Leading the way in Industry 4.0

Thursday 14 March 2019

Leaders and experts from public and private sectors in Australia at the Industry 4.0 Leadership Summit in Hong Kong.

Leaders from public and private sectors in Australia, Hong Kong and Guangdong shared their experiences and insights into the latest innovations and strategies at the Industry 4.0 Leadership Summit.

In summary

  • The fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) is the current trend of automation and data exchange across the industrial value chain.
  • Leaders in industry, government, cities, research and educational organisations have a critical role to play in formulating and developing the implementation of Industry 4.0 strategy.
  • Swinburne, in collaboration with partners, held an Industry 4.0 Leadership Summit in Hong Kong.

The world is in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). Following industrial revolutions in mechanisation, mass production and computers, this revolution is about a fusion of cyber-physical systems involving digitalisation across the entire industrial value chain.

Leaders in industry, government, cities, research and educational organisations have a critical role to play in formulating and developing the implementation of Industry 4.0 strategy. Renowned for its innovation and technology expertise, Swinburne is at the forefront of Industry 4.0 transformation.

In October 2018, Swinburne, in collaboration with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Australian Trade and Investment Commission, Hong Kong Smart City Consortium and Hong Kong Productivity Council, held a cross-regional Industry 4.0 Leadership Summit in Hong Kong. It brought together over 300 senior executives and experts to discuss how enterprises can implement Industry 4.0 strategy to help advance innovative technologies and shape the evolution of industries across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, health, smart cities and transport. 

300 senior executives discuss how enterprises can implement Industry 4.0 strategy at Industry 4.0 Summit in Hong Kong

Sharing expert opinions

Leaders and experts from public and private sectors in Australia, Hong Kong and the Chinese province of Guangdong shared their views and experiences, bringing unparalleled insights into the latest innovations and strategies. They participated in interactive panel sessions around Manufacturing 4.0, Infrastructure 4.0, Transport 4.0 and Data Security 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is transforming value chains and supply chains across the global business community.

Mr Sudhir Pai, Executive Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer (Global Financial Services) of the professional services and business consulting corporation Capgemini says: "I will use the term ‘Finance 4.0’ to describe the impact of Industry 4.0 on the financial industry. Convergence is the key concept of Industry 4.0. For instance, the development of smart cities promotes a more personalised banking, insurance and other financial service models thereby improving the service efficiency.

“Capgemini has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Swinburne, focusing on financial technology and blockchain. We hope this collaboration will enhance applications of data technology in supply chains as well as analysis of customer behaviours and business models."

Leadership panel discuss formulating and developing the implementation of Industry 4.0 strategy

Drawing inspiration from Industry 4.0

Hong Kong is making strides to transform into a smart city.

“Since the Industry 4.0 concept was introduced by Germany a few years back, its application is no longer limited to the manufacturing sector but has also made an impact on other areas such as municipal administration,” says the Secretary for Transport and Housing, the Honourable Chan Fan.

“Take the smart light pole as an example. In addition to illumination, various types of data can be collected and used to assist with the management of traffic.”

Professor Cheng Man Chung, Honorary President of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries says: “Undoubtedly, some difficulties or obstacles will be encountered when implementing Industry 4.0, such as change of the inherent corporate culture. I believe it will be beneficial for established companies to communicate with start-ups constructively for innovative ideas exchange. As a matter of fact, many companies have merged with start-ups in order to enhance their core business value and to transform their operations into Industry 4.0. Nonetheless, the prerequisite for those companies is the willingness to remodel their existing framework."

Strategic partnerships

At the summit, Swinburne signed Memoranda of Understanding with three organisations focusing on a broad range of projects.  These include:

  • Design and Development of Unmanned Electric Vehicles with Urban Systems Company Limited
  • Development of Intelligent Manufacturing and Robots with Guangdong Intelligent Manufacturing Research Institute, Guangdong Academy of Science
  • Design and Development of Innovative Products with King’s Flair Development Company Limited.

Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with King’s Flair Development Company Limited for a project called the Design and Development of Innovative Products

Developing innovative technology

Swinburne has a strong focus on science, technology and innovation and has undertaken a number of research projects relating to Industry 4.0.

Thanks to a $135 million industrial digitalisation grant from Siemens, the university is committed to advancing the implementation of Industry 4.0 strategy by setting up Australia’s first cloud-based industrial Internet of Things (IoT) operating centre, Mindsphere. This will be dedicated to the creation of applications in advanced manufacturing, smart cities and transport, health and other areas.

