International research ties to advance local manufacturing

An agreement between Flinders University, the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland) and BAE Systems has been established to support opportunities to collaborate on modern manufacturing methods for shipbuilding and marine operations.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a milestone in the formation of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Exchange and is expected to facilitate the development of international best practice for shipbuilding manufacturing.

An exchange of expertise and collaboration between the Factory of the Future at Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland is anticipated to open prospects for adopting ground-breaking manufacturing technologies and processes.

Any innovations arising from the MoU are intended to bolster the Hunter Class Frigate Program – the biggest surface shipbuilding project in Australia’s defence history underway at the Osborne Naval Shipyard – and the future shipbuilding programs at BAE Systems’ Goven Yard on the River Clyde.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Defence and Space Industries, Susan Close MP, was present at the MoU signing ceremony, where the South Australian Government committed $120,000 to the exchange.

“I was delighted to see the strengthening of the relationship between Flinders University and the University of Strathclyde, and to discuss our joint commitment to the advancement of our naval shipbuilding capabilities and technologies,” said Minister Close.

“This reflects the Malinauskas government’s aim to leverage our research capabilities to our greatest economic advantage – exchanging knowledge with our overseas counterparts and applying it to increase productivity locally.

“The knowledge, skills and technologies to be developed as part of this exchange program will prove applicable to many of our growing industries – shipbuilding and far beyond.”

Flinders University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said the collaboration between researchers and industry would be beneficial to both the UK and Australian naval industries.

“We welcome the South Australian Government’s funding commitment which will enable Flinders University to continue vital research placing local and international shipbuilding at the cutting-edge of advanced manufacturing, ensuring our researchers at Tonsley can collaborate in the exchange of ideas delivering real world improvements in manufacturing technology with the UK’s best and brightest experts,” he said.

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Image: Deputy Premier Susan Close MP with Flinders University President & Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling, BAE Systems Australia Director Business Development and Continuous Naval Shipbuilding Sharon Wilson, and Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of Strathclyde and Chair of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland Board, Professor Sir Jim McDonald.