Industry 4.0: Creating the Exports of Tomorrow

Matthew Morgan

A vibrant and competitive manufacturing sector is vital to Australia’s economic future and the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies will be a key driver of industry transformation.

Speaking at the Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum on the 7th of August in Melbourne, the Hon Karen Andrews MP said that Industry 4.0 will be instrumental in driving economic productivity within Australia.

“Growing our core and emerging manufacturing industries is a key part of the Morrison Government’s economic plan… including commitment to deliver 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years,” said Hon. Andrews.

In a recent report released by the CSIRO, the 2019 Australian National Outlook found that with the right preparatory measures in place, manufacturing could contribute to more than 25% in additional GDP growth compared to today.

What is Industry 4.0 and what does it mean for you?

Industry 4.0 describes the trend towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies.

Think of the concept of factories in which machines are augmented with wireless connectivity and sensors, connected to a system that can visualise the entire production line, control, and make decisions on its own.

These new technologies are big business.

Specifically, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have been estimated to be worth up to $88 billion for our manufacturing industries.

What is the Internet of Things and the value to Manufacturing?

IoT is essentially the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other) and can be described as a network of connected “things” (which also includes people). The relationship can be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

The new rule for the future will be “Anything that can be connected, will be connected”.

The uptake of new technologies has the enormous potential to impact manufacturing in Australia – and how we do business, including boosting Exports.

Exports have been described by politicians and research reports alike as being a big part of the government’s equation to grow the manufacturing industries and create new jobs.

Is there help available for the manufacturing sector on the journey to Export?

Some of the support measures the government has in place to grow export opportunities, include the SME Export Hubs Initiative, funding towards the Australia Made campaign and the establishment of a Manufacturing Modernisation Fund.

The Manufacturing Modernisation Fund will provide grants to businesses to invest in transformative technologies such as 3D printing, robotics, AI and nanotechnologies.

There will be $50 million in funding from Government and at least $110 million from industry which will help small and medium-sized manufacturers to modernise, grow and employ more Australians, particularly those in regional and outer-suburban areas.

If you are a manufacturer of Industry 4.0 technologies or an Exporter seeking additional information relating to Customs and Global Trade, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. 

Crowe is an active member within Customs Private Sector Groups and on the National Committee for Trade Facilitation.