Siemens and RMIT establish Industrial Digital Innovation Hub
Siemens and RMIT have announced the establishment of an Industrial Digital Innovation Hub to help drive workforce transformation for Industry 4.0 in the Australasian region. The hub includes a significant hi-tech industrial software grant from Siemens as well as support from the federal government to participate in a trial of a new Industry 4.0 teaching model in higher education.
With these grants, RMIT joins a national network of universities driving change to help prepare students for the future of work.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan has also announced that the government will provide a grant of $1.2 million to enable RMIT to join a multi-university trial of an advanced apprenticeship-style Associate Degree in Digital Technologies (Industry 4.0). RMIT will join five other universities across Australia participating in the pilot, which will provide an opportunity for employees of local industry partners to gain skills in software applications, design and engineering methodologies, and practical problem-solving approaches in advanced manufacturing.
This news reinforces the MoU between Siemens, RMIT and Festo announced in June this year, to explore major areas of cooperation to help drive workforce transformation for Industry 4.0 in the Australasian region, including the establishment of an Industrial Digital Innovation Hub at RMIT.
“Australian industries can compete with the best in the world, so long as they have people coming through the entire tertiary education continuum with fit-for-purpose skills who are ready to tackle the needs of the future,” said Siemens Australia Chairman and CEO Jeff Connolly. “Although Germany’s concept of Industry 4.0 initially described the future of manufacturing, it has become clear that there are significant implications for energy, health care, transport, building and construction, engineering and the sustainability industries also — all part of RMIT’s and Professor Subic’s broader partnership approach.
“COVID-19 is forcing Australians and Australian businesses to look for new ways to keep our economic engines running. The university sector has been hit by the pandemic also, so, like other industries, they also need to innovate and evolve during this time. No doubt the software grant and the government grant will support RMIT to continue the constant drive to innovate their models and offerings and to ensure an even greater connectedness to industry.
“Digitalisation has no borders and we have to learn how our economy can participate and thrive and be resilient in global economy,” he continued. “This requires new ways of thinking, new ways to collaborate and new skills across the entire spectrum of the workforce. Digitalisation technologies and skills are critical to Australia’s prosperity in this new world.”
According to Professor Aleksandar Subic, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Science, Engineering and Health and Vice President for Digital Innovation, “We need to think big with Industry 4.0. An industrial revolution doesn’t discriminate — it impacts every sector and therefore requires a multidisciplinary approach with a holistic view across the entire continuum of education and training from TAFE through to higher education.
“We expect as many as 10,000 RMIT students across a range of disciplines in engineering, science, technology, health and design to access some of the most advanced industrial software available over the next three years,” he said.
The Industrial Digital Innovation Hub will be managed out of the RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct.
“This strategic development of national significance stems from our shared commitment to supporting digital transformation of industries in Australia and the region, and from our shared belief that digital technology can no longer exist in a silo,” continued Subic.
Samantha Murray, CEO of Siemens Software in the region, explained that the industrial software grant involves a comprehensive suite of software tools integrated within an Industry 4.0 IIoT platform.
“RMIT students will be well equipped for the future as they have access to our Industry 4.0 IIoT platform MindSphere, as well as Teamcenter, a product life cycle management system that digitally connects people and processes across functional silos,” she said. “Further, they will also gain skills in our leading design and simulation software, NX.
“It’s also significant to highlight the inclusion of Mendix as part of this grant because it’s the first time we’ve included the Mendix platform in an Australian university grant. Mendix is about accelerating business innovation. With both no code (visual modelling) and low code (highly extensible, integrated tooling) it supports cross-functional teams working collaboratively.”
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