CQUni helps organise Manufacturing Innovation Seminar in Emerald

08 June 2021

The perception that manufacturing in Australia is dying is a myth that must be busted' according to speakers at a Manufacturing Innovation Seminar near Emerald recently.

Those attending the day at SwarmFarm' near Gindie' had the opportunity to engage with industry experts and regional business leaders to discuss how they manage challenges associated with scaling up manufacturing innovation.

Guest speakers included QMI Solutions Director of Strategic Engineering Shay Chalmers' Berg Engineering General Manager Shannon Jansen and SwarmFarm Robotics Managing Director and CEO Andrew Bate.

Organised by CQUniversity in partnership with AusIndustry' CSIRO' i4Connect and the Rockhampton Manufacturing Hub' the event aimed to strengthen regional capacity and showcase companies that are embracing innovation in manufacturing.

Ms Chalmers said manufacturing contributed billions of dollars to the Australian economy annually.

"But the state of manufacturing has changed and we need to change with it'"

she said.

"The future belongs to those who can manage uncertainty and innovate rapidly. Manufacturing is a capability rather than an industry. It's a mindset."

Mr Jansen's message to those attending was to "get comfortable with being uncomfortable".

He said it was okay for people to feel they could try' but not always succeed.

"Know what resources are available to you and be active in the industry'"

he said.

Mr Bate said SwarmFarm Robotics came to life after seeing the problems that came with using large machinery and wanting to stop inflicting this damage on their crops.

"It's a new way of farming and it's opening up a whole new world of farming techniques.

"Don't be afraid of trying something if you don't believe you have the skills – go out and give it a go."

The guest speakers also took part in a panel discussion' facilitated by i4Connect Commercialisation Facilitator Liz Alexander' where they agreed recruiting and retaining skilled labour was a major challenge for manufacturers' along with procurement processes.

Seminar co-organiser and CQUniversity Manager of Research Partnerships Josh Ariens said tapping into support that is available could deliver success.

Mr Ariens said there were a range of support mechanisms and funding streams available for businesses in advanced manufacturing processes and services.

"The seminar was well attended by representatives from a range of industries and there were some great points raised during the panel discussion.

"It was a valuable opportunity for attendees to discuss issues and understand how others have overcome challenges in developing their manufacturing capability."