The Modern Manufacturing Town Hall in Sydney last week was described as a “pivotal day” for the NSW manufacturing sector.
Held on 30 March at Sydney Olympic Park, the conference marked the beginning of a strengthened partnership between government and industry in advancing manufacturing.
The well-attended event kicked off with a stand-up breakfast, before opening with an address from Minister Stuart Ayres.
Mr Ayres emphasised that this is an exciting time to be involved in the manufacturing sector and that NSW has “really stepped out into a leadership role in this crucial area” and progressed in a way that will benefit not only the state’s economy, but the entire nation.
He highlighted that as climate change and the pursuit of a decarbonised economy comes to the fore, a strong and sustainable modern manufacturing strategy will recalibrate the competitive nature of Australian business and “present us with an amazing array of new opportunities”.
The address also introduced us to the members of the recently formed and NSW government-backed Modern Manufacturing Taskforce, a specialist team made up of key industry stakeholders and led by businessman Tony Shepperd. The Taskforce will provide advice to government on their new modern manufacturing strategy and improve the linkages between government and industry.
Attendees noted that the Town Hall event was a rare opportunity for key stakeholders from government, industry and academia to come together and be part of a ‘brains trust’ that marks the beginning of Australia’s efforts to establish a strong, sustainable and technology-driven manufacturing sector.
“We believe that collaboration between government, academia and the manufacturing industry is essential to democratising access to the latest in modern manufacturing technological advancements, particularly for smaller manufacturers who may not have the resources necessary to implement these advancements on their factory floor,” says Marie Kinsella, CEO of the Town Hall’s organiser, International Exhibition and Conference Group.
“Having an event like the Town Hall supported by Minister Ayres, the University of Sydney and our other prestigious Modern Manufacturing Foundation Partners enables us to directly connect manufacturers with a network that will nurture their growth and efforts to strengthen the economy.”
The Town Hall program placed a spotlight on the possibilities unlocked by linking local manufacturers to the University of Sydney, through presentations from Professor Gwénaëlle Proust as well as Business Development Manager at the university, Adeline Williams.
Key topics included the introduction of the new Sydney Manufacturing Hub, a state-of-the-art facility that offers local manufacturers the opportunity to engage with researchers and utilise the university’s “world-leading” research infrastructure.
Professor Simon Ringer, Director of Core Research Facilities for the University of Sydney, closed the presentations with an invitation to manufacturers to utilise the university as their R&D partner and to embrace the skills, technology and expertise the university has to offer.
Other highlights from the day included presentations from “industry-leading” manufacturers and organisations, including 3rd Axis, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, Thales Australia, Stryker, CSIRO, Romar Engineering and Equinox Orthopaedics, who shared how adopting new technologies has changed the way they manufacture.
The speakers echoed the sentiment that manufacturers need to challenge ‘the way they’ve always done it’, to embrace modern manufacturing in order to see transformation in the sector.
Launch of the Modern Manufacturing Expo
Town Hall attendees got a first look at the Modern Manufacturing Expo which will take place 20-21 September at Sydney Showground.
Promoted as a “first-of-its-kind” exhibition, it’s expected to help companies stay competitive and boost effectiveness through ‘smart manufacturing’. It will also offer educational streams to showcase practical steps on how digitisation can be implemented.
Speaking to the need for a new event such as the Modern Manufacturing Expo, Ms Kinsella says: “We cannot ignore the fact that the manufacturing landscape is changing. Both government and manufacturers are looking for new and innovative ways for the industry to become more sustainable and globally competitive and the expo is the perfect place to showcase these opportunities.”
This sentiment is shared by Mr Ayres: “We know that we need to continue to be an economy that makes things, and we know that we need to be at the end of the value chain to ensure that we keep our manufacturing as competitive as it can be.”