The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub has been opened in Brisbane, supported by $7.71 million in state government funding over four years, and will provide advice and guidance on adoption to companies.
In a statement calling the initiative the first of its kind in Australia, Queensland manufacturing minister Cameron Dick said the ARM Hub would also attract $10 million in investment from Queensland University of Technology, Urban Art Projects (UAP) and other partner organisations.
ARM would be based in the city but provide access to manufacturers from across the state. It would, according to the statement, provide “practical production and manufacturing advice in a real-life factory environment,” said Dick, and enable the state’s manufacturing firms to learn and apply relevant skills to their operations.
He added that productivity gains through adoption of robotics and automation were modelled to be worth $77.2 billion extra to Gross State Product and 725,810 new jobs.
“…for every robotic system that UAP acquires, new high-value jobs are created, often entirely new jobs or jobs that would have otherwise been off-shored to other countries,” said Dick.
“The ARM Hub will provide practical production and manufacturing advice in a real-life factory environment, enabling Queensland manufacturers to learn cutting-edge robotic technologies and techniques, and develop industry skill and expertise to apply to their own businesses.”
Brisbane is a region of strength for robotics research in Australia. A team including members from Data61, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland and CSIRO drone spinout Hovermap – all based in or around the city – qualified last year for the prestigious three-year DARPA Subterranean Challenge. The team attracted the equivalent of $6.2 million from the United States Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.
QUT is also the headquarters of the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision centre of excellence.
The hub opening follows the launch of the Robotics Innovation Centre at Data61’s Pullenvale site in March.
Adoption of industrial robotics in Australia has been slow overall, with last year’s Robotics Roadmap for Australia finding a total of only 7,500 installed units, and growth of only a per cent between 2011 and 2016. During the same time, the rest of the world’s total of installed robots grew 56 per cent.
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