Since 2015, the university has been actively cooperating with Hong Kong and Chinese industry to support the development of innovative technologies in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. Key research development projects have been undertaken in the disciplines of Product Design, Aviation (pilot training and aviation management), Engineering, Digital Medical Technology and Health Testing, Smart Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, Network Security and Astrophysics.

Swinburne's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development), Professor Aleksandar Subic, is the only Australian university scholar on the Australian Prime Minister's Industry 4.0 Taskforce.

"Swinburne has established strategic partnerships with a number of enterprises to explore opportunities for development of Industry 4.0 in the advanced manufacturing sector. This includes establishing the Victorian Industry 4.0 SME Hub in advanced manufacturing, the Siemens Mindsphere Centre for Australia and the Amazon Cloud Innovation Centre for Australia," says Professor Subic.

Industry 4.0 Leaders Summit presenters respond to key questions on Industry 4.0

Question 1: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), being the backbone of Hong Kong’s economy, are catching up to the digital transformation of manufacturing processes and business models.  What suggestions would you give to SMEs in their progress towards Industry 4.0?

Ms Lilia Kanevska, Managing Partner, DMS Solutions/RPA & Machine Learning 

“As SME business doesn’t depend heavily on existing legacy environments, it is recommended they consider intelligent automation operational approaches as part of their strategy (from day one go paperless, focus on data analytics, build a digital workforce powered with cognitive capabilities from day one. For example: machine learning, neuro-linguistic programing, CV, artificial intelligence).”

Dr Albert Wong, Director, PwC Hong Kong

“SME industry players may have heard about the term Industry 4.0 but not really have concrete ideas of how Industry 4.0 will impact them and to what extent. So, how can they embrace Industry 4.0 in their business operations? I believe that SMEs are very agile and the best way to encourage them to advance towards Industry 4.0 is to make them aware of it and provide support for them to step up their efforts.”

Ms Gracie Ng, Associate Director, ICT Cluster & Smart City Platform, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation

“1. Assess and set reasonable targets: The basis for Industry 4.0 is the availability of all relevant information in real time by connecting all instances involved in the value chain. However, the situation/level of maturity varies between companies, industries and even countries. Therefore, an assessment/consultancy may be crucial to analyse the existing company status and set an appropriate target/roadmap for each company instead of blindly adopting technology (e.g. automation) which may not be cost effective. 2. Make data available: Digitalisation is one of the key elements of Industry 4.0 - how to make the data visible and transparent in order to pave the way for predictability and adaptability. It is necessary for SMEs to understand the basic enablers such as sensors and input, connectivity, data analytics, output and actuator.”

Question 2: There is a saying that academia is the vanguard of technological advancements. In your opinion, how could Swinburne contribute to the development of Industry 4.0 in respect to research and innovation, education and engagement with industry/governments? 

Ms Lilia Kanevska, Managing Partner, DMS Solutions/RPA & Machine Learning 

“To build a world with better technology, it is highly important for students to work with leading tech companies on innovative and disruptive solutions (this could be sponsored either by tech companies or Swinburne). Human intelligence and machine capabilities (tech company assets and resources) should be leveraged and put together to achieve and go beyond Industry 4.0 standards.”

Dr Albert Wong, Director, PwC Hong Kong

“Swinburne could help industry with application research, technology transfer and commercialisation. Most importantly, Swinburne can engage industry to understand its future needs, support application research and assist the industry with liaising with government on the regulatory front.”

Ms Gracie Ng, Associate Director, ICT Cluster & Smart City Platform, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation

“There is a lack of visibility on the Industry 4.0 maturity level among Hong Kong SMEs as well as the market demands. It may be good to have a research project where Swinburne could join forces with local industry, local institutes and government. They could conduct analysis on the Industry 4.0 maturity level among Hong Kong SMEs and come up with a roadmap to support SMEs.”

Question 3: Can you name one or two research and development project(s) that is/are most pivotal to the success of such transformation? 

Ms Lilia Kanevska, Managing Partner, DMS Solutions/RPA & Machine Learning 

Intelligent Data Management.”

Dr Albert Wong, Director, PwC Hong Kong

“Research and development projects, especially those of application research (rather than basic research), should be driven by the industry. Probably an awareness program that promotes Industry 4.0 and development of real use/business cases for SMEs would be a helpful start.”

Ir Conrad Wong, BBS JP, Vice Chairman, Yau Lee Holdings Limited, Deputy Chairman, Vocational Training Council, Member, Advisory Council on the Environment, Member, Energy Advisory Committee

“How artificial intelligence, in particular big data, should integrate with robots and automation systems. Industry 4.0 is fully integrated with the Internet of Things and I think data security is critical. How to provide a safe and secure working platform is something we need to address and that has not been discussed in detail. Also Human/machine inaction.”