Opportunities in the manufacturing industry and Industry 4.0

It’s no secret that the Manufacturing Industry in Australia at present is undergoing significant change. The sector, whilst in a period of decline, is still however a core part of Australia’s economy and represents the 6th largest sector in Australia in terms of total jobs, accounting for 8% of employment and therefore remains one of Australia’s most important industries.[1] [2]

This wave of several technological advances in the manufacturing industry such as additive manufacturing, cyber-physical systems, cloud computing and cognitive computing is called Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 is mostly characterised by improvements in efficiency and flexibility and the acquisition of previously unattainable capabilities.[3]

The demand for more expensive and bespoke products suggests that the manufacturing industry is not declining but evolving, opening the opportunity for existing workers to expand their knowledge of the latest technologies and fill the science and technology gaps by upskilling.[4]

Organisations at the forefront of this change, that are wanting to remain competitive in the industry, have commenced upskilling their workforce. For example Watkins Steel, one of our clients, is embracing the technological changes in manufacturing and is an industry leader in the steel fabrication industry. They have implemented augmented reality (AR) as part of their customer communications. For instance, Watkins Steel can design and draft entire buildings through their augmented reality and see the buildings in full size or scaled down sizes so that the customer can see their new buildings in real time. This feature also allows the company to plan their installations with greater accuracy and efficiency and it might also help them to provide a better service to their customers and to satisfy them to a greater degree.

One of Watkins Steel’s projects is being used in the upcoming Commonwealth Games and will be located within the Athletes Village. The Commonwealth Games Architectural Arbour Model is being designed with the help of AR and they have also been selected the winner in the Tekla BIM Awards (Australia & New Zealand) in the Sports and Recreation Category for their Tekla model of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Athletes Village Architectural Arbour and Disc Structure.

Outsource Institute is currently training Watkins Steel’s employees in the Cert III in Engineering – Technical CAD/CAM who are directly involved with the drafting of the steel structures and converting the CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) files into CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) files for the workshop machinery. They are also required to build the augmented reality files so the structures can be viewed through the AR glasses/googles.

The success of all manufacturing in the world will eventually rely on automation and AR skills. Despite the declining traditional manufacturing industry in Australia, there are many opportunities for companies to fill the technology gaps by upskilling and cross-skilling workers for the more advanced manufacturing wave. The pressures that manufacturing is experiencing are not unique to Australia. Skills for the modern tradesperson are paramount to the success of a country’s manufacturing capability and their overall economic success and therefore, this new wave involves upskilling. Get yourself prepared for Industry 4.0, the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. Industry 4.0 shows how fast technology advances and keeping up with these changes is crucial to everyone’s career progression.[5]

If you are interested in upskilling and you would also like to embrace the benefits of the advancing manufacturing industry – Industry 4.0, take advantage of upskilling. Outsource Institute’s courses can help you to capitalise on those changes with our Hydraulics, Instrumentation,

Manufacturers using Augmented Reality (AR) on the factory floor.

Advanced Welding Technology and Pneumatics courses. There are other crucial skills that are important in the advancing manufacturing industry to bring your engineering career to the next level such as leadership skills and strong communication skills which give you the capability to communicate your engineering knowledge to an uninitiated audience. Diversifying your skills will make you stand out in a competitive employment market and increase efficiency, customer satisfaction and effectiveness.[6] According to the ‘Manufacturing: a moment of opportunity’ report 2017, ‘there is more economic space than at any time in recent years to expand investment, production, and employment in value-added manufacturing.’[7]

Industry 4.0 creates what has been called the “Smart Factory” and “Smart Factories” will need a “Smart Workforce”.



[1] The Conversation Media Group, 2016 – https://theconversation.com/the-australian-manufacturing-industry-is-not-dying-its-evolving-csiro-study-69398

[2] The Guardian News and Media, 2017 – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/21/australias-manufacturing-industry-on-rebound-report-says

[3] McCormick, 2017 – https://www.autodesk.com/industry/manufacturing/resources/engineering-leadership/industry4-0-efficiency-gains-cant-ignore

[4] Australian Welding Institute, Volume 36, 2017

[5] Beirne, 2017 – https://slcontrols.com/house-training-upskilling-important/

[6] Beirne, 2017 – https://slcontrols.com/house-training-upskilling-important/

[7] Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute – Manufacturing: a moment of opportunity 2017 – https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/theausinstitute/pages/1503/attachments/original/1497850614/Manufacturing_A_Moment_of_Opportunity_Final_w_cover.pdf?1497850614

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