Global technology company Siemens has announced an in-kind grant of $447 million worth of industrial software to the University of Western Australia.
The federal government simulateously announced a $5 million commitment to establish five Industry 4.0 test laboratories across Australian universities.
To prepare students for “Industry 4.0” – a term coined in Germany to describe the future of manufacturing an industry - Siemens' product lifecycle management (PLM) software will be made available to students within a government-funded test laboratory
“To be honest, we didn’t calculate a business case on this one; what we believe is in education and the training of people,” he said.
“The return which we see is if graduates use our software, maybe they like it so they want to have an environment where they use it again later, so they come to us (Siemens).
“Maybe they end up in other companies and they have influence in buying our software; so this is really a long-term investment into society and into our future workforce.”
Dr Busch said engineering students could use its software to deploy, simulate and build product parts to prepare them for the workforce.
“Take a camera, before it is built you have about one terabyte of data, which you use to build this whole camera digitally on your computer,” he said.
“What they (students) learn is to simulate how this mechanically works, electronically works, and once they build this then they learn a lot about how technology can help them in designing a better product and how it’s manufactured.”
The software can be used across a range of industries, including healthcare, the transport industry, and infrastructure, he said.
UWA vice-chancellor Dawn Freshwater said the government test lab grant would be used to help establish UWA’s planned Industry 4.0 test lab, known as the LNG Futures Facility, where Siemens’ software would be deployed.
The software would be used to establish a national resource based on a fully functioning LNG plant, she said.
UWA’s Centre for Energy lead researcher, Eric May, said in the area of natural gas processing, which is incredibly important to our state, it will allow Australian innovators access to facilities essential for technology development.
“Such capabilities will help transition Australia’s resource industries beyond the export of raw materials and into the delivery of knowledge, expertise and innovation,” he said.
“The specialised software will enable a team led by Professor May to create a digital twin of a physical LNG plant, providing an entirely new training capability for tomorrow’s workforce and allowing Australian innovators access to facilities essential for technology development,” Professor Freshwater said.