Virtual Shipyard Program helps local SMEs build Industry 4.0 capabilities

South Australia has developed the nation’s first digital training program, specifically designed to help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) build their Industry 4.0 capabilities. Participants will walk away from the program ready to adopt new technologies, participate in future defence projects, and engage in digital-ready global supply chains.

A collaboration between the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), the South Australian Department for Industry and Skills, Dassault Systèmes and Innodev, the Virtual Shipyard Program is already well underway. 14 participants recently completed six months of face-to-face training conducted at TAFE SA’s Regency Park campus and are currently applying their knowledge to an in-house manufacturing project, with the mentored assistance of Dassault Systèmes.

The Program attracted a diverse range of participants. For instance, there is APC Technology, specialists in computing solutions for tough conditions; fabrication and CNC machining experts Verseng Group; and world-class electronics manufacturer Entech Electronics—to name but a few.

Tailored to the business needs of each of the 14 participants, the face-to-face training covered 12 key industry-specific digital competencies based on world best practice approaches. These competences included topics such as supply chain and cost management, production planning and scheduling, quality management, export control and IP security.

In addition, both the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia attended the training and received additional support from Dassault Systèmes to ensure that the each of the universities can create their own leading-edge Industry 4.0 curriculum.

All participants learnt how to collaborate, comply, plan, design and build in a 3D virtual environment, developing world-class Industry 4.0 skills to catapult their company’s prospects for participation in global supply chains.

The feedback received from participants has been particularly positive. According to Cameron Johnston (Owner and Managing Director, Rowlands Metalworks), “The Virtual Shipyard Program has given our business a fantastic insight in to the production and information flows of the future and Industry 4.0. This sets a fantastic platform for establishing our business as a professional business capable of supplying sheet metal product and services around the globe.”

Dr David Murfett (Engineering Manager and Defence Liaison, Redarc) was equally impressed, “As a direct result of the learnings of the Virtual Shipyard Program and utilising the Dassault 3DS tools, we have been able to create a digital supply chain integration, gaining design efficiencies and eliminating the possibilities of transcription errors, resulting in a quicker time-to-market for our products.”

Participants are currently undertaking the second phase of the Virtual Shipyard Program, which is focused on the practical implementation and adaptation of the face-to-face training within their businesses.

The challenge of digitising the manufacturing industry is not easily solved. The Virtual Shipyard Program is the first program of its kind to attempt to bridge the gap for existing manufacturers.

If you are interested in exploring manufacturing opportunities within the defence and shipbuilding industry, contact the AMGC today.