BAE-led $2.9m robotics shipbuilding project announced

A $2.9 million project led by ASC Shipbuilding will develop “cutting-edge manufacturing technologies” for use on the Future Frigates program.


The Innovative Manufacturing CRC is contributing a grant worth $1.45 million to the work, which will involve seven new research workers collaborating with nine others at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. It will assist those involved in their organisations’ digital transformation through, “robotics, assistive manufacturing and readiness for Industry 4.0 utilisation”


“The building of these frigates is a true project of the digital age and these new researchers will significantly increase the firepower of the research effort already underway at the collaboration lab,” said industry minister Karen Andrews in a statement.


“The ideas and new practices developed as part of this research will not only benefit the frigates project but the Australian manufacturing sector in general.”


The project was announced on Tuesday, begin next month, and will run until 2022, developing robotics-based solutions that will be used to build nine anti-submarine frigates. The lead contractor on the frigates is ASC Shipbuilding, which was acquired by BAE Systems in 2018. The ships’ first steel will be cut in 2022.  


According to the IMCRC, ASC and Flinders will work with SMEs on the “digital shipyard” project, which will “enable connectivity between manufacturing equipment to databases that will provide real-time insights into shipyard and supply chain performance, leading to enhanced productivity, safety and quality outcomes.”




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