With Australia on the cusp of the next industrial revolution, engineering powerhouse Siemens says now is the time for local companies to embrace advanced technologies and carve out a place in the global supply chain.
Siemens Australia CEO Jeff Connolly says the challenge for Australia is to be ready as the world enters the fourth industrial revolution – the merging of the cyber and physical worlds.
“Also known as Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution represents a world where everything imaginable is connected to a network,” says Mr Connolly, a member of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council’s Leaders Group. “It’s an exciting time where new production environments will emerge as information generated in the virtual world will flow into the manufacturing world.”
He says all the information from this connected world can be stored, transferred, analysed and acted upon in new and usually automated ways via network connections with everything else.
“It’s a new way of working and thinking and will make competition global rather than local. It means that people from almost anywhere can participate in the relevant global supply chain – if you’re good enough.”
Australia, with its abundance of resources, skilled workforce and talented engineers, is perfectly positioned to become a key player in the future global manufacturing system.
Siemens has a long history of connecting Australia, tracing its local roots back to 1872 and the construction of the Overland Telegraph from Darwin to Adelaide, which paved the way for communications throughout the country and with the rest of the world. In 1956, Siemens provided the hardware for the first television transmission to Australian homes.
Today, Siemens has about 2500 employees in Australia, designing and maintaining the technology that helps local business stay at the cutting edge.
Partnerships are a key element not only to Siemens’ success, but the industries it teams up with. Around Australia, Siemens’ technology helps pave the future in industries ranging from medical imaging to mining, power to processing, and electric trains to electricity transmission.
All those industries are recognising the critical role digitalisation will play in their future development and success and its potential for future efficiencies.
“For example, at the new Snowtown II wind farm – where Siemens was the turnkey provider – digitalisation delivers a stream of data flowing 24/7 from more than 800 sensors to the company’s diagnostic centre in Denmark,” says Mr Connolly. “That data is constantly analysed to remotely optimise the turbines for peak performance.”
He says that’s just one example of Siemens’ expertise in digitalisation and automation being used to create a true vision of sustainability – both in environmental and economic terms.
Mr Connolly said that companies sharing Siemens’ vision of investing in future technologies such as energy efficiencies, or enterprise strategies such as product lifecycle management, were reaping the rewards of a forward-thinking philosophy.
“There are a host of technologies available today that would allow Australian industry to find its place in the global supply chain and take advantage of massive growth opportunities,” he says.
“We need to constantly increase the level of collaboration between companies, governments, industry and educators. We consider the world to be our laboratory and regard collaborative networks as the breeding ground for innovation.”
Siemens has long-standing partnerships with leading research facilities around the globe, and invests around $6 billion each year into R&D. It is also participating in ventures such as the Tonsley innovation hub being developed in Adelaide.