broader workforce environments.
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