Analysis and Commentary

Advanced is great, but what about traditional manufacturing – by Daen Simmat

Analysis and Commentary

Industrial designer Daen Simmat (pictured below) takes a look at policies supporting a transition to advanced manufacturing in Australia with approval, but also asks ‘what about traditional manufacturing’ and making it smarter?

In the mid-1960s, manufacturing was separated into two categories “advanced” and “traditional.” Traditional manufacturing was hard product industries such as automotive, steel and industrial machinery, while “advanced manufacturing” was manufacturing process technologies.

The Australian governments goal is to modernise Australia’s factories. PM Scott Morrison stated before the release of the 2020 National budget that, “we make things in Australia. We do it well. We need to keep making things in Australia and with this strategy, we will.”

The reality of the matter is that we need to rethink traditional manufacturing processes to be smarter, not reinvent the way we manufacture products as a whole.

Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski MP visited the Black Lab Design factory to see how we were operating in a COVID world. He agreed with Daen Simmat saying, “when people think about innovation, they go oh quantum computing, but I say no – it can just be welding better.”

The $47.5 million Advanced Manufacturing Growth Fund supports businesses to transition away from traditional manufacturing processes. The governments goal is to help transition Australia’s manufacturing sector from traditional, heavy industrial processes to knowledge-based manufacturing of higher value products.

However, as CEO Simmat reiterated to MP Jason Falinski, “It doesn’t need to be something ultra smart that’s the product at the end of the day, but it needs to be ultra smart ways of thinking about making everyday products that people are using.”

These processes of; welding, folding, joining, bending and sourcing materials are essential to the manufacturing process and are being omitted to automative processes and missing out on government support.

Australia’s manufacturing industry has been on the decline for years. Where the industry once accounted for 25% of Australia’s gross domestic product, it now accounts for roughly 5%.

COVID exposed to the government that their focus needs to be on domestic manufacturing and self-sufficiency. This means rethinking and reinventing traditional manufacturing processes to survive in unison with advancing technologies.

Daen Simmat is an industrial designer and CEO of Black Lab Design. He is passionate about designing for manufacture and celebrating his team manufacturing industry in Australia where he says many unsung heroes operate.

Picture: Black Lab Design

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